12:59pm: The move came at Babby’s behest, according to a statement he made as part of a Suns press release confirming the transition that the team has on its website.
“I am grateful that [owner] Robert [Sarver] has accommodated my wish to reduce my work load, while remaining a vital part of the Suns organization,” Babby said. “At this stage of my career, I welcome the flexibility that comes with this new role, a flexibility that will enable me to do other things that are important to me both personally and in the community. I feel particularly confident in making this transition because of the quality of leadership in place within the organization.”
The press release doesn’t indicate that McDonough will assume Babby’s job title of president of basketball operations. McDonough will nonetheless take on added responsibilities, as will assistant GMs Pat Connelly and Trevor Bukstein, the team said.
12:07pm: Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby will move into a role as senior adviser and GM Ryan McDonough will become the team’s head of basketball operations on August 1st, reports Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Babby has held the president’s title since the 2010/11 season, when he and former GM Lance Blanks came aboard. Phoenix replaced Blanks with McDonough in 2013.
It’s not immediately clear whether Babby, who signed a two-year deal to stick with the Suns in 2013, is choosing to make this transition or if the team is pushing him aside. Phoenix has pivoted away from the Steve Nash era under his watch, but the team has yet to make the playoffs since Babby came aboard. McDonough appears to have had plenty of influence since his hiring, experimenting with a point guard heavy roster the last two seasons, with mixed results.
Babby is a former player agent whose clients included Tim Duncan, Ray Allen and Grant Hill. McDonough, who spent several years in the Celtics organization before joining the Suns, was Boston’s assistant GM for the three seasons prior to his move to Phoenix.