Longtime NBA forward James Jones appears ready to call it a career as a player, and will transition into a front office role in Phoenix. The Suns announced today in a press release that Jones has joined the franchise and has been named vice president of basketball operations.
According to the Suns, Jones will report to general manager Ryan McDonough, who has received a new multiyear contract extension from the franchise. Jones will work alongside McDonough to “oversee all basketball-related matters for the Suns,” per the announcement.
“I would like to thank [team owner] Robert [Sarver] and his partners for extending my agreement with this great franchise,” McDonough said in a statement. “We have laid the foundation for what we hope will become the next championship caliber Suns team. There is still a lot of work to be done to reach our ultimate goal of bringing a championship to Phoenix so we are thrilled to add James Jones to our staff.”
Jones, 36, has played for 14 seasons in the NBA, spending team with the Pacers, Suns, Trail Blazers, Heat, and Cavaliers, appearing in 709 regular-season games and another 148 playoff contests.. Along with LeBron James, Jones has appeared in the last seven NBA Finals. However, a report earlier this month suggested that the veteran forward wouldn’t be returning to the Cavs for the 2017/18 campaign.
Instead, Jones will take his talents to the Suns’ front office, and will look to help McDonough guide a rebuilding organization. Phoenix entered this month mulling the idea of making a big splash in free agency, but watched Blake Griffin re-sign with the Clippers and backed off Paul Millsap, opting instead to focus on developing the team’s young players.
The Suns’ roster currently features a mix of promising youngsters and veteran role players. The club figures to build around players like Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss, Alan Williams, and Tyler Ulis, with veterans such as Tyson Chandler and Jared Dudley not part of the long-term plans. Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight are also believed to be on the trade block.