Suns Leaning Toward Promoting James Jones To GM

With Ryan McDonough no longer in the picture in Phoenix, former NBA forward James Jones is currently heading up the Suns‘ front office along with assistant GM Trevor Bukstein. And according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, there’s a good chance that Jones’ interim duties as co-GM will evolve into a permanent role as the club’s head of basketball operations.

[RELATED: Suns fire GM Ryan McDonough]

As Wojnarowski reports, Suns owner Robert Sarver, who is high on Jones, is leaning toward promoting him to the general manager role. Wojnarowski cautions that Sarver “has been known to change his mind” on personnel decisions, but the team’s owner has left little doubt in conversations this week that he envisions Jones as the eventual head of basketball ops. Jones has already begun to work on assembling his own scouting staff, sources tell ESPN.

According to Wojnarowski, Sarver has a reputation for poor leadership and aggressively inserting himself into roster decisions, which would make it challenging to recruit a top-tier veteran executive to replace McDonough. As Woj details, agents have told stories about having private conversations with Sarver without the front office’s knowledge, while rival executives say they could sometimes hear Sarver yelling in the background during phone calls with Phoenix’s front office.

Sarver has also never shown much enthusiasm for spending big money on a general manager, further limiting the appeal of the position to outside candidates. However, landing the role would be a big deal for Jones, whose career as an NBA player only ended in 2017. He was hired as the Suns’ VP of basketball operations last summer to help improve the front office’s relationships and communication with players.

If Jones is ultimately named the Suns’ new general manager, it will constitute a mini-trend — both Jones and Elton Brand, who was named the Sixers’ GM last month, played in the NBA within the last few years and are still in their late-30s.

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11 thoughts on “Suns Leaning Toward Promoting James Jones To GM

  1. Z-A

    Well when you trade an unprotected pick for Bridges but already have TJ Warren inhouse and still dont have a legit PG, I guess that’s grounds for axing. Could have taken Teague or Dragic to facilitate a Butler deal. Swapped Chandler for Dieng.

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  2. Nebrasketball

    I mean, firing the GM made sense. He sucked.

    But the timing does not make sense.

    It’s as if Sarver saw all the attention Taylor was getting as a bad owner, and said, “hold my beer.”

    Sarver for the win as worst owner in the NBA.

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  3. Ptn18

    I guess James Jones was a players rep and he’s real smart. They said the fact that he’s close with players would help in negotiations. I remember when he was drafted by the Pacers out of the University of Miami. He wasn’t expected to make it in the NBA. He’s come a long ways. First order of business, Patrick Beverly or Corey Joseph. I think Rozier is untouchable.

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  4. Gary

    I think this is the cheap way to go and the suns will continue to tank. Hire Jones for 2 years then hire a real guy. I like what the Warriors did and hired a former agent which was definitely an advantage for Bob Myers.

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    • Ptn18

      Did you see Kerr go after refs for too many charging calls? Told them he wanted to be first in line for dinner. Got ejected, Durant too. On way to tunnel he waved at refs and told them he didn’t want to be there. Durant called it one of top 5 ejections in NBA history. Curry said they like Kerr because he always has their back,

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    • Nebrasketball

      I don’t often give Sarver (who sucks) any credit, but I do like the idea of giving in-house options an opportunity – assuming that James Jones is capable of handling business.

      It’s not like Jones could be worse that McDonough, who was a bottom-5 GM.

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      • Gary

        Yes I’m all about giving in-house guys a shot but this is a multi-billion-dollar business and a guy Fresh Off The playing roster 2 or 3 years ago is in my opinion not ready.

        The guy the Lakers hired and the guy the Warriors hired was involved daily in the business of free agents and player contracts and transactions and intricacies of rosters.

        Same with hiring Elton brand have these guys had enough experience to do a great job with such a massive project in a massive big dollar industry?

        This is not given a guy a shot at running a minor league team and “see how he does. There is no, “see how he does” with billions of dollars involved.

        I think this is a tank move by the suns.

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        • Nebrasketball

          I think too often owners go with tired retreads that are actually bad at the talent acquisition/management part of the job (see Bryan Colangelo, who’s always been an awful GM apart from a few lucky bounces).

          Time will tell how good choices like Jones and Brand are (though I suspect Brand is a very good choice, while I know less about Jones’ journey).

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  5. tatumszn2018

    I wouldnt rule out him making a call to LA to help Lebron, but getting Pat Bev comes to mind as first order of business.

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  6. x%sure

    JJones could be a good one for settling Sarver down.

    JJones may ne taking over at just the right time!

    Does JJones have a philosophy pr advocacy that anyone knows of?
    a) Involved in signing Ariza? That signing looks more like a plan– Ariza as role model– if JJones is GM to back it up. No insider would say that though, if true, because McD was GM at the time.
    b) Finding players that support Ayton, while…
    c) shoveling money to Booker? His max-deal was probably Sarver’s call.

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  7. Boston2AZ

    Perfect. Let’s hire a guy who’s got little-to-no experience because the owner likes him. The only two constants in the past 10 years have been a horrible team with a horrible record and Robert Sarver. It’s not hard to do the math and figure out the problem.

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