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.