Suns’ James Jones Talks Rivers, Ariza, Oubre, PGs

League executives were puzzled by the Suns‘ decision to waive both Tyson Chandler and Austin Rivers so early in the season, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. As Windhorst observes, even though the Suns may be tanking and weren’t interested in taking on multiyear money, parting ways with Chandler and Rivers – who were both on expiring contracts – closes the door on possible trade opportunities at the deadline.

In a discussion with Gina Mizell of The Athletic, interim co-general manager James Jones indirectly addressed those criticisms, explaining that Phoenix wants to do right by players. “We should be a place where every party, everyone involved, feels invested and feels connected,” Jones said. In the case of Rivers, Jones said that the team and Rivers’ camp mutually agreed that it “would be best if he found an opportunity that fit him better.”

Jones also weighed in on a handful of other subjects during conversations with Mizell and Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic, so we’ll round up some of his most noteworthy comments here:

On whether it was true that team owner Robert Sarver wouldn’t allow Trevor Ariza to be sent to the Lakers:

“No. Throughout all of this, Robert has been adamant that his focus is on what helps the Suns grow and be the best. That was inaccurate. Actually, if something could have worked out, Robert would have been a huge proponent, just because of that investment and understanding that Trevor and his family are (based) on the West Coast. If we can do right for both parties, it should make sense. There’s no reason why you wouldn’t do something that benefits both parties.”

On what he expects Kelly Oubre to bring to the Suns:

“Exactly what he’s demonstrated in the past. He’s young, but he’s experienced. He’s played in a lot of games. He’s played in the playoffs. He’s had tremendous success against some of the best players in the Eastern Conference, some of the best players in the NBA as a whole. His athleticism, his activity, just his competitiveness is something that, as we look at building the identity of this team, those are the foundational characteristics of all the players that we target. Do they play hard? Do they compete? Are they selfless? Do they sacrifice to win? He embodies that, and that’s why we’re excited to have him.”

On what happened with last Friday’s failed three-team trade involving the Wizards and Grizzlies:

“I’ll leave it as just a miscommunication. Going forward, we’re excited to have Kelly. Through everything, we have Kelly. We have a guy we know fits with us and we’re excited about.”

On the Suns’ ongoing search for an answer at point guard:

“For us, as free agency hit (during the 2018 offseason), you talk about that tier of starting caliber point guards, they chose other destinations that were a better fit and better suited to compete right now. As far as trades, I always say it takes two to tango. That’s not something you can control.

“For us at that position, we need someone who will compete defensively, can be impactful and can play well off our other perimeters… [De’Anthony Melton]’s been doing that and we’ll keep pushing him to get better.”

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7 thoughts on “Suns’ James Jones Talks Rivers, Ariza, Oubre, PGs

  1. SoCalBrave

    it’s either inexperience, incompetence, or malicious (tanking). But I’ll give James Jones the benefit of doubt and go with he’s inexperienced and a little naive for not holding on to those assets. I imagine he could have gotten at least a 2nd round pick from the Lakers for Chandler, even if it was a few years away, and possibly even more for Rivers.

    • jeremy

      Unless people wanted him for his past stats. Because this year he doesn’t even look close to the player he was last season. Since I believe he shooting under 40%

      • Boston2AZ

        Rivers still had a contract for ~$12 million that could have been used at the trade deadline as part of a package (maybe as part of a 3 team deal) that might have gotten them some sort of asset. That’s what smart front offices do. They chose to cut him instead. That’s what dumb front offices do.

  2. cesc

    I like what Suns are doing, is different way of doing things. Which might or might not be better. We’ll have to wait & see, but you see in the NBA happens a lot of “Habit & tradition often render change undesirable” but I do like different things so until proven otherwise I think the Suns are doing just fine.

    • jeremy

      Define doing their best because they sign a talent vet then end up trading him for a decent player in oubre. They gave up a decent vet center for nothing and they did nothing to fix the hole at PG. So they doing their best

  3. x%sure

    At this point I’m doubting that the Suns are unhappy with running out their 20-, 21-, & 22-yo PGs, and losing, but finding out if they’ve got something. It seems like a strategy now.

    The Suns do have plus points with Melton at PG.

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