The Suns are still in the early stages of their search for a permanent general manager, but a couple names have emerged as potential options, per Marc Stein of The New York Times. According to Stein (via Twitter), Phoenix has spoken to Kevin McHale and also has interest in Jim Paxson.
McHale, who currently works as an analyst for TNT, was the head of basketball operations for more than a decade in Minnesota before he stepped down from that role to become the club’s head coach. He went on to coach the Rockets as well, holding that position until 2015.
The Wolves had a run of eight consecutive playoff appearances during McHale’s time in the front office, though the team advanced beyond the first round just once in that stretch. The club was also stripped of multiple first-round picks for agreeing to a cap-circumventing deal with Joe Smith during McHale’s stint in Minnesota.
As for Paxson, he currently serves as a Bulls consultant after previously working in management roles in Portland and Cleveland. He was the Cavaliers’ general manager from 1999 to 2005. During his time as GM, the Cavs didn’t earn a playoff spot, though adding LeBron James in 2003’s draft helped buoy the club to five consecutive postseason runs from 2006-10 after Paxson left the organization.
It’s now clear how serious Phoenix’s interest in McHale or Paxson is, or if that interest is reciprocated. While McHale and Paxson are the first names to emerge in the Suns’ search, the franchise will likely consider a number of other options.
James Jones and Trevor Bukstein have been Phoenix’s interim co-GMs since former GM Ryan McDonough was fired in October, a week before the season began. They’re expected to receive consideration in the team’s search for a permanent GM and could remain with the organization even if neither gets the full-time job.