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Ryan McDonough, Suns

Suns continue to display dysfunction after preseason firing of GM Ryan McDonough

The Phoenix Suns made the surprising move to fire general manager Ryan McDonough during the preseason just ahead of the start of the 2018-19 NBA season. It was a move that surprised the Suns’ fan base and the league as a whole. McDonough was coming off what many thought was his best offseason since becoming the general manager of the team.

McDonough had been able to bring in a lot of talent to surround Devin Booker with this offseason. He had drafted Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and Elie Okobo in the 2018 NBA Draft. All three players were quality picks and the Suns were finally excited about a successful draft.

Add in the free agency addition of veteran forward Trevor Ariza and the Suns were feeling very good about their offseason.

Devin Booker

Unfortunately, the firing of McDonough simply showed the same kind of dysfunction that the team has been dealing with for quite a few years.

In October of last season, the Suns decided to make the surprising move to fire head coach Earl Watson. He was just three games into the season when the Suns let him go. Watson was in his third season with the team and ended his tenure as the Suns’ head coach with a record of 33-85.

This offseason, Phoenix named Igor Kokoskov their new head coach. Kokoskov is an excellent head coach, but Phoenix simply didn’t see McDonough being a good fit as general manager moving forward despite all of his good moves in the offseason.

Since the firing, former players have come out to voice their support of the organization for moving on from McDonough.

Both Markieff Morris and Mike James let their feelings be known about McDonough, as previously noted by Clutch Points.

James also commented about the move to replace McDonough with James Jones and Trevor Bukstein.

Phoenix owner Robert Sarver seems to be frustrated with the Suns’ rebuilding process. He wants to win now, even though the Suns have been rebuilding their franchise the right way. Skipping steps usually doesn’t work, but apparently, McDonough’s plan to get the Suns back into contention did not align with what Sarver wanted.

In other signs of dysfunction with the Suns’ organization, the Eric Bledsoe situation comes to mind. Last season, Bledsoe was very open about wanting to be traded. Even though he was one of the key building blocks for the Suns’ future, he didn’t seem happy with the way the organization was headed.

It didn’t take long for the Suns to trade Bledsoe to the Milwaukee Bucks.

One of the biggest moves of the offseason for the franchise was the extension that they were able to sign star shooting guard Devin Booker to. McDonough was able to get Booker to agree to a five-year, $158 million extension. While it was a good move for the franchise to lock their star player up long-term, McDonough still received some heat for the amount of money that he gave to Booker.

Patrick Beverley, Suns

Reports have come out to name Kevin McHale a name of interest to keep an eye on in the Suns’ search for a new general manager.

McDonough seemed to be making the right moves for the franchise. It has been a long time since there has been as much excitement surrounding the Suns as there currently is heading into the 2018-19 season. Firing the general manager responsible for creating that excitement seems a bit odd.

Looking ahead to the future, there is no telling what direction the Suns are going to go with a new general manager. If Sarver truly wants to win now, he could be looking for a guy to come in and make some big trades for stars with the young talent on the roster.

No matter what the Suns end up doing moving forward, this situation has brought even more drama to a franchise that did not need more. Things finally seemed to be going well and now the team has decided to go in a different direction. Hopefully, the firing of McDonough will not lead to more years of mediocrity and struggling in Phoenix.

Only time will tell if the Suns will allow their current talent to develop and grow together. That being said, the firing of McDonough is just another bump in the road that shows major dysfunction between the front office and ownership.