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Suns fire GM Ryan McDonough, VP James Jones to serve in interim

Ryan McDonough, Suns

The Phoenix Suns announced Monday that they have fired general manager Ryan McDonough and will replace him with vice president of basketball operations James Jones and assistant general manager Trevor Bukstein in the interim.

The timing of Phoenix’s decision to remove McDonough from his role is curious, given that the regular season is two weeks away. That McDonough has been fired isn’t a surprise, although Suns owner Robert Sarver extended McDonough’s contract through the 2019-20 season in 2017.

Although McDonough’s first year with the Phoenix Suns was highly successful, given that he helped the team improve by 23 wins from the 2012-13 season (25-57) to 2013-14 season (48-34), the seasons since have been mired by poor play. After winning 39 games the following season (2014-15), the Suns haven’t won more than 24 games in any season since.

A large part of their regression can be attributed to the trade of point guard Goran Dragic in a three-team trade that led to them acquiring two first-round picks (2017 and 2021) and two wings in John Salmons and Danny Granger, who would never suit up for the Suns. The Heat kept their 2017 first-round pick and selected explosive center Bam Adebayo out of a powerhouse collegiate program in the University of Kentucky.

After 10 years with the Boston Celtics organization serving in various capacities under a highly respected general manager in Danny Ainge, expectations were for McDonough to bring some of that Celtics magic to the deserts of Arizona. Unfortunately, he largely brought disappointment and nothing else.

Jones, a longtime NBA player who retired in 2017, was hired on the day that Sarver extended McDonough’s contract.