Josh Jackson says Suns players found out about Ryan McDonough’s firing on way to shootaround
Josh Jackson recalled how he found out about Ryan McDonough’s dismissal as the Phoenix Suns’ general manager, describing just how he and his teammates first learned of his firing. McDonough was “relieved of his duties” in a statement by owner Robert Sarver, who thanked him for his contributions but wouldn’t specify in the reasons for his dismissal.
“Our GM got relieved of his duties. We found out on our way to the gym for shootaround on Monday,” wrote Jackson in a diary entry for The Undefeated. “I got a glimpse of what the NBA life is like when I first came into it last year because, as y’all know, our first coach Earl Watson got fired after the third game. That showed me that it was a business. At any given time, you can be replaced and someone can just come right in and take your job.
“It is the same with players. You see it around the league all the time. Guys get traded. You got new guys coming into the league getting drafted. Guys sometimes disappear. You just always have to do your job and control what you can control. Always come to work every day ready to work.”
Sure, the NBA is a business, but two straight seasons beginning with firings only speaks to the complete lack of stability in the organization. The Suns fired Watson upon a poor start and a humiliating 42-point loss to the LA Clippers, then dealt with the consequent saga that ensued with former starting point guard Eric Bledsoe — a player they’ve still been unable to fully replace nearly a year after he played his last game in a Suns jersey.
Phoenix has played point guard by committee, putting the playmaking duties on talisman and leading scorer Devin Booker, while they have shuffled pieces like Tyler Ulis, Mike James, Elfrid Payton (who they traded for in exchange of a second-round pick and then let walk), Shaquille Harrison, Isaiah Canaan, and rookie Elie Okobo.
McDonough’s firing is just the last of samples of organizational chaos that the Suns have put forward. The recently extended Booker has now played under four different head coaches upon entering his fourth season in the league — a trademark of instability and lack of clear direction for the team and its players.