The Phoenix Suns have made a big change in their front office just eight days before the 2018-19 NBA season is set to begin. On Monday morning, the team announced that general manager Ryan McDonough has been fired.
The Phoenix Suns announced today that they have relieved Ryan McDonough of his role as general manager, effective immediately.
In the interim, general manager duties will be handled by Vice President of Basketball Operations James Jones and Assistant General Manager Trevor Bukstein. Jones will manage basketball operations including oversight of coaches, players and staff, while Bukstein will be the primary contact for player transactions.
According to a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Suns owner Robert Sarver has become even more involved than usual in the day-to-day operations of the team.
Owner Robert Sarver has become even more involved in day-to-day of franchise. He already had a strong voice in many moves, including past coaching hires. James Jones has become a favorite of Sarver, too. He'll be a GM candidate there. https://t.co/4ytPiv1EhC— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 8, 2018
McDonough has served as the GM in Phoenix since 2013, when the Suns hired him away from the Celtics, where he had worked as the assistant GM to Danny Ainge for 10 years.
While the Suns have mostly spun their wheels during the five years of McDonough's tenure, the timing of this move is highly curious. Especially considering it comes after what many considered a successful offseason. They drafted Deandre Ayton with the No. 1 overall pick, hired a well-respected new coach in Igor Kokoskov, signed Trevor Ariza in free agency and swung a deal for Ryan Anderson and De'Anthony Melton -- a point guard with the potential to be a steal.
This is now the second season in a row in which the Suns have undergone a big change right at the beginning of the season. Eric Bledsoe tweeted "I don't wanna be here" after a dreadful 0-3 start last season. A short time later, coach Earl Watson was fired, and Bledsoe was traded.
Despite their struggles in recent seasons, there is enough young talent -- Ayton, Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, etc. -- for this to be a compelling job. As always, it will be interesting to see what the Suns do.