Well, this was a long time coming I suppose, but the timing is very interesting. The Suns have fired Ryan McDonough just nine days before the start of the 2018-19 NBA season.
James Jones —hired a year ago to be the VP of Basketball Operations — has taken over the interim duties along with long-time assistant General Manager Trevor Bukstein. There was no mention of fellow assistant GM Pat Connelly in the Suns press release.
Jones will handle the day-to-day oversight for the organization, while Bukstein will be the “primary contact for player transactions,” according to the press release.
Update: ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported shortly after the Suns announced McDonough’s dismissal that the short-term impetus for the move was McDonough’s struggle to negotiate a deal for a starting-caliber point guard the last few weeks.
In addition, Wojnarowski said Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver, whose involvement has always been a key story in the behind-the-scenes story of the Suns, increased his presence recently and “has become even more involved in day-to-day of franchise.”
According to Wojnarowski, Jones has become a favorite of Sarver’s and will be a main candidate along with, um, Kevin McHale...?
Another update: Mike Scotto of The Athletic reported Monday afternoon that the Suns fired assistant general manager Pat Connelly and director of scouting Courtney Witte in addition to McDonough.
The Athletic Sources: The Phoenix Suns also fired assistant GM Pat Connelly and director of scouting Courtney Witte, along with GM Ryan McDonough. Draft picks under McDonough's regime included Alex Len, T.J. Warren, Devin Booker, Dragan Bender, Josh Jackson and Deandre Ayton.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) October 8, 2018
At this point, all that remains of McDonough’s front office is Bukstein, plus the various other scouts and statistical analysts the team employs.
We’ll definitely be adding to the story as it unfolds.