The other shoe finally dropped six months after the Phoenix Suns fired former general manager Ryan McDonough nine days before the 2018-19 regular season began.
According to multiple reports, which was later confirmed in a press release Thursday morning, the Suns’ restructured front office will feature James Jones as GM with Jeff Bower (Senior VP of Basketball Operations) and Trevor Bukstein (Assistant GM) reporting directly to him.
Since owner Robert Sarver first brought Jones aboard in July 2017, there has been a calming sense that he would eventually be the voice to steer the ship in the right direction. Some members within the organization believed Jones would eventually take over for McDonough, but nobody thought it would happen as quickly as it did.
After working under McDonough for a year, Jones had an entire year to himself in an interim role before being handed the reins officially by Sarver.
Jones, the 38-year-old executive, takes the lead ahead of a crucial summer. Many tough decisions are ahead, and all within the Suns’ front office seem to believe they are on the same page moving forward.
Sarver proclaimed extreme confidence in Jones:
“James has demonstrated a remarkable ability to manage the day-to-day efforts of our front office while developing strong relationships with our players, coaches and those across our organization and league,” said Sarver. “Furthermore, he is instilling the same championship culture and standard that he experienced on multiple occasions as a player.
“I have the utmost confidence in James as the leader of our basketball operations moving forward, and we are aligned in the ultimate goal of one day bringing an NBA championship to Phoenix.”
Jones will oversee all basketball operations for the team with Bower and Bukstein reporting to him.
This statement can’t be overlooked. Bower is an executive with over two decades of experience, most recently with the Detroit Pistons where he traded for Blake Griffin, but both he and Bukstein will have to have approval from Jones on ideas they think of to further improve the Suns.
“Under James’ leadership and with the addition of Jeff, our front office is diverse and complimentary in their backgrounds and skillsets, yet entirely aligned in their selfless and hard-working approach,” Sarver said. “I am confident today’s announcement positions us strongly as we strive to shape the next great era of Phoenix Suns basketball.”
This triumvirate of Jones, Bower and Bukstein will look to lead Phoenix into a better position moving forward. Jones also mentioned how Bower’s well-respected background and his ability to execute a plan will be valuable assets as they move forwarding building a competitive team.
“I’m thrilled to add an individual with Jeff’s experience and basketball acumen to our front office,” Jones said of Bower. “Jeff brings a wealth of knowledge in every facet of basketball operations, is of high character and well respected in league circles, and has a proven track record of influencing organizational success. His expertise in creating and executing a plan will be invaluable as we build our team moving forward.”
Bower believes the Suns have a very talented young nucleus with a bright future, and he can’t wait to hit the ground running helping Jones out any way possible.
“I’m extremely appreciative of Robert and James for the opportunity to join the Suns organization,” said Bower. “We have a talented young team with great potential and a bright future ahead, so I’m anxious to get to work supporting James and the Phoenix Suns in every way I can.”
Following the failures of Lance Blanks and McDonough, Phoenix brass hopes their new front office, led by a three-time champion in Jones, can help them out of the league’s abyss.