The Suns’ organization has been a mess. Sometimes literally.
Part of the problem: Phoenix fired general manager Ryan McDonough only nine days before the regular season. That left James Jones, who retired as a player just two years ago, in charge of basketball operations. He didn’t exactly assert himself as a leader over the entire front office, maybe because he didn’t understand how much responsibility came with his rushed position.
But the Suns are keeping Jones anyway while adding experienced help.
The Phoenix Suns announced today they have named James Jones as general manager. The club has also added Jeff Bower as senior vice president of basketball operations and retained Trevor Bukstein as assistant general manager.
Jones will oversee all basketball operations for the team with Bower and Bukstein reporting to him.
“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 Suns managing partner Robert 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 lacks experience and demonstrated acumen to run the entire department. He connects well with people, especially players, and brings plenty of valuable skills. But having him learn the totality of this position while on the job only invites more growing pains.
Sarver hasn’t shown much patience for those.
Maybe Bower will help. He previously ran New Orleans’ basketball operations, and he served below Stan Van Gundy in the Pistons’ front office. He knows the league and can help build structure and connections Phoenix lacked.
But with Jones remaining in charge, this is largely the Suns keeping the status-quo structure.
It’s now on Jones to improve his performance.