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#pounditThursday, June 13, 2024

Suns GM James Jones losing power in Phoenix?

James Jones speaking to the media

Sep 30, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones answers questions during Media Day at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

As Mat Ishbia takes over the controls for the Phoenix Suns, it may be coming at the expense of the team’s other top decision-maker.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported this weekend that Ishbia, the new Suns owner, is effectively running basketball operations for the team right now. Wojnarowski adds that Phoenix general manager James Jones has had his influence “diminished.”

Here is the full clip of Wojnarowski’s remarks.

Jones, a former NBA sharpshooter who won a total of three rings with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers, joined the Suns as director of player personnel following his retirement in 2017. He took over as interim general manager in 2018 after Ryan McDonough was fired and then had his interim tag removed the following year.

A respected executive who put together Phoenix’s 2021 Finals team (as well as a 2021-22 team that won a franchise-record 64 games), Jones was named NBA Executive of the Year in 2021. He was also responsible for the hiring of Monty Williams as head coach of the Suns in 2019.

But Phoenix just made the surprise decision to fire Williams after four years at the helm (with the team reportedly targeting a specific replacement). It sounds like the driving force behind that decision was Ishbia, who played basketball in college for Michigan State and has already spearheaded other interesting personnel moves for the Suns.

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