PHOENIX SUNS

Sarver: Suns didn’t show enough recent progress under McDonough

Oct 8, 2018, 3:38 PM | Updated: 5:28 pm

The Suns shocked the basketball world on Monday morning, firing general manager Ryan McDonough less than two weeks before the beginning of their 2018-19 season.

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver joined 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo to discuss why.

“It culminated where we were heading into the summer,” Sarver said of the decision, which he made on his own. “We discussed a number of opportunities I felt like were realistic in terms of what progress would look like and, ultimately for me, the rate of progress wasn’t there where I thought it needed to be.”

Sarver noted the “hyper-competitive Western Conference” and cited the last six months of McDonough’s performance. The Suns, armed with good young talent Sarver acknowledged, won a league-low 21 games in the 2017-18 season.

“I didn’t feel we achieved all what we sat out to achieve [this offseason],” Sarver said.

“I think we’re at the end of a rebuild,” he said. “For me, the switch has flipped and it’s now time to start figuring out how to win.”

When asked of if doing the move nine days before the start of the season was odd, Sarver did not agree.

“No, I don’t,” he said. “As I said, there’s no ideal time.”

Sarver denied discussing specifics of moves that potentially led to the firing.

“I just felt like we kind of started to plateau and I wanted to make a change to facilitate our next step,” he said.

“I just felt we could be a little farther along today in terms of coming out of [a rebuild.]”

Sarver does not believe the move being so close to the season will bring any negative effects on the team’s performance.

“Players play, coaches are going to coach and I don’t think it’s going to be any kind of major disruption or anything,” he said.

That theme continues on to bringing in a replacement for McDonough, who is replaced on an interim basis by vice president of basketball operations James Jones and assistant general manager Trevor Bukstein.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in James and Trevor [Bukstein] right now on an interim basis,” he said, noting he is in “no rush” to hire a new GM.

McDonough, hired in May of 2013 to work alongside holdover Lon Babby, the then president of basketball operations, oversaw head coaching tenures of Jeff Hornacek (2013-16), Earl Watson (2016-17), Jay Triano (interim, 2017-18) and Igor Kokoskov (present). The team went 155-255 over that span.

The Suns have not made the postseason since 2010.

Phoenix Suns

General manager James Jones of the Phoenix Suns watches warm-ups to Game One of the Western Confere...
Jake Anderson

Phoenix Suns extend contract of general manager James Jones

The Phoenix Suns have extended the contract of general manager James Jones, the team announced on Tuesday.
14 hours ago
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) looks to pass as Utah Jazz guard Trent Forrest (3) defends during...
Kellan Olson

Chris Paul, Devin Booker lead Suns past shorthanded Jazz

The Suns do not want to get into the habit of needing heroics from Devin Booker and Chris Paul to win them games but they did Monday.
14 hours ago
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) drives against the Utah Jazz during the first half of an NBA ba...
Arizona Sports

Devin Booker’s hot start fuels Suns in victory against Jazz

Devin Booker scored 33 points through three quarters and Phoenix Suns took care of the Utah Jazz on Monday.
2 days ago
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) drives around Phoenix Suns centre Deandre Ayton (22) durin...
Arizona Sports

Suns’ Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder, Cam Payne out vs. Jazz

The Suns will be missing multiple contributors in Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder and Cam Payne in Monday's home matchup vs. the Jazz.
2 days ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns drives the ball past Mike Conley #10 of the Utah Jazz during th...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns meet Utah Jazz for 1st time with back-to-back matchups

Even with injuries on both sides, the first matchups between the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz will provide high-level basketball.
2 days ago
Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns reacts to an injury during the second half of the NBA game agai...
Kellan Olson

Suns’ win against depleted Pacers overshadowed by injuries for Phoenix

The Phoenix Suns got a win on Saturday night but what was first on everyone's minds was the statuses of Jae Crowder and Cam Payne.
4 days ago
Sarver: Suns didn’t show enough recent progress under McDonough