James Jones promoted to Suns president of basketball ops, GM

Nov 28, 2022, 10:26 AM | Updated: 10:27 am

General manager, James Jones of the Phoenix Suns before Game One of the Western Conference Second R...

Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones was promoted Monday to president of basketball operations and GM.

“In the nearly 15 years I have known James, he has excelled in every role he performed, from player to NBPA Treasurer to his roles in our front office, most recently as general manager,” Suns interim governor Sam Garvin said in a statement.

“James has the unique ability to create and lead high-performing teams in basketball operations and his commitment to collaborating with our business side, including at the C-level with partners like PayPal and Verizon, is second to none. We are fortunate for his contributions across the organization and this promotion recognizes his commitment to excellence.”

Beyond leading an on-court turnaround through the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones has been the public face of the Suns as they underwent an investigation into the workplace conduct — including findings of Sarver using racist language and misogynistic behavior — of currently suspended owner Robert Sarver. The resulting findings from an external investigation led for Sarver to seek buyers for the franchise, as well as the WNBA’s Mercury.

Jones, who played for the Suns from 2005-07, joined the team as vice president of basketball operations in 2017, where he served under then-GM Ryan McDonough.

He took over as interim general manager weeks before the 2018-19 season when the team fired McDonough. He dropped the interim tag in April 2019 as Phoenix came off a franchise-worst 19-63 campaign.

“I am grateful for the privilege to work with and support the players, staff and employees of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury,” Jones said Monday in a statement. “The collective efforts of our business and basketball operations have allowed us to provide an amazing atmosphere and best-in-class experience for our fans and community. I remain excited about and dedicated to driving success for our teams on and off the court.”

As general manager, Jones replaced fired head coach Igor Kokoskov with Monty Williams prior to the 2019-20 season. The Suns went 34-39 that season, including an 8-0 run in the Disney bubble as the NBA restarted from a COVID-19 absence.

The Suns went 51-21 the next year and went six games deep in the 2021 NBA Finals, falling to the Milwaukee Bucks. That season earned Jones the 2020-21 NBA Executive of the Year award.

The team followed that run by setting a franchise-record with 64 regular season wins last year before falling in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Jones’ roster moves have included attracting free agents like Ricky Rubio, JaVale McGee and Jae Crowder and making trades to improve the team. Those early on included a deal for Kelly Oubre Jr., who was later flipped for Chris Paul.

Phoenix has extended starters Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton under Jones’ tenure.

The Suns in January extended Jones’ contract as general manager but did not say how long that deal runs.

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