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It’s James Jones’ time to shine in the front office.
Jones is entering his second season as the Phoenix Suns’ vice president of basketball operations — and has suddenly been thrust into a larger role after the Suns’ somewhat surprising decision to fire general manager Ryan McDonough on Monday.
According to the Suns, Jones will serve as acting co-GM with assistant GM Trevor Bukstein, at least until a replacement is found.
Most NBA fans know Jones as the sharpshooting and always-reliable wing who came off the bench on LeBron James’ Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers team. James, now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, has made eight straight trips to the Finals.
Jones had made seven before retiring as a member of the Cavs in 2017. He won three titles — with the Heat in 2012 and 2013, and with the Cavs in 2016.
Now, he’ll be tasked with trying to help make all the right moves for a team that finished with league’s worst record last season.
Jones will now oversee basketball operations in relations to coaches, player and staff, per the Suns. Bukstein has become the main contact in terms of free agency and trades.
As Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel noted, “Jones’ management experience began during the latter stages of his playing career, when he served as secretary-treasurer of the NBA players association and helped develop the league’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement.”
Since the end of last season, the Suns hired Igor Kokoskov as head coach, drafted former Arizona center Deandre Ayton with the No. 1 overall pick, and traded for former Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson. Still, this is expected to be another year of growth (and taking lots of lumps) in the rugged Western Conference.
Jones, 37, also spent time with the Suns, Portland Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers during his 14-year career.