NBA Suns fire GM McDonough as season looms

Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough at Talking Stick Resort Arena on June 22, 2018 in Phoenix. (AFP pic)

LOS ANGELES: Phoenix Suns managing owner Robert Sarver fired general manager Ryan McDonough on Monday, nine days before the team’s NBA season opener following poor results in a week of exhibition games.

The Suns, who had the NBA’s worst record last season at 21-61, lost 106-102 at home to Sacramento a week ago and 115-93 to visiting Portland last Friday in pre-season NBA contests.

Phoenix also struggled past the Australian National Basketball League’s New Zealand Breakers 91-86 last Wednesday.

With their season opener set for October 17 against visiting Dallas, the Suns decided they needed to make a major change before the new campaign tipped off.

“After much thought and a long evaluation of our basketball operations, I have decided to relieve Ryan McDonough of his duties,” Sarver said. “Our focus in the short term is to prepare for the upcoming NBA season and to continue pursuing opportunities to strengthen our roster.”

Basketball operations vice-president James Jones and assistant general manager Trevor Bukstein will share interim general manager duties.

Jones, a three-time NBA champion playing alongside pal LeBron James and who never played on a club with a losing season in 14 campaigns, will oversee coaches, players and staff.

Bukstein will handle player transactions.

“Over the course of the season, we will explore both internal and external options as we look to restructure our basketball front office leadership,” Sarver said.