The Phoenix Suns announced today they have agreed to a multiyear contract extension with General Manager Ryan McDonough and added former Suns forward and 14-year NBA veteran James Jones as Vice President of Basketball Operations. Jones will report to McDonough and work alongside him to oversee all basketball-related matters for the Suns, including the draft, free agency and trades.
“I would like to thank [Managing Partner] Robert [Sarver] and his partners for extending my agreement with this great franchise,” said McDonough. “We have laid the foundation for what we hope will become the next championship caliber Suns team. There is still a lot of work to be done to reach our ultimate goal of bringing a championship to Phoenix so we are thrilled to add James Jones to our staff.”
“James has a wealth of experiences that will greatly benefit our organization. He is a three-time NBA Champion and has been one of the top executives with the National Basketball Players Association over the past few years. We welcome ‘Champ’ and his family to our Phoenix Suns family.”
McDonough, entering his fifth season as the team’s general manager, has overseen the Suns assemble some of the game’s brightest young stars with five first-round picks made in his tenure currently on the roster. Included in this group are Devin Booker, who became just the sixth player to ever score at least 70 points in a game and has totaled the fourth-most points in NBA history before turning 21 years old, Josh Jackson, the fourth overall pick in 2017 named All-NBA Summer League First Team while making his professional debut in Las Vegas this month, andT.J. Warren, one of the league’s most efficient scoring wings. The team’s 2016 draft haul has already shown its promise with the versatile Marquese Chriss earning NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors and floor general Tyler Ulis winning Western Conference Rookie of the Month for April, while Dragan Bender has flashed the all-around skill that made him the fourth overall selection.
In addition to his success on draft night, McDonough has orchestrated the acquisitions of one of basketball’s top point guards in Eric Bledsoe, as well as veteran leaders Tyson Chandler, one of the league’s best rebounders, andJared Dudley, one of the league’s most consistent three-point shooters. The Suns also possess a collection of upcoming first-round draft picks acquired under McDonough’s watch.
Named runner-up for NBA Executive of the Year in 2014 after overseeing the league’s biggest turnaround in 2013-14, McDonough initially joined the Suns as general manager on May 7, 2013. He came to Phoenix following 10 seasons in several levels of basketball operations with the Boston Celtics, serving as assistant general manager for the final three and helping the team to an NBA title in 2008. Throughout his career with two of the NBA’s most historic franchises, McDonough has utilized a tireless work ethic to hone an expertise in player evaluation.
Jones played two seasons with the Suns and they were two of the most successful in franchise history as he was a member of the 2005-06 team that won 54 games and advanced to the Western Conference Finals, as well as the 2006-07 team that won 61 games and advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals. He contributed to two Pacific Division titles in his two seasons in Phoenix, averaging 7.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in 151 regular-season games with the team while shooting 38.2 percent from behind the arc.
Formerly the Secretary-Treasurer for the National Basketball Players Association, Jones comes to the Suns after most recently appearing in 48 regular-season and eight playoff games for the Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016-17. In each of his final seven seasons as a player, Jones reached the NBA Finals to join his teammate for all seven LeBron James and six Boston Celtics Hall of Famers from the 1950s and 1960s as the only players in NBA history to do so in at least seven consecutive seasons. Jones is a three-time NBA Champion, winning rings with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, and with the Cavaliers in 2016.
Overall, Jones averaged 5.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 15.7 minutes while shooting 40.1 percent from three-point range in 709 career regular-season games over 14 seasons with five NBA teams. He never played for a team that finished below .500 and only once missed the playoffs as he appeared in 148 career playoff games, averaging 3.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in 13.4 minutes for his postseason career.
In addition to his two seasons with the Suns, Jones played two seasons with the Indiana Pacers (2003-05), one season with the Portland Trail Blazers (2007-08), six seasons with the Heat (2008-14) and three seasons with the Cavaliers (2014-17). A native of Miami, Jones is a member of the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame as he starred collegiately for the Hurricanes before being selected by the Pacers with the 49th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. He and his wife, Destiny, have three children.