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Is Suns’ general manager James Jones’ job on the line?

With the amount of turnover that the Phoenix Suns roster has seen over the past few years with him as general manager, should James Jones be on the hot seat if things go south this season?

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When former GM Ryan McDonough was fired, Jones filled in as an interim replacement in 2018.

His first trade was with the Washington Wizards when he dealt forward Trevor Ariza and received forward Kelly Oubre Jr. and guard Austin Rivers in December of the same year.

Right from the start, it looked like a lopsided trade as Oubre became a fan-favorite during his time with the Suns and Ariza amounted to almost nothing for Washington.

On April 11th, 2019, it was announced that Jones would become the general manager full time with no interim tag to his name.

He hired former head coach Monty Williams, picked up point guard Ricky Rubio and made other transactions in 2019.

Jones’ first blockbuster trade he made was in 2020 when he sent Oubre, Rubio, and guards Ty Jerome and Jalen Lecque to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Chris Paul and Abdel Nader.

Continually, Jones signed free agents like Jae Crowder and Langston Galloway to add to the roster that already had superstar guard Devin Booker and 2018 first overall pick Deandre Ayton.

With these moves, the Suns made it to the 2021 NBA Finals, where they eventually lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games.

The following season saw Jones sign a contract extension with the franchise on Jan. 25, 2022.

After a drama filled summer in 2022, Ayton finally came to terms with Phoenix on a contract extension, even when there was a noticeable issue going on with him and Williams.

Ishbia’s Arrival

Furthermore, Jones not only is the general manager, but he became the President of Basketball Operations November 28, 2022.

Then, former Suns owner Robert Sarver accepted a $4 billion dollar offer from Mat Ishbia as Sarver was under investigation for racism and misogyny since November of 2021.

Soon after Ishbia became the majority owner, Jones brought in another superstar to pair with Booker.

Forward Kevin Durant was traded to Phoenix, alongside T.J. Warren, in exchange for Cam Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Crowder, four first-round picks and a pick swap heading the other way to the Brooklyn Nets.

With Durant, the Suns finished with a 45-37 before losing in six games to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semi-final.

This Past Offseason

In a turn of events, Jones then fired Williams and hired two-time NBA champion Frank Vogel to become the new coach this past summer.

A huge bombshell was dropped Jun. 24 Jones acquired Bradley Beal in a three-team trade with the Wizards and Indiana Pacers.

Some other minor, offseason moves were made like Jones trading point guard Cameron Payne to San Antonio for draft picks and signing former Houston Rockets forward Eric Gordon.

Then, after all the speculation around Portland Trailblazers superstar Damian Lillard wanting to be traded in the offseason, Jones got involved alongside the Bucks as the Suns sent Ayton and 2023 draft pick Toumani Camara to the Trail Blazers.

Being involved in the trade, Phoenix’s return was center Jusuf Nurkić, forward Nassir Little, and guards Keon Johnson and Grayson Allen.

Is Jones Job on the Line?

After completing a major overhaul of the Suns roster, there should be speculation as to if things don’t go as they plan, Ishbia may pull the plug on Jones as GM.

Not saying it will happen quick because it will take time for the team to gel, but with mortgaging their future for players like Durant and Beal, the Suns timetable to win something is nearing.

Durant is 35 years old and has shown sides of being injury prone while Bridges and Johnson have fit real well into the Nets system to this point.

Also, some fans may become impatient early because of claims made by Ishbia that Phoenix is the best team in the league at media day yesterday.

Jones has been with the organization since 2018, so if this whole experiment with Beal, Durant and Booker doesn’t work, it may be time to look elsewhere for another general manager.

Frank Vogel’s Experience Makes Him the Best Man for the Job

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Alec Cipollini is a journalist covering the Arizona Coyotes and Phoenix Rising for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his new X account @AlecCipollini

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