The Phoenix Suns announced the hiring of James Jones as vice president of basketball operations on Tuesday. Jones will report to general manager Ryan McDonough, and he will oversee all basketball-related matters, including the NBA draft, free agency, and trades.
The Suns also agreed to a multi-year contract extension with McDonough after he helped solidify a promising, young group of players in Phoenix.
The news signals a retirement for Jones, a 14-year veteran who made the NBA Finals in each of the last seven seasons playing alongside LeBron James in Cleveland and Miami. The sharpshooting wing has three championships under his belt.
Jones spent two seasons in Phoenix from 2005-07 where he averaged a career-high 9.3 points on 38.6 percent three-point shooting. He also spent two years in Indiana and a year in Portland before joining the Heat two seasons before LeBron’s arrival in 2010. He never averaged double-digit scoring but had been a dead-eye perimeter shooter throughout his career.
Jones has no NBA front office experience, but is well-regarded among players and took a leadership role with the players union.
“James has a wealth of experiences that will greatly benefit our organization,” McDonough said in a statement. “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.”
Jones will work in tandem with McDonough, who helped position the Suns for a promising future with a young core of Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Marquese Chriss, and Dragan Bender. The Suns also have experienced, quality trade assets that do not fit their timeline in Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight.
Jones will look to help steer Phoenix to its first playoff appearance this decade, or since the Steve Nash era. His reputation around the league also projects to help the Suns in free agency moving forward.