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Ex-Celtics executive Ryan McDonough fired as Suns’ general manager

BOSTON — The Phoenix Suns announced today they have fired Ryan McDonough as the team’s general manager.

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

McDonough, a former front-office executive with the Boston Celtics, was named GM of the Suns in May of 2013.

Since then, the Suns have ranked among the worst teams in the NBA with a record of 155-255 (.378) while finishing no better than ninth in the Western Conference. That happened during McDonough’s first season on the job, one in which he helped lead a 23-game improvement from the previous season to finish as runner-up for the league’s Executive of the Year award.

As it turned out, that first season would be the highlight of a period in which McDonough could never quite find the right formula for success on the floor.

The firing isn’t all that surprising. But the timing of it seems a bit odd, considering how badly the Suns fared last year. (They landed the top overall pick in last June’s NBA draft and used it on Deandre Ayton.) The feeling was that if Phoenix was going to let McDonough go, it would have happened at the end of the season.

So when it didn’t, it appeared as though McDonough was safe. But that wasn’t case.

The Suns named vice-president of basketball operations James Jones and assistant GM Trevor Bukstein as those charged with handling the GM duties on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is hired.


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