Cutting a roster down isn’t exactly a surprise in the leadup to the NBA’s regular season, but getting rid of a general manger in the middle of preseason is actually a bit of a surprise.
The Phoenix Suns, however, did just that on Monday when they relieved Ryan McDonough of his duties in charge of the rebuilding organization’s, well, rebuild. McDonough has navigated the team through the recent draft with the first overall pick, selecting DeAndre Ayton and hiring head coach Igor Kokoskov to lead the development of a young roster.
That roster will develop without McDonough, as the The Athletic’s Shams Charania first reported the news early Monday afternoon.
The Suns themselves made it official shortly thereafter, firing their roster architect just days before the start of the regular season.
“After much thought and a long evaluation of our basketball operations, I have decided to receive Ryan McDonough of his duties as general manager of the Phoenix Suns,” Suns managing partner Robert Sarver said 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.”
There’s no word on who exactly will be doing the roster strengthening, or if the housecleaning extends beyond the GM position in Phoenix. The phrasing about a long evaluation process does bring up an interesting question as well: how long were the Suns debating a change at GM, and why did they let McDonough make major decisions — Ayton over Marvin Bagley or others, hiring Kokoskov etc. — before deciding to let him go. One NBA reporter said Sarver’s day-to-day involvement with the Suns may have something to do with the decision.
It’s not the best start to the season for Phoenix, but it does somehow seem better than the way last year last October went down. At least they have Ayton, right?