If Phoenix Suns Interim General Manager James Jones and his former teammate LeBron James colluded to expedite the release of Tyson Chandler, Jones should be fired.
The Phoenix Suns suddenly and unexpectedly waived Tyson Chandler during the first week of November, with immediate reports stating that the 18-year veteran would clear waivers and sign with rival (and his hometown team) the Los Angeles Lakers.
The whole moved smelled fishy from the beginning.
Why was he being waived then and not before?
Why didn’t the Suns hold onto him to play the mentor that everyone assumed he was supposed to be for rookie Deandre Ayton?
He has a large expiring contract. Why didn’t they wait until Jones could find a trade in which the Suns could at least acquire a second round pick or potentially even make him a contractual piece used in the acquisition of a large contract that might help Phoenix now and in the future?
Sure, Tyson is probably in the last season of his career and wanted to play for a competitive team, but he is supposed to be playing for the name on the front of the uniform not on the back, and truthfully, he has never seemed to have been an attitude issue so while he might want to play for a winner, as a professional, he would have understood that the Suns needed to wait until they had the best move available to help them before making a decision.
Then this happened:
Players collude all the time. Many of them are friends and they work together to put themselves in the best possible position for themselves all the time, regardless of the teams who drafted them or the situations in which they are placed by their respective franchises.
However, GENERAL MANAGERS AND FRANCHISE EXECUTIVES SHOULD NEVER ASSIST A PLAYER ON A COMPETITOR’S TEAM, ESPECIALLY AT THE COST OF THE GM’S OWN TEAM, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY: NOT TO A TEAM IN THE SAME DIVISION.
Helping a veteran player out by waiving him when he isn’t getting playing time is one thing, especially for a well-respected veteran like Tyson Chandler. He was a fan favorite and no Suns fans wanted to see him suffer on the back-end of the bench in his twilight seasons – although we also understand that his skills are receding and was growing more and more unproductive before our eyes.
But when it is reported that LeBron “called in a favor” to help expedite the move, obviously to help add desperately needed playoff depth and get Tyson acclimated sooner, the fact the James Jones ignored all of those aforementioned strategies to help the Suns and instead waived him knowing full well that he is going to help the franchise’s primary rival (even if he is friends with LeBron) is grounds for firing.
It must be difficult in their world to have friends around the league and have to strategically hurt a friend in order to help oneself.
And yet that is the exactly job of a general manager, and thus the exact job of James Jones.
If Jones took a call, text, e-mail, or heard a whisper from a mutual friend that this is what LeBron wants, and rather than waiting through to the February trade deadline where the three-and-a-half months between now and then could have been enough time to hopefully use Tyson in a trade that would help the Phoenix Suns, he made the move to help LeBron out, then James Jones should be fired.
There should be no discussion about it. Robert Sarver should take heed of the implications of that situation and decision and take it to heart, pull the trigger immediately, and move the franchise into another direction, finding somebody who can pick of the pieces of the shattered franchise.
As respected as Jones is around the league, such a move is unacceptable and the only recourse should be his immediate removal as he cannot be trusted in future decisions with such outside forces so eager and able to seep into his decision-making process.
This is so the state of the Phoenix Suns right now, isn’t it?
Even if it’s not true – which, I hate to sound so pessimistic but would it be surprising at all if this report was 100% accurate? – the fact that this is tied to the Phoenix Suns and not another poorly run franchise, truly is a testament to how low the Suns have fallen in their standing and respect around the league, in only a few short years.