Adrian Wojnarowski broke news about the Phoenix Suns and their supposed general manager search on Saturday night. It was absolutely nothing to be excited about.
The Phoenix Suns need a general manager (we think).
When Ryan McDonough was fired literally nine days before the start of the 2018-19 regular season, Robert Sarver installed both James Jones and Trevor Bukstein as co-general managers.
Why two who can do half of a job instead of one who can competently do both?
Did they have a press conference stating specifically what the situation was and what roles both would serve?
Have you ever heard of that in professional sports?
Does that make any sense to you?
Has it worked out?
If you say “James Jones acquired Kelly Oubre!!” then you’re not paying attention.
Unless literally every report prior to Oubre’s acquisition was incorrect, Jones and Bukstein accidentally acquired Kelly as they were not on the original three-way calls with Memphis and Washington, and only after Memphis refused to give up the player that Phoenix was apparently eying initially did the original trade fall through, allowing the Oubre-to-Phoenix transaction come to fruition.
In other words: Phoenix did not target nor mean to acquire Oubre and his incredible season with the Suns was thus a complete accident.
A happy one, sure. But not a trade that a general manager(s) could possibly hang their proverbial hat on saying “I knew it would work out all along.”
If you accept that that acquisition was nothing more than a happy accident, then you too likely question whether or not Jones and Buckstein should remain on as “co-GM’s,” and further question any hiring of Robert Sarver’s in regards to the future handling of management this offseason.
Let me be fair to Jeff Bower for one moment: before Woj’s tweet, I had never heard of him – honestly, do you ever really know who Detroit or New Orleans’ GM’s are?
Bower’s claim to fame was that he drafted Chris Paul (fourth overall, and if he had drafted Raymond Felton over Paul then of course, he should have never been allowed to be a general manager in the league again), and later traded for Blake Griffin.
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Over his nine years as general manager with the New Orleans Hornets and Detroit Pistons, he also acquired a young Tyson Chandler (McDonough acquired an old Chandler – for what it’s worth) then later traded Chandler for Emeka Okafor (both future Phoenix Suns); he traded away Maciej Lampe but traded to acquire Mike James (in separate moves); he acquired Marcus Morris from Phoenix (which should be a deal-breaker right there); he drafted Spencer Dinwiddie in the second round (although traded him for…Cameron Bairstow???); he signed Jon Leuer to a 4-year $42M contract (WHAT?!?!?!), signed Ish Smith, signed Reggie Bullock, signed Anthony Tolliver (all players that McDonough had traded away)…
Whew! What a resume!
In his nine years as a general manager, Jeff Bower’s teams have won a total of ONE playoff round – that is literally only ONE more playoff round than the Phoenix Suns have won in their last nine seasons without him.
And we’re supposed to be excited about him potentially becoming a voice on any level with the Phoenix Suns??
Sarver knows what he needs to do to both turn the franchise around and at the same time make the fans of the Phoenix Suns happy: SIGN A KNOWN COMMODITY AS A GENERAL MANAGER AND SIMULTANEOUSLY STEP AWAY.
We also know that Mr. “I don’t know much about basketball” would never do that, which should make absolutely every Phoenix Suns fan wary of every executive level hire he makes from and and in perpetuity.
No disrespect to Jeff Bower because he obviously knows enough to have reached the near pinnacle of basketball participation (besides owning a franchise, of course), and presumably on some level deserves to have a voice in an NBA franchise.
But he should not have a major role with the Phoenix Suns.
As nothing has been publicly made official, Sarver should pull a Lisa Love/June Jones, apologize for letting Bower’s name make the papers, hire someone with a pedigree of success, a name that fans can immediately know and appreciate, someone who will demand a big paycheck along with the most prominent voice in the day-to-day organization of a team (remember, that was reportedly what Mike Budenholzer wanted with the Phoenix Suns, something Ryan McDonough was apparently willing to accept, but a deal-breaker for Sarver? Budenholzer is now the head coach of a 59-20 Milwaukee Bucks team – the best record in the NBA), and step away.
Everything smells like this is a hire of someone on the cheap (obviously fans want someone with pedigree but they also someone who has had success and is worthy of more money than what Bower is going to demand) not someone looking for just one last chance at a job and is willing to bow to the owner whenever necessary just to get it.
This is also all confusing from the perspective of: is he the general manager or a president of basketball operations? Woj just said that Bower was being considered for “a high-ranking front office role.”
What does that even mean??
It’s all a mess and (in whatever position Bower might be placed) it should not excite Phoenix Suns fans one bit.
In fact, it should be the exact opposite.