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Former Suns’ General Manager Ryan McDonough Talks Tenure, Firing

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It was surprising to see the Phoenix Suns fire general manager Ryan McDonough prior to the season starting, but the Suns have done some whacky things in the past. Still, McDonough was entering the season without a true starting point guard and the organization didn’t feel good moving forward with that scenario.

McDonough made an appearance this morning on ‘The Jump’ and talked about his tenure, the Suns organization, roster, and his firing.

“I viewed the roster as not fully completed” McDonough said when asked about the timing of his dimissal. We were working on a few trades to upgrade the team, and I guess I thought we had more time than I ended up having.”

“Phoenix is a great place to live. It’s a great place to play. The team is super young, so I think that hurt us somewhat in terms of recruiting elite free agents in their prime” McDonough said when discussing the challenges of luring marquee free agents to Phoenix. “The two foundational pieces that we left there are 22 years old (Booker) and 20 (Ayton). I think free agents, especially veteran free agents like a LeBron James or LaMarcus Aldridge, look at it and say, ‘They’re a little ways away.’

“It is a challenge. There are unique challenges to every setup, every situation. The Suns have been a destination franchise in the past. I think, and hope, as Devin and Deandre and the rest of the young players improve, they will be again in the future.”

McDonough had his regrets as well.

“The biggest regret, I think, is how public some of the conflicts with the players became. I think the good organizations have historically handled that behind closed doors. And that’s not a shot at Phoenix — that’s more of a shot at me than anything. We could have done better internally, from ownership and the front office and our coaching staff in terms of communication with the players, and vice versa. If I do jump back in on the team side at some point, I’ll learn from that. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting over the last couple weeks, just thinking about how we can do better in that area going forward.”

McDonough also defended his decision to sign Trevor Ariza, another wing, instead of prioritizing a point guard during the offseason.

“We studied the final four teams in the league last year, and other than Cleveland with LeBron, if you look at Golden State, Houston, and Boston, they have a ton of interchangeable wing players” McDonough explained. “And a lot of times, they’ll have three or even four of them on the court at a time.

Ariza was an unrestricted free agent, he’s a West Coast guy, he had interest in coming to Phoenix, and we viewed his contract similar to how Philly viewed J.J. Redick‘s contract a year ago, where we can pay him a lot of money for one year [and] keep our future flexibility. … We thought Ariza would help us take a step from rebuilding to hopefully being playoff competitive. And then we could build from there, either with Ariza or with an elite free agent from the 2019 class.”

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Suns Pick Up Options on Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges

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The Phoenix Suns have officially exercised the third-year rookie options on Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Ayton, who is entering his second season after the Suns landed him with the 1st overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, will earn an estimated $10,018,200 million during the 2020-2021 season.

Bridges, the 10th overall pick in the 2018 draft, will make $4,359,000 million in 2020-2021.

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Kings’ Buddy Hield Wants to Get Contract Extension Done

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Buddy Hield

When it comes to a contract extension for Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield, he has made it crystal clear he wants to get a deal done so he can continue his career with the Kings.

The two sides have until October 21st to hammer out a contract extension in order to prevent Hield from hitting restricted free agency.

“We need to get that done,” Hield said, according to the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson. “I want to get that done, for sure. If it doesn’t get done, things could go the other way. This is where I want to be, so it would be good for me to be here in Sacramento. If I’m their guy, I think they should make it happen already. I want to build a future here. I want to be here, but we have to see something. Something’s gotta come to the table. We have a week and a half to see what that brings, but I want to be here.”

Hield is coming off a career-year with the Kings, in which he averaged 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game last season.

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Houston Rockets

Rockets Claim Ray Spalding Off Waivers

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Ray Spalding

The Houston Rockets have claimed veteran power forward Ray Spaulding off of waivers from the Atlanta Hawks, according to Stadium and The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The Rockets opened up an available roster spot when the released forward Anthony Bennett earlier this week.

Spalding, 22, played 14 games for the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns during his rookie season.

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