Suns fire GM Ryan McDonough with season eight days away

The Phoenix Suns relieved Ryan McDonough of his role as general manager Monday, a little more than a week before the start of the NBA season.

The Suns have handed the task of running the franchise to vice president of basketball operations James Jones and assistant general manager Trevor Bukstein on an interim basis.

Jones will manage basketball operations including oversight of coaches, players and staff, while Bukstein will be the primary contact for player transactions.

"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," Suns managing partner Robert Sarver said in a statement. "Over the course of the season, we will explore both internal and external options as we look to restructure our basketball front office leadership. On behalf of the entire organization, I want to thank Ryan for his efforts and contributions during his five-plus years with the Suns."

McDonough was hired by the Suns on May 7, 2013, in hopes that he could rebuild the franchise after the departure of Hall of Famer Steve Nash.

He drafted the likes of Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, TJ Warren, Alex Len, Dragan Bender and Deandre Ayton. He had some early success, but the Suns are still in the same rebuilding mode that they were in when McDonough was hired. The team went 155-255 during his tenure.

The Suns also had five different coaches under McDonough. Last season, they fired coach Earl Watson three games into the season and named Jay Triano interim coach. In the offseason, they named Igor Kokoskov head coach.

"Tough day," Kokoskov said before Monday night's preseason game at the Golden State Warriors. "It started very early with the news that we had this morning, but [the decision is] something that we don't control. Our control -- the reason we're here to play the game. We started the day with a coaches' meeting and then meeting with the players, we had a long shootaround and now here to play the game. That's basically trying to accomplish why we're here and focus on the game tonight."

One general-manager candidate to watch long term, according to reporting by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, is Kevin McHale. Jones could be another candidate, Wojnarowski reports.

The season tips off a week from Tuesday. The Suns' first game is Oct. 17, when they host the Dallas Mavericks.

Information from ESPN's Nick Friedell was used in this report.