Phoenix Suns hire Morgan Cato as assistant GM, VP basketball operations

The Phoenix Suns hired the NBA's Morgan Cato as assistant general manager and vice president of basketball operations, making her one of the league's highest-ranking women in a front office.

Cato -- who is the first woman of color to hold the title of assistant GM -- will report to GM James Jones and work with coach Monty Williams on several fronts, including the leadership and strategy related to coaching development, player engagement and front-office personnel operations, the team announced.

Cato spent the past decade working for the NBA in New York under president of league operations Byron Spruell. Her roles there included several strategic initiatives that targeted the growth of the game throughout the NBA and around the world, including officiating development, the launch of the Basketball Africa League and the sport's global talent pipeline.

"We're excited to welcome Morgan to the Valley and to the Suns organization" Jones said in a statement. "With the league office Morgan played a pivotal role on countless initiatives to grow the game and strategically develop for it to be played at its best. The addition of her background and knowledge will allow us to elevate our basketball operations in several areas."

The Suns were a league-best 64-18 this past season before losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals.