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Phoenix Suns' James Jones, with close ties to LeBron James, braces for Lakers series

Phoenix Suns
Chris Paul."It
the Western Conference
Los Angeles Lakers
the Miami Heat
Cleveland Cavaliers
NBA Finals
the Portland Trail Blazers

James Jones
Monty Williams
LeBron James
Robert Sarver's
Ryan McDonough
Deandre Ayton
Cameron Johnson
Mikal Bridges
Devin Booker


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Game 1

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The New York Times
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They might as well have been on ice for a decade.For the first time since 2010, the Suns are back in the postseason, thanks in large part to a trio of leaders added in the past two years: General manager James Jones, head coach Monty Williams and point guard Chris Paul."It was more a celebration of the employees," Jones said of the champagne toast in a wide-ranging interview with ESPN. Phoenix's payoff for earning the No. 2 record in the Western Conference is a first-round date with the defending champs, when Game 1 tips off against LeBron James and the No. 7-seeded Los Angeles Lakers (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC).There are few who know James quite like Jones does.When he retired at age 36 after a 14-year career, the last seven of those seasons were spent as a teammate of James with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers -- making it to seven straight NBA Finals together.James, now 36 himself, is trying to run his personal streak to 10 straight playoff appearances culminating in an NBA Finals berth, but he'll have to start off as the road team for the first time in his career. Jones took over a Suns team that went 21-61 in 2017-18, earning them the No. 1 pick.Despite team owner Robert Sarver's reputation being spotty at best, Jones, who played with Phoenix from 2005 to 2007, relished the opportunity to be elevated to the position and saw a different side to Sarver."I was a finance major in college, banking would have been my path," Jones said. Jones scanned the league looking to improve, and it became clear that the Oklahoma City Thunder were looking to shop Paul."When Chris became available, we had some conversations around, 'Did we believe that our team was structured in a way where we could amplify what he does where we could help him?' ... I just look at it like, you are competitive or you're not," Jones said.

As said here by Dave McMenaminESPN Staff Writer