Phoenix Suns hire Celtics assistant GM Ryan McDonough as new GM

The Phoenix Suns hired Celtics assistant general manager Ryan McDonough, 33, as their new general manager Tuesday.

McDonough spent a decade with the Celtics, first in the film room, then as a scout before rising to become a key member of the front office, where he was an assistant GM known for a dogged work ethic, particularly in player evaluation.

McDonough, a trusted adviser to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, was instrumental in the team landing All-Star guard Rajon Rondo, whom he had scouted since Rondo was in high school. He pushed the Celtics to draft Rondo out of Kentucky in 2006, and because of a draft-day trade — with Phoenix, no less — the Celtics were able to acquire Rondo.


McDonough is also credited with the Celtics’ drafting of Avery Bradley in the first round in 2010. Bradley has since become a starter.

“Ryan has been an important part of our basketball operations and will be missed,” said Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck. “I personally hired him following a conversation with his late dad Will and Red Auerbach and expected that he would pursue a career in our media department. But he requested a role as junior scout and excelled immediately, working his way to assistant GM and now a full GM job in the league.

“I couldn’t be happier for him and I am sure his late dad as well as Red are very proud right now.

McDonough, considered a forward thinker in the new age of basketball analytics, interviewed with the Suns last week.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina, McDonough is the son of late Globe columnist Will McDonough and brother of ESPN play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough. His brother Terry McDonough was director of player personnel for the Jacksonville Jaguars until being let go late last month.

According to the Arizona Republic, other finalists for the position in Phoenix were Milwaukee assistant general manager Jeff Weltman and San Antonio assistant general manager Scott Layden.

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