The Phoenix Suns fired head coach Monty Williams Saturday night, marking the end of a four-year tenure that included a trip to the NBA Finals in 2021 and advancing out of the first round each of the last two seasons.

Unfortunately those accomplishments (plus winning Coach of the Year last season) weren’t enough to sway the new Suns ownership and front office. As often happens in the immediate aftermath of high-profile coach firings, national reporters had breakdowns and insight.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski penned a column on the situation, which included an explicit line about new Phoenix owner Mat Ishbia taking over basketball operations. I can say that when I read that line last night it certainly stood out; Ishbia hasn’t been shy about his involvement, but the Suns still have a front office in place, including general manager James Jones.

This line made obvious waves last night on NBA Twitter:

Ishbia, who gained notoriety during this postseason for flopping in a fairly sad effort to get Nikola Jokic ejected (pictured above), clearly has sway and involvement in the team’s decision-making. But for an owner to “take over” basketball operations would certainly be the kind of noteworthy development that could spawn plenty of further conversation.

Which makes it even more interesting that the line is no longer in the piece.

This kind of thing can happen for non-nefarious reasons, of course. Pieces like this get rushed out pretty quickly, and something that was meant to be cut or tweaked or to serve more as a notation can slip through the door to the world. And when you’re Woj, that means instant audience.

There’s also the chance that it caused consternation or misrepresented the situation (if it were completely accurate, it implies James Jones is powerless) and was removed at the request of someone else, internally at ESPN or externally.

That said, honestly: it doesn’t really matter. Look at how the Suns have acted since Ishbia took over. Just read the rest of the article, even, which even without that explicit line manages to find plenty of ways to point out how Ishbia is controlling team operations.

Still, it is pretty wild that ESPN would pull that line without including a correction of any kind. That’s maybe the strangest bit of all this.


About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.