June 14, 2024

PHOENIX SUNS: Suns officially hire two new executives to basketball operations staff

The Phoenix Suns have officially announced the additions of Matt Tellem as assistant general manager and Brian Gregory as vice president of player programming.

“We’re excited to add Matt and Brian to our basketball operations team,” said James Jones, Suns president of basketball operations and general manager. “Matt’s insight and strategic thinking are highly regarded throughout the NBA and will elevate our team. Brian’s expansive coaching and development experience uniquely positions him to assist our coaches and players.”

Previously reported, Tellem was hired away from the Brooklyn Nets. According to the release, “Tellem joins the Suns front office after spending the past 13 years with the Brooklyn Nets organization, most recently as vice president of strategy for the 2023-24 season and as senior director of salary cap and strategy in 2022-23. He also served as director of strategic planning from 2018-22 and assistant general manager for the Long Island Nets of the NBA G League. Tellem began his tenure with Brooklyn as the basketball information coordinator from 2011-18. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, played baseball there, earned a Juris Doctor degree from Fordham University School of Law, and is admitted to the New York State Bar Association.”

Phoenix Suns Add Assistant GM, VP to Front Office

Gregory joins the Suns after a 19-year head coaching career in Division I men’s basketball, most recently at South Florida. According to the release, “Gregory was the head coach at the University of South Florida from 2017-23, winning the CBI Championship in 2019. He also served as head coach at Georgia Tech (2011-16) and at the University of Dayton (2003-11), where he won the NIT Championship in 2010. Prior to his head coaching positions, Gregory was an assistant coach under Tom Izzo at Michigan State University from 1999-03, helping the team to two Final Four berths and the 2000 NCAA Championship. His coaching career began as an assistant coach at Michigan State from 1990-96, followed by assistant roles at the University of Toledo (1996-97) and Northwestern University (1997-99). Gregory is a graduate of Oakland University, where he played basketball and was a three-year All-Conference honoree.”

Last month, Hoops Hype’s Michael Scotto reported that Phoenix would not retain assistant general managers Morgan Cato and Trevor Bukstein. Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro reported that the Suns were looking to shake up the front office after hiring Mike Budenholzer as the franchise’s 22nd head coach on May 11.

Phoenix has all of its starting five under contract for next season and is projected to have the highest payroll in the NBA at $209 million. Consequently, the Suns are operating over the second-tax apron, projected at $190 million, severely limiting their ability to make moves and trades. They cannot sign free agents outside of veteran minimum contracts, take in more salary than they send out in trades, include cash in deals, aggregate contracts, or use a preexisting trade exception.

The Suns will pick 22nd overall this summer. On June 26, the day of the first round of the draft, they can trade the No. 22 pick and their 2031 first-round pick. These are the only first-round picks they can trade until 2031. Tellem and Gregory’s additions aim to help manage the cap situation and other challenges in assembling next season’s roster.

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