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Suns general manager James Jones named NBA's Executive of the Year

June 20 (UPI) -- Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones was named the NBA's Executive of the Year on Sunday.

Jones was honored with the award on the same day that Phoenix played in its first Western Conference Finals game in more than a decade. The Suns earned a 120-114 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of the series.

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The 40-year-old Jones received nine first-place votes and had 65 total points, edging out Utah Jazz vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey for the honor. Lindsey also had nine first-place votes but finished with 61 points.

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks came in third with five first-place votes and 51 points, while multiple executives -- including Leon Rose (New York Knicks), Tim Connelly (Denver Nuggets), Travis Schlenk (Atlanta Hawks), Mitch Kupchak (Charlotte Hornets), Sam Presti (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Neil Olshey (Portland Trail Blazers) -- each garnered at least one first-place vote.

Jones, who took over as the Suns' head of basketball operations in 2018, helped build the foundation of Phoenix's current team, which finally broke through after missing the postseason for the past decade. The Suns ended the year with the NBA's second-best record and beat the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets to reach the conference finals.

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Since taking over, Jones has made a series of moves to put the Suns in the hunt for their first Larry O'Brien Trophy, starting with the hiring of head coach Monty Williams prior to last season.

Jones also beat out several teams to sign free agent Jae Crowder, putting him next to Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton in the frontcourt. Jones then acquired star guard Chris Paul, who has provided Phoenix with on-court leadership and veteran experience.

Before becoming an executive, Jones played 14 seasons with the Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Suns. He won three NBA titles.

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NBA Executive of the Year voting results:

1. James Jones (Phoenix Suns) - 65 points

2. Dennis Lindsey (Utah Jazz) - 61 points

3. Sean Marks (Brooklyn Nets) - 51 points

4. Leon Rose (New York Knicks) - 20 points

5. Tim Connelly (Denver Nuggets) - 18 points

6. Travis Schlenk (Atlanta Hawks) - 17 points

7. Mitch Kupchak (Charlotte Hornets) - 10 points

8. Jeff Weltman (Orlando Magic) - 7 points

9. Sam Presti (Oklahoma City Thunder) - 5 points

10. Neil Olshey (Portland Trail Blazers) - 5 points

11. Daryl Morey (Philadelphia 76ers) - 4 points

12. Tommy Sheppard (Washington Wizards) - 4 points

13. Jon Horst (Milwaukee Bucks) - 3 points

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