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Phoenix Suns hire NBA associate VP Morgan Cato as an assistant GM

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The Phoenix Suns are hiring NBA associate vice chairman Morgan Cato as an assistant general manager and vice chairman of basketball operations, sources confirmed to The Republic on Monday afternoon.

The Suns made an official announcement Monday evening.

“We’re excited to welcome Morgan to the Valley and to the Suns organization,” said Suns General Manager James Jones in a Suns news release. “With the league office Morgan played a pivotal role on countless initiatives to grow the sport and strategically develop for it to be played at its best. The addition of her background and knowledge will allow us to raise our basketball operations in several areas.”

Cato, an African-American, is the primary woman of color in an NBA assistant GM position for an NBA team. She joins a franchise that has a Black general manager in James Jones and head coach in Monty Williams.

Jones was named the NBA’s top executive last season while Williams was named the league’s Coach of the 12 months this season.

James Jones

Cato worked within the league’s business operations and league operations departments for nearly two years.

Working for the NBA for nearly 10 years, Cato was previously senior director and director of the NBA’s business operations and league operations.

She earlier was a senior manager of the league’s early profession development and manager of recruiting and college relations. The Brooklyn, N.Y. native is a graduate of Stony Brook University and Harvard Business School’s Executive track.

A yr ago, Cato posted on her LinkedIn account, “Reminder: Representation matters. On the court, on the table, in decision making. To have impact and to save lots of lives. Period” with hashtags #morethanagame #gamechanger #govote.

Having worked for NBA president of league operations, Byron Spruell, Cato was a “key member of the management team focused on strategic basketball initiatives for the expansion of the sport,” in line with the Suns’ news release.

From left, Head of NBA Social Responsibility Todd Jacobson, former French national soccer team striker Thierry Henry, NBA Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo, British fashion designer Ozwald Boateng and Basketball Africa League President Amadou Gallo Fall join Harwich native Kent Christian at the 2017 NBA London Game in London.

Her duties included “coaching and officiating development, basketball talent pipeline and related programs.” She was a part of the “launch” of the Basketball Africa League, an “advocacy for girls and other people of color in basketball operations and actively liaised with NBA teams on overall operational and engagement needs.”

Considered a tough employee, conscientious, creative and detail, Cato is seen as someone with a positive outlook on life and work.

In keeping with the Suns’ news release, Cato will “report back to Jones” and “work with” Williams “to guide the team’s strategy and business processes for basketball growth and performance with a concentrate on coaching development, player engagement and front office personnel operations.” 

The Suns are also hiring Toronto Raptors assistant Patrick Mutombo as an assistant coach, The Republic confirmed last week

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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