Suns' Morgan Cato Becomes 1st Woman of Color to Hold Assistant GM Title

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 20, 2022

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 11:  The Phoenix Suns logo is seen on the court before the NBA game against the Orlando Magic at US Airways Center on December 11, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Magic 106-103.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Morgan Cato has made history with the Phoenix Suns.

Phoenix announced Monday that it hired Cato as its assistant general manager and vice president of basketball operations. As a result, she is the first woman of color to become an assistant general manager in the NBA.

"We're excited to welcome Morgan to the Valley and to the Suns organization," general manager James Jones said. "With the league office Morgan played a pivotal role on countless initiatives to grow the game and strategically develop for it to be played at its best. The addition of her background and knowledge will allow us to elevate our basketball operations in several areas."

Cato, who will work with head coach Monty Williams, will be involved in coaching development decisions, player engagement and front-office personnel decisions. Cato has worked in the league office for nearly a decade, most recently serving as associate vice president of business operations.

"Her roles there included several strategic initiatives that targeted the growth of the game throughout the NBA and around the world, including officiating development, the launch of the Basketball Africa League and the sport's global talent pipeline," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski wrote.

She comes to a Phoenix team that will be under the microscope this offseason.

The Suns reached the 2021 NBA Finals and lost to the Milwaukee Bucks but seemed ready to take the next step and win the title in 2022 with the league's best record of 64-18. However, they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the second round after being pushed to six games by the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round.

Phoenix could only watch as the Golden State Warriors then defeated the Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals and went on to win their fourth championship in eight years.

The question for Cato and the Suns is whether they will attempt to run things back with 37-year-old Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton leading the way or make major changes in the hope of going from contender to champions.

Ayton is the biggest question mark considering he is a restricted free agent, played just 17 minutes in the Game 7 loss to the Mavericks and has been rumored to be on the way out since there is no long-term contract in place with the team that selected him with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NBA draft.

Cato will surely be involved in a number of personnel decisions, including the Ayton one, as Phoenix continues to strive for its first championship in franchise history.