Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said Friday the organization complied with NBA rules before it selected former Kansas swingman Josh Jackson with the No. 4 overall pick in Thursday's 2017 NBA draft.
McDonough said the following about nabbing arguably the best two-way player in the draft, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com):
"You guys know my connection to the Boston Celtics and the respect I have for Danny Ainge, but you guys also know how competitive I am, and it is a competition. The process is what it is, and we played by the rules, I guess. I'm just thrilled Josh Jackson is sitting next to me and is a member of the Phoenix Suns."
Questions surfaced about the Suns' predraft tactics after Jackson canceled a scheduled workout with the Celtics at the last minute.
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Per ESPN.com's Chris Forsberg, Ainge said Jackson canceled the workout as Celtics brass flew to Sacramento, California, to see him.
The general manager said he was mad about the decision at the time but still praised Jackson:
"So there was something that he didn't want to play for the Celtics. In spite of that, we've watched Josh for two years and we're fans. He's a terrific kid and a good player. So we tried not to overreact to those kinds of things and make a big deal of it.
"... I don't think we were trying to penalize Josh too much, but we didn't get to see him or talk to him face-to-face."
The Celtics drafted dynamic wing Jayson Tatum of Duke at No. 3, which left Jackson on the board for Phoenix at No. 4.
According to the Associated Press, Jackson attributed the canceled workout to poor timing:
"The decision for me to not work out for them was kind of last-minute. I actually had a workout plan for them, but it just didn't work out. We tried to reschedule, but it was just bad timing, scheduling and didn't work out. I would have worked out for them, but I'm glad to be a Phoenix Sun, I'm glad to be here, and everything worked out for the best."
McDonough, 36, has been the Suns GM since 2013. The Hingham, Massachusetts, native was with the Celtics for 10 years and was promoted to assistant general manager under Ainge in 2010.
In selecting Jackson, the Suns added a high-ceiling player to a talented core that already includes Devin Booker, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, Tyler Ulis, Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender.