Water is wet, fire is hot, and the Phoenix Suns, are looking for another new Head Coach.
For the third straight year, and sixth time in the last seven seasons, the Suns, have fired their head Coach. This time around, the honor went to Igor Kokoškov, who ironically enough, served as the team’s assistant coach, from 2008-2013.
In his first year as a Head Coach, Kokoškov, amassed a (19-62) record. While that doesn’t exactly bring up visions of the next Red Auerbach, consider the fact, that he was working with an extremely young group, as the Suns, were the fourth youngest team in the league (25.22).
Ideally, Kokoškov, and his inexperienced nucleus would have been given the opportunity to grow together, but notoriously impatient team Owner Robert Sarver, decided otherwise.
The team’s General Managers have fared no better, as since Sarver took over the team in 2004, he has fired seven GMs.
Fortunately for the franchise, while Amar’e Stoudrmire, Quentin Richardson, Shawn Marion, and Hall-of-Famer Steve Nash aren’t walking through that door, despite their youth, the team currently has scoring machine Devin Booker, who not only averaged 26 points per game, but also dropped 59 and 70 respectively this year.
The Suns also have last year’s number one overall pick in Center Deandre Ayton, former lottery picks in Josh Jackson, and Mikal Bridges, and a top three selection in the upcoming NBA Draft. Needless to say, the cupboard is far from bare.
Those assets alone, along with someone thinking they have what it takes to be the first long-term, and successful Head Coach for the Suns since Mike D’Antoni, will be enough to convince someone to take the job.
With that said, the top three candidates to get the Suns job are as follows:
The former New Orleans Pelicans Head Coach, and current Philadelphia 76ers assistant, has been generating a lot of chatter lately, as his name has been linked to both the Suns, and the vacant Los Angeles Lakers job.
While his career coaching record of (173-221) doesn’t exactly shine, his teams in New Orleans, did make the playoffs twice, in his five year tenure. For a franchise like Phoenix, who hasn’t sniffed the post-season since 2010, that has to be appealing.
How fitting would this be? The former Phoenix Suns star Point Guard returns home, and leads his former team back to relevancy.
While he did end up getting fired as the Head Coach of both the Brooklyn Nets, and Milwaukee Bucks, Kidd, who is in the Hall-Of-Fame as a player, is viewed as a player’s coach.
The Cal product, also knows the importance of playing on both sides of the ball (Phoenix finished tied for second worst in points allowed per game with 116.8), and he is good with young talent, as according to Kidd, potential league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, offered to save his former Head Coach, from getting let go by the Bucks.
Just like Williams, Kidd, has been linked to the Lakers as well.
We make it a trifecta, with a third former NBA player.
After a nineteen-year playing career that saw Howard win an NBA title on the LeBron James led Miami Heat, in 2012 (he played there for the final three season of his career), the former Power Forward, would retire, and then win a second Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy as an assistant coach with the team in 2013.
While he has a relationship with The King, that could potentially see him land in California, he also has one with current Suns General Manager James Jones, who played on the Heat from 2008 to 2014.
Still a Heat assistant, Howard, has gone though the interview process with the Lakers, and Suns as well.
In addition, Howard, who was a member of Michigan University’s famed Fab Five, would know how relate to a lot of the young players on the Phoenix roster.
While Sarver, does have a quick hook, he has also shown that he isn’t scared to hire a first time Head Coach.
Despite that, and all of the aforementioned young talent on the team, the question that must be answered, is not just who will the Suns hire, but which Head Coach, rookie or not, will put up with the instability that exist with both the position, and the franchise?