The Phoenix Suns finished with the worst record in the NBA this season and, as a result, it may seem as if the team’s head coaching vacancy wouldn’t be overly appealing. However, the Suns have roster that features young assets, headlined by Devin Booker, and a stockpile of draft picks that could come together to furnish an impressive squad for the future. With that in mind, the Suns are reportedly looking to find an established NBA head coach to lead their youth movement and a list of candidates has emerged.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the team met with Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer on Monday and Tuesday, though the Hawks are expected to seek compensation for a coach under contract for two additional seasons and, as a result, no deal is imminent. Beyond that, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports that former Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale will garner an interview on Wednesday.
In addition, former Magic and Pacers head coach Frank Vogel is reportedly in line for an interview.
ESPN’s reporting also includes references to David Blatt and Steve Clifford as potential candidates, while ArizonaSports.com reported that the team has five names on its interview list: Budenholzer, Clifford, Fizdale, Vogel, and interim head coach Jay Triano, who replaced fired coach Earl Watson early in the season and performed admirably.
It makes sense, at least to some degree, that Phoenix would prioritize Budenholzer, who is respected around the league as a former NBA Coach of the Year and happens to be from the state of Arizona. However, the compensation element is worth monitoring, as is a contract that currently pays Budenholzer upwards of $7 million annually.
The Suns don’t have the clout the Knicks or the uber-elite player to build around like the Bucks. But Phoenix’s roster, particularly if a coach buys into Booker, is enticing and the future could be bright if they attract the right fit.