Igor Kokoskov’s first year as an NBA head coach did not go as planned. The longtime assistant in the league, former coach of the Slovenian national team, and first European-born head coach in NBA history was never really able to get the Phoenix Suns off the ground, and after a 19-63 campaign, Kokoskov was fired and eventually replaced by Monty Williams.
As it turns out, Kokoskov still might end up coaching elsewhere once the 2019-20 season rolls around. According to Tim Bontempts of ESPN, Kokoskov sat down for an interview with the Memphis Grizzlies regarding their head coaching vacancy.
Memphis entered the coaching carousel before the Suns fired Kokoskov, getting rid of head coach J.B. Bickerstaff amid some organizational restructuring back on April 11. In that time, the Grizzlies got the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, ostensibly giving them the opportunity to select high-flying Murray State guard Ja Morant and pairing him alongside promising young big man Jaren Jackson Jr. It has led to Memphis being a pretty interesting job, one that could have a pair of tentpoles in place even if Mike Conley gets moved over the summer.
Phoenix would have been a tough job for anyone last year, so it’s possible it wasn’t a reflection of what Kokoskov is as a head coach. Perhaps Memphis will give him the opportunity at a second chance leading a team sooner rather than later.