The Suns Have Fired Coach Igor Kokoskov After One Season

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For the second straight season the Phoenix Suns found themselves with one of the worst records in the NBA, as they struggled mightily once again to 19-63 record.

It was the first season under coach Igor Kokoskov, who joined the Suns after time as an assistant in Utah where he’d developed a reputation for being a good player development coach — a positive for a young Phoenix squad. Unfortunately for Kokoskov, his first year ended up being his last as he was fired late on Monday night in the midst of the Jazz-Rockets Game 4 in Utah, making for an all-time NBA news dump moment.

Phoenix has fired coach Igor Kokoskov, league sources tell ESPN.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 23, 2019

The Suns made the news official later in the night.

“After extensive evaluation, I determined it is best to move in a different direction with our head coaching position,” said James Jones. “I want to thank Igor for his work this past season and wish him the best with his future endeavors.”

Kokoskov was set up to fail from the beginning in his first season, given a roster that didn’t have anything close to resembling a starting caliber point guard and little in the way of depth around their (very) young core of Devin Booker and rookie Deandre Ayton. There were positive signs from others outside of that duo, mainly from rookie Mikal Bridges, but overall the Suns looked a lot like the Suns of 2017-18 this season and apparently that was enough to hit the reset button again — despite that not initially being the plan.

Suns had planned to bring Kokoskov back for a second season, especially after the team’s stronger play in late stages of the season. Kokoskov has been a well-respected tactician who becomes another victim of the constant turnover in Phoenix. https://t.co/OgHCTGCTH7

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 23, 2019

The Suns recently hired Jeff Bower, formerly the GM in Detroit and New Orleans, to take over the front office, so him wanting to find his own guy isn’t a total surprise, but with the lack of stability showed by the organization under Sarver it’s hard to imagine they’ll find themselves able to woo too many top candidates to take over for Kokoskov after his short tenure.

Still, they will apparently try their best to land Monty Williams, who has been a hot name on the coaching carousel this season with reported interest from the Lakers. Whether he’d be willing to go into Phoenix and take on the challenge posed there is another question entirely, but he was hired by Bower in New Orleans so there is a relationship in place.

Here’s a factor in the timing of Kokoskov’s dismissal: The Suns are planning to target Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams, league sources tell ESPN. Lakers are planning a second interview with Williams soon, sources said.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 23, 2019

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