The Phoenix Suns — who flamed out of the playoffs after many expected them to win the NBA title following their midseason acquisition of future Hall of Famer Kevin Durant — are in search of a new head coach after they decided to part ways with Monty Williams.
According to reports, the Suns — who are obvious title contenders given the presence of Durant and Kevin Booker (and, to a less extent, Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul) — have narrowed their head coaching search to four names, two of which are former NBA champions: Nick Nurse, formerly of the Toronto Raptors, and Doc Rivers, who has coached the Magic, Clippers, and 76ers in addition to his title-winning years with the Celtics.
In addition to Nurse and Rivers, the Suns are also interviewing two up-and-coming coaching prospects, according to ESPN: Suns associate head coach Kevin Young and Sacramento Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez.
As per ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Nurse, who also won NBA Coach of the Year a few seasons ago, is in the final rounds of interviewing for both the Suns’ job and the vacant Milwaukee Bucks job, who also fired their head coach following a disappointing postseason exit.
Given the way that the Boston Celtics, who were in the NBA Finals last year with head coach Ime Udoka, are currently getting steamrolled by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals under the stewardship of rookie head coach Joe Mazzulla, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Phoenix Suns — seeking their first-ever NBA title — went with a steadier hand such as Nurse or Rivers.
Despite his 2008 ring with the Celtics, Rivers is perhaps no longer held in the same esteem that he once was, as his recent Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics was the 10th Game 7 loss of his coaching career, five more than any other head coach in NBA history.