Nick Nurse, Doc Rivers Among Suns Coaching Finalists

Phoenix Suns, NBA Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Phoenix Suns made a surprising decision shortly after being eliminated from the 2023 NBA postseason at the hands of the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals. Phoenix decided to fire head coach Monty Williams after four seasons on the job.

It was more that drew the ire of one of his former players, Mikal Bridges. Bridges, who was part of the trade package to the Brooklyn Nets to land Kevin Durant, had some choice words about the decision the Suns made to move on from Williams.

Alas, that is the direction that the franchise wants to go in under new ownership. They are wasting very little time in finding their next candidate as well. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Suns have already narrowed down their list of candidates to the final four.

“The Phoenix Suns are advancing four candidates to a final round of interviews this week, including two NBA championship coaches: Nick Nurse and Doc Rivers, sources told ESPN on Tuesday night.

Nurse and Rivers will meet with senior leadership along with two rising stars in the coaching profession: Suns associate head coach Kevin Young and Sacramento Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez, sources said.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Nick Nurse, Doc Rivers & Phoenix Suns Updates

Nick Nurse and Doc Rivers would both bring championship pedigree to the franchise. Nurse oversaw the Toronto Raptors’ win the NBA Finals in 2019 against the Golden State Warriors in his first season as head coach. He was fired this offseason as Toronto looks to reshape their organization.

Rivers won his ring as a coach in 2008 when he was leading the Boston Celtics. He has led his team to the postseason in 15 out of the last 16 seasons he has coached between the Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and most recently with the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinal for three straight years, which led to his ousting.

Promoting Kevin Young is something that the Suns could do if they want to keep some continuity during the coaching change. There is always some risk involved in moving a coach up one chair as it may not lead to the kind of changes the organization is seeking.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Nick Nurse, Doc Rivers & Phoenix Suns Updates

After breaking their 16-year playoff drought, anyone looking for some new blood as a head coach could turn to Jordi Fernandez. As the top assistant to Mike Brown, he will certainly garner some attention this offseason if a franchise is okay with hiring someone without prior experience.

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About Kenneth Teape 3702 Articles
Kenneth Teape is an NBA Reporter for NBA Analysis Network. He covers all things across the league, including both news and editorial work. Make sure to follow Kenneth on Twitter at @teapester725.