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Phoenix Suns

Updated May 22, 2013 - 10:43 am

Suns' coaching search ‘narrows and expands at the same time'

Newly-appointed Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough speaks during an NBA basketall news conference, Thursday, May 9, 2013, in Phoenix. McDonough joins the Suns after most recently serving the past three seasons as the assistant general manager of the Boston Celtics. (AP Photo/Matt York)

When Ryan McDonough was hired by the Phoenix Suns he called finding a head coach his "first order of business as general manager."

Two weeks later, finding "the best guy for that job" remains a top priority; yet the vacancy remains.

"We've made good progress," McDonough said. "In terms of anything being imminent, no, but it is a rapidly moving process. We have a number of good, qualified candidates. I'm really excited about the possibilities and I think we're going to get somebody really good."

The only known candidate to have had a formal sit down, face-to-face interview is Lindsey Hunter, the team's interim head coach; and that meeting took place last week in Chicago during the NBA Draft Combine.

McDonough said he has talked to other would-be candidates over the phone, while also doing background checks on other potential hires.

"I feel like (the search) narrows and expands at the same time," he said. "I get (a list) prioritized and there are good names and you try to get some kind of ranking and then other people reach out to you with other names, so I'm trying to be as thorough and open-minded as I can."

One of the challenges, admitted McDonough, is the competition the Suns are up against. There are seven other teams (Atlanta, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Detroit, L.A. Clippers, Milwaukee and Philadelphia) also in the market for a head coach and likely drawing from the same pool of candidates.

The other issue, according to McDonough, is the ongoing postseason.

"It gets easier as the playoffs go on," he said. "That becomes less of an issue, but some of the teams remaining in the playoffs do have good candidates on their staffs as well. That becomes a little more tricky in terms of asking for and getting permission. If we were to interview one of those guys, kind of what the timeline is, when you could fit them in without disrupting what they're doing for their current team."

McDonough may be referring to assistants such as Mike Budenholzer (Spurs), David Fizdale (Heat), David Joerger (Grizzlies) and Brian Shaw (Pacers).

Others like a Rex Kalamian (Thunder) or a Mike Malone (Warriors) are available to be interviewed right now.

So how long is McDonough willing to wait before pulling the trigger on a head coach?

"Ideally, I would like to have a guy in place for the draft workouts," he said, "but I'm not going to rush the process just to hire a guy to run the draft workouts."

The Suns hope to begin workouts with draft prospects next week.

About the Author

School: Syracuse University, '96

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: December 1, 1999

Favorite sports memory: Game 7, 2001 World Series

Least-favorite sports memory: Game 1, 1988 World Series

Favorite all-time athlete(s): Larry Bird, Don Mattingly

Favorite sports movies: Hoosiers, Field of Dreams


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