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Earl Watson told players that Suns gave him two weeks for turnaround

Newly appointed Phoenix Suns head coach Earl Watson speaks after being promoted from interim head coach as general manager Ryan McDonough listens, Tuesday, April 19, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
LISTEN: John Gambadoro, Co-Host of Burns and Gambo

Two losses of more than 40 points didn’t help, but the Phoenix Suns firing coach Earl Watson just three games into the year had to have been about more.

One would think.

Joining the Doug & Wolf show on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Monday, John Gambadoro from Burns & Gambo reported that a recent development also could have played a part in Watson’s firing.

“He went in there after one of the losses — I think it was the Clippers — and kind of made it an us versus management and ownership situation where he said, ‘Look, they only gave me two weeks to get this thing going,’ and he kind of … he was always philosophical and I think the players kind of lost him with that.

“He also told them, ‘It’s us against them, they only gave me two weeks.’ And then when word got back, they were like, ‘Wait a second, we never said you only have two weeks. What are you doing?’ So I think he was trying to create like an us-against-the-world mentality. Part of that was us against Suns ownership and management.”

Gambadoro added that Watson appeared to have lost the locker room as well.

Losing all three games to start the year and allowing 128.7 points per game on 52 percent shooting and 50 percent from three indicated the Suns were lost on defense. The starting lineup, which had played more than 30 minutes together, had been shockingly poor with a net rating of minus-48.2 points per 100 possessions.

Watson leaves Phoenix with a 33-85 overall record spanning his 33-game tenure as interim in 2015-16, last season and the first three games of this season.

“The Suns never told Earl you’ve got two weeks to play games,” Gambadoro told The Blitz with B-Train & Jurecki. “That was not true.”

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