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Former Suns coach Jay Triano enjoyed his time in Phoenix ‘immensely’

Phoenix Suns head coach Jay Triano yells during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, in Phoenix. It was Triano's first game as the Suns' head coach. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Former Phoenix Suns interim head coach Jay Triano has moved on.

Joining James Borrego’s staff in Charlotte, Triano was interviewed for the Suns’ opening but the team decided to go with Utah Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov.

Triano joined 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo to look back on his time in Phoenix and more.

“Two full years was fantastic,” Triano said of his time on the coaching staff. “I enjoyed it immensely. I thought the players were receptive to wanting to get better. Management was in and on-board with everything we were trying to do.”

One of the biggest questions of Triano not getting the job was if he stayed on the Suns’ staff, but it was not as simple as it may have sounded.

“It’s a tough thing,” Triano said. “James (Jones) and I talked about it when I was there last week. Igor was very good. When I did that, I recognized back there as well — and the same things I’ve gone through before in this business — that it’s tough to have someone there if you’re looking over your shoulder and giving advice.”

Triano felt the previous connections with the roster could have potentially caused some issues.

“They went in a new direction, got a coach so that they had a new voice,” he said. “Players would be looking at me if Igor said something. I just think it’s tough to be a head coach and come in and make change when there is somebody who has been involved with the program right there watching. ”

While he loved working with the franchise, Triano knows how the NBA can go and is looking forward to seeing how Kokoskov can help the team grow.

“I understand the business,” he said. “It’s tough to not see this through but these players are great, they’re in good hands now. I’ve known Igor for a long time, not only through the NBA, but through the international basketball. I think he’s gonna do a great job here. I’m excited for the direction and then getting the No. 1 pick has to be super exciting for everyone here.”

Triano met with Borrego in Charlotte after Borrego reached out to him a week prior. While his job is now in Charlotte, his family will still be based in the Valley.

The long-time NBA coach, of course, was asked the question everyone discussing the Suns is asked: Luka Doncic or Deandre Ayton?

Triano speaks highly of both prospects but favors one.

“I think Ayton is the guy that I would lean towards.,” Triano said. “Just because the length and the size and the rim protection — there’s a lot more there right now but I don’t think you can go wrong either way right now.”

Burns & Gambo

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