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GM Jones: Suns committing to coach Igor Kokoskov through season

Phoenix Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov gestures during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)

The Phoenix Suns are sticking with head coach Igor Kokoskov through at least the remainder of the season, co-interim general manager James Jones told Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Wednesday.

“We’re committed to Igor, and we’re committed to finishing the season out on a high note,” Jones said. “We have room for improvement. That’s the challenge across the organization for us to improve upstairs as well as downstairs, on the court, off the court. So we’re going to push it. But Igor, it’s a tough job but he’s up to the challenge.”

The news comes on the heels of the Suns snapping a franchise record 17-game losing streak that ended with a win over the Miami Heat on Monday. There was some speculation during the skid that the first-year head coach’s job could be in jeopardy.

“No,” Jones said when asked whether the team had discussed the possibility of moving on from Kokoskov during the losing streak. “Our stance is we need to evaluate what we do periodically, but more importantly to finish the season strong. … We support Igor and the staff and we’ll continue to work together to try to push this forward.”

Just prior to Jones breaking the news, 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro reported that the Suns had begun the process of finding a new general manager to replace Ryan McDonough, whom they fired prior to the start of this regular season. In the meantime, the position has been filled by co-interim GMs Jones and Trevor Bukstein.

Jones and Bukstein may remain with the organization in some capacity even after a long-term general hire is made.

Gambodoro also reported that the Suns will have new faces in its basketball operations department prior to the upcoming NBA Draft.

The Suns’ struggles this season come after team owner Robert Sarver told Burns & Gambo in early October that there would be a shift in the team’s direction after three straight seasons finishing with a top-5 pick.

“I think we’re at the end of a rebuild,” Sarver said the day he fired McDonough nine days before the start of the season. “For me, the switch has flipped and it’s now time to start figuring out how to win.”

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