Jeff Hornacek’s second season as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns did not go as well as his first, but that does not mean the team is ready to look for a replacement.
But according to CBSSports’ Ken Berger, it’s possible they may not have a choice.
If every domino falls a certain way, that is.
According to Berger, it all starts with the New Orleans Pelicans’ decision to fire head coach Monty Williams. They, of course, need a replacement, and Berger reports that the man at the top of their list is Tom Thibodeau, who is currently leading the Chicago Bulls.
Thibodeau, though, has been long rumored to be somewhat out of favor with the organization, with many believing this current playoff run will be his last with the team.
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Berger notes that if the Bulls do indeed decide to part with Thibodeau, who has led the Bulls to 255 regular season victories over the last five seasons and was the NBA Coach of the Year in 2010-11, they could look to the college ranks for a replacement.
That’s where things could get interesting.
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg is widely believed to be the Bulls’ preferred replacement, but who would replace him in Ames, Iowa? There’s a growing belief that Iowa State would try to lure another Cyclones great from the NBA: Suns coach Jeff Hornacek, currently making less than Hoiberg’s average salary with less security than college jobs offer.
Hornacek has led the Suns to an 87-77 mark in two seasons, and is generally regarded as one of the better young coaches in the league. The question is, if everything else happens as Berger says it could, would the 52-year-old decide to leave the professional ranks for the college game?
If so, the pull of his alma mater may be pretty strong, and the chance to take over a program that has become one of the best in the nation over the last few seasons may at least be something he’d consider.