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Suns owner sought out opinions before making decision to fire assistants

Phoenix Suns' Jeff Hornacek argues with officials during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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Searching for answers in the midst of a 5-16 stretch, Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver made a point to seek out multiple opinions, including players.

The conclusion was for two of head coach Jeff Hornacek’s assistant coaches had to go.

“It’s always tough, I thought Mike (Longabardi) and Jerry (Sichting) did a great job for us in their preparation and strategy. Those are two guys who have been around basketball for many, many years and they helped us out tremendously over these two and a half years,” Hornacek said Tuesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Doug and Wolf. “I think it got to a point where the young coaches who were contributing in practices, those guys were players and the (players) wanted a different voice.”

Hornacek said the way the decision was reached, was something that he hasn’t seen before.

“I think (Sarver) came in with a thought and he wanted to talk to everybody and get everyone’s opinions and that’s the conclusion that he came up with to help us out and help us succeed and that’s how it goes at times,” Hornacek said.

Replacing Sichting and Longabardi on the bench will be Earl Watson and Nate Bjorkgren, two coaches with experience in coaching some of the younger players in the NBA D-League.

For Watson, Hornacek said he’s 36 years old and just recently got done playing and has played against some of the current players in the league.

“Sometimes, players are, ‘Hey he just went through it against these players,’ and they tend to listen to them a little bit more,” he said. “It’s a tough thing to do. When you are struggling, you are looking for answers and it’s just a part of the business.”

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