Suns’ Earl Watson addresses UCLA coaching rumor

Mar 21, 2017, 10:13 AM | Updated: 6:07 pm
Phoenix Suns head coach Earl Watson looks on during the second half of an NBA basketball game again...
Phoenix Suns head coach Earl Watson looks on during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, in Phoenix. The Timberwolves defeated the Suns 98-85. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
LISTEN: Earl Watson, Suns head coach

Phoenix Suns head coach Earl Watson speaks highly of his alma mater, UCLA, on a regular basis.

So with rumors flying that current Bruins head coach Steve Alford might hightail it to Indiana, the lead job at UCLA could suddenly be open.

ESPN’s Jay Williams told Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio Monday morning that he sees Watson taking the job, if it becomes vacant.

When Watson was asked Tuesday morning by Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM if UCLA had contacted him yet about the job, the former Bruin had a simple response.


Watson was asked repeatedly if he would take the job if it was ever offered to him, and although he never denied it, he said he doesn’t like to go down the hypothetical road.

“It’s a lot of what-ifs man; I don’t play the what-if game, I’m just being honest with you. The what-if game gets you in trouble,” Watson said. “I am the head coach of the Phoenix Suns and I’m very grateful for that opportunity. I’m excited about our future, I’m just being honest with you. It’s a lot of what-if games. If that comes into reality, we can talk about that moving forward.”

Watson is in his first full season as the head coach of the Suns after serving the final 33 games of last season with an interim tag. Although the Suns haven’t been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention just yet, they sit a spot away from the Western Conference’s cellar at 22-48.

With Phoenix shutting down Eric Bledsoe for the season and a plethora of young players looking to improve with the extra minutes they’re getting, Watson said he wants to focus more on his job at hand instead of the rumors.

“There’s so much going on with our team that I don’t even have time to respond to (the rumors),” Watson said. “Do I love UCLA? Yes I love UCLA, it saved my life. I was in a situation where during my visit with Steve Lavin and Jim Harrick, there was a shootout in front of my house during a home visit. So of course it saved my life. I love UCLA, I’m forever indebted. Our school is in a great run in the NCAA Tournament. I can’t wait to talk trash to all of my Kentucky Wildcats after we win on Friday.

“But at the same time, I am the Phoenix Suns head coach and I’m excited about our future.”

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