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Phoenix Suns are prioritizing NBA success in coaching search

(AP Photos)

In their search for a head coach, the Phoenix Suns are prioritizing coaches with NBA success, according to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro.

With that in mind, at least two of the coaches they will be in touch with are former Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford and former Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale, per Gambadoro.

Clifford, 56, was fired on Friday by the Hornets after his fifth season in Charlotte. Making the playoffs in two of the five seasons, Clifford had a record of 196-214 and did not win a playoff series.

Before the job in Charlotte, he was an NBA assistant for various teams from 2001-13.

The 43-year-old Fizdale led the Memphis Grizzlies to 43 wins last season and a playoff appearance in his first season as an NBA head coach. That made it a surprise when 19 games into this season, he was fired after a 7-12 start. Fizdale reportedly clashed with Memphis center Marc Gasol.

Fizdale was an assistant in Golden State, Atlanta and Miami from 2003-16. He won NBA championships with the Heat in 2012 and 2013.

Per Gambadoro, the Suns had a request to interview Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer accepted. Budenholzer was also a long-time assistant in the NBA — with the Spurs — before his first time as an NBA head coach in Atlanta. Unlike the other two names, though, Budenholzer is still the head coach of the Hawks and is under contract for two more years and over $14 million, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

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