Suns to meet Kokoskov, potentially others in expanded coaching search
The Phoenix Suns have expanded their head coaching search to include current Utah Jazz assistant and former Suns assistant coach Igor Kokoskov, among others, reports 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro.
Former Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Kevin McHale and current San Antonio Spurs assistant James Borrego are also now candidates, Gambadoro confirmed.
The news comes as Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer exited as a candidate for the Suns’ head coaching opening.
When the Suns can interview that newly-named trio in-person remains to be seen.
Kokoskov’s Jazz are knotted up, 1-1, in a first-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Suns took advantage of the time between games two and three, though, interviewing Kokoskov over the phone, per 98.7 FM’s Craig Grialou.
McHale is currently a TNT courtside analyst.
He was working the Sixers-Heat Game 3 in Miami on Thursday night.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that Phoenix received permission from San Antonio to interview Borrego, but he is presumably busy through the end of the season, especially with Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich away from the team following the death of his wife.
San Antonio trails the Golden State Warriors, 3-0, in a first-round series.
Kokoskov, 46, was an assistant with the Suns from 2008-13 under head coach Alvin Gentry and took on a lead role when Phoenix replaced Gentry with interim head coach Lindsey Hunter in 2013.
An NBA assistant since 2000, Kokoskov has also coached three different European national teams in Georgia, Serbia and Montenegro and Slovenia. In 2017, he guided a Slovenia team headed by former Suns guard Goran Dragic and potential No. 1 draft pick Luka Doncic to the EuroBasket championship.
McHale, 60, was a seven-time All-Star with the Boston Celtics and coached for the Timberwolves in 2005 and 2008-09 while also working for a time in their front office. He led the Rockets from 2011-15 and has a 232-135 record between his NBA head coaching stops.
Borrego, 40, has experience as an assistant with the Spurs (2003-2010), New Orleans Hornets (2010-12) and Magic (2012-15). He went 10-20 as Orlando’s interim head coach in 2015 and since that season returned to coach under Popovich in San Antonio.
Phoenix has reportedly held formal interviews with Budenholzer, former Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale and former Suns interim coach Jay Triano.
They join a list of previously known candidates that includes former Charlotte coach Steve Clifford, former Orlando coach Frank Vogel and former Cleveland coach David Blatt.