Suns have spoken with Del Negro, Kidd about coaching vacancy
The Phoenix Suns have spoken with former Los Angeles Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro and former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd about their head coaching vacancy, 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro confirmed.
Del Negro has experience as an NBA head coach and knows Phoenix well, having played part of his final NBA season in the Valley in 2001 and then serving as a color analyst for the Suns.
He coached the Chicago Bulls from 2008-10, leading the team to a 41-41 record and first-round exit in the NBA Playoffs in both of his two seasons in Chicago.
After being fired in May of 2010, he was hired by the Clippers to be their head coach in July. He followed a 32-50 first season with impressive records of 40-26 and 56-26, winning a playoff series in his second year but failing to meet expectations in his third and final year by losing in the first round.
His contract expired and the Clippers elected to not bring Del Negro back. Upcoming free agent and star point guard Chris Paul reportedly did not want the coach back.
When Kidd became the Bucks head coach prior to the 2014 season, Milwaukee was coming off a 15-win season. The Bucks turned it around immediately with Kidd at the helm, going 41-41 and making the playoffs in his first season as head coach.
Winning totals of 33 and 42 came the next two seasons and he was fired 45 games into this season.
Kidd has been criticized for his tough coaching philosophy. He had an old-school style that was demanding and there were various reports of Kidd’s unstable relationships with players, specifically the younger ones.
Kidd also coached the Brooklyn Nets for one season in 2013-14, posting a 44-38 record and a playoff series win before falling in the conference semifinals.
The Suns have interviewed David Fizdale and Jay Triano, per reports, but have spoken with several other candidates including David Blatt, Steve Clifford, Igor Kokoskov and Frank Vogel.
Phoenix plans to complete its first round of interviews this week before moving onto the next stage of the search, per Gambadoro.