PHOENIX SUNS

Reports: Suns finalizing Monty Williams’ coaching staff

Jun 4, 2019, 1:41 PM | Updated: 2:01 pm
Phoenix Suns new NBA basketball head coach Monty Williams speaks at a news conference, Tuesday, May...
Phoenix Suns new NBA basketball head coach Monty Williams speaks at a news conference, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

The Phoenix Suns have added three assistants to head coach Monty Williams’ staff and have targeted two more, according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein.

Phoenix is close to hiring Oklahoma City Thunder assistant Darko Rajakovic and has pursued Golden State Warriors assistant Willie Green. The Athletic’s Shams Charania added Tuesday that the Suns offered a lead assistant role to Green and were hopeful he will accept once the Warriors’ season ends after their NBA Finals run.

Stein also confirmed a day-old report from NBA reporter Peter Vecsey, who said Phoenix had already hired Steve Blake and Randy Ayers. Stein added that Mark Bryant was also already added to the staff.

Rajakovic coached overseas before joining the Tulsa 66ers in the D-League from 2012-14. He was promoted to the Thunder staff in 2014 under then head-coach Scott Brooks and worked with Williams under current Oklahoma City head coach Billy Donovan in 2015-16.

Green, who spent 12 years in the NBA, played under Williams in New Orleans for the 2010-11 season. Green spent his his first seven seasons in Philadelphia before joining the Hornets and then played for the Hawks and Clippers before ending his career with the Magic.

In August of 2016, Green was added to Steve Kerr’s staff in Golden State. Green is in his third season coaching for the Warriors.

Ayers is most well-known for his eight seasons coaching Ohio State basketball, in which he led the Buckeyes to two NCAA Tournament appearances, including Sweet 16 and Elite Eight berths. He served as the 76ers head coach for 52 games during the 2003-04 season and is currently a scout for the Brooklyn Nets.

Ayers coached under Williams in New Orleans in two different stints from 2010-15. Prior to that, Ayers coached Williams, a former player, as assistant and head coach in Philadelphia from 2002-03.

A sharp-shooter during his career, Blake was hired by the Trail Blazers as a coaching intern in 2017, the same team which he had three stints with throughout his playing days. He started in the coaching ranks after retiring from the Sydney Kings in Australia’s NBL. The Suns will be Blake’s first full-time coaching job.

Blake played for eight teams in 13 seasons in the NBA, last appearing in a Detroit Pistons uniform during the 2016-17 season.

Bryant, who played for Phoenix from 1996-99, was a teammate of Williams’ on the Sixers in part of the 2002 season and crossed paths with Williams on the Thunder. He has been an assistant with the Oklahoma City franchise since 2007, when it was in Seattle.

Williams was hired on May 3 by the Suns to replace the fired Igor Kokoskov, who lasted only one season in Phoenix and produced a 19-63 record.

Along with firing Kokoskov, the Suns let go of the remainder of the coaching staff.

Phoenix Suns

Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns reacts on the bench during the first half of the NBA game at F...
Austin Scott

By the numbers: How injuries have hurt the Suns’ consistency

The Suns have been dealing with injuries all season long. Here are a few numbers that show the impact injuries have had on the season.
22 hours ago
Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns signs autographs before the game against the Chicago Bulls at ...
Arizona Sports

Report: Suns’ Kevin Durant progressing toward return vs. Timberwolves

Suns star Kevin Durant is progressing toward a Wednesday return against the Timberwolves after missing time due to a sprained ankle.
22 hours ago
Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams yells at officials during the second half of the team's NBA baske...
Arizona Sports

Suns coach Monty Williams fined for criticism of NBA officials

The NBA fined Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams $20,000 for criticizing the referees in a Tuesday loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
22 hours ago
General manager James Jones of the Phoenix Suns looks on after the game against the Miami Heat at F...
Tyler Drake

Jones: Suns need to ‘control what they can control’ with fouling

Worrying over what transpired in previous games does the Phoenix Suns no favors as it jostles for playoff position.
22 hours ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns in the second half at Crypto.com Arena on March 22, 2023 in Los...
Dan Bickley

Suns crying foul hints at problems between their ears

The Suns have been tagged as a flopping, foul-hunting, fall-down-after-every-shot kind of team. You don’t think that comes with consequences?
2 days ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns takes a shot against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half ...
Kellan Olson

Suns let another winnable game slip away, lose to Lakers

The Phoenix Suns keep letting winnable games slip away in uncharacteristic ways and have now lost five of their last six.
2 days ago
Reports: Suns finalizing Monty Williams’ coaching staff