Suns make staffing additions, changes after Summer League performance

Jul 30, 2015, 3:51 PM | Updated: 3:56 pm
Phoenix Suns' Alex Len, right, shakes hands with head coach Nate Bjorkgren towards the end of the second half of an NBA summer league basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Saturday, July 11, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Ronda Churchill)
(AP Photo/Ronda Churchill)

The Phoenix Suns added five and promoted three Thursday to complete their basketball operations staff.

Corey Gaines was promoted to assistant coach after five years as a player development assistant, and Nate Bjorkgren and Earl Watson were brought on, also as assistant coaches. Taking Gaines’ place at player development assistant will be Jason Fraser.

Bjorkgren served as head coach during NBA Summer League after a season as head coach of the Suns’ D-League affiliate, the Bakersfield Jam. Gaines, Watson and Fraser were his assistants in Vegas and under them, the Summer Suns went 5-2 and finished runner-up to the Summer League Champion San Antonio Spurs.

Bjorkgren has Arizona ties as well – he led the Cave Creek Cactus Shadows Falcons to the 4A state tournament in each of three seasons as head coach from 2004-07.  He was the Arizona state high school coach of the year for the 2005-06 season and regional coach of the year for the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons.

Watson played under three NBA Coaches of the Year throughout his career – George Karl, Scott Brooks and Hubie Brown. He also played for the Utah Jazz teams current Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek was an assistant and shooting coach for.

Last season, he coached the D-League’s Austin Spurs with Fraser, who played with the Harlem Globetrotters and previously served as a student-athlete development director for his alma-mater, Villanova.

In the front office, Mark West will become vice president of player relations after two years as an assistant coach. In all, West has spent 22 years with the Suns organization. Bubba Burrage will become director of player personnel as well as general manager of the Jam, a role he held last season along with being a pro personnel scout for four years with the Suns.

Over in Scouting, Courtney Witte, with 26 seasons of NBA front office experience, was brought on as director along with new scout Antonio Williams, who has been a field representative for Nike and an analyst for ESPN.

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, right, is defended by Portland Trail Blazers forward Robert Covingto...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns get pounced on by Blazers in blowout loss

The Suns looked like they were back on the right track after beating the Lakers but they lost that against the Blazers the next night.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne (15) passes as Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic (27) pur...
Arizona Sports

Suns G Cameron Payne out Saturday against Trail Blazers

Phoenix Suns backup point guard Cameron Payne will miss Saturday night's game against the Portland Trailer Blazers.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, right, scores over Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis duri...
Associated Press

Lakers’ Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis play down sideline incident

Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis say their confrontation on the Lakers' bench was a momentary disagreement that has already been resolved.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) argues a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game aga...
Kellan Olson

Chris Paul provides ‘jumpstart’ to Suns in bounce-back win over Lakers

Nothing like a little get right game, and that's what the Phoenix Suns got on Friday night in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
2 days ago
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball during the second half of the NBA game at Footpr...
Arizona Sports

Chris Paul becomes 1st player with 20,000 points, 10,000 assists in NBA history

Another accolade for Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul, one of the greatest to ever do it at any position.
2 days ago
Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver attends Game Two of the 2021 WNBA Finals at Footprint ...
Arizona Sports

Jordan Schultz further details expected report coming on Suns owner Robert Sarver

Sports reporter Jordan Schultz joined Arizona Sports to provide more details on his report of a story coming on Suns owner Robert Sarver.
2 days ago
Suns make staffing additions, changes after Summer League performance