Report: Suns expected to interview Kenny Atkinson, Charles Lee for head coach opening

May 23, 2023, 10:29 PM | Updated: 10:41 pm

Assistant coach Kenny Atkinson of the Golden State Warriors reacts against the Boston Celtics durin...

Assistant coach Kenny Atkinson of the Golden State Warriors reacts against the Boston Celtics during the first quarter in Game Six of the 2022 NBA Finals at TD Garden on June 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Two more Phoenix Suns head coaching candidates were reported Tuesday evening: Kenny Atkinson and Charles Lee.

Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes reported that the Suns are expected to meet with the two prospects and have not yet reached the final stage of interviewing potential replacements for Monty Williams.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski earlier on Tuesday reported four candidates to be interviewed for the job: Jordi Fernandez, Nick Nurse, Doc Rivers and Kevin Young.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Fernandez, Nurse, Rivers, Young and Frank Vogel were the five finalists for the position, which Haynes’ report contradicted.

Atkinson spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors under Steve Kerr, winning an NBA championship last year.

He was an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2020-21 on Ty Lue’s staff.

Atkinson has head coaching experience with the Brooklyn Nets from 2016-20. He crossed paths with Kevin Durant for nearly one season before getting fired late in the 2019-20 campaign, although Durant did not play a game that year due to a torn Achilles.

His major achievement with the Nets was reaching the playoffs in 2018-19 when D’Angelo Russell was the only All-Star on the team. The following offseason, Durant and Kyrie Irving joined Brooklyn.

The 55-year-old also coached under Mike D’Antoni with the Knicks (2008-12) and Mike Budenholzer (2013-16) with the Hawks.

Charles Lee has spent the past five seasons on Budenholzer’s staff with the Milwaukee Bucks, winning a title in 2020-21.

He has coached under Budenholzer — who was fired after Milwaukee’s first-round exit in the playoffs — for nine years, including their time with Atlanta.

Lee was the associate head coach for the Bucks this past season.


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