The Phoenix Suns officially fired assistant coaches Mike Longabardi and Jerry Sichting Monday morning.
In parting with Longabardi and Sichting, the Suns have promoted first-year assistants Nate Bjorkgren and Earl Watson.
“It is never easy to make changes to a coaching staff in the middle of a season but we feel Earl and Nate are ready to take the next steps in their careers and provide some creative ideas to our group,” said general manager Ryan McDonough in a statement released by the team. “We thank Mike and Jerry for their contributions. They are both good coaches who made significant contributions to our team winning 87 games over the previous two seasons.”
As for head coach Jeff Hornacek’s status, it remains a little unclear. According to several reports, the Suns began mulling his future on Sunday after the team fell to the now 2-30 Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
The Suns are firing assistant coaches Mike Longabardi and Jerry Sichting, league sources tell Yahoo. Jeff Hornacek future unclear.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 28, 2015
Wojnarowski reports that Hornacek was “adamantly against the dismissal of his staff.”
Longabardi, the team’s defensive specialist, presumably fell out of favor as the Suns became the worst field goal defense in the NBA, allowing opponents to shoot 46.8 percent from the floor. Sichting and Longabardi were both initial hires for Hornacek’s coaching staff at the beginning of his tenure for the 2013-14 season.
Bjorkgren joined the Suns’ staff this season after spending last year as the head coach for the Suns’ D-League affiliate, the Bakersfield Jam. This is his first NBA coaching job.
Likewise, Watson joined the team after retiring as a player following the 2013-14 season and coaching as an assistant with the D-League’s Austin Spurs last season.