5:40pm: The move is official, the team announced.
5:04pm: The Suns have decided to name assistant coach Earl Watson as interim head coach, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Watson beat out other reported candidates Corey Gaines and Nate Bjorkgren for the temporary position that came open when the team fired Jeff Hornacek on Monday.
Watson, 36, is not far removed from his playing career. He was in the league as recently as the 2013/14 season, when he appeared in 24 games with the Trail Blazers. He will make his head coaching debut on Tuesday against the Raptors.
Watson’s first coaching job was last season, when he was hired by the Spurs’ D-League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, as an assistant. He joined Hornacek’s staff prior to this season. Watson appeared in 878 games during his 13-year playing career with six different franchises, averaging 6.4 points and 4.4 assists.
The Suns added a veteran coach to help out Watson by hiring four-time NBA head coach Bob Hill as an assistant, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets.
Watson will hire agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group as his agent, league sources informed Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link). Paul also represents several prominent players, including LeBron James and John Wall, as well as Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe.
(Dana Gauruder contributed to this report.)