Former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale has become the prime candidate to take over as the Suns‘ head coach once the season ends, according to Mitch Lawrence of The Sporting News. James Jones, who became VP of basketball operations in Phoenix last summer, spent five seasons as a player with the Heat while Fizdale was the lead assistant under Erik Spoelstra. Earlier today, we passed on Lawrence’s comments that Fizdale hasn’t given up on the Lakers job if the team decides to replace Luke Walton, so the Suns could have some competition for his services. Interim Phoenix coach Jay Triano has expressed a desire to be considered for the job, but it appears the team is looking in a different direction.
Lawrence passes on a few more rumors from NBA coaching circles:
- If the Magic decide to move on from Frank Vogel, longtime player Jerry Stackhouse will be their top choice. Stackhouse, named G League Coach of the Year with Raptors 905 last season, is close to Jeff Weltman, Orlando’s president of basketball operations. Weltman spent four years as GM in Toronto and got an up-close look at Stackhouse’s coaching abilities.
- There’s a growing sense that the Knicks will part with Jeff Hornacek once the season ends. Lawrence admits Hornacek has been in a difficult situation in New York between the front office turmoil, the Carmelo Anthony situation and the recent injury to Kristaps Porzingis, but Hornacek was hired by former team president Phil Jackson, and Steve Mills might prefer to have his own coach in place. There is a strong sentiment to bring in former Knick Doc Rivers, but he still has supporters in the Clippers front office and might be kept for another year after turning in an impressive coaching job with a weakened roster.
- Stan Van Gundy may need to get the Pistons into the playoffs to keep his job. Van Gundy has one season left on his five-year, $35MM contract and is back on thin ice after the team’s recent slump. Even if he does return next season, the feeling is Van Gundy will be replaced at team president, with former agent and current Pistons VP Arn Tellem next in line to run the team’s basketball operations.