Rather than waiting until the end of the regular season to begin their head coaching search in earnest, the Suns are doing so now, general Ryan McDonough tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. As Wojnarowski details, the Suns recognize that there may be several teams looking to hire new coaches this spring, so they want to start exploring their options before the season ends.
“This is going to be a competitive marketplace,” McDonough said. “There are three of us (Phoenix, Milwaukee and Memphis) with interim coaches in place, and we want to be able to hit the ground running. We don’t want to have to wait until the end of the regular season for candidates who aren’t with teams now. At the end of the regular season, we’ll be able to talk with coaches on non-playoff teams and we’ll need to work with playoff teams on what their approach will be on contacting (assistant) coaches still in the postseason.”
Interim head coach Jay Triano will receive consideration for the permanent job, McDonough confirmed. According to Wojnarowski, Triano wants to give his undivided attention to his players down the stretch, but his agent – Warren LeGarie – requested that Triano be able to prepare a “formal presentation” to the team after the season ends.
As for outside candidates, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) hears from prominent coaching agents that the Suns will have to offer “real money” over four or five years in order to attract anyone credible. Mannix suggests (via Twitter) that Phoenix would be wise to pony up that sort of money if necessary, since the club could badly use some coaching stability. Since their last playoff appearance in 2010, the Suns have had four different coaches, and the franchise hasn’t won more than 24 games in a season since the 2014/15 campaign.
Still, as Wojnarowski observes, the Suns appear better positioned heading into the 2018 offseason than they have been for the past few years. With building blocks like Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, and T.J. Warren already in place, Phoenix could have three first-round picks this summer, and will have the cap flexibility to be aggressive in free agency and on the trade market. That flexibility could appeal to potential head coaching candidates.