Speaking today to reporters, new permanent Suns general manager James Jones took responsibility for the dismissal of head coach Igor Kokoskov, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic writes. Owner Robert Sarver has taken the brunt of the criticism – perhaps deservedly so – for the revolving door of coaches in Phoenix, but Jones said that firing Kokoskov was “my decision alone,” per Rankin.
“The decision I had to make Monday was a tough one,” the Suns GM told the media. “Not one I take lightly.”
As for who might replace Kokoskov on the Suns’ bench, Jones said today that the club is seeking a “leader” who can relate to and challenge its players (Twitter link). While that description might sound generic, the mention of leadership is worth noting — after all, one report this week suggested that Suns players felt assistant coach Joe Prunty was more in charge of the bench than Kokoskov was.
Here’s more from around the Pacific:
- Later in today’s press conference, Jones said that the Suns want to focus on adding players “in their prime” this summer, and will explore all possible avenues to do so (Twitter link). Phoenix doesn’t project to have much – if any – cap room, so it will be interesting to see how aggressive the club is on the trade market.
- In an in-depth look at Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, Ken Berger of Bleacher Report cites one Western Conference executive who believes that Cousins’ Achilles and quad injuries over the last two years may ultimately cost him upwards of $150MM. Berger also explores whether it’s realistic to believe that Golden State could re-sign Cousins, even after his latest health issue.
- While the Clippers have tried to hold their own against the Warriors and have one impressive comeback win under their belts, the series has reaffirmed why L.A. ultimately needs a superstar on its roster, says Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Despite their depth, the Clips don’t have the sort of No. 1 option who can go head to head with Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant, so their foray into free agency this summer will be worth watching closely.