ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday night that Nick Nurse and Doc Rivers are two of the final four candidates to coach the Phoenix Suns.
2023 is set up to be one the most intriguing NBA offseasons in recent memory. It could be one remembered less so for which players are picked up in free agency and more for which big-name coaches are welcomed by new clubs.
On Tuesday, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Phoenix Suns – who recently fired Monty Williams – are talking to the final four candidates this week. Two of them are known to basketball fans: Nick Nurse and Doc Rivers.
Nick Nurse and Doc Rivers Close to Joining Suns
Both Nurse and Rivers were thanked shortly after their seasons came to bitter ends. The Toronto Raptors were prevented from playoff participation by the Chicago Bulls in a home play-in contest. The Phoenix Suns, despite being equipped with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, were tossed out 4-2 in the second round by the now NBA finalists Denver Nuggets. It was also the third successive season that the Suns were crushed when facing elimination.
It comes as no surprise that Nurse and Rivers should be high-profile candidates. Winning a championship buys one a lot of mileage, even when said victory was many years ago. Rivers earned his ring in 2008 with the Boston Celtics. Since then he coached the same team to the 2010 finals where the Los Angeles Lakers got their revenge. As any self-described Raptors fan knows, Nurse was head coach in Toronto during the unforgettable 2019 championship run.
The other two candidates the Suns brass is interviewing are lesser-known names. Kevin Young is already an associate coach with the franchise. Jordi Fernandez rounds out the quartet. He’s an associate head coach with the Sacramento Kings, who themselves had an impressive season by making the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-2006 campaign.
Other matters the organization must deal with are Deandre Ayton’s discontent – he almost became a member of the Indiana Pacers last summer – and Chris Paul’s future. At 38, he isn’t quite the player he once was, even just two seasons ago when the Suns reached the NBA Finals.