Reports: Suns fire two assistant coaches in bench shake up
It looks like Jeff Hornacek’s job in Phoenix may be safe. For now.
But not so for two of his key assistants — they are gone in a bench shake up as Suns’ management tries to right a troubled ship that has gone 5-15 in the last 20 games. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and Marc Stein of ESPN have the details.
The Suns are firing assistant coaches Mike Longabardi and Jerry Sichting, league sources tell Yahoo. Jeff Hornacek future unclear.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 28, 2015
ESPN sources say Suns are promoting Nate Bjorgken and Earl Watson to the bench and dismissing Mike Longabardi and Jerry Sichting— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) December 28, 2015
As Stein quickly corrected that’s spelled Bjorkgren, he’s a former D-League coach. Watson, the former NBA player, was popular with the Suns’ players but had a secondary role. That is about to change.
Suns management felt it needed to do something after a disappointing start to the season where they are once again out of the playoff chase (Phoenix had not made the playoffs for the past five seasons). Sunday, owner Robert Sarver and GM Ryan McDonough sat down and discussed with players what they saw as the reasons for the Suns’ troubles. This was the resultant move.
I’m not sure it will make much of a difference short-term. That’s mainly because the team’s leading scorer, Eric Bledsoe, is out with a torn meniscus that will require surgery and will sideline him at least six weeks. They will struggle to replace his 20 points a game and playmaking skills, no matter who is calling the shots from the bench.
Add to the Bledsoe injury Tyson Chandler looking older fast, and Markieff Morris being a disappointment which put him on the trade block, and it’s hard to see how any coaching change would make a big difference right now. It’s hard to see the Suns staying in the playoff mix, and that is not on the coaching staff.