The results of the 2022-23 Phoenix Suns season can only be described as a disappointment. They were one of the title favorites entering the postseason, and the acquisition of Kevin Durant was supposed to make them a team to beat out West.
But for the second season in a row, the Suns were embarrassed in the playoffs. They lost an elimination game to the Nuggets by 25 points in round 2, which comes on the heels of a 30-point drubbing at the hands of the Mavericks last year.
Phoenix Suns: Nick Nurse Is Favorite To Be Next Head Coach
Nick Nurse is expected to begin his formal process with meetings with the Bucks, Suns and Sixers.@ShamsCharania has the latest on the NBA coaching carousel.https://t.co/ep5qcRy2fk pic.twitter.com/Yn0r9hFeKc
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) May 19, 2023
But despite the shortcomings in April and May, the firing of head coach Monty Williams still came as a surprise. Williams was a large part of the team’s success and the reason that they went from a 19-win team to an NBA Finals appearance in just two years time. But the recent failures were apparently enough to deserve the axe, and the team is on the hunt for a new head coach.
Who might fill the position? Here are some of the candidates for the next lead man for the Phoenix Suns, with lines provided by BetOnline.ag.
Nick Nurse (+200)
The Suns will have a solid crop of free agent coaches to choose from, and Nick Nurse is the overall favorite at the moment.
Nurse was fired after five years as the head coach of the Toronto Raptors. The team never hit rock bottom, as they qualified for the play-in tournament in what would be his final season at the helm. But it was time for a fresh start for both sides, and the Suns will take a long look at the 55-year-old. Nurse is just 3 years removed from winning the NBA Coach of the Year award, and 4 removed from the championship he won with the Raptors.
Kevin Young (+300)
One of the more unknown names on the list is Kevin Young, but he apparently has the second-best chance of landing the job with the Phoenix Suns.
Young has been an assistant in the NBA since 2017, and has been with the Suns organization since 2020. In his second year with the team, he was named associate head coach. Given his familiarity with the current roster, it makes sense that he would be a favorite. Interestingly enough, Young took over for Nick Nurse in 2011 by coaching the Iowa Energy of the G League.
Mike Budenholzer (+350)
Joining Nurse as one of the hottest names on the market will be Mike Budenholzer.
The leader of the team with the best record in the NBA this year, Budenholzer was fired after an unfortunate showing in the first round of the playoffs. But the failure was apparently big enough to fire a coach with a championship and Coach of the Year award on his resume in the last 5 years, and both sides will now be looking for new options. It would make sense that Budenholzer would want to latch on with a team that is ready to win, like the Suns should be in 2023-24.
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