The Phoenix Suns are among a handful of teams looking to fill a hole at head coach after parting ways with Monty Williams following the team's second-round playoff exit at the hands of the Denver Nuggets. With a nucleus of Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, the Suns are perhaps the most attractive head coaching vacancy, and already the Suns have reportedly narrowed down their candidates to a final four of names.
Among those names are Doc Rivers and Nick Nurse, both of whom were fired from their previous coaching positions with the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors, respectively. Also on that list are Suns associate head coach Kevin Young and Sacramento Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. All four finalists are expected to meet with team leadership in the near future.
Since parting ways with the Raptors, Nurse has been a heavily circulated name on the coaching market, with the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers also pursuing him. Nurse is reportedly among three finalists for the Bucks job along with Golden State Warriors associate head coach Kenny Atkinson and Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin.
This is the first time since being let go by the Sixers that Rivers has been mentioned in a coaching search, and for it to be with the Suns is rather interesting given Chris Paul is the starting point guard there. Paul and Rivers' connection goes back to their days with the Los Angeles Clippers, and it has been reported several times that Paul leaving the Clippers for the Houston back in 2018 was in part due to Rivers. While Paul may not be a member of the Suns next season depending on if Phoenix decides to trade the veteran guard in an effort to get younger and a way to upgrade the roster around Durant and Booker, interviewing a head coach who he's had a bumpy past with is somewhat head scratching.
Aside from Rivers and Nurse, the two other names on Phoenix's list are considered "rising stars" in the coaching world. Young already has an established history with the Suns, being on the coaching staff since the 2020-21 season. He previously spent time coaching at the G League level for eight years, and received interest for the top coaching gig with the Bucks and Raptors. He was also in the pool of names when the Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards were looking for a new coach.
Fernandez served as an assistant under Mike Brown this season, and was the Summer League coach in 2022 where the Kings went 6-2. Prior to joining Sacramento's staff, he spent six years as an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets and before that was a G League coach for the Canton Charge from 2014 to 2016.