Updated 12:10 a.m. — Lindsey Hunter is the next man up. The Phoenix Suns announced on Sunday morning that the player development coordinator will take over after head coach Alvin Gentry and the team decided to part ways on Friday morning.
The two-day discussion may have taken longer than some liked, whether that be because of the numerous candidates within the Suns organization to become the interim coach or otherwise.
Bake-off w/ Suns assistants to become interim another example of how lost PHX is. Who doesn’t have this lined up before firing head coach?
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 20, 2013
On Saturday, The Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro wrote that the list of names only extended past the two frontrunners in Hunter and defensive guru and lead assistant Elston Turner. Dan Majerle’s candidacy had support from within the Phoenix locker room, and Igor Kokoskov was also in the mix.
But this all comes back to the future. The hiring of Hunter, a 17-year NBA veteran without much coaching experience, was all to develop youngsters like Kendall Marshall, Markieff Morris, and even to an extent older players like Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson.
Whether Hunter is in a position to succeed remains to be seen.
Expectations are low, but nevertheless, moving forward in this manner will surely test the coach’s experience. Hunter was hired onto the Suns’ scouting staff in 2012 and named the player development coordinator before the beginning of this season.
He held a similar position with the Chicago Bulls upon his retirement, but only retired as a player in 2010.
Update: It appears that the Suns’ coaching staff shakeup may not be limited to Alvin Gentry’s departure. Paul Coro reports neither Majerle nor Turner were at Hunter’s first practice on Sunday, though Lance Blanks said all the assistants were given the opportunity to return.
More interesting news was Blanks’ assertion that the Suns players told management that Hunter was a favorite of theirs. This comes after Coro reported that some players liked Majerle as a replacement for Gentry.
“After listening to the players we decided to bring in Lindsey Hunter as the interim head coach.” ~ GM Lance Blanks
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) January 20, 2013