The Phoenix Suns and Jeff Hornacek have “agreed to terms” on a contract that will make the former Sun the franchise’s next head coach, according to multiple media reports.
Hornacek will sign a three-year deal worth slightly less than $6 million with a fourth-year team option, per CBSSports’ Ken Berger. The deal is expected to be finalized by Tuesday and potentially earlier.
The hiring will be a step toward the Suns embracing their past, which PBO Lon Babby said would be a point of emphasis for the franchise going forward after some were unhappy they chose Lindsey Hunter over favorite Sun Dan Majerle to be the interim head coach after Alvin Gentry was fired. Hornacek was drafted by the Suns and played six seasons with the franchise before being packaged in the famed Charles Barkley trade before the 1992-93 campaign.
Hornacek has been taught by some of the best in the business as he played six and a half seasons under Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan in Utah and spent time with Suns Ring of Honor members Cotton Fitzsimmons and John MacLeod in Phoenix.
In what can be seen as both a good and bad thing, even at 50 years old Hornacek arguably will become the best shooter in the Suns’ organization before the ink dries on his contract. That tutelage should prove to be invaluable for a Suns team that lost its way as an elite shooting club last season.
The Arizona Republic’s Dan Bickley writes that this is “a comfortable hire” that “checks a lot of boxes,” but he’s worried about whether this “patron saint of walk-on athletes” can be the tough guy as well as an extremely smart and nice guy.
Hornacek’s former Suns teammate and current Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson has no such qualms.
Proud of my former teammate Jeff Hornacek for becoming the suns new head coach. Great hire for Phoenix!
— Kevin Johnson (@KJ_MayorJohnson) May 27, 2013
A video of Hornacek’s career highlights is below: