Important Suns coach leaves NBA behind for new challenge

The Phoenix Suns are about to enter the postseason, but we now know one of their most important coaches will soon be leaving the franchise.
Brooklyn Nets v Phoenix Suns
Brooklyn Nets v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns are about to embark on a playoff run that they hope will take them far, but they already know they will be without one of the key coaches who got them this far next season. That is because lead assistant Kevin Young - the highest paid assistant in the entire NBA - has agreed to take the head coaching job at BYU University.

This is a move that seemingly came out of nowhere - although when you do a little digging it makes more sense - with Young having never coached at the college level before. In fact his only real head coach experience outside of the G League came at the start of his career nearly 20 years ago, when he was in charge of Shamrock Rovers Hoops for one season in 2006-07.

Young is about to leave The Valley behind - despite having a known relationship with Devin Booker - and the timing is strange.

It has already been confirmed that Young will stick with the Suns through their playoff run, which begins against the Minnesota Timberwolves in a series that they will fancy their chances of winning. That does help to alleviate any internal turmoil that could have arisen from losing the team's lead assistant at the most important time of the season.

Young was also recently a finalist for the head coach's job with the Brooklyn Nets, having made it to the final three last summer to get the top job with the Suns. It felt like his time at the helm of an NBA team was going to come, with some Suns fans even suggesting that current head coach Frank Vogel could make way for Young this summer.

Instead he is headed to the college game on what is rumored to be a seven-year, $30 million contract. The kind of financial stability and job security that simply would not be afforded to him in the pro game. But how did Young end up on the radar of BYU as their top priority?

Next. Phoenix Suns' best player of the 2023-24 regular season. Phoenix Suns' best player of the 2023-24 regular season. dark

Young is from the Salt Lake area, and he also has ties to current Utah Jazz General Manager Danny Ainge, who himself has links to BYU. It is believed Ryan Smith - the founder of company Qualtrics - helped to put the financial package in place to go and get Young.

No matter what way you look at this, the Suns will still have a job to do in replacing Young. They failed to hits the heights expected of them offensively this season - and Young should rightly shoulder a lot of the blame for that as he is supposed to be the expert in that area. But he is highly thought of for a reason, and he is now heading to the college game.