Phoenix Suns coach emerges as serious candidate for rival coaching job

The Phoenix Suns may be about to lose a key member of their coaching staff to a rival in the Eastern Conference.
Los Angeles Clippers v Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Clippers v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns have punched their ticket to the playoffs, although how far they go in the postseason may go some way to deciding the future of head coach Frank Vogel. In his first year with the organization, Vogel's tenure to this point has failed to capture the imagination of fans in The Valley.

Known for his defensive brilliance, his Suns teams have generally been around league average in that area, although when trying to piece together a game plan with Jusuf Nurkic and Grayson Allen as key pieces, it is perhaps no surprise that the team have struggled in this area.

Vogel's expensive coaching staff may be about to take an unforeseen hit as well, with lead assistant Kevin Young a finalist for the top job with the Brooklyn Nets.

Young, the most expensive assistant coach in the league currently, was also a finalist for the Suns' job proper last summer, before Vogel came in and got the nod. It has always felt like he was destined to be a head coach, and making the final three alongside Jordi Fernandez and Mike Budenholzer shows just how highly he is thought of around the league, and by the Suns themselves.

Suns' superstar Devin Booker has a great relationship with him, while his offensive schemes were thought to be the perfect complimentary piece to Vogel's defensive ways. That might not have come off properly for the Suns - and you could make the case they actually failed to live up to expectations offensively during the regular season - but Young is still clearly in demand.

Young actually started his coaching career in Ireland all the way back in 2006, and has also coached in England as well. There have also been stints at the college level back in the USA, as well as plenty of time in the G League. Before landing in Phoenix, Young was an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers.

There is no doubt he has paid his dues, and the Nets may be the perfect job for him. Whereas if he'd gotten the top job with the Suns there would have been championship expectations right away, the same would not be true in Brooklyn. If Young had been the Suns' head coach this season for example and finished sixth, he likely would have been canned.

But with the Nets he would be reunited with two former Suns in Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson, and he'd have a lot more time to implement his vision. Sorting out the Ben Simmons situation with that franchise in a manner that suited everybody would also be a massive win on his own coaching CV as well.

Really though Young need only look at Jamahl Mosley of the Orlando Magic, as a reason to push hard for this opportunity. Mosley is in his third season and headed to the playoffs as the fifth seed, but he inherited a terrible team that were going nowhere fast. He was backed by the organization and they gave him time to put his more defensive style in place, and it has now paid off.

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Young could do similar with the Nets - although he wouldn't have a future superstar like Paolo Banchero to help - with the expectations in Brooklyn not as modest as they were in Orlando for Mosley, but hardly unattainable either.

For the Suns though this could be a disaster, as Young looked like the ideal replacement for Vogel if this season didn't work out. Which - should the Suns exit the postseason in the first round - could still very much happen. If not the Nets though, Young is going to get his chance to be a head coach in the NBA. It is officially just a matter of time.