Adrian WojnarowskiNBA Senior Insider3 minute read
The Phoenix Suns are offering four candidates for a final round of interviews this week, including two NBA championship coaches: Nick Nurse and Doc Rivers, sources told ESPN on Tuesday night.
Nurse and Rivers will meet with senior management as well as two rising stars in the coaching profession: Suns associate head coach Kevin Young and Sacramento Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez, sources said.
Nurse has emerged as a top candidate in Suns and Milwaukee Bucks coaching searches, sources said. Nurse is one of three finalists in Milwaukee, including Golden State associate head coach Kenny Atkinson and Toronto assistant Adrian Griffin, sources said. He also interviewed the Philadelphia 76ers, sources said.
The Suns are looking for a successor to former coach Monty Williams, who was fired after the Suns lost in the Western Conference semifinals to eventual conference champion Denver Nuggets. The Suns are launching a job that includes two of the league’s best players, Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.
Nurse’s five seasons as Toronto coach included an NBA title in 2019, an NBA Coach of the Year award in 2020 and a 227-163 (.582) record.
Rivers went 154-82 (.653) in his three seasons, including 54 wins in 2022-23 — the franchise record since 2000-01. The Sixers were one of the top three teams in the top 10 in offensive and defensive efficiency, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Rivers had 16 consecutive winning seasons as a head coach.
Young spent eight years coaching in the G League – including head coaching positions with the Utah Flash, Iowa Energy and Delaware 87ers – and gained momentum as a head coaching candidate in the openings this year, including with the Milwaukee Bucks, Raptors and Toronto Suns. Young has previously been interviewed for head coaching positions with the Sixers, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards in recent seasons.
Fernandez was an important part of Michael Malone’s coaching staff with the Nuggets for six seasons before becoming associate head coach of the Sacramento Kings under NBA Coach of the Year Mike Brown in 2022 He is from Badalona, Spain.