The Phoenix Suns have their new head coach.
After almost a full season under interim head coach Jay Triano, the Suns have hired Utah Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov. Kokoskov, a Serbia native, will be the first European-born head coach in the NBA.
“We are thrilled to bring Valley resident Igor Kokoskov back to Arizona as head coach of the Phoenix Suns,” general manager Ryan McDonough said in a statement. “Igor has been a pioneer throughout his basketball career and he brings a wealth of high level coaching experience to our club. … Igor’s teams have always had a player development focus, a creative style of play and a track record of success.”
A young Suns team holding the best odds in the NBA draft lottery will add another inexperienced piece this summer, and management appears to value Kokoskov for his player development skills.
The Suns agreed to a three-year deal with Kokoskov, who will start his tenure at the conclusion of the Jazz’s playoff run, according to ESPN. Terms have not been disclosed.
Kokoskov, 46, has worked back and forth between assistant coaching duties in the NBA and coaching European national teams since he joined the Los Angeles Clippers bench in 2000. His first job in the United States was as Jazz head coach Quin Snyder’s assistant when he was on the Missouri bench in 1999.
Kokoskov has made stops with the Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic in addition to a prior stint with the Suns from 2008-13. In Europe, he has worked as the head coach of the Georgian and Slovenian national teams.
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