Earl Watson Named Suns Interim Head Coach

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist

SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 2: Assistant coach Earl Watson of the Phoenix Suns looks on during the game against the Sacramento Kings on January 2, 2016 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns announced assistant coach Earl Watson has been named interim head coach on Monday following the firing of Jeff Hornacek.

Watson has already been promoted internally once this season, taking on a more prominent role amid the departures of Mike Longabardi and Jerry Sichting.

The 36-year-old former NBA point guard joined the Suns last summer after a one-year stint as an assistant for the NBA D-League's Austin Spurs. He has no other coaching experience. 

Earlier on Monday, Marc Stein of ESPN reported the Suns had a "strong interest" in Steve Nash for their vacancy, but he added the former Phoenix point guard is "not ready at this time to jump into full-time coaching." Stein also reported that Nash is "not prepared to leave family" in order to take on a coaching role. 

Because of their depleted coaching staff, the Suns didn't have many options. They jettisoned Longabardi and Sichting, two well-respected names in league circles, earlier this season in a turnaround attempt. The Cleveland Cavaliers already hired Longabardi to their assistant staff under new head coach Tyronn Lue, and Sichting's two decades of experience should land him a job before long.

As it stands, it's unlikely Watson is long for the job. Bleacher Report's Howard Beck reported Phoenix already has its eyes on Golden State Warriors assistant Luke Walton, who will be the hottest name in coaching circles this summer.


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