Suns Rumors: Phoenix to Interview Frank Vogel After Mike Budenholzer Meeting

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2018

Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer watches a three point try during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in Atlanta. Philadelphia won 121-113. (AP Photo/John Amis)
John Amis/Associated Press

The Phoenix Suns appear to have zeroed in on hiring Mike Budenholzer as their next head coach but appear to have backup plans in place if that falls through.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Budenholzer met with Suns brass Monday and Tuesday to gauge whether he would be a good fit. The Atlanta Hawks granted Budenholzer permission to meet with the Suns, though it's unclear if they would expect draft-pick compensation in return.

Should the meetings sour on either side, the Suns are also slated to interview Frank Vogel for their coaching position, per of Arizona Sports 98.7. The Orlando Magic fired Vogel after two seasons last week.

Budenholzer, 48, has coached the Hawks to four playoff appearances in his five seasons. Atlanta went 24-58 in 2017-18 as it embarks on what should be a multiyear rebuilding process. Budenholzer has seen his role within the organization dwindle over the last year, beginning when he resigned as president of basketball operations last May.

A mutual separation could allow general manager Travis Schlenk to hire a coach of his own. The Suns are a somewhat natural fit because Budenholzer grew up in Arizona.

Wojnarowski reports the Suns have also had discussions with Steve Clifford and David Blatt, in addition to Budenholzer and Vogel. The Charlotte Hornets fired Clifford last week, while the Cleveland Cavaliers fired Blatt during the 2015-16 season.

The Suns' focus appears to be on getting a coach with experience to mold their young roster, which has struggled to coalesce despite a multiyear rebuild. Star Devin Booker also put pressure on the franchise by saying he no longer wanted to miss the playoffs.

"I'm done with not making the playoffs," Booker told reporters. "I'm serious. This is probably my last year ever not making the playoffs. If that's putting pressure on myself, I'm going to take this summer and work that hard so that it doesn't happen again."