Grizzlies HC Rumors: Igor Kokoskov Interviews for Job After Being Fired by Suns

Megan ArmstrongCorrespondent IMay 18, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 25: Igor Kokoskov of the Phoenix Suns looks on during a game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 25, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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 License Agreement. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

The Memphis Grizzlies have interviewed Igor Kokoskov for their open head coach position, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps.

Kokoskov made his debut as an NBA head coach last season with the Phoenix Suns. However, after leading the franchise to a 19-63 record, the Suns fired him on April 23. The Suns finished the 2018-19 campaign with the second-worst record in the league, behind only the 17-65 New York Knicks.

Memphis might still see an upside in Kokoskov because of his experience as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons, Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz dating back to 2000.

Not to mention, it's hardly Kokoskov's fault that the Suns have had five different head coaches since 2013 with Monty Williams being hired as Kokoskov's replacement earlier this month.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

The Phoenix Suns have fired head coach Igor Kokoškov after just one season. The Suns will now be looking for their 7th different coach in an 8-season span. Kokoškov's .232 winning pct is the worst by any coach in Suns franchise history. https://t.co/YStxX1Ir9x

Following the news of Kokoskov's firing, Charles Barkley lamented the Suns' decision-making on Inside the NBA (h/t Zona Sports): "Firing a coach after one year, I don't think it's fair. They got a very young team. They had a bunch of injuries. I don't know what kind of coach Igor was going to be, but I don't think you should fire a coach after one year. ... And no, I'm not taking that dumpster-fire job."

Should Memphis tap Kokoskov, he will be entering a similarly unfavorable situation.

The Grizzlies also had a disappointing 2018-19 that ended with a 33-49 record and the firing of second-year head coach J.B. Bickerstaff. The franchise also "reassigned" general manager Chris Wallace and vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger to scouting and senior advisory roles, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported at the time.

Like the Suns, the Grizzlies are in the midst of a rebuild. Point guard Mike Conley, the longest-tenured member of the team, is likely on the trade block, and center Marc Gasol—teammates in Memphis alongside Conley since 2008—was traded before the 2018-19 deadline to the Toronto Raptors.

Also like the Suns, the Grizzlies have had turnover at an alarming rate as they look to hire their ninth head coach since the franchise relocated from Vancouver in 2001 and their fifth since 2010.

The first step toward turning things around, with Kokoskov or someone else in charge, will be with their No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft on June 20.


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