Phoenix Suns fire head coach Igor Kokoskov after one season

Kokoskov went 19-63 as Suns coach
Posted at 9:57 PM, Apr 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-23 01:56:21-04

The Phoenix Suns have parted ways with head coach Igor Kokoskov after just one season, the team announced Monday night.

"After extensive evaluation, I determined it is best to move in a different direction with our head coaching position," Suns general manager James Jones said in a statement. "I want to thank Igor for his work this past season and wish him the best with his future endeavors."

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who initially reported Kokoskov's firing Monday night, said the Suns "had planned to bring Kokoskov back for a second season, especially after the team's stronger play in late stages of the season," adding Kokoskov was "a well-respected tactician who becomes another victim of the constant turnover in Phoenix."

Wojnarowski added the Suns are looking to hire Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams as Kokoskov's replacement. The Los Angeles Lakers are also reportedly interested in Williams for their head coaching vacancy. Williams served as head coach of the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans from 2010-15, posting a 173-221 regular-season record and and a 2-8 playoff record during that time.

The Suns went 19-63 during Kokoskov's first and only season at the helm. In May, the Suns made Kokoskov, a native of Serbia, the first European-born head coach in NBA history.

Kokoskov served as a Suns assistant coach from 2008-13 and became a U.S. citizen during a ceremony on the Suns' home court in 2010. He also had assistant coaching stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers. He won an NBA championship as a Pistons assistant in 2004.

Kokoskov was the head coach of the Slovenian and Georgian national men's basketball teams. He won a gold medal as Slovenia's head coach at EuroBasket 2017. Former Suns point guard Goran Dragic was the MVP of that tournament.

Kokoskov's replacement will become the Suns' fifth head coach since 2016. The Suns fired Jeff Hornacek in early 2016 and Earl Watson in 2017. Jay Triano was the Suns' interim coach for most of the 2017-18 season.

The Suns haven't advanced to the playoffs since 2010, the longest postseason drought in franchise history. They have posted an 87-241 record in the last four seasons and haven't won more than 24 games in any of those seasons.