Jordi Fernández set to interview for Phoenix Suns head coaching position
May 24, 2023, 8:03 AM | Updated: 8:06 am
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
As the Phoenix Suns close in on a group of finalists for its head coaching vacancy, a familiar name has entered the ring as a potential hire for the Sacramento Kings’ Pacific Division foe.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernández will interview for Phoenix’s head coaching position this week. Recently fired head coaches Nick Nurse and Doc Rivers are also finalists, while Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes reports that respected assistants Charles Lee and Kenny Atkinson are also in the running.
The consensus from NBA insiders is that the job is Nurse’s to lose, with Phoenix associate head coach Kevin Young also in line to receive plenty of interest, but Fernández will have his chance to make his case in securing his first head coaching role.
Fernández, 40, just wrapped up his first season with the Kings as NBA Head Coach of the Year winner Mike Brown’s number-one assistant on a coaching staff that has helped build a winning culture in Sacramento.
ESPN Sources: The Phoenix Suns are advancing four coaches to meet for interviews in the coming days: Nick Nurse, Doc Rivers, Kings associate HC Jordi Fernandez and Suns associate HC Kevin Young.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 24, 2023
Phoenix has yet to reach final stage of interviewing candidates for its head coaching vacancy and are expected to meet with Milwaukee associate head coach Charles Lee and Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson, sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 24, 2023
Fernández filled in as acting head coach for three games in late December–one after Brown got ejected and two when Brown entered health and safety protocols–as he became the first Spanish head coach to secure an NBA win.
The seasoned assistant has coached alongside Brown on the Nigeria men’s basketball team since the 2020 Olympic games. For three seasons, Fernández served as an assistant and head coach in the G-League for the Canton Charge before making the jump to the NBA in 2016, where he coached under former Kings head coach Michael Malone with the Denver Nuggets for six seasons.
“I think one day Jordi will be a head coach in this league,” Malone said of Fernández following a loss to his former assistant on December 27th. “He’s been a head coach in the G League. He’s got great international experience. This team is on the right path with the right coaches, so I’m really happy for them.”
This isn’t the first time that Fernández has been linked to a head coaching vacancy. In February, the Atlanta Hawks interviewed Fernández for their open position before ultimately hiring Quin Snyder to a five-year deal.
It’s a matter of when–not if–when it comes to Fernández securing an NBA head coaching role. While it might not be Fernández taking over in Phoenix, expect to hear Sacramento’s lead assistant linked to more openings during this summer’s offseason.
Sacramento Kings Offseason Schedule
- Thursday, June 22– 2023 NBA Draft
- Friday, June 30– Free Agent negotiating period begins
- Thursday, July 6– Free Agents can begin signing deals
- Friday, July 7–Monday, July 17– NBA Summer League in Las Vegas
- August TBD– 2023-24 NBA regular season schedule release
- September TBD– Sacramento Kings training camp begins
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