Report: Jordi Fernández ‘a name to watch’ for Raptors head coaching job

May 30, 2023, 9:22 AM

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 27: Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown talks to assistant coac...

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, Sacramento Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernández is receiving interest from the Toronto Raptors as they close in on hiring a new head coach.

“A name to watch in Toronto’s slower-moving-than-most coaching search, says one league source, is Sacramento Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernández,” Stein reported over the weekend.

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.

The seasoned assistant coach 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.”

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Fernández advanced past the first round of interviews with the Phoenix Suns and sat down for an in-person interview at the end of last week.

Former Raptors head coach Nick Nurse inked a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, meaning that Fernández was one of four finalists–joining Doc Rivers, Frank Vogel, and Phoenix assistant coach Kevin Young–for the Suns’ position.

While Fernández entered the final stages of Phoenix’s job search, Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro reported on Monday that Phoenix’ three finalists for the job are Rivers, Vogel, and Young, adding that it was unlikely that the Suns will hire Fernández.

Is it coincidence that the Suns have trimmed Fernández from their finalists right after the report of Toronto’s interest in the prospective head coach surfaced? Did Fernández pull out of the Phoenix competition as the Raptors’ interest increased?

We’ll have answers in the coming days.

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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