Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

Report: Suns Eye Mike Budenholzer, Nick Nurse, Kevin Young After Firing HC Williams

Scott Polacek

The Phoenix Suns reportedly have their eyes on multiple candidates for their head coaching vacancy.

According to Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report, Phoenix is building a list of candidates that includes its own associate head coach Kevin Young, as well as notable names in Mike Budenholzer and Nick Nurse.

The head coach position is open after the Suns announced they fired Monty Williams following four seasons.

It was somewhat jarring to see Phoenix move on from Williams considering he went 194-115 in four seasons, led the team to the NBA Finals in 2021 and helped the Suns finish with the league's best record of 64-18 in 2021-22.

Yet that team's once-magical season ended in stunning fashion with a 33-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of their second-round playoff series. It was more of the same during the past season's playoffs, as Phoenix lost by 25 points to the Denver Nuggets in the final game of their second-round series.

Part of the issue for the Suns was a lack of depth after they moved multiple key pieces in the trade to land Kevin Durant.

That, combined with the absences of Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton in the final loss, proved too much to overcome against the top-seeded Nuggets, even with Durant and Devin Booker as one of the league's best one-two punches.

The presence of Durant and Booker makes the Phoenix job a coveted one even if the futures of Paul and Ayton are up in the air following the playoff loss.

Young would provide some continuity and also give the veteran assistant his first head coaching opportunity after he has been mentioned as a candidate elsewhere multiple times. However, Budenholzer and Nurse would make more headlines given their recent history as champions.

Budenholzer was the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks for the past five seasons and was leading from the sideline when Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co. defeated the Suns in the 2021 NBA Finals. He was an impressive 484-317 in 10 seasons as a head coach for the Bucks and Atlanta Hawks.

Nurse led the Toronto Raptors to the title in 2019-20, which was his first of five seasons as the team's head coach. He went 227-163 during that span while establishing a reputation as one of the league's premier coaches.

It is no surprise the Suns are reportedly targeting such notable candidates, as this offseason could help determine whether they can take the next step and go from championship contender to championship winner.


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