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John Gambadoro ‏@Gambo620 1h

The Phoenix Suns have begun negotiations with former Sun Jeff Hornacek on a contract to be their next head coach.

The contract for Hornacek will be for a minimum 3 years and could be announced as early as Tuesday.

One of the Phoenix Suns' popular former players – Jeff Hornacek – has emerged as the frontrunner for the franchise's head coaching job, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

An assistant coach with the Utah Jazz, Hornacek met with new Suns general manager Ryan McDonough and president Lon Babby in the past week in Phoenix.

The Suns are expected to start discussing contract parameters with Hornacek over the weekend, sources said. The Suns and Hornacek have already started work on assembling an assistant coaching staff.

Hornacek, 50, played the first six seasons of his 14-year NBA career with the Suns and remains a popular figure in the community. He keeps his offseason home in the Phoenix area.

For the Suns, Hornacek would fit the profile of a coach who could grow with the franchise's plan to rebuild through young players and the draft. Phoenix has six first-round picks available over the next three years, and player development will be a top priority.

The Suns met with Houston Rockets assistant J.B. Bickerstaff on Friday and have received permission to interview Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Steve Clifford. Clifford remains a strong candidate for head-coaching openings with the Bucks and Charlotte Bobcats. The Suns former interim coach, Lindsey Hunter, also interviewed for the job.
 

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So... are we trading him and Beasley for Barkley in a year?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Suns introduce Jeff Hornacek

“It’s a great feeling to come back home,” Hornacek said upon being introduced as the new Suns head coach in an arena that opened months after his final Suns game in 1992.

The good feeling emanating from Hornacek’s hire, along with General Manager Ryan McDonough’s strong early impression, has breathed new life into a moribund franchise. Now comes the challenging part for Hornacek to live up to the belief — and the three-year, $5.25 million contract with a fourth-year team option.

Hornacek, 50, has prepared for this chance since he rolled into gyms at age 5 when his dad coached high school teams. Going from an Iowa State walk-on to a 14-year NBA player and All-Star, Hornacek’s coaching aspirations shifted from colleges to pros. When he takes the Suns sideline to attempt a steep climb from a last-place season, Hornacek intends to meld his two greatest influences: Suns Ring of Honor member Cotton Fitzsimmons and Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan.

“Hopefully, I can take Jerry’s toughness, Cotton’s enthusiasm and confidence-building and blend them all together and become a great coach like some of the great coaches who have been here in the past,” Hornacek said.

He said he would lean toward Fitzsimmons’ uptempo style and Sloan’s pick-and-roll sets without losing sight of the need for a defense that forces tough shots and creates turnovers. He mentioned point guard Goran Dragic as a great starting piece but acknowledged the need for roster changes and patience to meet his coaching potential.


Hornacek said the Suns executives’ plan reminded him of the setup the Suns had for a dramatic turnaround with him in the late 1980s, when they traded for Kevin Johnson, Mark West and Tyrone Corbin, drafted Dan Majerle and signed Tom Chambers. Hornacek believed the Suns were a Johnson pulled hamstring away from a 1990 championship, which remains “unfinished business” to him after appearing in two conference finals with the Suns and two NBA Finals with Utah.

“The one thing that we’ll never do here is pass up on the chance to get a great player,” McDonough said. “If we can get a great player to Phoenix either by trade or as a free agent, we’ll do that as quickly as possible and then build on that player. But if not, we’ll take a more deliberate approach and be patient and try to draft well and develop young players and maximize their talent. That’s one of the reasons Jeff is here — his ability to develop young players and get the most out of them.”

Hornacek earned that reputation in the past six years with Utah, starting as a part-time special assistant to spend more time with his kids at their Valley home and then as a full-time assistant for the past 2½ seasons. He relished educating players on fundamentals and earning their confidence.

“I really enjoy teaching the game, trying to inspire doing the little things and getting guys to play team basketball,” said Hornacek, who noted that he scored 5,000 career points off unselfish screens from West, now a Suns vice president. “There are so many pro guys now that are one and done or didn’t get the teaching at the college level and come to the NBA and they don’t know a lot of this stuff. “

Hornacek and his accounting degree are sharp enough to embrace the increasing influence of analytics. That and communication skills, a Hornacek forte with fans, players and media, were points of emphasis in a search led by McDonough.
 

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Just based on the bolded parts I love this hire. I liked him as a player, he always kind of reminded me of Majerle without the athleticsm. If he isn't blowing smoke up our ass about being like Cotton/Jerry, then I already love his game plan.

The article is spot on, these two hires have really stirred up the fans. I like this summer so far, hopefully we actually participate on draft night. Can't remember the last time we were aggressive during the draft.
 

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Sounds like all the right things are being said by coach and GM. I look forward to seeing some young guys developed over the next couple years, which hopefully will include rookies being given a moderate role in live game situations.

This is also a very cheap option for Sarver- 3 years 5 million, couldn't help but notice (but yea I realise he is a rookie head coach).

It is pretty cool that he at least seems aware of stats and won't be quick to throw that out the window as a learning tool.
 

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This is a move in the right direction but Sarver is still a terrible owner. Going old school is the first thing that Sarver has to do to market this team. He knows that the Suns have a legacy and the Cotton and Jerry are hallowed names in that arena. Hiring a guy who played in their systems and wants to implement it is a great positioning to make the fans want to murder Sarver in his sleep less than they did 6 months ago.
 
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