The Phoenix Suns are advancing four candidates to a final round of interviews this week, including two NBA championship coaches: Nick Nurse and Doc Rivers, sources told ESPN on Tuesday night.
Nurse and Rivers will meet with senior leadership along with two rising stars in the coaching profession: Suns associate head coach Kevin Young and Sacramento Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez, sources said.
Nurse has emerged as a prominent candidate in the Suns’ and Milwaukee Bucks’ coaching searches, sources said. Nurse is one of three finalists in Milwaukee, including Golden State associate head coach Kenny Atkinson and Toronto assistant Adrian Griffin, sources said. He also interviewed with the Philadelphia 76ers, sources said.
The Suns are pursuing a successor to ex-coach Monty Williams, who was fired after the Suns lost in the Western Conference semifinals to the eventual conference champion Denver Nuggets. The Suns are pitching a job that includes two of the league’s best players, Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.
Nurse’s five seasons as Toronto’s coach included an NBA title in 2019, an NBA Coach of the Year Award in 2020 and a 227-163 (.582) record.
Rivers delivered a 154-82 (.653) record in his three seasons, including 54 victories in 2022-23 — the franchise’s most since 2000-01. The Sixers were one of three teams in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Rivers has had 16 straight winning seasons as a head coach.
Young spent eight years coaching in the G League — including head-coaching jobs with the Utah Flash, Iowa Energy and Delaware 87ers — and has been gaining momentum as a head-coaching candidate in openings this year, including with the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and Suns. Young previously interviewed for head-coaching jobs with the Sixers, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards in recent seasons.
Fernandez was a significant part of Michael Malone’s coaching staff with the Nuggets for six seasons before becoming the associate head coach with the Sacramento Kings under NBA Coach of the Year Mike Brown in 2022. He’s a native of Badalona, Spain.