The Phoenix Suns are advancing four candidates to final interviews this week, including two NBA championship coaches Nick Nurse and Doc Rivers, a source told ESPN Tuesday night.
Nurse and Rivers will meet with executives along with two rising stars in the coaching world, Suns associate head coach Kevin Young and Sacramento Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez, according to people familiar with the matter.
Nurse has emerged as a strong candidate in the Suns and Milwaukee Bucks coaching searches, sources said. Nurse is one of three Milwaukee finalists, including Golden State associate head coach Kenny Atkinson and Toronto assistant Adrian Griffin, sources said. He also interviewed the Philadelphia 76ers, sources said.
The Suns are looking to replace former coach Monty Williams, who was fired after losing to the eventual conference champions Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals. The Suns are pitching with two of the league’s best players in Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.
Nurse’s five seasons as Toronto coach included a 2019 NBA title, a 2020 NBA Coach of the Year award, and a 227-163 (.582) record.
Rivers went 154-82 (.653) in three seasons, including 54 wins in 2022-23, the most by any franchise since the 2000-01 season. The Sixers were one of three teams in the top 10 for both offensive and defensive efficiency, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Rivers has won 16 straight years as a head coach.
Young has eight years as a G League coach, including head coaching positions with the Utah Flash, the Iowa Energy and the Delaware 87ers, and is gaining momentum as a head coach candidate with the Milwaukee Bucks and others this year. Toronto Raptors and Suns. Young has interviewed for head coaching positions with the Sixers, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards in recent seasons.
Fernandez played a key role in Michael Malone’s coaching staff for six seasons with the Nuggets before joining the Sacramento Kings as associate head coach under NBA Coach of the Year winner Mike Brown in 2022. . He is from Badalona, Spain.