We told you this was coming over the weekend, but Tuesday it became official — Jeff Hornacek is the new head coach of the Phoenix Suns.
He takes over for Lindsey Hunter, who took over for Alvin Gentry, both of whom were let go (Gentry 41 games into the season). This is a hire that should go over well with the fan base — Hornacek was an All-Star Suns player who was very popular in Phoenix, and he still lives in the city in the off-season.
This is a job all about player development — the Suns are not going to be good next season, but they can start to put in a foundation of energy and style of play to build on as they acquire talent. That is Hornacek’s job — more teacher than just coach. But look for the Suns to be an up-tempo team.
This was the first big move for new Suns GM Ryan McDonough (who was hired just weeks ago out of the Celtics organization).
“I knew he was working with Utah, at first working with players on their shooting, and then his role expanded over the past few years, to the point where he is an assistant coach on the bench,” McDonough said in an interview on the Suns official Web site. “He helped with all aspects of their operation, including scouting and drawing up plays. For a guy who has not yet been a head coach in the NBA, he has a very diverse skillset, and a lot of experience that he brings to the Suns, so I am thrilled that he is going to be our next head coach…
“Another thing that we were really looking for, was a big-time development guy, who could make our players better, both those players that we have on our roster now and the players that we’re going to bring in in the future. Jeff got rave reviews with his on-court work with players in Utah.”
Hornacek reportedly got a three-year, $6 million deal with the third year at the team’s option.
Things aren’t pretty with the Minnesota Timberwolves right now. The team is still trying to figure out what to do with Jimmy Butler, and a willing trade partner doesn’t seem available at the moment.
But that doesn’t mean that the Timberwolves can’t still look good.
On Tuesday, some of Minnesota’s alternate uniforms for this season leaked on Reddit. They of course made their way to Twitter, and they have a very specific theme: “Purple Rain”.
The jerseys are of course based on Prince’s iconic 1984 album/film combo. Prince, a Minneapolis native, passed away in 2016.
Meanwhile the Wolves may be bad, but at least their uniforms will rock.
DETROIT (AP) — Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons is out Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons because of back tightness.
76ers coach Brett Brown says Simmons is questionable for Wednesday at Milwaukee after he left Saturday’s game in the first quarter against Orlando and did not return. Brown says Simmons wasn’t fully comfortable and that resting him Tuesday boosted the chances he could play Wednesday.
Simmons, the 2017-18 Rookie of the Year, was averaging 16.0 points, 14.0 rebounds and 9.5 assists in the first two games before playing just eight minutes Saturday.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — A museum is being planned to tell the story of basketball great Larry Bird, an Indiana native.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Saturday that the museum will be located in a new convention center that’s being built in Terre Haute in western Indiana. The Tribune-Star reports Bird plans to donate personal items and memorabilia from his career with the Boston Celtics, Indiana State University, the U.S. Olympic team and beyond.
Holcomb predicts the museum will be a global draw, describing Bird as “Larry the Legend – Indiana’s favorite son.”
Details about the museum are still being developed, but plans include interactive displays to detail Bird’s life and career. He won three NBA championships with the Celtics.
Construction on the convention center is expected to start in the spring.
Kris Dunn is trying to convince the Bulls he can be their long-term point guard.
This won’t help.
Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago:
Dunn will still have plenty of time to show he’s continuing his progress from last season. But this narrows the window to prove himself before becoming extension-eligible next offseason.
Dunn’s injury also increases the chances Chicago (0-3) will have its pick of point guards in the draft next year. In the meantime, the Bulls will turn to a hodgepodge of Cameron Payne, Ryan Arcidiacono, Tyler Ulis and now Shaquille Harrison.