Phoenix Suns make Earl Watson permanent full-time coach

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Earl Watson — the Phoenix Suns’ interim coach — gets to keep his job.

Watson was the guy the players wanted and was considered the front-runner, and now multiple reports have him keeping his job. Jude LaCava of Fox 10 in Phoenix was first with the story.

It has since been confirmed by the Suns.

“Earl did a very good job with our team last season after taking over as interim head coach during a challenging time for the organization,” Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough said in a statement. “Earl’s natural leadership qualities and his ability to connect with and motivate our players have stood out throughout his time here in Phoenix. We are excited to see what he can do with a healthy roster after having a full offseason to prepare.”

Watson is getting a three-season deal in the big chair, according to multiple reports.

Watson was just 9-24 after taking over mid-season for the fired Jeff Hornacek, but GM Ryan McDonough liked working with Watson and saw real potential. This was a roster that saw turmoil this season — the trading of Marcus Morris, which made his brother Markeiff Morris unhappy, and the two point guard experiment that never clicked — and Watson seemed to settle it down. That is why the players pushed for his return.

Now we’ll see what kind of roster he has to work with around Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Tyson Chandler (all of whom are on longer contracts).