After losing to the Denver Nuggets, the current favorite to win the NBA championship, in the second round of the NBA Playoffs, the Phoenix Suns fired head coach Monty Williams. This comes just one year after he was named the NBA's Coach of the Year.
The Suns' coaching job will be one of the most desired gigs in the NBA this offseason, considering Phoenix has Kevin Durant and Devin Booker on its roster. Thanks to a slew of other high-profile head coach firings around the league, there's also no shortage of quality candidates available to fill the Suns' opening.
With lots of quality options, let's take a look at what we think the odds are for some of the most likely candidates to be the Suns' next head coach. While you likely can't find these NBA odds on the best sports betting sites, it's fun to consider who we might make a $100 wager on.
|Suns Coaching Candidate||Odds|
2023 NBA Firings Atop Suns Coaching Candidates Odds
Nick Nurse (+150), Mike Budenholzer (+250), and Doc Rivers (+2000) were all fired after their respective teams were eliminated from the 2023 NBA Playoffs. All three have won NBA titles, which is something the Suns have yet to do in its franchise history.
Nurse coached the Toronto Raptors to a title in 2019 and was named Coach of the Year in 2020, but he was let go last month after Toronto missed the playoffs by losing to the Bulls in the NBA play-in tournament.
Budenholzer is the second-likeliest coach to be hired by the Suns, according to the odds. He was fired after the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks lost to the No. 8-seed Miami Heat in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Budenholzer did however coach the Bucks to a title in 2021, defeating the Williams-coached Suns in the NBA Finals.
Rivers has less recent success than Nurse or Budenholzer, which is why his odds of getting the job are significantly longer. He coached the 2008 Boston Celtics superteam to a championship, made another trip to the NBA Finals with Boston in 2010, and reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2012. Since then, no Rivers-coached team has made it past the second round, despite him presiding over plenty of talent with the Celtics, Clippers, and 76ers.
Coaches Under Contract Make Sense As Suns Head Coach
There have been rumblings that Tyronn Lue (+500), who coached the Cavaliers to a championship in 2016, is unhappy that the Clippers' stars are rarely healthy. But he'd have to leave from LA first before Phoenix could pursue him. If Lue becomes available, he should be a top option for the Suns.
Jason Kidd (+2400) is another Suns head coaching candidate that would first have to leave his current job to land in the desert. Kidd created some friction with Dallas' front office when he admitted he got orders to tank late in the season, but having played for Phoenix during his Hall of Fame career, there's clearly a potential fit here.
Booker Endorses Kevin Young For Suns Coach Job
Kevin Young (+1000) is probably the least familiar name on this list. Young has been in the Suns organization since 2020, starting as an assistant coach and then spending the past two seasons as the team's associate head coach under Williams. Booker endorsed Young, giving him a boost above some other big-time names on the odds board.
Could Izzo-Ishbia Connection Bring NCAA Lifer To NBA?
Tom Izzo (+5000) is an interesting one, with a connection to the Suns' new owner Mat Ishbia. Izzo coached Ishbia, who was a walk-on for Michigan State 2000 National Championship team. The 68-year-old Michigan State head coach has done all there is to do at the NCAA level; he's won the NCAA Tournament, has made eight Final Fours, and was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. While it's unclear if Izzo would have any interest in the Suns' opening, his connection to the new owner makes him a worthy longshot candidate.
Suns Legends Return To Phoenix As Next Head Coach
Steve Nash (+7500) coached Durant and the Nets from 2020 to 2022, but he's better known as a two-time MVP from his playing days in Phoenix. While his stint in Brooklyn didn't go as planned, Nash is a name that keeps popping up, given his connection to the Suns and Durant.
Two more Suns legends, Amar'e Stoudemire (+10000) and Mike D'Antoni (+1500), are very different, but enticing options. Stoudemire played in Phoenix for the first eight years of his NBA career, and served as an assistant coach as well as a player development assistant for the Brooklyn Nets. D'Antoni previously coached Phoenix from 2003 to 2008 and his up-tempo style could work with the pieces already in place for the Suns.
With these odds, it's likely to be one of the top two choices in Nurse or Budenholzer, but betting on D'Antoni at 15-to-1 isn't a bad choice for sports bettors, or the Suns.