Preferring to look forward on the day Mike D’Antoni officially resigned to become the new coach of the New York Knicks, Suns general manager Steve Kerr is working the phones and seeking permission from teams to speak with possible candidates to lead his veteran team.
“What’s done is done,” Kerr said. “Now we have to find a coach.”
Kerr said he’s already received several unsolicited calls from those who would like to be considered and feels that with Dallas and New York having settled on Rick Carlisle and D’Antoni that the field will be open with just Phoenix and the Chicago Bulls looking for candidates.
“Myself and (operations chief) David Griffin will be on the phones, setting up interviews and moving the process along,” Kerr said. “I’m not going to speculate on any names until I have a clear picture of who’s available and who’s interested.”
Money shouldn’t be a big problem. The Suns are free and clear of the $8.5 million they owed D’Antoni for the next two years and might have saved even more than that since coaching contracts don’t expire until July 1 and D’Antoni resigned Sunday.
The Bulls and Suns might have several names on both of their lists, including Boston assistant coach Tom Thibodeau and broadcaster and longtime NBA point guard Mark Jackson, who lost out to D’Antoni for the Knicks job. Kerr said Sunday that he is likely to want to talk to coaches who, like Thibodeau, are currently still involved in the playoffs.
D’Antoni left the Valley on Sunday for New York, with his introduction likely coming Tuesday or Wednesday.
Outside of Dan D’Antoni, it is unclear what members of the Suns’ coaching staff will join Mike D’Antoni in New York. It’s not inconceivable that Alvin Gentry, Phil Weber or Jay Humphries could remain with the Suns — Gentry as a possible head coaching candidate — but the incoming coach would have the most input on that.
Several other members of the organization could be in the coaching mix, including broadcasters Eddie Johnson and Dan Majerle and assistant general manager Vinny Del Negro. Two other ex-Suns might be part of the mix: longtime coach Paul Silas and Utah special assistant coach Jeff Hornacek.