The Phoenix Suns have added three assistants to head coach Monty Williams’ staff and have targeted two more, according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein.
Phoenix is close to hiring Oklahoma City Thunder assistant Darko Rajakovic and has pursued Golden State Warriors assistant Willie Green. The Athletic’s Shams Charania added Tuesday that the Suns offered a lead assistant role to Green and were hopeful he will accept once the Warriors’ season ends after their NBA Finals run.
Stein also confirmed a day-old report from NBA reporter Peter Vecsey, who said Phoenix had already hired Steve Blake and Randy Ayers. Stein added that Mark Bryant was also already added to the staff.
Rajakovic coached overseas before joining the Tulsa 66ers in the D-League from 2012-14. He was promoted to the Thunder staff in 2014 under then head-coach Scott Brooks and worked with Williams under current Oklahoma City head coach Billy Donovan in 2015-16.
Green, who spent 12 years in the NBA, played under Williams in New Orleans for the 2010-11 season. Green spent his his first seven seasons in Philadelphia before joining the Hornets and then played for the Hawks and Clippers before ending his career with the Magic.
In August of 2016, Green was added to Steve Kerr’s staff in Golden State. Green is in his third season coaching for the Warriors.
Ayers is most well-known for his eight seasons coaching Ohio State basketball, in which he led the Buckeyes to two NCAA Tournament appearances, including Sweet 16 and Elite Eight berths. He served as the 76ers head coach for 52 games during the 2003-04 season and is currently a scout for the Brooklyn Nets.
Ayers coached under Williams in New Orleans in two different stints from 2010-15. Prior to that, Ayers coached Williams, a former player, as assistant and head coach in Philadelphia from 2002-03.
A sharp-shooter during his career, Blake was hired by the Trail Blazers as a coaching intern in 2017, the same team which he had three stints with throughout his playing days. He started in the coaching ranks after retiring from the Sydney Kings in Australia’s NBL. The Suns will be Blake’s first full-time coaching job.
Blake played for eight teams in 13 seasons in the NBA, last appearing in a Detroit Pistons uniform during the 2016-17 season.
Bryant, who played for Phoenix from 1996-99, was a teammate of Williams’ on the Sixers in part of the 2002 season and crossed paths with Williams on the Thunder. He has been an assistant with the Oklahoma City franchise since 2007, when it was in Seattle.
Williams was hired on May 3 by the Suns to replace the fired Igor Kokoskov, who lasted only one season in Phoenix and produced a 19-63 record.
Along with firing Kokoskov, the Suns let go of the remainder of the coaching staff.