UPDATE: The Suns and Hornacek have made it official, he is now the team’s head coach.
Former NBA guard and current Utah Jazz assistant coach Jeff Hornacek has been offered the Phoenix Suns’ head coaching job. Hornacek spent the first six seasons of his 14-year NBA career with the Suns and remains extremely popular in Phoenix, so the hire will likely sit well with locals.
The Suns and Hornacek are reportedly working this weekend to finalize a contract and all signs point to both sides being eager to get a deal done quickly. Hornacek has even reportedly started putting together a coaching staff.
Hornacek, who lives in Phoenix during the offseason, met with new Suns general manager Ryan McDonough, team president Lon Babby and owner Robert Sarver this past week. It was clear from the outset that both sides were a match, since Hornacek would be the kind of guy who will prefer to build through the draft rather than spend freely on the free agent marker. The Suns are keen to adopt that approach.
Phoenix also met with Houston Rockets assistant J.B. Bickerstaff and former interim coach Lindsey Hunter. The organization had also been granted permission to meet with Los Angeles Lakers assistant Steve Clifford.
Hornacek had interviewed for the Charlotte Bobcats’ vacant head coaching position, but the Phoenix job was clearly the one he wanted.
Hornacek broke into the NBA when the Suns drafted him out of Iowa State with the 46th pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. He eventually left Phoenix in 1992 and spent two seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, before moving on to Utah from 1994-2000 when he retired.
He was an All-Star with the Suns in 1991, won two Three-Point Shootout titles (1998 and 2000) and his No. 14 has been retired by the Jazz.
Hornacek is probably one of the most underrated guards of all-time, but playing next to John Stockton and Karl Malone will do that to you. For his career he averaged 14.5 points, 4.9 assists and 1.43 steals per game. He was a tenacious defender, dead-eye shooter and without him the Jazz wouldn’t have been nearly as good as they were during the mid-to-late 1990s.
Now the Suns will get the benefit of his knowledge on their bench and I’d be shocked if he didn’t turn out to be an excellent head coach in the NBA.