Earl Watson Rumors
Watson started Jackson at power forward. Effort waned. Players whispered that Watson, always encouraging, seemed to let guys stay on the floor through too many mistakes. They wondered about accountability, sources say, and that has become a buzzword up and down the organization under Triano. (Watson declined comment.)
Devin Booker was napping when an earthquake struck the Suns. At 1:44 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on Oct. 22, Eric Bledsoe sent his now-infamous tweet about wanting out of either Phoenix, or a hair salon — or, hell, maybe both. Sixty-eight minutes later, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news: The Suns had fired Earl Watson, their head coach. Booker was still sleeping. “I woke up,” he says, “to everything. It was crazy.”
Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough admits that, in hindsight, he should have considered outside candidates before hiring Earl Watson as head coach. Watson replaced Jeff Hornacek in 2015-16, going 9-24 before the Suns removed the interim tag in April without conducting an interview process to consider other candidates. “As far as the procedure goes and the process goes, yes, I think we probably should have gone through a more extensive interview process,” McDonough said Wednesday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo show. “Some people said that at the time. Robert and I take and accept that criticism, and I think we’ll learn from that going forward.”
In the end, according to a person familiar with the team’s dynamics, Watson had grown increasingly insular and isolated. His listless team opened the season by allowing 386 points in its first three games, including a 124-76 home loss to Portland on opening night, the worst in franchise history.
Triano’s style is different from that of former coach Earl Watson. When Watson sensed that Chriss was unhappy not being in the starting lineup for the season opener against the Lakers, he took him out to dinner the next night and told him, “I love you.”