Jerry Sichting Rumors
The chaos in Phoenix cost former Celtics assistant coach Mike Longabardi his job, along with ex-Celtic Jerry Sichting, another assistant. Ownership spared coach Jeff Hornacek, but look out for former WNBA coach and Suns assistant Corey Gaines, who led the Phoenix Mercury to a WNBA championship. Gaines and former NBA point guard Earl Watson are now Hornacek’s top assistants.
After owner Robert Sarver and general manager Ryan McDonough met with starting players and coaching staff on Sunday, management has fired two assistant coaches close to head coach Jeff Hornacek, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The Suns fired top assistant, Mike Longabardi, along with Jerry Sichting on Sunday night, and Hornacek’s future is teetering on the brink, league sources said. Hornacek was adamantly against the dismissal of his staff, but appears that he’ll decide to continue on the job, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Ownership and management have been reluctant to fire Hornacek, affording him every chance to work the team out of its struggles, league sources said. Nevertheless, the firing of the assistant coaches was a shot close to Hornacek. Another assistant coach, Earl Watson, will move into a more prominent role on the Suns staff. Nate Bjorkman also was promoted with Watson.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Suns, despite the organization’s well-known fondness for Hornacek, have been forced to contemplate a coaching change far sooner than they hoped because of a slide that has dropped them to 12-20 and 11th in the Western Conference. There is also a growing fear within the organization that the team is no longer responding to its head coach.