Phoenix Suns name Utah Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov as new head coach


The Phoenix Suns have finally ended their search for a new head coach after agreeing terms with Utah Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov to take the reigns.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the two parties came to an agreement on a three-year deal.

The Serbian native will become the first head coach in NBA history born and raised outside of North America, according to the Suns.

Kokoskov will continue in his role as assistant to Quin Snyder in Utah for the remainder of the season as they're currently involved in a second-round series with the Houston Rockets.

“We are thrilled to bring Valley resident Igor Kokoškov back to Arizona as head coach of the Phoenix Suns,” said General Manager Ryan McDonough, per the team's official website.

“Igor has been a pioneer throughout his basketball career and he brings a wealth of high-level coaching experience to our club.

"He was one of the first non-American born assistant coaches at both the NCAA and NBA levels and his most recent head coaching stint includes leading the Slovenian national team to the 2017 EuroBasket title, which was the first European title in the history of the country.

Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets - Game Two

"Igor’s teams have always had a player development focus, a creative style of play and a track record of success.”

Two players who were key to Slovenia's success in the summer, Goran Dragic and Luka Doncic, took to Twitter to congratulate their former national team head coach for his new role with Phoenix.

The 46-year-old has been an assistant coach in the league over the last 18 years, which included a five-year stint with the Suns between 2008-13.

Over that period he also had roles with the Los Angeles Clippers, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers and currently the Jazz.

Kokoskov will be tasked with building a winning team in Phoenix over the coming years after they suffered four straight losing seasons.

They have a talented young core led by the impressive Devin Booker and flanked by the likes of Josh Jackson and Dragan Bender.

Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns

With the Arizona-based franchise likely to secure the number one pick in this year's draft it'll be interesting to see if Kokoskov will push to land European prodigy Doncic after working with him during their EuroBasket success.

The 19-year-old Real Madrid star has already declared for the NBA and the excitement around him has been building all year.

But the Suns will have many options to choose from and can now look ahead to an intriguing offseason with a new head coach in place.

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