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Phoenix Suns fire coach Igor Kokoskov

Tuesday 23 April 2019 07:34, UK

Head Coach Igor Kokoskov of the Phoenix Suns looks on against the Dallas Mavericks on April 9, 2019 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Image: Igor Kokoskov was the first European-born head coach in NBA history when appointed by the Suns

The Phoenix Suns fired Kokoskov Monday night, ending the tenure of the NBA's first European-born coach after one disappointing season.

"After extensive evaluation, I determined it is best to move in a different direction with our head coaching position," Suns GM James Jones said in a statement.

"I want to thank Igor for his work this past season and wish him the best with his future endeavors."

Kokoskov arrived in the desert with hopes of rebuilding a franchise coming off its second-worst record at 21-61. He was hired to replace Jay Triano, named interim coach after Earl Watson was fired last season.

The Suns entered the 2018-19 season with one of the NBA's most dynamic scorers in Devin Booker and added the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 draft, big man Deandre Ayton.

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Instead of a revitalising season, the Suns continued to mire in mediocrity, missing the playoffs for the ninth straight season.

Phoenix had a franchise-worst 17-game losing streak in 2018-19 and became the first team in the shot-clock era (1954-55) to be held under 10 points in the first quarter of consecutive games.

The Suns finished 19-63 in Kokoskov's only season in the desert, worst in the Western Conference.

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Jones became the full-time GM after the Suns removed the interim tag earlier this month and his first big move was to fire Kokoskov, an assistant with the franchise from 2008-13.

Now, Phoenix is in limbo again, searching for its fifth coach in five seasons.

The Serbian Kokoskov spent 18 seasons as an NBA assistant before becoming a head coach, including stints with Utah, Orlando Cleveland, Detroit and the Los Angeles Clippers. He also was the head coach of the Georgia national team from 2008-15 and led Slovenia to its first EuroBasket title in 2017.

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