In the aftermath of an 0-3 start to the season — including a pair of dismal 40-plus point losses — the Phoenix Suns have wasted no time making their first change. Head Coach Earl Watson has been fired by the club after amassing a 33-85 record in 118 games at the helm. The news was first broken by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter:
Phoenix coach Earl Watson has been fired, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 22, 2017
Report: Earl Watson Fired as Phoenix Suns Head Coach
Three games into the season is usually considered too early to make a coaching change. Considering the fashion with which Phoenix lost those games, though, something needed to be done. The Suns were embarrassed by the Portland Trail Blazers on opening night with a franchise-worst 48-point margin of defeat. They then fell to the Los Angeles Clippers by 42 on Saturday.
The Suns upper management has been fully invested in the team’s rebuilding process. They showed patience the past couple of seasons as their young core players have developed. But the lack of progress shown in those two contests was evidently more than the front office was willing to accept.
Watson’s Time with the Suns
Watson took over the reigns as Head Coach on an interim basis in February of the 2015-16 season. Phoenix removed the interim tag from Watson last season, leading the Suns to a 24-58 record. As the second-youngest Head Coach in the NBA, Watson developed a strong reputation for prioritizing the development of a young Suns group that includes Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, Tyler Ulis, and Josh Jackson. Patience with Watson was contingent on the team being competitive; however, the pair of embarrassing performances were Watson’s final straw.
The Search for a New Coach
Phoenix will now be tasked with beginning the search process for a new Head Coach in advance of their next game on Monday versus the Sacramento Kings. It is likely Associate Head Coach Jay Triano will take on an interim Head Coaching role in the meantime. As of now, that has not been confirmed by the club.