Former Utah Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov is back on the job hunt after being dismissed as head coach by the Phoenix Suns last month.
Although some fans in Salt Lake City likely want to see him back on Quin Snyder’s bench, former Utah Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov has the goods to direct a team himself. And, in spite of his dismissal as the Phoenix Suns’ head coach last month, Kokoskov is still aiming to do just that, per a report.
According to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, the Serbian national — and first person born and raised outside of North America to be the top man on the sidelines for an NBA team — has interviewed with the Memphis Grizzlies for their open head coaching position.
Memphis relieved JB Bickerstaff of his head coaching duties at the conclusion of the 2018-19 campaign after his team finished 33-49 and failed to qualify for postseason play.
Now, Kokoskov joins a list of potential candidates that includes EuroLeague coach and former baller Sarunas Jasikevicius, as well as two coaches with Jazz ties. Namely, current Jazz assistant Alex Jensen and Golden State Warriors assistant Jarron Collins, who spent the better part of a decade in Utah as a player.
Speaking of Jensen, specifically, the former Utah Utes’ coaching profile has grown in recent years, particularly as his work with Rudy Gobert became instrumental in the Jazz center’s development into a bona fide star.
That said, Kokoskov also has a strong reputation for player development and boasts 18 years of experience in the league as an assistant, in addition to his run at the top with the Suns, where he finished with a 19-63 record.
In 2017, he led a young Luka Doncic and the Slovenian national team to a first-place finish and gold medal at EuroBasket. Who knows — had the Suns taken his former player (and likely 2019 Rookie of the Year) with the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, maybe Phoenix wins more games and he gets more of a chance to coach the team.
But I digress — Suns gon’ do what the Suns gon’ do, am I right?
Charles Barkley said it best on Inside The NBA last month: “I don’t know what kind of coach Igor was going to be, but I don’t think you should fire a coach after one year. And no, I’m not taking that dumpster-fire job.”