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Suns fire head coach Jeff Hornacek, hire Earl Watson on interim basis

The Suns are in a tailspin, and their head coach didn't survive the season. Earl Watson will now take over.

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns have fired head coach Jeff Hornacek less than three years into his tenure with the team, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. Earl Watson, who was promoted last month when the Suns fired their top two assistants, will now slide over to the head position, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears.

The Suns confirmed the news of Hornacek's firing on Monday.

At 14-35, they Suns are currently nine games behind Portland for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference, a major disappointment for a club with postseason aspirations. They had an active offseason in which they added Tyson Chandler, nearly signed LaMarcus Aldridge and handed guard Brandon Knight a $70 million contract extension.

A promising start quickly went south despite the new additions. The Suns have lost 19 of their last 21 games, including a home loss to the 1-29 76ers on Dec. 26. Just two days later, management fired two of Hornacek's top assistants -- defensive coordinator Mike Longabardi and offensive coordinator Jerry Sichting.

A week later, Suns owner Robert Sarver spoke to the media and blamed the team's disastrous star on "millennial culture."

Hornacek was hired by Phoenix in May 2013 after a stint as an assistant coach with the Jazz. With him at the helm the Suns boosted their win total by 23 games, though their 48-34 record wasn't good enough to earn a postseason bid.

The following year, Phoenix won just 39 games. The Suns also sent starting point guard Goran Dragic to the Miami Heat in a three-team deal. They soon after traded for Knight as a replacement to play alongside Eric Bledsoe, but the pairing has yet to click the way Dragic and Bledsoe did in Hornacek's first season with the team.

Hornacek has also been forced to navigate a tricky situation with starting power forward Markieff Morris, who demanded a trade in the offseason after the franchise sent his brother to Detroit in a salary dump. Morris has struggled all season and was recently suspended two games for throwing a towel at Hornacek.

Hornacek, a one-time All-Star, who retired from the NBA in 2000, leaves Phoenix with a record of 101-112.