Just hours after canning Jeff Hornacek the Suns have zeroed in on the man they'd ideally want to replace him long-term. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Phoenix owner Robert Sarver has a "strong interest" in bringing Steve Nash back to Phoenix and making him the team's head coach. Nash, who's currently the general manager of the Canadian National Team and a part-time consultant for the Golden State Warriors, has thus far rebuffed Sarver's offer, according to Stein.
If he were to accept the job, Nash would take over a struggling team that has fallen apart after having playoff aspirations early this season. The team's latest loss on Sunday night in Dallas was apparently the last straw for Sarver, who fired Hornacek after the Suns landed in Phoenix Sunday night.
The Suns have yet to name an interim head coach, though it's expected to be either Corey Gaines or Earl Watson, both of whom were promoted last month after management elected to fire two of Hornacek's top assistants.
Nash remains close with Sarver, according to Stein, but so far seems wary about the time commitment that being a head coach requires.
Why it makes sense for Nash to take the job
If Nash is indeed interested in becoming a head coach, it's hard to imagine him getting a much better opportunity. He is a team legend who is incredibly well-liked in the area. As Yahoo! Sports' Chris Mannix writes, "a write-your-own-ticket offer from Phoenix ... could be too appealing to pass up."
The Suns have been dreadful this year, but the cupboard is far from bare. Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe are both talented point guards whom Nash can help shape. Alex Len has shown flashes and is still just 22. Devin Booker is already a lights-out shooter and he's still a teenager. The Suns also have cap room, multiple future draft picks from the Heat and will likely be picking at the top of the draft this summer.
An incoming coach can't ask for much more than that. Phoenix would be able to play the up-tempo style that Nash enjoys. He'd also come back to a hero's welcome and would have an incredible amount of job security.
Why it doesn't make sense for Nash to take the job
Because retirement is a nice thing. Nash now gets to spend the majority of his days with his two daughters and working on whatever he wants. There's no media in his face every day and no locker room headaches. Why would he want to jump back into the world that he just recently left?
Even his current gigs are extremely part-time. The Warriors, a team full of Nash's friends, had to "lobby hard" to get him to take a consulting job, one where he only spends a few days every month with the team, according to Stein. If working with a bunch of friends and for the league's best team wasn't something that interested him, then there's no reason to believe he'd be happy in a much bigger role in Phoenix.
None of that even touches on the Suns' current mess. Yes, there's some talent there, but it's hard to think of a single decision that Sarver and general manager Ryan McDonough have made over the past two years that has worked out. That doesn't seem like a situation the happily retired Nash would want attack head-on.
Sarver could push all he wants, but according to Stein's reporting, Nash has no interest in joining the league's coaching ranks. Perhaps Sarver could coax his former star into accepting a front office position, but a job on the bench seems out of the question.