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Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN 33d

Suns name Jay Triano interim coach after Earl Watson fired

NBA, Phoenix Suns

After the firing of coach Earl Watson on Sunday, the Phoenix Suns promoted Jay Triano to interim head coach, the team announced late Sunday night.

Triano, 59, who served as associate head coach under Watson, was 87-142 in two-plus seasons (2008-11) as the Toronto Raptors' head coach. Triano was also the coach of the Canada national team.

The Suns play the Sacramento Kings on Monday night in Phoenix. There is an expectation that Triano will coach them for the rest of the regular season, league sources said.

The Suns dismissed three assistant coaches with Watson, including Nate Bjorkgren, Mehmet Okur and Jason Fraser, league sources said. Okur and Fraser were player development coaches, working mainly on skill development. Tyrone Corbin, who was a head coach with Utah and Sacramento, will be the top assistant under Triano.

"Thank you to my Suns family, the Phoenix community and everyone who has supported me through this journey," Watson said to ESPN. "Life has unpredictable pivots that I embrace humbly and with great purpose."

General manager Ryan McDonough and Watson were often at odds in their short partnership, league sources told ESPN. Owner Robert Sarver was a significant part of the decision to replace Watson so early in the season, league sources said.

Phoenix is one of the NBA's youngest teams, mired in a long rebuild, and it could be the worst team in the league this season.

Watson leaves with a 33-85 record. Watson replaced former Suns coach Jeff Hornacek as interim coach in 2016 and eventually was promoted to head coach for the start of the 2016-17 season. The Suns went 24-58 last season.

Watson had little coaching experience when he was made the Suns coach, with just a season in the D-League and another on the Suns' bench. He was a 13-year NBA veteran.

Around the time of Watson's firing, Suns guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted, "I Don't wanna be here."

The Suns lost 130-88 on Saturday night to the Los Angeles Clippers, dropping to 0-3. The franchise's opening night loss to Portland -- 124-76 -- was the biggest blowout loss in Suns history.

Phoenix has discussed Bledsoe in several trade scenarios in the past year but hasn't found a deal, league sources said. Bledsoe, 27, is averaging 15.7 points and three assists for the Suns this season.

ESPN's Chris Haynes contributed to this report. 

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