Suns begin search for head coach; interim Jay Triano a candidate

The Phoenix Suns are beginning their search for a new head coach now, a process that will include interim coach Jay Triano, general manager Ryan McDonough told ESPN.

In a coaching market that could be expansive with openings this spring, the Suns want to get a start on connecting with available candidates now and leap into the rest of the coaching market in mid-April when the regular season ends, McDonough said.

Triano's agent, Warren LeGarie, requested that his client be able to prepare a formal presentation at the end of the season, away from the grind of the final weeks, LeGarie told ESPN. Triano prefers to make sure he's giving his undivided attention to the team, ahead of his aspirations to be eventually installed as the full-time coach.

McDonough said the Suns plan to be aggressive with trades and free agency this offseason, and he hopes that will make the job even more appealing. The team intends to build around a young core that includes Devin Booker, rookie Josh Jackson and forward TJ Warren. The Suns have three first-round picks in the June NBA draft and seven stockpiled over the next four years. Between salary-cap space, picks and young players who can be included in trades, McDonough is hopeful the team can dramatically reshape the roster.

"This is going to be a competitive marketplace," McDonough told ESPN. "There are three of us (Phoenix, Milwaukee and Memphis) with interim coaches in place, and we want to be able to hit the ground running. We don't want to have to wait until the end of the regular season for candidates who aren't with teams now. At the end of the regular season, we'll be able to talk with coaches on non-playoff teams and we'll need to work with playoff teams on what their approach will be on contacting (assistant) coaches still in the postseason."

After narrowly missing the playoffs in 2014 and 2015 under McDonough, the Suns have gone into a full rebuild the past two-plus seasons.

Triano had been the associate head coach under Earl Watson, who was fired three games into this season. Triano was 87-142 (.380) in three seasons as coach of the Toronto Raptors, ending in 2011.