Kokoskov fired by Suns
One season was not enough for Igor Kokoskov to convince the Phoenix Suns that he was the man to lead the franchise into the future.
The Suns fired Kokoskov Monday night, ending the tenure of the NBA’s first European-born coach after one disappointing season. The Suns finished 19-63, worst in the Western Conference.
“After extensive evaluation, I determined it is best to move in a different direction with our head coaching position,” Suns GM James Jones said in a statement. “I want to thank Igor for his work this past season and wish him the best with his future endeavors.”
Kokoskov arrived in the desert with hopes of rebuilding a franchise coming off its second-worst record at 21-61. He was hired to replace Jay Triano, named interim coach after Earl Watson was fired last season.
The Suns entered the 2018-19 season with one of the NBA’s most dynamic scorers in Devin Booker and added the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 draft, big man Deandre Ayton.
Instead of a revitalizing season, the Suns continued to mire in mediocrity, missing the playoffs for the ninth straight season. Phoenix had a franchise-worst 17-game losing streak in 2018-19 and became the first team in the shot-clock era (1954-55) to be held under 10 points in the first quarter of consecutive games.
Jones became the full-time GM after the Suns removed the interim tag earlier this month and his first big move was to fire Kokoskov, an assistant with the franchise from 2008-13.
Chiefs acquire Clark from Seahawks
The Kansas City Chiefs acquired pass rusher Frank Clark from the Seattle Seahawks for a package of picks Tuesday, then quickly agreed with him on a five-year, $105 million contract, as they continue to overhaul their much-maligned defense.
The Chiefs sent the No. 29 overall pick in this year’s draft and a second-round pick in 2020 to Seattle, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The trade, first reported by the NFL Network, also includes a swap of third-round picks in this year’s draft. That means the Chiefs will move up eight spots on Friday night.
In a matter of days, the Chiefs fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, hired new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and began sifting through their personnel as they switched from a 3-4 to a 4-3 system.
They got rid of longtime safety Eric Berry and high-priced linebackers Justin Houston and Dee Ford, sending the latter to San Francisco for a second-round pick next year, and carved out enough cap space to find replacements. They signed safety Tyrann Mathieu, cornerback Bashaud Breeland, linebacker Damien Wilson and defensive end Alex Okafor in free agency, then traded safety Eric Murray to former GM John Dorsey and the Cleveland Browns for defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah.
Russo signs new deal
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo has signed a new four-year contract with SiriusXM, where he’s been since 2008 after leaving WFAN and his former partner Mike Francesa.
“Oh baby! Four more years, and I couldn’t be happier!” Russo said in a statement. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There’s no place, NO PLACE, better than SiriusXM to do the kind of show I want to do, with the freedom to talk about the topics that I want to cover and the listeners want to talk about. Now we’ll be reaching more fans than ever on SiriusXM and Pandora.”
Russo will continue to host his daily show, “Mad Dog Unleashed,” weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. on Mad Dog Sports Radio (channel 82 on SiriusXM). Selections from the show also are available in podcast form on Pandora. — CASEY MUSARRA