I’ve told him for a number of years that I think he’s a head coach in the NBA. It’s taken him some time to see himself that way because he’s just been focused on doing his job. —Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder on Igor Kokoskov
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz are in the midst of an intense first-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but assistant coach Igor Kokoskov has been multitasking.
Kokoskov has reportedly interviewed for the vacant Phoenix Suns head-coaching job.
Kokoskov, former Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Kevin McHale, and current San Antonio Spurs assistant James Borrego are serious candidates, according to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro.
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said he is happy to witness Kokoskov finally receive this recognition as a trusted sideline leader with this opportunity.
“I think Igor is capable of doing two things at once,” Snyder said. “It’s a credit to him. I’ve told him for a number of years that I think he’s a head coach in the NBA. It’s taken him some time to see himself that way because he’s just been focused on doing his job.”
Kokoskov, 46, is a longtime assistant who has spent 16 seasons in the NBA. He joined the Jazz staff in 2015 but also has experience with the Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers and the Suns.
He served as an assistant in Phoenix for five seasons from 2008-13, so the move would make sense. Kokoskov also has international experience as head coach of the Slovenian national team.
“I think he always knew he was talented but he’s very humble and I think this past summer he had an opportunity and got an experience that I think helped him grow even more and obviously he’s someone that I rely on and our whole staff does,” Snyder said. “So, it’s obviously deserving and something we’re excited about him having that opportunity whether it happens or not, I think people understand that he’s someone that’s going to be in consideration for jobs not just this year but as years to come.”
FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY: Jazz coach Quin Snyder’s path to becoming an NBA head coach included a 2007-10 stint in the NBA Development League — now G League — with the San Antonio Spurs' affiliate, Austin Toros. The G League recently announced that player salaries would increase for the 2018-19 season for a base salary of $7,000 per month or $35,000 for the five-month regular season, with opportunities to earn additional money and bonuses. Snyder called it “terrific” for the direction of the league.
“I think the development path is much clearer and there’s more resources devoted to it, and really the salary to me is a reflection of that process and its evolution,” Snyder said.