Two assistant coaches were not on the plane to Orlando with the Suns this summer. Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic confirmed with the team that Steve Blake and Larry Greer, each hired this year to join the Suns as part of Monty Williams’ staff, have been dismissed from the team permanently.
A tip of the hat to Rankin for noticing the discrepancy in that second screenshot, which is a page from the team’s media guide for the Orlando restart. Rankin later clarified in the comments of his initial tweet that the move was in fact permanent.
This is fairly surprising. Blake was among the most hands-on staff members, working with the young guards on the roster and often playing pickup games after practice with players looking to get a longer run than what practice had to offer. And Greer is an experienced coach at both the NBA and college level.
The team has not announced layoffs in the front office or business operations department related to the pandemic, but maybe it came down to money with Blake and Greer. Or more simply, maybe the team understands there may be a quick turnaround between 2019-20 and whatever next season brings, so they cut down their staff now rather than prolonging the inevitable.
The bulk of the coaching staff is still intact, with the three holdovers from Williams’ time in Oklahoma City, Darko Rajakovic, Mark Bryant and Billy Donovan Jr., still around. The overhauled training staff that replaced Aaron Nelson’s team is still in place as well. Even with these moves, it’s looking like the quietest year from a coaching and front office changeover standpoint in a while for the Suns.