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Phoenix Suns land Vince Legarza to work as an assistant under Mike Budenholzer, sources say

The Phoenix Suns have landed Vince Legarza to work under new head coach Mike Budenholzer, sources inform The Arizona Republic.

Legarza was an assistant in Milwaukee in Budenholzer's final season there in 2022-23. The Bucks finished 58-24 to land the top seed in the East, but the eighth-seeded Miami Heat eliminated them in the first round.

Legarza wasn't retained as an assistant as the Bucks hired Adrian Griffin as their new head coach going into the 2023-24 season. Griffin was fired after a 30-13 start and replaced by Doc Rivers. Without injured Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks fell in the first round again, this time to the sixth-seeded Indiana Pacers.

The Suns hired Budenholzer to replace Frank Vogel, who was fired after one season as their head coach. Phoenix went 49-33 to land the sixth seed, but the Minnesota Timberwolves swept them in the first round of the 2024 playoffs. The Suns were the first team eliminated from the postseason.

Budenholzer agreed to a five-year deal for $50-plus million as he’ll be the third head coach for the Suns in three seasons.

The Suns didn’t retain any assistants from Vogel’s staff and are having a tough time filling out a new coaching staff, sources have informed The Republic. They’re still paying Vogel as he signed a five-year deal with the Suns for $31 million last summer.

There are also NBA head coach openings that'll likely factor into where assistant coaches may land. The Los Angeles Lakers fired Darvin Ham, a former assistant under Budenholzer in Atlanta and Milwaukee, and the Cleveland Cavaliers parted ways with J.B. Bickerstaff.

Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Vince Legarza coaches a player before the Bucks’ open scrimmage Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, at Fiserv Forum in Downtown Milwaukee. Ebony Cox / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Vince Legarza coaches a player before the Bucks’ open scrimmage Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, at Fiserv Forum in Downtown Milwaukee. Ebony Cox / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Legarza was an assistant with the Utah Jazz for four seasons (2018-22) and a player development coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves for three seasons (2015-18).

He started his NBA coaching career in player development under Budenholzer in Budenholzer’s first two seasons (2013-15) as head coach with the Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta won 60 games that 2014-15 season when Budenholzer won the first of two NBA Coach of the Year honors.

The Hawks reached the Eastern Conference finals before losing to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games in the 2015 playoffs.

From San Francisco, the 6-9 Legarza played college ball at Miami (Ohio) University.

Have opinions about the current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, at @DuaneRankin.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Phoenix Suns land Vince Legarza to work under Mike Budenholzer