Suns fire coach Watson after 0-3 start

October 23, 2017 - 7:03 PM
Jan 19, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Phoenix Suns head coach Earl Watson during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns didn’t waste any time making a coaching change.

Three games into the season, Earl Watson is out as coach and Jay Triano will replace him on an interim basis, the team announced Sunday night.

The Suns lost their first three games, the latest a 130-88 blowout on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.

The Suns’ 48-point loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday was the worst opening-night loss in NBA history.

Watson’s dismissal is the first firing of an NBA head coach since 2016.

It is the earliest a coach has been ousted during a season in league history. Mike Brown was fired by the Los Angeles Lakers five games into the 2012-13 season.

“I think that we have to become close as a team,” Watson lamented after the 42-point loss Saturday night. “We have to be real about it. We knew with a young team there was going to be adversity, but the part that’s most disappointing is the lack of unity.”

Watson lasted 118 games with the Suns and had a 33-85 record. Phoenix finished 24-58 last season. Watson was hired on an interim basis in 2016 after Jeff Hornacek was fired.

Triano was the associate head coach under Watson. He is expected to remain interim coach for the remainder of the season, ESPN reported.

In two-plus seasons as the head coach of the Toronto Raptors, Triano compiled an 87-142 record. He also has served as Canada’s national coach and for four years as an assistant for the Trail Blazers.

The Suns, who play the Sacramento Kings on Monday night in Phoenix, are undergoing a massive rebuilding project under general manager Ryan McDonough. The roster includes four rookies and four second-year players.

One of the Suns’ veterans, Eric Bledsoe, tweeted before the firing, “I Don’t wanna be here.”