The Dallas Mavericks are looking to hire Igor Kokoskov, head coach of Fenerbahçe and former Suns head coach, as reported by Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer and confirmed by Mark Stein.
The Dallas Mavericks are targeting Fenerbahce head coach Igor Kokoskov to join Jason Kidd’s coaching staff, per league sources. Kokoskov won EuroBasket 2017 with Luka Doncic as the Slovenian national team head coach.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) July 15, 2021
Tangible optimism now that Dallas will be able to secure the release of Igor Kokoskov from his Fenerbahce contract to hire him as an assistant coach and reunite him with Luka Doncic, sources say.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 15, 2021
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Dallas Mavericks’ fan may already know the name Igor Kokoskov via his connection to Luka Doncic. Kokoskov was the head coach of the Cinderella Slovenian national team that won the 2017 Eurobasket gold medal. It was a Slovenian team that featured both Doncic and his Slovenian countryman, Goran Dragic. After winning the gold, Dragic added to Luka’s pre-draft hype, saying “Mark my words, he’s going to be one of the best in the whole world.”
Kokoskov spent the years from 2000 to 2018 working as an assistant coach for a multitude of teams, including the Pistons (where he was part of the 2004 Championship team), Clippers, Suns, Cavaliers, and Magic.
He finally took the NBA head coaching reins in Phoenix for the 2018-19 season — notable in that he only held the position for a year, and in that year, the Suns passed on drafting Doncic, the superstar he spent the summer coaching to a gold medal.
After his head coaching stint with the Suns, Kokoskov spent time as an assistant once more with the Kings under Luke Walton before accepting a head coaching spot with the Turkish league basketball power Fenerbahçe. If Dallas is to add him to their coaching staff, he’ll need to be released from that contract.
Reading into the move a little bit, it feels like the kind of Luka-centered move that many have been asking for during this front office shakeup. A single report mentioning Luka’s fondness for former assistant, now Magic head coach, Jahmal Mosley had many among MFFL Twitter rocketing Mosley to the top of their coaching choices. Mosley has made a reputation for himself as a coach very well-liked by players around the league, so there’s no reason to assume Luka wouldn’t take a shine to him as well. But more than any singular coach, Luka is motivated most by winning, and that’s likely what Kokoskov will represent to him in the locker room. Luka made the All-Tournament team under Kokoskov during Slovenia’s gold medal run.
Adding an arguably over-qualified assistant coach has become somewhat of a popular move lately. Most notably with Mike D’Antoni joining Steve Nash in Brooklyn, but also with Kenny Atkinson with the Clippers, and Mike Brown in Golden State. Obviously, the bigger hope is that Kidd has picked up a thing or two since his last head coaching stop in Milwaukee, but having another impressive basketball mind like Kokoskov in the room can’t hurt, so long as everyone’s ego’s stay in check.
Kokoskov’s potential addition will also presumably add a shot in the arm of those hope-casting Goran Dragic to the Mavs. Nothing’s official, but that won’t stop the gears from spinning in the minds of the ever-active Dallas fanbase.