Steve Nash, D’Antoni among potential candidates for Suns’ vacancy

Would Steve Nash be a good fit as the next head coach of the Phoenix Suns?

The Jeff Hornacek era is over with the Phoenix Suns.

The club fired the head coach Monday morning in the midst of a disappointing season in which the Suns have lost 19 of its last 21 games— and their two best players, Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight.

Phoenix has one of the five worst records in the NBA and is headed for their sixth consecutive season without a playoff appearance.

So where do the Suns go from here?

The club is expected to name an interim coach as soon as Tuesday but it's safe to say the organization will be seeking a more permanent solution before the start of next season.

Here are three possible candidates for the head coaching vacancy:

Steve Nash: At first glance, Nash seems like a long shot but Chris Mannix of Yahoo! wrote Monday he expects the two-time MVP to surface as a contender for the opening.

"Intelligent and widely respected, Nash’s potential is seemingly limitless," Mannix wrote in his column.

Nash is considered to be one of the most popular players in franchise history and the hiring of the former all-star point guard could inspire the fan base.

The 41-year-old Canadian has a very strong relationship with owner Robert Sarver, according to Mannix, as evidenced by the two pairing up to buy the controlling interest of Spanish soccer club, Real Mallorca, last month.

It remains unclear if Nash has interest in coaching at the NBA level but he has been working in prominent jobs in the basketball world over the last several years. Nash has been the the general manager of the Canadian men's national basketball team since 2012 and is also currently employed as a part-time consultant for the Golden State Warriors.

Mike D'Antoni: If Sarver wants to reach back into the glory days of the Suns franchise, Mike D'Antoni would make some sense as the former Suns head coach was mentioned by ESPN's Marc Stein as a possible candidate, even before the job became available.

D'Antoni became a prominent figure in the NBA during his time with the Suns organization in the mid-2000s, accumulating a 253-136 (.650 winning percentage) over five seasons. He led Phoenix to four straight playoff appearances that included two trips to the Western Conference Finals.

D'Antoni, the NBA's Coach of the Year award winner in 2004-05, lead an innovative offensive attack that featured Nash, Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire and a handful of three point shooters but the 64-year-old coach has been unable to find similar success in head coaching stops with the New York Knicks (2008-12) and Los Angeles Lakers (2012-14).

Since D'Antoni left Phoenix, the organization has struggled to find a stable solution, going through a string of unsuccessful coaching stints that included Terry Porter, Alvin Gentry and Hornacek.

Tom Thibodeau: Thibodeau has no ties to the Suns organization, but it would be hard to imagine any team conducting a coaching search that did not include one of the brightest defensive minds in recent NBA history.

Thibodeau, 58, is one of the most accomplished coaches available. He posted a 255-139 (.647 winning percentage) over five seasons with the Chicago Bulls and was a key member of the Boston Celtics coaching staff that won a championship in 2007-09.

The Bulls made the playoffs in all five seasons that Thibodeau spent with the organization, but he was fired after was knocked out of the 2014-15 post-season due to a reported disconnect with the front office.

Thibodeau is expected to be in demand for several openings and teams such as the Brooklyn Nets could strongly consider hiring him.