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#pounditMonday, January 24, 2022

Earl Watson focused on Suns, not UCLA job

Earl Watson

Earl Watson says he is focused on improving the Phoenix Suns amid rumors connecting him to the UCLA basketball job.

UCLA is currently led by Steve Alford, who is in his fourth — and by far most successful — season as head coach of the Bruins. Rumors have tied Alford to the Indiana head coaching vacancy considering how much of an icon he is in the state and his history as a Hoosiers player.

If Alford leaves for Indiana, many think Watson, a former Bruins player, could be a candidate for the Bruins job. Watson was asked about the UCLA job on Tuesday and told the Arizona Republic he is focused on the Suns.

“I’m more focused on creating value for our (organization), to give management and ownership many options to build a championship contender here,” Watson said via Doug Haller. “What I mean by that is, building the value of the young players so that their value and their game and their confidence give them the option to be financially secure in this league when they become free agents; giving our ownership the option to build around them or give ownership and management the option to make moves because their value is so high to put us in contention quicker. That’s all I can do is build value. The winning will happen. There’s a lot of questions with our program, but one thing I do realize is these players are playing amazing for their age. I love them, they’re like my little brothers. My main focus is here.”

Watson, 37, played four seasons at UCLA and was a first-team all-conference point guard. He went on to enjoy a 13-year NBA career. He got into coaching in 2014, starting off in the D-League and then moving up to become an assistant with the Suns in 2015. He became the team’s interim head coach last year and then was made the official head coach.


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