National Basketball Association notebook

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Phoenix fires Hornacek
The struggling Phoenix Suns sacked their head coach Jeff Hornacek on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) and replaced him with assistant coach Earl Watson.

The 36-year-old Watson was named interim head coach of the Suns who have lost 19 of their past 21 NBA games and have a dismal 14-35 record. Only three teams have worse records this season, the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets.

The Suns are on pace for the worst season since the inaugural season of the franchise, when the team was a hapless 16-66.

The 52-year-old Hornacek was hired in May 2013, returning to the franchise with whom he spent his first half dozen pro seasons as a player. In two-plus seasons as head coach, Hornacek posted a 101-112 record.


Watson joined the Suns as an assistant coach in the offseason. He played 13 seasons in a career that concluded in 2014.

Canadian Steve Nash was the first choice of Suns owner Robert Sarver to replace Hornacek, but the club’s all-time assists leader passed on a full-time coaching job. Nash, who runs a chain of successful fitness centers in his native British Columbia, is an assistant for the Golden State Warriors.

Suns hope McRae magic rubs off
Jordan McRae’s record-setting 61-point outburst for the Delaware 87ers in a 130-123 D-League overtime win over the Canton Charge has earned the 24-year-old a call-up to the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns have signed the guard to a 10-day contract.

McRae’s 61 points last week against the Charge were a Development League record. He made 21-of-34 shots and 16-of-18 free throws.

He was averaging 23 points a game – third in the D-League in scoring.

In 2014, the San Antonio Spurs chose McRae in the second round of the draft. He was traded to Philadelphia on draft night. He also played professionally in Australia in 2014-15 for the Melbourne United.

Warriors’ new digs get a name
The Golden State Warriors’ new San Francisco arena isn’t set to open for more than three years, but it now has a name after officials reached a 20-year naming-rights deal with financial giant JP Morgan Chase.

The 18,000-seat facility will be called the Chase Center and is scheduled to open for the 2019-20 regular season.

No financial details were given but the US media puts the price at between $15 million to $20 million annually.

Naming deals aren’t usually finalized until construction is well underway on an arena. But securing the deal now could give potential lenders added confidence.

The project does face hurdles, notably from two lawsuits filed by a group that opposes the project.

The new arena will see the Warriors move from Oakland across the bay to San Francisco.

Pistons target water crisis
Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores is heading a campaign to raise $10 million to address the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where cost-cutting measures have led to a high lead levels in the public drinking water. Gores is a native of Flint.

The private sector initiative will fund a broad range of short- and long-term initiatives.

AFP

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