The Dallas Mavericks are on the verge of hiring Igor Kokoskov to join Jason Kidd’s coaching staff, sources confirmed to ESPN.
Kokoskov, who has two decades of NBA experience (including a one-season stint as the Phoenix Suns‘ head coach), has a strong relationship with Mavs superstar Luka Doncic stemming from his time coaching the Slovenian national team. Kokoskov coached Slovenia for two years, culminating with the EuroBasket 2017 title, when Doncic and Goran Dragic led the nation to its first championship in that event.
Kokoskov returned to Europe last season to coach Turkish power Fenerbahce, which announced Tuesday that they have agreed to part ways with the coach upon his request. Fenerbahce’s statement cited Kokoskov’s desire to return to the NBA and accept an offer from the Mavs.
Kokoskov, 49, a native of Serbia, became the first non-American to be a full-time NBA assistant coach when he joined Alvin Gentry’s staff with the LA Clippers in 2000. He has also served as an assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons, Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings, winning a championship ring with the Pistons in 2004.
The Suns made Kokoskov the first person born and raised outside of North America to be an NBA head coach, too, when they hired him in 2018. He was fired after Phoenix’s 19-63 season in 2018-19.