Suns History: Danny Ainge, 1992-95

In 1992, Suns President Jerry Colangelo wasted little time showing interest in unrestricted free agent guard Danny Ainge. At 12:01 a.m. on July 1, Ainge officially became an unrestricted free agent. Just a few minutes later, Colangelo made the call offering a one-time deal which would make Ainge the newest member of the Phoenix Suns.

His first year with Phoenix, Ainge - previously with Boston and Portland - enjoyed a successful ride as the Suns advanced all the way to the NBA Finals. His sharp shooting and aggressive play were both a staple with that Suns team, a team which featured all-time greats including Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle and Mark West. The trip to the Finals would prove to be Ainge's last, however, as he retired following Phoenix's elimination to the eventual champion Houston Rockets in 1995. He would leave the NBA a two-time champion and one of only three players (Dale Ellis and Reggie Miller) to have made 1,000 three pointers in his career. His time as a player with the Suns may have been through, but Ainge proved he still had something to offer the organization. After a brief stint as a color analyst for TNT, Ainge rejoined the Suns organization as an assistant coach.

Just eight games into the 1996-97 season, Ainge was promoted from Phoenix Suns assistant coach to head coach following a rocky 0-8 start. The former Toronto Bluejays draft pick not only turned the ballclub around, but even helped the organization qualify for the postseason. As a seventh seed, Phoenix pushed the defending-conference-champion Seattle SuperSonics to the brink but ultimately fell short losing in a decisive Game 5.

Over the next two seasons, Ainge would compile a 136-90 record with the Suns before stepping down on December 13, 1999 to return as a TNT analyst. This before returning to Boston, where he had captured two NBA Championships as a player, and taking on the role of Executive Director of Basketball Operations.

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