NBA

Former Phoenix Suns player Paul Westphal dies at age 70

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member and Phoenix Suns legend Paul Westphal died on Saturday at the age of 70.

Westphal had been diagnosed with brain cancer in August 2020.

Westphal anchored the Suns’ rotation between 1975-80, returned to finish his playing career in the 1983-84 season and then coached the team from 1992-1995.

He won an NBA title with the Celtics in 1974 in his second season, playing a key role off the bench. But his career really took off when he was traded to Phoenix, where his scoring average more than doubled — to 20.5 per game — as he helped lead the Suns to their first NBA Finals appearance in 1976.

“Westy will forever be remembered as a prominent Valley sports legend both on and off the court,” Suns managing partner Robert Sarver said in a statement Saturday. “He built an illustrious career as both a player and a coach. His legacy ranks among the most quintessential basketball icons of all time.

“Throughout the past 40 years, Westy has remained a great friend of the organization and as a trusted sounding board and confidant for me. His No. 44 will forever hold its place in our Ring of Honor, enshrined as one of the utmost deserving members.”

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