There are a lot of coaching interview rumors right now — basically the same handful of guys interviewing for every open job while those fan bases dream of Phil Jackson and Stan Van Gundy.
What follows is a wrap up of the weekend news from the coaching searches going on.
• The Suns are going to interview Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson for their head coaching spot, reports CBSSports. For those of you scoring at home Sampson has also spoken to the Sixers, Bobcats, Bucks and Hawks.
• The Suns also reportedly are interested in Quin Snyder.
• Oklahoma City assistant coach Maurice Cheeks is on the Pistons radar and was interviewed for the job, according to the Detroit Free Press.
• Here is the handy list from that same interview of guys who have interviewed or will soon in Detroit: Nate McMillan, Lindsey Hunter, Mike Budenholzer, J.B. Bickerstaff, Brian Shaw, Darrell Walker and Cheeks.
• Jeff Hornacek and Lakers assistant coach Steve Clifford both interviewed with the Bobcats, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
• Stein also gave one of the more interesting rumors of the weekend some love.
Sterling met with current Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro over the weekend. If he is now talking with other coaches it’s a sign for Vinny, and not a good one.
All those rumors of Bucks lead assistant Kelvin Sampson going to be the head coach in Minnesota… nah, he’d rather be an assistant somewhere else.
Sampson will be the lead assistant to Kevin McHale in Houston, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, via twitter.
That is a good hire — McHale may have been a better coach than his record showed in Minnesota, but having a very experienced, smart No. 2 next to him will improve his chances for success. Having a good person to bounce ideas off of, a person to get feedback you really trust from, helps. A lot.
The Rockets have also reached a deal with J.B. Bickerstaff, a current Timberwolves to be part of the staff, along with Chris Finch. This is a good team of assistants.
Sampson’s shot at an NBA head job will come, he was rumored to be on the list in Detroit (but not a front runner) and other spots. His name has come up in Minnesota, but Sampson may like what he sees in Houston, may not want to wait to see on that job, and may want to really pick his spot when he does move to the big chair.
The Rockets are a team in transition with the retirement of Yao Ming, a team needing to find it’s next anchor, it’s next superstar. That’s not easy. But they have a good coaching staff in place and that is a start to retooling this team into whatever the next iteration will be.
If you are a betting man, Mike Woodson remains the smart place to put your money on becoming the next head coach of the Detroit Pistons. (Although, if you are actually betting on who will be the next coach of the Pistons, it may be time to seek some help.)
But now another name has moved to near the top of the coaches list — Kelvin Sampson. That according to the Detroit News.
Sampson is best known as a college coach, most recently out of Indiana where he was forced to resign due to recruiting violations. However, he comes out of the Gregg Popovich coaching tree in his work with the NBA.
He spent the last season as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he essentially played good cop to Scott Skiles bad cop. Players like him. He’s a good communicator.
Woodson is considered a better fit because he is a little more of a disciplinarian (the Pistons locker room was a disaster last season) and because he took over a team in disarray in Atlanta and they got better every year he was there.
Likely one of these two men will replace John Kuester, who was let go once Tom Gores took control as the new owner of the team.
It’s very early in the process of finding a new coach for the Detroit Pistons and although you know Joe Dumars has been thinking about this for a ling while there are a lot of twists and turn the road could still take.
But the first names out of the shoot will not thrill Pistons fans. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo has them.
The Detroit Pistons are considering several candidates to replace John Kuester as coach, including Milwaukee Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson, former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson, Minnesota Timberwolves assistant Bill Laimbeer and television analyst Mark Jackson, league sources said.
Detroit wants to get back to playing good defense first. Is that a group who can do that?
Woodson had some success in Atlanta and the defenses got better there the longer he coached, but they never got above average. He ran a tedious, isolation heavy offense. (Although we learned this year when you asked those same players to pass the ball they were not good at it, so the Hawks had to go to back to more isolation in the playoffs.)
As for the rest of the guys? Well, Mark Jackson can coach “hands down, man” down really well, but aside that we don’t know a ton about what that group can accomplish.
And the parade of candidates has begun.
The Houston Rockets need a new coach, they want someone younger who can grow with the team, and GM Daryl Morey is leaving no stone unturned. He is interviewing about as many people as live in Montana.
The interviews start this week, according to the Houston Chronicle (via Hoopshype).
Milwaukee assistant coach Kelvin Sampson, who served as head coach at Indiana and Oklahoma before moving to the NBA, is expected to meet with Rockets general manager Daryl Morey Tuesday.
Rockets assistant coach Jack Sikma and former Rockets forward Mario Elie, who has been an assistant with Sacramento, Golden State and San Antonio, will interview Wednesday.
Former Atlanta coach Mike Woodson, a former Rockets player who still lives in Katy, is expected to meet with Morey on Thursday.
Morey has received permission to speak with many assistant coaches still involved in the playoffs but will seek to work around the first-round schedule. The Rockets have expressed interest in Memphis’ Dave Joeger, Dallas’ Dwane Casey, Boston’s Lawrence Frank and San Antonio’s Mike Budenholzer.
This is not going to be a fast process. Which is fine, there is no rush. It’s nice to have a coach’s input around the draft, but Morey drives the personnel decisions with the Rockets, so it’s not necessary.