With the Rockets getting their guy in Ime Udoka, three NBA head coaching vacancies remain: the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons.
Rumors and news are leaking out about all three.
• The Raptors may be jumping off the traditional coaching carousel and have some interest in former player and current ESPN analyst J.J. Redick, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of the same network.
Fifteen-year NBA veteran and ESPN analyst JJ Redick has interviewed for the Toronto Raptors’ coaching job, sources tell ESPN. Redick was part of a first-round of candidates to meet with franchise leadership.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 10, 2023
Does Redick want to be a coach? Guys have made the successful leap from player to broadcaster to the bench — Steve Kerr, Pat Riley — but it is a dramatic lifestyle change. Being an NBA coach is a 24/7 job, it is up to Redick if that is a life he wants to pursue.
Team president Masai Ujiri is casting a wide net with his first round of interviews, talking to a reported dozen people. Among the more high-profile names are former Nets head coach and current Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, Bucks lead assistant Charles Lee (also being considered for the Bucks job), Suns assistant Kevin Young, former Spurs assistant and current Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon, and popular Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin.
• The Bucks will also have a wide-open process but may prize experience as a head coach, considering this is a 58-win, title-contending team, reports Eric Nehm at The Atletic. One name that has come up is Kenny Atkinson (also in the early running in Toronto), the former Nets head coach who has been by Steve Kerr’s side for the past couple of years, as reported by ESPN’s Wojnarowski.
Nehm suggests the Bucks may violate an NBA norm and consider someone with a current NBA head coaching job to fill their vacant seat.
In fact, per league sources who were granted anonymity so they could speak freely, the Bucks are even considering currently employed NBA head coaches in their search this offseason.
Nehm did not go further down that road, and speculating about what other team’s coach might fit and keep Giannis Antetokounmpo happy is not a path I’m going to walk. Also, GM Jon Horst would not rule out bringing in someone from Mike Budenholzer’s sizable coaching tree (even though they just fired Budenholzer).
The smart money is on the Bucks hiring a coach currently out of a job, or maybe their very popular lead assistant Charles Lee.
• The Detroit Pistons and owner Tom Gores are interviewing their final three candidates: Kevin Ollie, Charles Lee and Jarron Collins. There is no timeline for an announcement, but expect one in the coming week or so. With the Piston having a high draft pick coming in June, they will want the new coach’s input on that selection.