Kelvin Sampson Rumors
May 19 at 4:29pm CST By Chuck Myron
The Suns will interview Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson for their head coaching job, and they're interested in CSKA Moscow assistant Quin Snyder for the position as well, reports Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com. The team has not yet parted ways with interim coach Lindsey Hunter, but much like the dynamic between the Hawks and Larry Drew, Phoenix and Hunter are both seeking out other options while not closing the door on a continued relationship. Hunter interviewed with the Pistons last month.
Sampson also interviewed with the Bobcats and Bucks, notes Goodman, who confirms that the Rockets assistant will interview with the Sixers this week, too. The Sixers reportedly received permission for that meeting from the Rockets, but newly appointed GM Sam Hinkie, who came from Houston's front office, indicated that he hadn't heard about any interview with Sampson.
Snyder, who served as an assistant with the Lakers in 2011/12, is expected to interview with the Bobcats, and has also been linked to the Sixers and the Hawks, though the latest report from Atlanta indicates that he's no longer in the mix there. He and Sampson both have head coaching experience in the college ranks, though neither has been a head coach in the NBA, save for Sampson's brief stint as a fill-in for Kevin McHale this past season.
May 17 at 10:08am CST By Luke Adams
Let's round up a few Friday morning items out of the Atlantic Division....
- When Kevin Garnett decided to re-sign with the Celtics last summer, it made the rest of the team's decisions easy, GM Danny Ainge tells Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. However, with more factors in play this offseason, Ainge anticipates more difficult decisions and plenty of possible outcomes for the C's.
- Knicks GM Glen Grunwald is hoping to re-sign Chris Copeland this summer, but one source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post that the restricted free agent may seek "Steve Novak money" (four years, $16MM), which would put him out of New York's price range. I think if the Knicks were to offer their mini mid-level exception to Copeland, they could re-sign him, but that would rule out the pursuit of many outside free agents.
- When Kurt Thomas underwent right foot surgery toward the end of this season, it was widely assumed that he may have played his last NBA game. Thomas remains undecided on his future though, suggesting to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News that there's a chance he could return.
- Asked about yesterday's report that the Sixers had received permission to interview Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson, GM Sam Hinkie replied, "I'm not even there yet. I won't confirm or deny, but I will say I don't know where that came from" (via Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News).
- Citing word out of Toronto, Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio hears that this very well could be Bryan Colangelo's last week as the Raptors' GM (Twitter link). The last real updates on the subject came on Monday, when reports were mixed on whether or not Colangelo would be back.
May 16 at 10:21am CST By Luke Adams
Let's round up the latest out of the Atlantic, where the division's lone remaining team (the Knicks) will attempt to stave off elimination at Madison Square Garden tonight....
- The Sixers have received permission to interview Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson, according to John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Sampson had already been on Philadelphia's list of candidates before former Rockets assistant GM Sam Hinkie was hired by the Sixers, but it will be interesting to see whether or not the Houston connection makes Sampson a stronger candidate for the opening.
- Mitchell adds in the same piece that Hinkie is believed to be eyeing Jazz assistant Jeff Hornacek as well.
- Hinkie says he'll look at all options in building his team back up to contention, writes PhillyBurbs.com's Tom Moore.
- In identifying Dwight Howard's five likeliest free agent destinations, Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld writes that there's still mutual interest between Howard and the Nets.
While Kennedy notes that, due to their cap situation, the Nets are a
"long shot," I'd classify Brooklyn's odds of landing Howard as even more
miniscule than that.
- Mark Hale of the New York Post notes that Jason Kidd has said there's no guarantee he'll finish his current three-year contract, and wonders if Kidd's struggles during this postseason could influence a retirement decision.
Michael Pina contributed to this post.
May 14 at 2:46pm CST By Chuck Myron
We could have a fairly clear idea of the two teams that will play for the Eastern Conference title by the end of tonight. The Heat appear on their way to the conference finals with a 3-1 lead against the Bulls, and the Pacers can take a 3-1 lead of their own with a win at home against the Knicks tonight. Of course, we won't know for sure until later this week at the earliest, but if Indiana wins this evening, most of the on-court intrigue will shift to the Spurs-Warriors series in the West. All five open head coaching jobs are in the East, however, and there's news on that along with other notes from around the conference today:
- The Bobcats are interviewing Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson for their head coaching vacancy today, and they'll meet with Lakers assistant Steve Clifford next week, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). The team has reportedly had interest in both.
- A few days after receiving permission from the Lakers to do so, the Cavs are interviewing L.A. player development coach Phil Handy for a spot on head coach Mike Brown's staff, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).
- Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com doesn't expect to see resolution on the future of the Celtics soon, suggesting that trade talk involving Paul Pierce could drag on past June 30th, the deadline for Boston to waive Pierce and reduce his cap hit by more than $10MM.
- The Raptors appear headed for tax territory next season, but the arrival of new executive Tim Leiweke indicates that the team is comfortable paying the tax, writes Stephen Brotherston of HoopsWorld.
- Eddie Jordan spent parts of nine seasons as an NBA head coach, six of them with the Wizards, but he tells Michael Lee of The Washington Post he doesn't want another NBA head coaching job, no matter how it goes in his new gig as the coach at Rutgers University.
May 9 at 12:03pm CST By Luke Adams
According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, the Bucks have been prioritizing "strong-willed" candidates as they search for a head coach to replace ousted interim coach Jim Boylan. In his latest piece, Berger sheds some light on one reason for that requirement and touches on a couple other Bucks notes. Let's check out the highlights....
- Berger reports that Monta Ellis and Larry Sanders nearly came to blows in the locker room following the Bucks' Game Three loss to the Heat in the first round of the playoffs. According to Berger, Sanders called out the team for selfish play, saying that the Bucks needed "to start playing together as a team and stop worrying about next year."
- Ellis "took umbrage" with Sanders' comments, rightly assuming that they were aimed at him and fellow free-agent-to-be Brandon Jennings, according to Berger. Both Ellis and Jennings are likely to test the free agent market this summer, and reports have suggested that Milwaukee won't necessarily be either player's first choice.
- A member of the Sacramento group attempting to keep the Kings in the city has done some research on Ellis as a potential target if the team parts ways with Tyreke Evans, a source tells Berger.
- Berger notes that Nate McMillan and Kelvin Sampson have interviewed for the Bucks' head coaching job so far, and adds that the team is expected to reach out to Stan Van Gundy and Steve Clifford as well. Berger had reported both of those names previously, though last week he suggested Van Gundy would interview for the job, whereas now that doesn't seem quite so certain. Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times has indicated Van Gundy is unlikely to end up in Milwaukee.
May 7 at 11:50am CST By Luke Adams
The latest piece from Marc Stein at ESPN.com includes word that Dwight Howard remains more likely than Chris Paul to leave Los Angeles this summer. One source predicted to Stein that there's "zero chance" Paul signs with any team besides the Clippers. However, while Paul looks like a strong bet to return to L.A., the same can't be said for his head coach. Here are the latest rumblings on Vinny Del Negro and the rest of the NBA's coaching carousel:
- Stein refers to Del Negro's dismissal as seemingly "inevitable" and suggests that the Clippers want to go "big" with their next hire. Stan Van Gundy is one name likely to surface, according to Stein.
- If Del Negro is let go, Michael Malone, Alvin Gentry, and Byron Scott also figure to be a few top candidates for the position, according to Mark Heisler of HoopsHype.com. Stein endorses that list of contenders, particularly if the team's interest in Van Gundy doesn't go anywhere.
- Kelvin Sampson is the Rockets assistant frequently mentioned as a head coach candidate, but J.B. Bickerstaff is also on the Pistons' list, says Stein.
- Sampson and Mike Dunleavy aren't currently being considered for the Nets' opening, reports Stein.
- Assuming Larry Drew is done in Atlanta, Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer and former Lakers assistant Quin Snyder are expected to be among the Hawks' targets, says Stein.
- Coaching candidate Brian Shaw has yet to be contacted about job openings, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (via Twitter). I'd assume the Pacers will give Shaw permission to interview for coaching jobs once Indiana is out of the playoffs.
- Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com surveyed leagues execs, players, and team personnel on who would make a good first-time NBA coach, and Heat assistant David Fizdale, Grizzlies assistant David Joerger, and Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg were among the top selections.
May 6 at 1:19pm CST By Luke Adams
After the Pacers took a 1-0 lead over the Knicks with a win in New York yesterday, the second Eastern Conference Semifinal will get underway tonight, as the Heat play their first game since April 28th. As we look forward to the first game in the Bulls/Heat series, let's round up a few items from out of the Eastern Conference....
- The Hawks are facing a potential roster overhaul this summer, but Louis Williams, one of just three players on a guaranteed contract, says he's looking forward to playing with the other two (Al Horford and John Jenkins) next season. Williams also told Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he'd be glad to help recruit free agents if he's asked.
- Two Hawks free agents, Zaza Pachulia and Kyle Korver, are interested in re-signing with the team, as Vivlamore and Jeff Schultz write in a separate Journal Constitution piece. According to Korver, the Hawks have expressed interest in bringing him back.
- Now that the Rockets are out of the playoffs, assistant Kelvin Sampson figures to receive plenty of phone calls from teams seeking a new head coach. Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Sampson has an interview lined up for Thursday with the Bucks, and that the 76ers and Bobcats have also requested permission to speak to him.
- With the Nets searching for a new head coach, Deron Williams indicated he wouldn't be opposed to playing for ex-Jazz coach Jerry Sloan again, and Sloan says he'd be open to the idea as well, writes Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. "I'm open, I would listen," Sloan said of the Nets. "I haven't did the research on their roster, but I would definitely listen if they called."
- Appearing on the Dan Patrick Show today, the Nets' former coach, P.J. Carlesimo, said he doesn't think a first-round Nets victory would have saved his job. "I think short of winning a championship, it wouldn't have made any difference," Carlesimo said, according to Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com. "I mean, [GM] Billy [King] was pretty candid....
I think anything short of winning a championship wasn't going to change his mind or [ownership's] mind."
May 4 at 4:38pm CST By Chuck Myron
Four teams have coaching vacancies, but that number could grow as more clubs are eliminated from the playoffs and start to make their offseason plans. That has put the names of a lot of coaches in the headlines, and we've got the latest here:
- Kelvin Sampson has been among the top candidates for the Bucks coaching vacancy ever since it was created, and Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times hears the Rockets assistant would be the team's No. 1 choice (Twitter link).
- One coach who apparently won't be in the mix for the Bucks is Jerry Sloan, according to Woelfel, in spite of his apparent willingness to return to the bench somewhere (Twitter link).
- The Hawks are waiting a few days before making any decisions, but coach Larry Drew wants to know soon whether he'll be retained, writes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. If the Hawks let him go, he wants to coach for another team, and reportedly has interest in the Sixers.
- Kevin McHale's willingness to remain as Rockets coach is at about 90%, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com. According to owner Leslie Alexander, McHale won't be going anywhere, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle notes via Twitter.
- Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post offers the bold opinion that George Karl should step down as coach of the Nuggets after yet another first-round exit. Many of his arguments ring true, but I disagree that the team's lack of a closer should be pinned on Karl's shoulders, as Kiszla suggests.
- With the coaching market in flux, Dakota Schmidt of Ridiculous Upside wonders whether Nick Nurse, who's led two different teams to D-League titles, could surface as a candidate.
May 3 at 5:34pm CST By Luke Adams
We'll have to wait until July for most of this summer's player movement, but a handful of coaches are already on the move. Here's the latest on a pair of head coaching searches and a Trail Blazers assistant heading south:
- A new candidate has emerged in the Pistons' head coaching search, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who reports that Detroit is eyeing Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer. Wojnarowski says Joe Dumars traveled to San Antonio and met for several hours with Gregg Popovich's top assistant earlier this week. The Pistons are also expected to line up a meeting with Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson when possible, says the Yahoo! scribe.
- Despite their reported interest in Sampson, the Bucks haven't asked for permission to speak to him yet, tweets Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times, noting that the Bucks are still free to talk to Sampson's agent.
- Sampson himself told reporters, including John Rohde of the Oklahoman, that he won't talk to any interested teams until the Rockets/Thunder series is over "one way or the other."
- The Bobcats have requested and received permission to interview Lakers assistant Steve Clifford, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
- Former Blazers interim head coach and current assistant Kaleb Canales is leaving Portland to take on
a similar assistant role with the Mavericks, according to Jason Quick of the
Oregonian (Twitter link). Canales will replace offensive coordinator Jim O'Brien, who is retiring from coaching, Rick Carlisle tells Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com (Twitter link). As TNT's David Aldridge points out (via Twitter), this isn't the first time Carlisle attempted to get Canales to Dallas.
May 2 at 12:24pm CST By Luke Adams
Earlier this morning, we passed along word that the Sixers have received permission to interview Michael Malone and Jeff Hornacek for their head coaching position. Philadelphia is currently one of four teams actively seeking a new coach, but that number figures to increase in the coming weeks. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has a little more on the Sixers and other teams exploring the coaching market, so let's round up the highlights from his piece:
- Nate McMillan, who has met with the Pistons twice, is also near the top of the Bucks' list of targets, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter).
- After the Bucks parted ways with Jim Boylan yesterday, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that Stan Van Gundy and Kelvin Sampson were expected to be among Milwaukee's top targets. According to Berger, both Van Gundy and Sampson will interview with the Bucks. Lakers assistant Steve Clifford is also expected to be considered for the position.
- Bucks GM John Hammond is seeking a defensive-minded coach who can "control the locker room," says Berger.
- Pistons owner Tom Gores is taking a lead role in in the club's coaching search, with one source telling Berger that Gores is "looking to put his stamp on this one." Sampson and Nate McMillan are among the Pistons' potential candidates.
- Sampson, McMillan, Nate Tibbetts, and Quin Snyder will likely all be considered by the Bobcats, according to Berger.
- In addition to the Philadelphia targets we've already heard about, the Sixers are eyeing Heat assistant David Fizdale, says Berger, adding that the team is also doing its homework on potential GM candidates.
- Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni would like to add a defense-first assistant to his staff, and McMillan may be his first choice. However, with McMillan a decent bet to land a head coaching job this summer, D'Antoni may turn to former Suns coach Alvin Gentry, according to Berger.
- Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times also provides a coaching update this morning, tweeting that he has been told Jerry Sloan is "seriously considering" returning to the sidelines.