FRIDAY, 2:56pm: The Nuggets are willing to spend on their next coach in spite of the $2MM they still owe to Shaw next season, Dempsey hears (Twitter link).
3:30pm: Connelly says that the team will take its time in searching for a new coach, and that Hunt will indeed be considered as a candidate, Dempsey relays in a series of tweets. “We’re going to be pretty patient,” Connelly said. “Certainly Melvin is going to be one of the finalists. I think he deserves that, he’s earned that. But we’re going to talk to anybody and everybody…candidates that could potentially help us take the next step.”
THURSDAY, 2:05pm: NBA coaching veteran Scott Skiles, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg and Blazers assistant coach David Vanterpool are among the candidates for the Nuggets coaching job, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Denver will also indeed give serious consideration to interim coach Melvin Hunt as the Nuggets formally begin their search today, Wojnarowski hears. Billy Donovan, Michael Malone, Mike D’Antoni, Alvin Gentry and, if the Thunder let him go, Scott Brooks are also candidates, according to Wojnarowski, seconding earlier reports.
There have been conflicting reports regarding Hunt. Marc Stein of ESPN.com wrote overnight that sources said this week that the Nuggets aren’t expected to keep him, but according to Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post, the Nuggets will interview Hunt for the position that he’s filled on an interim basis since the team decided to fire Brian Shaw in March. Dempsey’s story jibes with the tenor of most reports and GM Tim Connelly‘s admission that the team will at least consider keeping Hunt.
Skiles is a leading candidate for the Magic’s vacancy, and Donovan, Malone and Brooks have been mentioned in connection with the Orlando job, too. Hoiberg, whose name has surfaced frequently for NBA jobs of late, has been linked to the Bulls as a possible replacement if the team parts ways with Tom Thibodeau, and it appears as though he’ll be selective and won’t take just any NBA opening. Vanterpool interviewed for the Sixers job in 2013 and seemed at one point to be the front-runner, but the 42-year-old, who’s been on the Blazers bench since 2012/13, hasn’t been an NBA head coach.