2:45pm: The Nuggets are “not an option” for Thibodeau, sources tell Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, though it’s unclear if there’s a lack of interest from Denver’s side, from Thibodeau’s, or both.
12:46pm: The odds that the Nuggets will formally fill their head coaching vacancy with interim coach Melvin Hunt are getting better, though Mike D’Antoni remains in the mix, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Scott Brooks has dropped out of the running, as Adrian Wojnarowski reported today, and while the field of potential coaching candidates remains wide, the emergence of the Pelicans on the coaching market last week has given Denver more competition.
The Nuggets are apparently willing to spend, as Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post heard, and it’s believed that Tom Thibodeau is the front-runner if he becomes available, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Of course, Thibs appears to be the front-runner elsewhere, too, so there are plenty of obstacles between the Nuggets and him. Alvin Gentry is a Nuggets candidate, too, but he’s already interviewed with the Pelicans, according to Wojnarowski. Gentry’s also an apparent favorite to replace Thibodeau in Chicago if he and the Bulls indeed part ways. Michael Malone, Scott Skiles, Fred Hoiberg and David Vanterpool are others who’ve been in contention for the job, as Wojnarowski reported last month.
The team’s search was to have intensified within the last couple of weeks, Dempsey wrote earlier this month, though it still seemed likely then that it would run through May. The Nuggets apparently prefer a veteran, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, but GM Tim Connelly said last month that the team would indeed consider Hunt, who had never held an NBA head coaching job before taking over for the fired Brian Shaw in March.
D’Antoni has spent parts of a dozen seasons, including one with Denver, as an NBA head coach, and Stein first identified him as a likely candidate in the immediate wake of Shaw’s dismissal. Other names that surfaced at that time include Mark Jackson, Adrian Griffin, Avery Johnson, Vinny Del Negro, Nate McMillan, Pelicans assistant Brian Gates and Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga, though there hasn’t been much to advance the idea that any of them are indeed in the picture for Denver.