Nuggets interim coach Melvin Hunt is the front-runner to take the job on a formal basis, a source tells Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling (Twitter link). The chances that Hunt would fill the vacancy have improved since season’s end, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported last week, and while Stein wrote that Mike D’Antoni was still in the mix, the long-ago Nuggets coach has yet to interview for the vacancy Denver created when it fired Brian Shaw, Zwerling adds.
The Nuggets are “not an option” for Tom Thibodeau, sources told Ken Berger of CBSSports.com last week, even though it had earlier seemed as though he would be the favorite once the Bulls let him go, as they finally did today. Alvin Gentry is reportedly a candidate for the Denver job, but reports have linked him to all four current NBA head coaching vacancies. Michael Malone, Scott Skiles, Fred Hoiberg and David Vanterpool are others who’ve been in contention, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Denver’s brass sees Hunt as a viable coach for a rebuilding team, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders wrote this week. The Nuggets are apparently contemplating major changes, but Hunt drew strong support from existing Nuggets players after he took over the team for the stretch run. That included plaudits from Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried, who are otherwise losing confidence in the team and have let the Nuggets know that unless they make the right kind of coaching hire or pull off a significant trade, they’d rather be traded themselves than go through rebuilding, Kyler wrote.