Denver’s coaching vacancy has lingered for months, but it looks like the Nuggets have livened the pace of their search over the past couple of weeks. They reportedly interviewed Michael Malone last week and have been planning to bring him back for a second, if they haven’t already. Mike D’Antoni, Wizards assistant Don Newman and Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool have also reportedly interviewed, and it appears as though Mike Woodson might be in line for an interview, too. It’s unclear whether Nuggets interim coach Melvin Hunt has interviewed, but the Denver organization obviously knows him well. An increasing number of other coaches around the league feel as though Hunt will end up with the job, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com recently reported.
All the interviews with others nonetheless cloud the picture. Hunt, Malone and D’Antoni are strong candidates, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports heard, and it would appear as though Denver is at least exploring its options. Hunt is the player favorite, and while he has experience as an NBA assistant coach that dates back more than a decade, his six-week stint in charge of the Nuggets was his first experience as an NBA head coach. D’Antoni a much longer track record as a head coach, having guided the Lakers, Knicks, Suns and, for a brief time in 1999, the Nuggets, and he’s also a maestro of the fast-paced offense that Denver has long preferred. Woodson, a former head coach for the Knicks and Hawks, slowed New York’s tempo considerably when he took over that job from D’Antoni and guided the team to 54 wins in his first full season there. Malone is defense-first coach with a shorter head-coaching resume, but he looked like a coach on the rise, connecting with DeMarcus Cousins and leading the Kings to a strong start this season, before Cousins came down with viral meningitis and the Kings fired Malone in December. Newman and Vanterpool are relative unknowns who have impressed as NBA assistants.
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