The major story on the coaching front is that the Pacers have parted ways with Frank Vogel, as we covered in detail here, but plenty more news is developing. Track the latest here:
- Lionel Hollins is among the coaches in whom the Rockets have expressed interest, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, who writes in a piece examining Vogel’s candidacy for the job.
- Mike D’Antoni has already interviewed for the Rockets head coaching job, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com, advancing an earlier report that he would do so this week.
- TNT broadcaster Kenny Smith, whom Stein heard may interview for the Rockets vacancy, said on “Inside the NBA” Wednesday that he’d like to coach under the right circumstances but made it clear that he enjoys his television job, as Stein relays.
- The Rockets are focused on proven NBA head coaches and up-and-coming assistants, sources emphasized Wednesday as they spoke with Stein. That casts doubt on the viability of Smith and college coaches Shaka Smart and Bill Self, who also reportedly intrigue the Rockets.
- It became apparent to former Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff that the team wouldn’t formally make him its head coach, and that’s what prompted him to withdraw from consideration for the post, Stein also writes.
- Incoming Lakers head coach Luke Walton counts Brian Shaw among the assistant coaching candidates for his staff, but executive Jim Buss was opposed to Shaw as a head-coaching option and many around the league are skeptical that Buss wants a Phil Jackson disciple like Shaw around, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Shaw served as a Lakers assistant under Jackson.
- Belief around the league is rising that the Pacers will let go of Vogel, Stein writes. President of basketball operations Larry Bird has a press conference scheduled for 10am Central today, and it appears likely he’ll lend clarity to Vogel’s future at that time. The coach’s contract with the Pacers has already expired, as Wojnarowski indicates, citing league sources. Many coaching contracts carry until the end of June, as player contracts do, but apparently that’s not the case with Vogel, who made approximately $2.5MM this past season, according to Wojnarowski. The Vertical scribe speculates that Vogel could double that annual salary in his next job. Bird had yet to speak with Vogel about a new contract as of late Wednesday, league sources told Wojnarowski.