Vinny Del Negro

Kings To Interview David Blatt

The Kings have scheduled an interview for early this week with former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Blatt was one of the first names connected to the Sacramento coaching vacancy and has been a rumored candidate for several jobs since Cleveland fired him in January.

Blatt met with the Knicks this week to discuss the possibility of replacing interim coach Kurt Rambis and was believed to be a candidate for the Lakers’ job before they hired Luke Walton. During his brief stay in Cleveland, Blatt led the Cavaliers to the 2015 NBA Finals and compiled an 83-40 record.

Blatt will be at least the fifth candidate to interview for the head coaching position, according to James Ham of CSNBayArea. Ham reports that Sam Mitchell, Mike Woodson, Kevin McHale and Vinny Del Negro have all gone through formal interviews.

Indiana assistant Nate McMillan may soon join that group, Ham reports, depending what the Pacers do in tonight’s Game 7 with the Raptors. McMillan has a 266-269 career record in 12 years as head coach of the SuperSonics and Blazers.

The Kings are also planning to interview Charlotte assistant Patrick Ewing, whose team was eliminated from the playoffs today. Ham says Mark Jackson of ESPN and Grizzlies assistant Elston Turner are also on the list to be interviewed.

Once the interviews are complete, GM/executive Vlade Divac plans to whittle the list down to three finalists that he will present to Sacramento management. Despite earlier reports that the Kings wanted to find a coach this week, Ham says there is no timetable. The organization has been without a coach since it fired George Karl after the season ended.

Pacific Rumors: CP3; Lakers, Kings Coaching Jobs

The Clippers suffered a devastating blow and the playoffs took another unexpected turn Monday when Chris Paul broke his right hand in Game 4 against the Trail Blazers, a Portland win that evened the first-round series. Paul is “most likely” out for the rest of the postseason, a source told ESPN’s J.A. Adande (ESPN Now link). A team source said much the same to Dan Woike of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). It’s possible a better prognosis will emerge after further tests, and the team will know more today, Adande and Woike report, but the Clippers are in rough shape. Blake Griffin is just “50-50” for the next game because of a sore left quadriceps tendon, coach Doc Rivers said, according to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com (Twitter link). It all adds up to a potential boost for the Warriors, who’ve lost Stephen Curry for at least two weeks with a sprained knee and will play either the Clippers or the Blazers in the next round, provided they dispatch the Rockets.

See more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers have reached out to Jeff Van Gundy about their coaching vacancy and he has interest, a source close to Van Gundy told Sam Amick of USA Today.
  • College coaches Roy Williams, John Calipari, Jay Wright and Tom Izzo are among the candidates the Lakers will consider, sources told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. Former Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek is also expected to be among those the Lakers will look at, ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst hears, as the website passes along in the same piece.
  • The Lakers felt they needed someone who’s on board with the modern NBA’s more perimeter-oriented style when they dismissed Byron Scott late Sunday, sources told Shelburne, and they would ideally like to hire a big-name coach on the upswing who has strong player development skills, a coaching source indicated to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
  • Vinny Del Negro‘s interview for the Kings head coaching job took place Monday, and Mike Woodson is expected to have his interview as soon as today, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. GM Vlade Divac has been in charge of the interviews and is expected to have the most influential say in the team’s eventual hiring, Wojnarowski adds.

Latest On Kings’ Coaching Search

Former Rockets coach Kevin McHale has emerged as a serious contender for the Kings’ vacant head coaching post, Marc Stein of ESPN.com relays. McHale and Sacramento executive Vlade Divac have engaged in exploratory discussions regarding the position, but the talks haven’t escalated to the point where a deal is imminent, Stein adds. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical first reported that Sacramento was interested in speaking with McHale as it looks to replace the fired George Karl.

The only official interview for the team’s vacant coaching slot thus far has been with former Timberwolves interim coach Sam Mitchell, though the team plans on sitting down with former Clippers and Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro later this week, Stein adds. Also said to be on the Kings’ list of candidates are former Hawks and Knicks coach Mike Woodson, former Warriors head man Mark Jackson, Pacers assistant Nate McMillan and former Suns coach Jeff Hornacek, the ESPN scribe notes. The Kings reportedly plan to interview Woodson and Hornacek. Sacramento apparently reached out to Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks prior to both men landing jobs last week and has also touched base with Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, Warriors assistant Luke Walton and former Cavs coach David Blatt, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee.

McHale, 57, had entered the 2015/16 season as the NBA’s fifth-longest tenured head coach, having taken over the Rockets in June 2011. Houston had a winning record in each of McHale’s full seasons, with last year’s 56-26 mark the best of his tenure. But a 4-7 start to the season as well as reported locker room issues led the Rockets to part ways with the former Celtics great. His .598 regular season winning percentage is the best of all-time among Rockets coaches. He was 193-130 in the regular season and 13-16 in the playoffs overall with the Rockets. McHale went 39-55 over two separate stints as coach of the Timberwolves in the 2000s, and he didn’t coach Minnesota in a postseason game.

Latest On Kings Coaching Search

THURSDAY, 5:34pm: McMillan intends to wait until the Pacers’ playoff run is over before interviewing for the Kings’ post, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.

6:50pm: There has been no official contact yet, but the Kings are also interested in former Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, reports Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter links). The interest is mutual, Amick says.

WEDNESDAY, 10:19am: Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton and Kings GM Vlade Divac are expected to meet to discuss Sacramento’s head coaching vacancy, likely after Golden State’s first-round playoff series with Houston, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Walton is “extremely fond” of Divac, who was briefly his Lakers teammate, and the location of Sacramento is increasingly appealing to Walton, who is fond of life in Northern California and has several close relatives in the Sacramento area, Voisin writes. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Monday that no team had asked permission to interview his top assistant, but Voisin reported Tuesday that Walton was among the coaches to whom the Kings had reached out.

Divac is especially interested in Walton, Spurs assistant Ettore Messina and NBA coaching veterans Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks, but he’s planned to speak with several others. Divac is inquiring about the interest of Monty Williams, Jeff Van Gundy, Spurs assistant Ime Udoka and at least two college coaches, among other names previously reported as Kings coaching targets, Voisin relays. The Kings are poised to interview Sam Mitchell, Vinny Del Negro and Mike Woodson, according to reports. Mitchell’s interview is to take place today, a source told The Bee’s Jason Jones.

Sacramento has natural appeal to Brooks, who’s from the nearby city of French Camp, California, but Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported last week that he’s not interested in coaching the Kings, with the Wizards apparently the front-runner for the former Thunder head coach. Thibodeau and Van Gundy, apparent co-favorites for the Timberwolves job, don’t want to coach Sacramento either, according to Wojnarowski.

The Kings have reached out to Messina, as Voisin reported previously, though Messina and fellow Spurs assistant Udoka are busy with the playoffs. Both were reportedly candidates for the Nets vacancy, with Udoka the apparent front-runner at one point before the job instead went to Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson, who also reportedly drew interest from the Kings.

Williams is a Thunder assistant but has been away from the team since his wife died in February. He won’t rejoin the team for the playoffs and, as The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater hears, he’s not expected to return to Oklahoma City for next season, either. Top free agent Kevin Durant has a close bond with Williams, the former Pelicans head coach.

Kevin McHale, Mark Jackson, David Blatt, Jeff Hornacek, Patrick Ewing, Nate McMillan and Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga are the other candidates in whom the Kings are reportedly interested. Sources who spoke with Marc Stein of ESPN.com have speculated that Heat assistant David Fizdale and former Cavs and Lakers coach Mike Brown could become Kings candidates as well.

Which of the many names mentioned here do you like best for the Kings? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Kings To Interview Sam Mitchell, Vinny Del Negro

8:05pm: The Kings’ first three interviews for their vacant coaching position will be with Jackson, Del Negro and former Wolves interim coach Sam Mitchell, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter).

TUESDAY, 2:50pm: The Kings are scheduled to interview Vinny Del Negro next week, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports, confirming a tweet from Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee that indicated as much. They’d like to interview Kevin McHale, but he hasn’t decided whether he’ll meet with the team, league sources told Wojnarowski, who earlier reported the team plans to interview Mike Woodson. The team is expected to meet with a handful of candidates for initial interviews before moving on to the next stage of its search, Wojnarowski hears.

Del Negro’s name emerged among several in the mix for the Kings job when Wojnarowski reported his candidacy last week. Sacramento reportedly contacted Del Negro for its vacancy in December 2014, shortly after firing Michael Malone, but since then, the Kings have had two head coaches, and Vlade Divac succeeded Pete D’Alessandro as the front office chief.

Sacramento has reached out to Tom Thibodeau, Scott Brooks, Ettore Messina, Luke Walton and David Blatt in addition to Del Negro and Woodson, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link), though Thibodeau and Brooks appear to be long shots, at best. Jeff Hornacek, Mark Jackson, Patrick Ewing, Nate McMillan and Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga are others in whom the team reportedly has interest as it seeks a replacement for the fired George Karl.

Experience appears to be a key for Divac as he looks at candidates, and Del Negro fits that bill. The 49-year-old is 210-184 in five seasons as an NBA head coach, split between the Bulls and the Clippers.

Kings Eye McMillan, Ewing, McHale, Blatt, Others

1:27pm: McHale appears unlikely to take the Kings job, and Del Negro is the most realistic candidate, Mannix suggests.

THURSDAY, 1:02pm: Nate McMillan is also in the mix, sources told Stein (Twitter link).

10:15pm: The possibility of hiring McHale is gaining traction within the Kings organization, Chris Mannix of The Vertical tweets. Sacramento is intrigued by the possibility of McHale working with DeMarcus Cousins, Mannix adds.

3:09pm: The Kings are also considering Patrick Ewing, league sources tell Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee.

12:40pm: Kevin McHale and Mark Jackson are also under consideration, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The Kings do have strong interest in Thibodeau and Brooks but acknowledge they’ll be tough gets, Stein adds. McHale is just a few months removed from having been fired by the Rockets, while Jackson last coached in 2013/14 with the Warriors.

WEDNESDAY, 11:53am: The Kings, poised to fire George Karl, will consider a group of candidates that includes David Blatt, Vinny Del Negro, Jeff Hornacek, Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga and Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson, sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks, who frequently draw mention as top NBA coaching candidates, are uninterested in the job, as Wojnarowski hears from league sources.

Blatt, whom the Cavs fired as their head coach in January, is also reportedly under consideration from the Knicks, though he’s reportedly a long shot for that job. The Nets have reportedly been eyeing him as well, and he has ties to the Brooklyn organization, having coached the Russian national team, which received significant financial backing from Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

Sacramento reportedly contacted Del Negro about its head coaching job in December 2014, when the team fired Michael Malone. Del Negro, a former Kings player, hasn’t coached in the NBA since the 2012/13 season with the Clippers, but Wojnarowski reported that he interviewed for the Pelicans job last summer.

Chatter about Hornacek has been quiet since the Suns fired him in February, though he earned respect around the league when he led Phoenix to a 48-34 record in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season during his first year as an NBA head coach. The Suns have regressed since then, and Hornacek wound up 101-112 overall in Phoenix. He was an assistant under former Kings coach Tyrone Corbin on the Jazz.

Wojnarowski wrote in February that Larranaga and Atkinson weren’t particularly eager to land the Kings job if it were to open. The assistants both reportedly interviewed for the Sixers job three years ago and have drawn frequent mention as a possible NBA head coaching candidate since. Larranaga was reportedly a contender for the recent opening at Georgia Tech that Josh Pastner ultimately filled.

Ime Udoka Leading Candidate For Nets Job?

10:59am: Sources tell NetsDaily they believe Udoka is the leading candidate. It appears the team is poised to formally cut ties with Tony Brown and his assistant coaches as well as several long-time staffers as Marks plans to hire as many as 10 new staff members, NetsDaily also hears (All Twitter links).

8:25am: Brett Brown, who reportedly isn’t assured of keeping his job with the Sixers, along with Luke Walton, Mark Jackson, Vinny Del Negro and Bucks assistant Sean Sweeney are also in the mix for the Nets job, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. The prospect of Brown having the interim tag removed and staying in the head coaching job is no more than a long shot, Lewis adds. Lewis also suggests the Nets still have Mike Conley atop their list of free agent targets.

4:01pm: Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson has been mentioned as a possibility for the Nets’ coaching vacancy, and he and Marks share the same agent, Mazzeo tweets.

3:00pm: The increasing belief in coaching circles is that neither Tom Thibodeau nor David Blatt will be a candidate for the job, but the search is only just beginning, writes Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com.

12:47pm: The Nets have interest in NBA coaching veteran Jeff Van Gundy and Spurs assistants Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka for their head coaching job, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Tony Brown is Brooklyn’s head coach on an interim basis, though it’s unclear whether he’ll have a legitimate shot to remain in the position for next season.

Van Gundy’s name frequently comes up in connection to NBA coaching jobs even though he hasn’t coached an NBA team since the 2006/07 season, his last with the Rockets. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News speculated shortly before the team hired GM Sean Marks in February that Messina would become a candidate if the team indeed brought aboard Marks, who was then serving as a Spurs executive. Marks’ tie to the Spurs also explains the interest in Udoka, who was key to the recruitment of former teammate LaMarcus Aldridge this past summer. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has often talked about attracting stars to Brooklyn, and the team has no shortage of cap flexibility for the summer ahead.

Many New York fans still have fond memories of Van Gundy from his time as coach of the crosstown Knicks from 1996-2001, and he’s maintained a high profile as a broadcaster for ABC and ESPN. He reportedly interviewed for the Pelicans head coaching vacancy last year.

Messina has worked for Prokhorov before, when Prokhorov was the owner of CSKA Moscow and Messina was leading the team to two Euroleague championships as head coach. The Spurs hired Messina as an assistant two years ago, and he also served as a coaching consultant for the Lakers in 2011/12, but much of his reputation comes from overseas, where he was one of the most successful coaches in Euroleague history. The Thunder reportedly made him a candidate for their head coaching job a year ago.

Udoka is a veteran of eight NBA seasons as a player, and his last playing contract was with the Nets, who signed him in the 2011 preseason and cut him before opening night. The Spurs hired him as an assistant coach the following summer.

Vinny Del Negro Interviews With Pelicans

Pelicans GM Dell Demps discussed the team’s head coaching vacancy with Vinny Del Negro, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. Del Negro has emerged as a candidate based upon his successful five-year run as head coach of the Bulls and the Clippers, Wojnarowski adds.

Del Negro is the latest name to surface in connection with the open position in New Orleans that was freed up when the team parted ways with former coach Monty Williams. Jeff Van Gundy, who is reportedly seeking an arrangement similar to the one that brother Stan Van Gundy has with the Pistons in which he coaches and runs the front office, also interviewed with the team. As did Scott Skiles, who is reportedly the front-runner to fill the Magic’s head coaching position, and Clippers assistant coach Alvin Gentry spoke with Demps as well.

Wojnarowski also notes that the current front-runners to land the Pelicans job are Van Gundy and Gentry. But former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has also been mentioned as a candidate, and with Chicago no longer being in the position to request compensation for Thibs, he will likely be under stronger consideration now as well.

The former Bulls and Clippers coach has a career regular season record of 210-184, and a playoff record of 10-19. Del Negro last coached during the 2012/13 season with the Clippers, leading the team to a record of 56-26 before being fired and subsequently replaced by Doc Rivers.

And-Ones: Smith, Vipers, Skiles, Lottery

Josh Smith‘s father complimented the Rockets for welcoming his son, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26 (second Twitter link). “I cannot speak too much about how well this organization has accepted us as a family and him as a player,” Pete Smith said. “It’s an awesome thing. Now I know what the NBA is all about.” Houston claimed Smith on waivers in December after he was let go by the Pistons. He will become a free agent this summer.

There’s more from around the world of basketball:

  • The Rockets have cut ties with D-League coach Nevada Smith of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The Vipers are coming off a 27-23 record in Smith’s second season running the team.
  • Scott Skiles has tried to campaign a little for the Magic head coaching job, but he wants a measure of personnel control, sources tell Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. He doesn’t want to replace GM Rob Hennigan, but rather seeks approval over player personnel moves, a job that currently rests with Magic CEO Alex Martins, Kyler explains. Meanwhile, Kyler figures that Michael Malone will interview for both the Magic and the Nuggets coaching jobs, but sources tell him that Malone isn’t as high on either team’s list as some other candidates are. Neither Vinny Del Negro nor Billy Donovan is expected to get serious consideration for either job, Kyler also writes.
  • NBA owners refuse to address the problem of tanking, writes Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. He noted that owners passed on a chance to address the issue during a meeting in New York last week. They also nixed proposed reforms to the draft lottery process in October. He speculated that owners might be delaying action until they can study the effects of an upcoming $24 billion television deal and the escalation of the salary cap.

Nuggets Likely To Target D’Antoni, Gentry, Others

3:38pm: Denver is expected to make former Bulls and Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro a candidate for the job, and according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, who also hears mention of ex-Kings coach Michael Malone. Berger hints that’s true of Pelicans assistant Bryan Gates, Pacers assistant Nate McMillan and Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga, too, though that’s not entirely clear. In any case, the Nuggets will likely give Gentry “heavy consideration,” Berger writes.

1:10pm: The Nuggets have yet to any consider long-term candidates, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

1:01pm: Former Warriors coach Mark Jackson, current Warriors assistant coach Alvin Gentry and Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin are believed to be likely candidates to replace the fired Brian Shaw as Nuggets head coach, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick. One-time Mavs and Nets coach Avery Johnson and former Nuggets, Suns, Knicks and Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni are other likely candidates, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com, and a source who knows D’Antoni’s thinking told Amick that he would certainly be interested in the job. Still, the Nuggets indicated when they announced Shaw’s firing that Melvin Hunt would remain as interim coach through season’s end and that they would begin a search for a more permanent replacement after that. Sources confirm to Stein that the Nuggets will take a “long-term view” on their search (Twitter link).

D’Antoni recently suggested in a radio appearance with Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck and Ethan Skolnick that he had interest in returning to coach in the NBA (Twitlonger link; Twitter link). That was before Shaw’s firing, Beck cautions (on Twitter). D’Antoni resigned as Lakers coach last spring, and he got his start as an NBA coach with the 1999 Nuggets.

Jackson also coached as recently as last season, though his three-year Warriors stint is his only head coaching experience. Still, his name was linked to both the Magic and Kings openings earlier this season. Gentry has spent parts of 12 seasons as an NBA head coach, the last coming in 2012/13 with the Suns. That was Johnson’s last year of coaching, too, though he was only in charge of the Nets for the first 28 games that season. Johnson had more success in Dallas, where he took the team to the 2006 NBA Finals and won 67 games in 2006/07. Griffin has so far only served as an assistant coach with the Bucks and Bulls since the 2008/09 season, but Chicago promoted him before this season to lead assistant.

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