While the NBA playoffs are in full swing, plenty of non-playoff teams have managed to make headlines. There isn't much talk regarding free agents or trades at this point, however, several teams are looking for new head coaches and the interviewing process has already begun.
Most teams have a long way to go before they make a decision as there is no shortage of qualified candidates out there. Among the teams potentially in the market for a new direction are the Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons. They have achieved various levels of success in the Eastern Conference over the past several years, but they are all looking to reach the next level.
Here are the latest rumors and rumblings regarding their ongoing coaching searches as the offseason inches closer.
Atlanta Hawks Looking to Replace Larry Drew?
Despite the fact that they have reached the playoffs in six consecutive seasons after missing them in eight straight, the Atlanta Hawks are searching for answers. Atlanta achieved the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference this season, but it was bounced by the Indiana Pacers in the first round. With current head coach Larry Drew's contract set to expire on June 30, the Hawks are examining all possible avenues when it comes to finding a head coach.
According to The Associated Press, Drew is still a possibility as he has led the Hawks to a 128-102 record and three playoff appearances in three seasons. At the same time, Atlanta doesn't exactly seem desperate to keep him. According to Sports Illustrated, the Hawks have granted Drew permission to speak with other teams, so he could easily walk come June 30 if another team is ultimately interested in his services.
The Associated Press suggests that Hawks general manager Danny Ferry might be interested in an experienced head coach such as former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. It remains to be seen if Van Gundy is interested in coaching the Hawks or anyone at all in 2013-14, but he is obviously a logical target for Atlanta moving forward due to his track record of success.
Milwaukee Bucks Interested in Jerry Sloan?
The Milwaukee Bucks managed to squeak into the playoffs this season as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, but they were tidily swept by the Miami Heat and interim head coach Jim Boylan was fired. While Boylan did the best he could after Scott Skiles parted ways with the team in the middle of the season, it was clear that he wasn't the answer, so the Bucks' search for a permanent coach continues.
It appears as though the Bucks have focused their attention on an extremely interesting candidate in the form of Jerry Sloan. According to Andrew Gruman of FOXSportsWisconsin.com, Sloan confirmed that he has met with the Bucks' brass.
The 71-year-old Sloan hasn't coached since he resigned as Utah Jazz bench boss during the 2010-11 season. Sloan was Utah's head coach for 23 seasons and was the longest-tenured coach in major American professional sports at the time he stepped down. Sloan achieved a great deal of success with the Jazz as he won more than 1,000 games and reached the NBA Finals twice.
Milwaukee is clearly looking to make a big splash and hiring Sloan would accomplish precisely that. According to Sam Amick of USA Today, the Bucks have also spoken with the likes of Steve Clifford, Nate McMillan, Kelvin Sampson and J.B. Bickerstaff. All of those candidates have merit, but none of them can match Sloan's resume.
Detroit Pistons Weighing Several Options
While most teams searching for a head coach seem to be leaning toward one candidate or another, it is anyone's guess what the Detroit Pistons will do. They are said to be eyeing a number of different options including Darrell Walker, according to Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News. Walker, who is a current assistant for the New York Knicks and a former assistant for the Pistons, is one of many possibilities Detroit is sifting through.
Goodwill believes that former Seattle SuperSonics and Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan is the first choice of general manager Joe Dumars, but it is extremely tough to tell at this point. According to Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk.com, there are conflicting reports regarding the Pistons' interest in McMillan.
While McMillan has met with the Pistons' front office twice already, he is far from the only one to speak with Detroit management, according to Goodwill. Lindsey Hunter, Mike Budenholzer and J.B. Bickerstaff have already been interviewed as well, and Goodwill expects the Pistons to reach out to Oklahoma City Thunder assistant Maurice Cheeks.
If the way things have gone thus far is any indication, the Pistons could be among the final teams to fill their head coaching vacancy.
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