Try to find a comfortable spot at the edge of your seat, Golden State Warriors fans. Your next head coach could be anywhere from minutes to months away.
"We're going to take our time in this process," owner Joe Lacob said, via Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle. "...We have a very good idea of what we're interested in. But, to be sure and to do the appropriate job in looking for a coach, we will interview multiple people and make sure we're doing the right thing."
The process sounds both exhaustive and exciting. There are buzz-worthy names all over the Warriors' radar, which is cluttered to the point one wonders how clear their idea for an ideal replacement for Mark Jackson can really be.
"The Warriors," Simmons reports, "are expected to contact the Chicago Bulls to explore the availability of their head coach, defensive whiz Tom Thibodeau."
Golden State has already contacted Steve Kerr and Stan Van Gundy about its coaching vacancy, but those could be the first of many phone calls made during this process. According to Simmons, the Warriors are "also believed to be considering the merits" of the following: Lionel Hollins, Mike D'Antoni, George Karl, Jerry Sloan, Fred Hoiberg, Kevin Ollie, David Fizdale, Alvin Gentry and Nate McMillan.
At this point, we probably can't even rule out Nick Nolte, Samuel L. Jackson and Martin Lawrence as candidates.
Clearly, the Warriors plan to leave no stone unturned. Just don't expect them to spend the same amount of time at each spot.
As Simmons notes, "the process starts with Kerr and Van Gundy." If the Bulls would entertain letting Thibodeau go, though, you wonder if the starting point might change.
The defensive guru has three years left on his current contract with Chicago, but he's had a bit of a rocky relationship with the front office. Neither side has quieted the chatter around the coach—the Los Angeles Lakers are also reportedly interested—but as ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell explained, both might have reasons for letting it linger:
From the Bulls' perspective, the front office's approach has always been that they don't respond to rumors. At this stage, that is how they are viewing the recent Thibodeau news. He's under contract to the Bulls for three more seasons, so why should they have to say anything about a coach who is locked up for the foreseeable future?
From the Thibodeau camp perspective, why would they come out and knock down rumors about their client? They have to believe the more interest, the better. Like most professionals, coaches want to be wanted, and Thibodeau is no different.
Of course, the longer the speculation stays out there, the more time people have to make assumptions about what it means:
Thibs isn't officially a part of this race yet, but he could join up at the forefront any moment. He's a perennial overachiever (the opposite of how critics saw Jackson) and a brilliant defensive mind. Offense isn't seen as his specialty, but the Bulls have never given him the firepower the Warriors have.
"The slow-it-down style he's employed in Chicago would make zero sense for Stephen Curry and company, but he's a brilliant basketball mind and you'd think he'd adapt his offense to his personnel," CBS Sports' James Herbert wrote.
We'll have to wait and see what happens with Thibodeau, which is all we can do with any candidate on this list.
Kerr is still reportedly torn between the Warriors and the New York Knicks. Van Gundy is reportedly interested in talking to the Warriors, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, but it's hard to read whether he's in front of or behind Kerr on Golden State's wish list.
The waters get murkier the deeper you go down that list. Expectations will be incredibly high for the team's next coach, so it's important to get the right person into that position.
That decision could come tomorrow, next week, next month or maybe even after that. Keep a close watch should something break soon.
Just understand this could turn into a lengthy stakeout.
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