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Report: Pistons can interview Sampson

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MILWAUKEE (AP)

The Milwaukee Bucks have given the Detroit Pistons permission to interview assistant Kelvin Sampson for their vacant head coaching job, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Thursday.

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The person requested anonymity because of the confidential nature of the Pistons' search.

Sampson has been an assistant to Bucks head coach Scott Skiles since May 2008. Sampson joined Skiles' staff after his tenure as the head coach at Indiana University ended in scandal.

Yahoo! Sports reported earlier Thursday that the Pistons had permission to speak to Sampson.

Detroit fired coach John Kuester on Sunday, just days after new owner Tom Gores completed an agreement to buy the team.

Kuester was 57-107 over two seasons with Detroit, which failed to make the postseason in consecutive years for the first time since missing the playoffs three straight times from 1993-95.

Sampson has said he'll likely never coach in college again, and has set his sights on becoming a head coach in the NBA.

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''You never say never,'' Sampson told AP in April 2009, when asked about a potential return to college. ''But I'm really excited about the NBA, and I'm excited about the possibility of becoming a head coach in the NBA one day, maybe. And if it works out, it works out. If it does, it does. If it doesn't, it doesn't.''

Sampson reportedly attracted interest from the Houston Rockets, who hired Kevin McHale last week.

Sampson resigned as the Hoosiers' coach in February 2008 and accepted a $750,000 buyout after an NCAA report accused him of major rules violations.

In 2009, Sampson unsuccessfully appealed NCAA penalties that essentially bar him from coaching in college until 2013. The NCAA penalized Sampson for taking part in more than 100 impermissible calls to recruits while coaching the Hoosiers.

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