Charlotte Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins says Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan notified the team he has pulled out of the running for the head coaching position.
Higgins wasn’t necessarily surprised, saying Friday, ”It’s all part of the process, and I’m sure it’s happened before.”
Charlotte settled this week on three finalists for the job — Sloan, Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw and Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Quin Snyder. Higgins says both Shaw and Snyder had second interviews this week that included team owner Michael Jordan and the meetings went well, calling them ”impressive candidates.”
Neither has been offered the position, Higgins said, and he would not rule out the possibility of the team interviewing another candidate in the future.
”Maybe,” Higgins said. ”I want to be as transparent as possible but at the same time there are certain things we want to keep private.”
Either way, it appears the Bobcats coaching search will continue into next week and possibly longer.
After the NBA lottery on May 31, Higgins said he hoped to have a coach in place ”in a couple of weeks,” but said Friday there is no timetable.
”It’s going to take a little longer,” Higgins said.
The Bobcats are looking to replace Paul Silas, who was not granted a contract extension after the team finished 7-59 last season, the worst winning percentage (.106) in NBA history.
The Bobcats interviewed 10 candidates but trimmed the list to three this week.
Previously eliminated from consideration were Orlando assistant coach Patrick Ewing, Charlotte assistant Stephen Silas, ex-Portland coach Nate McMillan, Golden State assistant Michael Malone, Cleveland assistant Nate Tibbetts, Memphis assistant Dave Joerger and St. John’s University assistant Mike Dunlap.
Higgins said the team is focused on making the right hire.
”We interviewed quite a few people and we’re just making sure we have the right fit for us,” Higgins said. ”We’re just trying to go through everyone’s background.”
Sloan was the only finalist who had experience as a head coach. He coached 22 seasons in all, including 19 with the Utah Jazz. He twice took the Jazz to the NBA Finals, both times losing to Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Snyder has been a head coach in the NBDL and at Missouri, while Shaw has won five NBA titles — three as a player and two as an assistant, but has never been a head coach.
The Bobcats wanted to have a coach hired before workouts with draft prospects, but that didn’t happen. Charlotte began working out players on Friday. They have the No. 2 and 31 overall picks in the draft.
Among the players who worked out Friday were Southern Mississippi’s Maurice Bolden, LSU’s Justin Hamilton, Detroit’s Eli Holman, Virginia’s Mike Scott, Gonzaga’s Robert Sacre and Belmont Abbey’s Kyle Phillips.
They plan to host more workouts next week.
The New Orleans Hornets have the first pick in the NBA draft and are expected to take Kentucky’s Anthon Davis, who is considered by far the best player in this year’s class. Among the potential candidates for the No. 2 pick include Kansas’ Thomas Robinson, Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes and Florida’s Brandon Beal.