Pardon the blogging delay. And sad as it is to say, there were no mai tais consumed next to island palm trees in the interim, just countless phone calls made and leads followed in the coaching search that is far from over.
As it stands, this whole process of interviewing six candidates is beginning to feel like a waiting game to fill the time before the playoffs end and the Kings can finally talk to assistants whose teams are still alive. Last year, for example, the likes of Phoenix assistant Marc Iavaroni and San Antonio assistant P.J. Carlesimo were supposedly high on the Kings’ list but not high enough to wait for. The Maloofs fell hard for Eric Musselman and basketball prez Geoff Petrie approved the deal before the Suns and Spurs were done playing.
They should both have a chance this time, but it’s Detroit assistant Terry Porter whose name I’m hearing above the others at this point. Porter, to review, was part of the Portland team that went to the NBA Finals twice when Petrie was the Blazers’ senior vice president of basketball operations. Then, of course, the two-time All-Star followed his 17-year playing career with one season as a Kings assistant (2002-03) before heading to Milwaukee for his first head coaching job.
In his first season, he took a team that wasn’t supposed to do much into the playoffs, then did the opposite a year later when the expectations were raised, injuries were a major factor, and the postseason was not to be. Porter was fired soon thereafter. Yet most people within the industry do not understand why he was let go, which only helps his case. His reputation is stellar, his background with Petrie deep.
A couple interesting tidbits from his Wikipedia file – Porter’s teams failed to make the playoffs just once, the collective record of the four teams he played for is impressive (815-547 in Portland, Minnesota, Miami and San Antonio) and he was never traded. Also, for what it’s worth, I understand that Porter’s wife, Susie, and Petrie’s wife, Anne-Marie, are very close friends.
All appearances are that Scott Brooks still has a legitimate shot. While the relationship with Petrie isn’t nearly as deep as is the case with Porter, there is a chemistry there that is valuable and Brooks would likely come cheaper than most if he kept some or all of the assistants who are under contract for next season. The interview process for Brooks, it seems, is a bit more informal than the rest. He had his lunch with Petrie on May 11 in which the job was discussed, and I’m told he’ll have a few more similar meetings that – all told – would count as his comprehensive interview.
Unlike last year, Carlesimo may actually get the phone call he was hoping for this time around as well. As for the first round of interviews, there are two more remaining after former Miami head coach Stan Van Gundy met with Petrie on Monday. Lakers assistant Brian Shaw is today, and former Kings assistant Elston Turner is scheduled for Wednesday.
– Sam Amick