The Kings announced today that they plan to schedule an interview with Paul Westphal for their head coaching vacancy this week.
Westphal joins Eddie Jordan as the first two candidates to be targeted for interviews, and the former Phoenix and Seattle head coach is relevant beyond the obvious. While Jordan appears to be in a class all his own in this race, there are signs from his camp that he would strongly consider the Philadelphia job that - oh by the way - just became open.
The 76ers today announced that interim coach Tony DiLeo will return to the team's front office. And considering that every coach I've spoken with sees the Sixers' situation as more appealing on almost every front, not to mention Jordan's more recent familiarity with the Eastern Conference and the reality that it's easier to win on that side, that's something to watch. What's more, the possibility of a bidding war wouldn't likely go well for the Kings considering the Maloofs' desire to keep costs of all kinds down. The negotiating bar was raised a bit today also, as Toronto's Jay Triano was given a three-year deal (although I haven't seen any story indicating how many of the years are guaranteed or how much he was given).
If the Kings eventually lost out on Jordan's services, Westphal's stock would rise and he could have a stronger standing in his attempt to be a head coach for the first time since 2000. Since leaving the Sonics that year, Westphal was the coach at Pepperdine from 2001 until 2006 and is currently Dallas' executive vice president of basketball operations.
So long as Petrie is dictating the direction of the coaching search as Kings co-owner Joe Maloof said he would, it bodes well for Westphal that he is the second name to be officially acknowledged. Jordan has not yet been interviewed, but both are expected to be seen before Petrie leaves for Spain after this week. The Nuggets are currently up 3-0 in their series with Dallas and Game 4 is tonight in Dallas, meaning scheduling could become a little more simple if Denver can pull off the sweep. - Sam Amick