CHICAGO - Tom Thibodeau is in Las Vegas today, where he will add to his resume' with yet another head coaching interview and likely disappear from there.
No one I've spoken to sees him as the eventual Kings head coach, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't show up and make his pitch anyway. On his end, it's a no-brainer for any lifelong assistant. On the Kings' end, maybe they'll pick up a few defensive nuggets during the chat that can help with that cause for their team.
From there, Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis is expected to come into Las Vegas soon for his interview. And while I've been told that he is a more realistic candidate for the post, I would tend to disagree with Phil Jasner's assertion that he's a "likely front-runner" for the post.
Paul Westphal is still in good standing, with a significant edge in almost every category the Kings have made relevant. There's his record (267-159), which stands alone when compared to his competitors for this post. There's his vibe with Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie, who had no prior relationship with Westphal but who seemed to gain a quick comfort level with him. And as we said would be the case all along, there's the financial factor.
Long before Eddie Jordan was signing with Philly for a three-year guaranteed deal worth $2 million, $3 million and $3.1 million, Westphal's camp was agreeing to handshake terms of a deal that fell more in line with what Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof preferred. According to two sources with knowledge of the situation, Westphal's price tag will be $1.5 million per season.
Could Rambis come in and wow his way into the lead spot? Absolutely. But Westphal, to be sure, is the man out in front. - Sam Amick