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May 03, 2013

6-and-counting: Bobcats to interview Lakers assistant Steve Clifford

    The Charlotte Bobcats have asked for and received permission to interview Los Angeles Lakers assistant Steve Clifford for their head-coaching job, a Lakers spokesman confirmed to the Observer.

            Clifford, known for his defensive expertise, spent the previous nine seasons working for the Van Gundys – first Jeff Van Gundy with the Houston Rockets, then Stan Van Gundy with the Orlando Magic.

            When Stan Van Gundy’s tenure in Orlando ended, Clifford went to the Lakers to work for Mike Brown, who lost his job early this season. Brown’s replacement, Mike D’Antoni, installed Clifford as his lead assistant for the balance of the season.

            Clifford becomes the sixth known candidate to fill the opening created when the Bobcats fired Mike Dunlap last month. The others:

    Former Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry and four assistants: Nate Tibbetts (Cleveland), Kelvin Sampson (Houston), Jeff Hornacek (Utah) and Elston Turner (most recently with the Suns).

Posted by Observer Sports on May 3, 2013 at 05:51 PM | Permalink


Let me guess........Bobcats are looking for an assistant to be head coach.......

Posted by: HORNET | May 3, 2013 6:06:10 PM

The Bobcats best years have come under Bernie Bikerstaff, Larry Brown and even Paul Silas got some very good production out of a bad team before the lockout year.......As much as everybody would love to have the next Scott Brooks and Tom Thibiddeau, it may be best to just go with a veteran coach who knows the role best. There's just no sense in having the blind lead the blind like we had this past year.

Posted by: Smitty | May 3, 2013 6:11:55 PM

The American Idol of NBA coaching searches...find the 'diamond in the rough'...an undiscovered talent.

Posted by: eduardo | May 3, 2013 8:02:00 PM

Are the Bobcats so bad that they cannot attract an experienced head coach, or does Jordan just want someone that is indebted to him and won't disagree with anything he says?

Posted by: Michael | May 3, 2013 8:32:08 PM

Michael, it's the former.

Shaw turned them down. Sloan took himself out of the race. No veteran coach of an consequence will come anywhere near this team

Hence, all we do is interview assistants!

Posted by: NASTAR28 | May 3, 2013 11:17:40 PM

cannot believe the fired dunlap without a clear cut go to guy waiting in the wings already having accepted the job.

this is even more insane than I thought.

Posted by: charlottean | May 4, 2013 3:07:28 AM

It's becoming clear that as long as Jordan is the owner, this team will never progress. MJ has to surround himself with yes men. He has to be right about everything and if you disagree, your fired.

He hasn't mentioned anything about getting the Hornets name back either. Too busy getting married again throwing money at his honeymoon. Smh. Such a pathetic group of owners and managers. Dunlap had some major faults, but it wasn't fair to fire a guy that you hand pick from college after one year.

Posted by: D.W.G. | May 4, 2013 6:49:25 AM

Hornacek is the best on the list! Only problem is he will make players practice and hold them accountable! Wasn't that why Dunlap was fired?

Posted by: joe cool | May 4, 2013 8:59:04 AM

"Despite what was initially reported on a feature detailing Brian Shaw’s current gig as the Indiana Pacers’ associate coach, a Charlotte Bobcats official said Shaw was never offered the head-coaching position when he interviewed for the position last summer"

Who is the idiot that thinks the Bobcats offered Shaw?

Posted by: Symbiotic | May 4, 2013 9:11:20 AM

Why do they go again through a list of assistants, it's beyond me. Didn't big boss say he's looking for the "next Avery Johnson", and the result of this was the first season in the 'Cats short history when the team regressed - due to Sam Vincent's lousy coaching?
Didn't Mike Dunlap make a great impression in the job interview (not just good; great), didn't he have some bright shiny recommendations from George Karl (which sounded very convincing to many, including to me) ? And didn't they conclude that he's not really NBA head coach material (yeah, he was clearly better than Vincent, but that's not the point) ?
Do Jordan & Co. ever learn anything from past failures ? Do they think that the fans have infinite patience, for more lousiness and failure to come ?
The Lakers fired Mike Brown, the renowned defensive specialist (good decision). Now, the Bobcats are checking into his assistant, defensive specialist Steve Clifford ?!!

Posted by: Sandy | May 4, 2013 9:14:09 PM

OK, enough venting. As long as they didn't make a choice, I still want to be optimistic.

On their list, there are two experienced, good coaches. Alvin Gentry has the experience and the ability to improve this team, I'd say for the next three seasons. He would be a good (not great) choice.

Kelvin Sampson was successful in NCAA. In a twenty years head coaching career, he became one of the best college coaches.
We know how difficult the transition from college to NBA coaching is for anybody.
I think that spending five years as an assistant coach in the NBA qualifies as a good apprenticeship, for learning what it takes to win at the next level.

I'm not contradicting myself (my previous protest against interviewing all those assistants, again).
What counts in Sampson's favor is, above all, his long and successful career as head coach at a high level in NCAA. The five seasons of NBA assistantship are, in my opinion, the apprenticeship that should ensure his good transition from college to pro head coaching.

Besides, I hope that Sam Mitchell won't be forgotten, clouded by all their interest in unproven assistants. Sam Mitchell remains my favorite for this job, for the long haul.

Posted by: Sandy | May 4, 2013 9:34:16 PM

I don't think sam mitchell is very smart at all. avery johnson will ruin kemba. good coach, good leader, not the right fit at all. if dunlap was too hard on them......johnson would be a hypocritical hire.

alvin gentry i like. lawrence frank, byron scott, etc. I wouldn't mind kurt rambis. I think he had a rough go of it in minny with the worst GM outside of rod higgins. That's a guy who played here, coached as an assistant on championship teams, has head coaching experience, etc. etc. etc. and he's a big man and our bigs need the most coaching.

hiring an asst. isn't a problem if its the right guy. I just hate the guys that haven't paid enough dues yet. for every spoelstra or frank, there's a sam vincent or michael curry. you want an asst. who learned from a great head coach or was a critical reason for success. not the assistant for the underwhelming cavs who just got laid off and isn't being considered for their own head coaching job. not the guy who assisted the lakers to mediocrity with 4 hall of famers and 2 all more all-stars.

and definitely not the guy that assisted the rockets and bucks to 8 seeds after being run out of college basketball.

Posted by: charlottean | May 6, 2013 1:42:43 PM

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