The Houston Rockets are in the final stages of deciding on a head coach, with all three candidates having received two interviews for the job of replacing Rick Adelman.
“The next step is to make a decision,” a person with knowledge of the process told CBSSports.com Thursday.
Former Timberwolves coach and general manager Kevin McHale met with owner Leslie Alexander Wednesday in Miami, where McHale was broadcasting the Eastern Conference finals for TNT. Former Nets coach Lawrence Frank and Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey also have been interviewed twice.
UPDATE: A second person familiar with the process told CBSSports.com Thursday night that the Rockets are expected to extend a formal offer to their top choice as early as Friday.
Sources have been told that Frank has been losing ground in the three-man race, but that no clear favorite has emerged. The Rockets have not extended an offer or engaged in contract negotiations with any of the candidates, sources said.
While McHale’s candidacy has been bolstered by a strong recommendation from former Celtics teammate and current Boston president Danny Ainge, sources said Casey is on firm ground by virtue of the fact that he is the only candidate still coaching in the playoffs. Another person with direct knowledge of the interview process said all three candidates have presented compelling visions for the team, but not all aspects of the candidates’ strategies are on the same page with Houston management.
Meanwhile, Warriors management – bolstered by the addition of Hall of Fame consultant Jerry West – remains focused on a list of five remaining candidates the team has spoken with about its head coaching vacancy: Lakers assistants Brian Shaw and Chuck Person; Hornets assistant Michael Malone; ABC/ESPN broadcaster Mark Jackson; and Frank. The team also had spoken with former Cavs coach Mike Brown, who was hired Wednesday to replace Phil Jackson as coach of the Lakers.
A person familiar with the Golden State search said “one or two” other candidates could emerge for the Golden State job as a result of “musical chairs” with other jobs. One example of that could be Shaw, who may not want to remain with the Lakers after being passed over for the head coaching vacancy he had long hoped to fill once Jackson finally retired.
Another could be McHale, whose candidacy is expected to be strengthened by owner Joe Lacob’s connection to the Celtics. As a former member of the Celtics’ ownership group, Lacob is open to advice from Ainge and Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, who are solidly backing McHale for a head coaching position. Sources in the coaching industry expect McHale to emerge as a candidate in Golden State depending on how his bid for the Houston job turns out.
UPDATE: A person with knowledge of the Warriors' search said Thursday that McHale had an "informal discussion" with team officials about the job.
UPDATE: In other NBA front office news, the Raptors are assembling a list of candidates to work alongside assistant general manager Marc Eversley under team president Bryan Colangelo. Although Maurizio Gherardini's contract expires June 30 and he may pursue other opportunities, Colangelo is chiefly concerned with filling the hole in the front office left by Masai Ujiri's departure for Denver. A person with knowledge of the Raptors' search said Colangelo is seeking a "high-level basketball person" to fill that role in what is expected to be an ambitious reorganization of the Toronto front office after the draft.