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Bobcats agree in principle with Steve Clifford as new coach

The Charlotte Bobcats reached an agreement in principle on Monday for Lakers assistant Steve Clifford to be their new head coach, league sources confirmed to CBSSports.com.

Clifford, among the best of this year's crop of assistants vying for head coaching jobs, also was a finalist for the Bucks job and had an interview scheduled with the Phoenix Suns. His deal is for three years at just under $6 million, with the third year being a team option, sources say.

The Bobcats, who fired Mike Dunlap after the season, also interviewed Jazz assistant Jeff Hornacek, who agreed to terms on Sunday to become the Suns' head coach.

Clifford brings credibility as a defensive-minded coach who served as an assistant under Jeff Van Gundy in Houston and Stan Van Gundy in Orlando. His departure from the Lakers creates an opening that Mike D'Antoni already was anticipating, given the demand for Clifford in this summer's head coaching searches. D'Antoni is known to want to hire former Suns coach Alvin Gentry, who was on his bench in Phoenix. Gentry first is expected to explore returning to the Clippers as a replacement for Vinny Del Negro.

Former Hawks coach Larry Drew and Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson are the other finalists for the Bucks' head coaching job. Both have second interviews scheduled this week.

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