McHale interviews with Warriors as coaching searches heat up
CHICAGO -- As if the lines of these coaching search circles weren't blending enough already, Golden State has added Rockets candidate Kevin McHale to its list.
And that particular line, in case it wasn't obvious, is drawn in Celtic green.
The former Boston legend and current television analyst had already been interviewed by the Rockets for their vacancy, with that shamrock connection coming by way of Houston general manager and former Celtics senior vice president of operations and information Daryl Morey. As for the Warriors, new owner Joe Lacob is a former minority owner of the Celtics and certainly one of McHale's biggest fans.
As was first reported by Yahoo! Sports, McHale met with Warriors front office officials at the draft combine in Chicago on Thursday. He is also expected to meet for a second time with the Rockets this week.
A source confirmed that Mark Jackson also interviewed for the Golden State job "a couple of weeks ago." The ESPN analyst and former point guard has never been a coach, but he was a finalist for the Atlanta head coaching job last season and also interviewed for the New Orleans job that went to Monty Williams.
There were already a number of names making it onto the Rockets', Warriors' and Lakers' coaching lists, although no candidate is being considered for all three openings.
Former Minnesota coach and current Dallas assistant Dwane Casey is a finalist for the Houston job. Sources close to the situation said he has interviewed twice. He also interviewed recently with the Warriors, as have former Cleveland coach Mike Brown and Lakers assistants Brian Shaw and Chuck Person. A source confirmed that former New Jersey coach and current Boston assistant Lawrence Frank is expected to meet with the Warriors on Saturday, this after he was already deemed a finalist for the Rockets' position.
Yet a source close to the situation said it's doubtful that Frank would take the Rockets' job if it was offered, as the salary is expected to be on the lower end for head coaches (about $2 million per season for two years). Another source close to the situation strongly refutes the assertion that the salary is already set, saying it will be dependent on the quality and experience of the coach. Rockets owner Les Alexander has paid the team's last two coaches, Adelman and Jeff Van Gundy, more than $4 million annually.
Frank could emerge as a serious candidate for the Warriors, though, as long as the going rate was higher than is being offered in Houston.
New Orleans assistant Mike Malone has also been interviewed for the Warriors head position, and could eventually become a lead assistant for Brown if he is given the job and Malone is not. The defensive-minded Malone was with Brown in Cleveland from 2005-10 after spending two seasons with the Knicks. He has a winning percentage of .595 in all of his assistant stops, having made seven playoff appearances.
A second round of interviews should start soon for the Warriors. Only two candidates are expected to be presented to Lacob and co-owner Peter Guber.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Shaw and Person are also considered candidates to replace Phil Jackson. Shaw -- who is bringing championship cachet to his candidacy after winning three titles as a Lakers player and two as an assistant coach -- is clearly the in-house leader. Outsiders Rick Adelman (former Houston coach) and Mike Dunleavy (former Clippers and Lakers coach) are receiving serious consideration as well. Both boast extensive experience, but neither has won a championship as a player or coach.
Interestingly, two of the candidates have crossed lines more than once. In 2005, Casey was hired by McHale to be Minnesota's coach. McHale had come down from his seat as Timberwolves general manager and gone 19-12 as interim coach the previous season after Flip Saunders was fired. Casey was then fired by McHale midway through the 2006-07 season, having followed his 33-49 debut campaign with a 20-20 start that came with a roster that had been decimated by the departures of Latrell Sprewell, Wally Szczerbiak and Sam Cassell. The Timberwolves are 90-280 in the four and a half years since Casey's dismissal.
The two men have faced off as head coaches before, on Dec. 30, 2008, when Casey took over for Dallas after Rick Carlisle was ejected midway through the second quarter of a game against Minnesota. With Casey at the helm, the Mavericks trailed by as many as 29 points in the third quarter but rallied to win 107-100 at the American Airlines Center.