The Milwaukee Bucks have a head coaching vacancy this offseason after replacing Jason Kidd earlier this season with interim Joe Prunty.
League insider Marc Stein reported several names that could be in line for the job (via New York Times):
“Current TV analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Kevin McHale, league sources say, are among the marquee names that can already be found on the Bucks’ list of candidates. The former New Orleans coach Monty Williams and [David] Fizdale have also been mentioned as likely candidates — and word is that even former Louisville coach Rick Pitino could get an exploratory look here.”
Stein was one of the first to report that Milwaukee was interested in trading for former Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe. He also broke the news that the team would hire new general manager Jon Horst in June 2017.
USA TODAY‘s Sam Amick said that Williams is the “name to watch” for the gig, so it’s no surprise to see him at the top of the list.
This report is similar to what was mentioned by Mitch Lawrence (via Forbes):
“According to industry sources, among the potential coaches Lasry and co-owner Wes Edens could look at to replace Kidd are former Memphis head coach Dave Fizdale; former Knicks and Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy; former New Orleans coach Monty Williams; former Louisville coach Rick Pitino; and current G-League minor-league coach Jerry Stackhouse, who is seen as a future coach in the NBA.”
One reason why Van Gundy makes sense is that Vin Baker, who is an assistant coach for the Bucks, played for him on the Rockets during the 2004-05 season.
Another connection is that even though he might not be on the roster next season, veteran Jason Terry played for McHale on the Rockets for two years as well.
But the most surprising name mentioned on both lists was Pitino, the former Louisville head coach. While he has hired an agent in hopes to return to the NBA the 65-year-old has not coached in the league since 2001.