NBA notes • Former Philadelphia guard a candidate for top coaching job.
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The 76ers will begin interviewing candidates next week for their vacant head coaching position, and a picture is taking shape as to which direction the Sixers may move, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Sixers have identified a group of assistant coaches, all of them 50 years old or younger, as their primary targets. The group includes Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw and Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Malone, both of whom are still coaching in the NBA playoffs.
According to a report from Yahoo Sports late Wednesday, the Sixers have gained permission to interview Malone and Utah Jazz assistant coach and former 76er Jeff Hornacek. Hornacek has been an assistant in Utah for the last two seasons after serving as the team's shooting coach.
The 76ers also plan to interview assistant coach Michael Curry, a Sixers assistant for the last three seasons.
All of the candidates and there are others, according to majority owner Joshua Harris are a stark departure from former coach Doug Collins, who guided the Sixers to the third-worst winning percentage (.415) in their last 15 seasons before resigning last month.
According to team sources, some of the players became frustrated with Collins' old-school ways or, as one Sixer said, his "tendency to be overbearing."
According to a source, the Sixers will most likely speak with Hornacek first because Utah did not make the playoffs. Hornacek spent two seasons (1992-94) with the Sixers. Hornacek and Sixers general manager Tony DiLeo, who joined the Sixers in 1990, have maintained a friendship over the years.
Kahn out as T-Wolves' president
Goodbye, David Kahn.
Hello, Flip Saunders. Again.
The Minnesota Timberwolves announced Thursday that owner Glen Taylor will not to pick up the option for next season on Kahn's contract. Three people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that Taylor has agreed on a deal to hire Saunders as Kahn's replacement. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because an official announcement hasn't been made.
Saunders coached the Wolves from 1995-2005, and his reputation in these parts only grew when the Timberwolves cratered after his exit.
"We want to thank David for all of his efforts the past four years with our basketball team," Taylor said in a statement issued by the team. "These are always difficult decisions, but at this time, we believe it is in the best interest of our organization to make a change. We wish David all the best in the future."
Kahn spent four seasons leading the Timberwolves. He helped bring point guard Ricky Rubio and coach Rick Adelman to Minnesota, but his teams went 89-223 and missed the playoffs in all four of his seasons.
"It's always the owner's prerogative," Kahn told The AP. "I don't think it's appropriate to say whether it's fair or not. I'm very grateful for the opportunity that Glen gave me."
Z-Bo has no sympathy for Griffin
While Clippers Nation wrings its hands over Blake Griffin's severely sprained right ankle, Memphis forward Zach Randolph isn't shedding any tears.
"Banged up? I'm banged up. You forgot about my ankle? Banged up. My ankle is as big as a balloon," Randolph told The Orange County Register when asked by Memphis reporters Thursday if Griffin's injury will affect the matchups in Friday's Game 6 in Memphis.
"Last year when I played in the playoffs, I wasn't 100 percent, but I was out there, so I had to be 100 percent," Randolph said. "It's the playoffs. It's a big-boy game."
Neither Griffin nor his Clippers teammates need to be reminded of the importance of Game 6. The Clippers have lost their hold on the first-round playoff series, dropping three in a row after building a 2-0 lead.
Griffin isn't ready to concede the series, despite spraining his ankle during Monday's practice. The injury limited his effectiveness in Game 5. He had four points and five rebounds when he left the court after 20 minutes. The Clippers lost, 112-91, to give the Grizzlies a 3-2 lead.
He is considered a game-time decision.
"It's a little better today, but I still have to stay off it for the next 24 hours and see how it feels tomorrow," Griffin said Thursday before the team left for Memphis. "Hopefully I can give it a go."
Warriors coach fined $25K
The NBA fined Golden State coach Mark Jackson $25,000 on Thursday for making public comments in an attempt to influence the officiating in the Warriors' playoff series with Denver.
After Golden State's 107-100 loss in Game 5 at Denver on Tuesday night, Jackson said the Nuggets sent "hit men" and took "cheap shots" at point guard Stephen Curry. He repeatedly mentioned Kenneth Faried's foul in the first half, when the forward stuck out his right leg and moved his body while Curry ran through traffic.
"For two years now, I've taken pride in not ever criticizing referees for two years. And then reading the statement by the NBA, I'm extremely thankful I am not fined for criticizing referees," Jackson said before Game 6 against the Nuggets on Thursday night.
Told the league fined him for an "attempt to influence the officiating," Jackson responded: "I don't like it, and I disagree." He declined to say whether he would appeal the fine.
Jackson, who doubles as an ordained minister, had never been fined for criticizing officials in his two years as an NBA coach. He couldn't recall being fined for criticizing officials in his 17 season as a point guard in the league, but said his team wouldn't allow all the rhetoric or his fine to be a distraction.
"This is an awesome time. I truly don't take it for granted," Jackson said. "I smile, $25,000 lighter, but I'm smiling."