Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach, and two-time head coach Maurice Cheeks was in Detroit yesterday for a face-to-face interview with Detroit Pistons front office personnel regarding the vacant head coaching seat. Contrary to what Pistons 101 reported yesterday, this was Cheeks' second interview with the Pistons after he reportedly had a phone interview with the Pistons while the Thunder were still in the playoffs. Two interviews leads to speculation about Cheeks becoming the next head coach, but if the second interview status wasn't enough Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News is reporting that the Pistons are done bringing in candidates for the coaching job:
But as the Pistons concluded their interview with Oklahoma City assistant Maurice Cheeks Wednesday, their first face-to-face meeting after phone conversations while the Thunder were still in the playoffs, it appears they won't be bringing in any more candidates, a source tells The Detroit News.
has stated that there isn't a clear timetable as to when the hire will be made, but many believe the start of June is decently safe bet as to when the Pistons will wait to make a decision. Still, closing the door on new candidates means the Pistons are closing the door on both Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale, and Indiana Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw. The Pistons were thought to have had interest in both candidates, but there's no chance of hiring either now that the interview process is over.
To recap, the Pistons have interviewed Nate McMillan, Lindsey Hunter, San Antonio Spurs Assistant Mike Budenholzer, New York Knicks assistant Darrell Walker, and Houston Rockets assistant J.B. Bickerstaff. Most recently, they interviewed Maurice Cheeks.
Of those names the only real standout is Nate McMillan, who was dubbed as the "front-runner" in the weeks following his initial interview with Joe Dumars
. It was reported that Dumars had met with McMillan in North Carolina a week before his formal interview in Detroit, which would make McMillan and Cheeks the only two candidates who have met/talked with the Pistons more than once, that the media knows about.
In McMillan's case many believed, this writer included, that the inclusion of Phil Jackson as an unpaid consultant following the McMillan interview was a sign of McMillan's disinterest in the head-coaching job with the Pistons. If the Pistons offered McMillan the job, he might have told the Pistons he needed time to wait to see what other opportunities came his way. McMillan has also interviewed with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks (both playoff teams), and has recently been linked to the Los Angeles Clippers coaching job after Vinny Del Negro wad fired. McMillan is also thought to be the coach-in-waiting should the Sacramento Kings move to Seattle and become the Super Sonics again. (via HoopsHype.com
Of those scenarios, the argument could be made that the Pistons job would be the least appealing landing spot for McMillan.
In Cheeks' case, the only other job that the former head coach had been linked to was the Orlando Magic head-coaching job. However, that report was called "baseless" shortly after it was released. Cheeks has only seriously been linked to the Pistons, and as his second interview concluded yesterday with the Pistons putting out a "closed door" sign on Six Championship Drive, one could surmise that Cheeks is the new "front-runner" for the coaching job.
Video of Maurice Cheeks talking about the emergence of Russell Westbrook in 2011. Might Cheeks be the coach to get Brandon Knight to the next step?
The Pistons aren't going to rush the situation, but ending the interview process is a big step towards naming a coach. When asked if the search would be dragged out until the start of free agency, Joe Dumars told the The Detroit News
, "We want to have it done by then. We're not going to drag this out." It's also unlikely that the search would be "dragged out" up to the June 27th NBA Draft
, as head coaches are invaluable when evaluating rookie talent via one-on-one team workouts.
The coaching search is nearing an end, and no matter who the hire is no one can say the Pistons didn't due their due diligence this time around.Read more... Join the Conversation...