As the Milwaukee Bucks start the process of hiring a new head coach, Stan Van Gundy has emerged as the franchise's top target, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Houston Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson also is near the top of the franchise's list, sources said, after the Bucks parted ways with interim coach Jim Boylan on Thursday.
Bucks general manager John Hammond wants a hands-on coach strong on the defensive end of the floor and a restoration of discipline within the locker room.
Among other possible candidates could be Los Angeles Lakers assistant Steve Clifford and Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Malone, sources said.
Boylan was in a difficult situation with a roster that included conflicting agendas for potential free agents Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Still, there's developing talent within the organization that makes the job intriguing.
After his firing in Orlando a year ago, Van Gundy has insisted he'll be particular in selecting his new coaching staff. Van Gundy has a 579-371 record (.641) in his stops as head coach with the Miami Heat and Magic. In seven full seasons as a head coach, Van Gundy reached the NBA Finals once and twice the conference finals and conference semifinals.
Before Van Gundy joined Miami as an assistant coach in 1995, he spent three years – including one as head coach -– at the University of Wisconsin.
The Bucks did trade for one of Van Gundy's favorite former players, J.J. Redick, during the season. Milwaukee is determined to re-sign Redick as a free agent.
Sampson is well-regarded within the Bucks organization and the Bucks will aggressively pursue him along with Van Gundy, sources said. Sampson spent two seasons as an assistant with former Bucks coach Scott Skiles, and he knows the organization well.
Sampson has drawn significant interest as a head-coaching candidate this spring. Charlotte will interview him soon, and Philadelphia and Detroit also could reach out to meet with him, sources said. In addition, Sampson is a potential candidate for Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Clippers, if those teams make coaching changes.
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