The Charlotte Bobcats have hired Steve Clifford as their new head coach, according to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. By hiring Clifford, who spent the last season as an assistant coach for the Lakers, the list of finalists for Milwaukee Bucks’ head job is down to two: Kelvin Sampson and Larry Drew.
There’s nothing that would keep the Bucks from picking someone other than Sampson or Drew. It’s just that these two are the only finalists from among those candidates that the Bucks have already interviewed.
In the end, expect the Bucks to pick Sampson. He was the most likely candidate all along given the associated factors. Milwaukee wasn’t going to snag a high-profile coach, Sampson had worked well in Milwaukee before, he fit the desired defensive profile, and the fact Sampson was on the cusp of ascending to a top spot.
The only other intriguing aspect here is watching the Bobcats undercut the Bucks on the Clifford hire. They clearly knew that Clifford was a contender for the Milwaukee job and made a move to pluck their top choice before he had a better offer. One has to wonder if the earlier Wojnarowski report (about the three Bucks finalists) had any impact on the timing of the Bobcats’ choice.
I would venture to guess that it did.