Tuesday, June 3, 2003

Still 5 more coaching vacancies in NBA

Silas, Brown set for Cavs, Pistons

The Associated Press

There are still plenty of NBA coaching jobs out there, and plenty of unemployed former coaches to fill them.

With Larry Brown taking over the improving Detroit Pistons and Paul Silas going to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, the list of coaching vacancies dropped to five.

Silas knows better than anyone what is awaiting LeBron James, whom the Cavs are expected to make the top draft choice in a few week.

Silas threw enough elbows in the lane as a player that he knows there's going to be some aimed at James, the high school sensation tabbed for superstardom.

"This is a tough league," said Silas, a rugged rebounder for 16 years as a pro. "It's not a boy's league. This is a man's league. He's going to have to grow up right away."

In the NBA coaching carousel, the New Orleans Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets still have openings. Former coaches Mike Fratello, Mike Dunleavy and Jeff Van Gundy are among the candidates who have interviewed for several of those jobs but have not yet been hired.

Additionally, Rick Carlisle came onto the market unexpectedly over the weekend after the Pistons fired him to make way for Brown.

"This will be my last stop," the much-traveled Brown said.

Carlisle said he planned to speak to three teams this week while attending the NBA predraft camp in Chicago. He would not identify the teams.

Fratello on Monday pulled himself out of the running for the Hornets job, declining - through a spokesman for Turner Sports - to elaborate. Tim Floyd and Brian Hill are among the Hornets' candidates.

Both Fratello and Dunleavy have expressed an eagerness to return to the sideline, while Van Gundy has said it's a 50-50 proposition whether he'll return as a coach next season or continue to work as a TV broadcaster.

Another factor that could further unsettle the leaguewide picture is Maurice Cheeks' status with the Portland Trail Blazers. Philadelphia was denied permission to speak to Cheeks about its coaching vacancy, but some in the Sixers organization believe the Trail Blazers would rather have Carlisle as their coach. Cheeks has one year remaining, plus a team option, on his contract with Portland.

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