After parting ways with head coach Scott Skiles during the regular season, the Milwaukee Bucks have been on the prowl for replacement ever since being knocked out of the NBA playoffs by the defending NBA champion Miami Heat in a four-game sweep.
Reportedly, the search is down to only three candidates with Los Angeles Lakers assistant Steve Clifford being one of the three targeted by the Bucks according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew, Houston Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Steve Clifford will meet with Bucks officials this week in Milwaukee, sources said.
Clifford will visit Milwaukee again on Tuesday, and Sampson and Drew on Wednesday, league sources said.
Although Drew and Sampson are among the remaining candidates for the job, Clifford has intrigued the team’s front office with strong recommendations via Wojnarowski:
Bucks general manager John Hammond has a stronger history with Sampson – who spent two years on the Milwaukee staff under Scott Skiles – but has been increasingly impressed with the possibilities with Clifford, sources said. Clifford has come strongly recommended by three former coaching colleagues that Hammond respects – Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau and Stan and Jeff Van Gundy.
With Thibodeau and both Van Gundys giving Clifford the recommendations that have intrigued Hammond, it may be only a matter of time before Clifford lands his first head coaching gig in the NBA with the Bucks.
Outside of Drew, Clifford and Sampson would become a head coach in the league for the first time if given the job in Milwaukee. Sampson had a taste of what the job entails taking over for Kevin McHale as the head coach of the Houston Rockets on an interim basis, but has yet to coach for an entire season.
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