The Detroit Pistons coaching search is still ongoing, yet the timeline appears to be as follows: preliminary process on the end of the organization is going on this week, next week they'll bring in the candidates they'd like to interview, finally they'll make a hire before the mid-May draft combine in Chicago. Following word from a New York Daily News report, many believe that Nate McMillan is the front-runner for the job. Still, that hasn't stopped other would-be coaching candidates from stating their own case both publicly and privately.
Recently, one of those would-be candidates stated his interest in the job: former Pistons point guard and 2004 NBA
Champion Lindsey Hunter
Originally reported by Matt Dery of 97.1 FM Detroit
, and relayed by RealGM.com
, Hunter has asked the Phoenix Suns for permission to interview for the Detroit
Pistons job should he be asked to come in by Pistons GM Joe Dumars
next week. It's likely that the Suns will grant the former Piston permission to interview, and if Hunter is asking for permission then it's likely that Dumars is considering Hunter for the job.
A 17-year NBA
veteran, Hunter played 12 seasons with the Pistons. Taking over the Suns in January following the firing of head coach Alvin Gentry, Hunter's interim-coach promotion created waves throughout the Suns organization. Suns GM Lance Blanks passed over longtime assistant head coach Elston Turner and NBA
legend Dan Majerle in favor of Hunter, but since Blanks has been fired there's rumor that Hunter could be going next. Being granted permission to interview with the Pistons not only spells out Dumars' interest in bringing Hunter in, but Phoenix's dis-interest in retaining Hunter beyond the “interim” tag.
The Hunter-led Suns posted a record of 12-29 since Gentry was fired in mid-January. Many around the Suns organization believe that should the right candidate become available at the right price, the Suns would likely start fresh with a coach more experienced in the coaching game. Indiana Pacers assistant head coach Brian Shaw has come up as a name floating around the Suns front office.
For fun, here's video of Lindsey Hunter staring down Suns forward Michael Beasley following an air-ball:
As far as the Pistons go, Dumars' liking of Hunter should come as no surprise. The two played together for the Pistons towards the end of Dumars career, and Dumars brought Lindsey back during the team's resurgence of the mid-2000's. Now that Hunter has some head coaching experience under his belt, Dumars likely doesn't feel that he's "reaching" as much as when Michael Curry was hired under similar circumstances. (Longtime NBA
veteran, former Piston, little coaching experience, etc.)
Despite the news of Hunter's interest in interviewing with the Pistons, there's no reason to believe that Nate McMillan isn't still the front-runner. Just speculation, but if the reports hold water and McMillan is the front-runner then any other names popping up are likely Dumars lining up his secondary options should McMillan turn down an offer. Either way, the interviews should begin next week, giving everyone watching a much clearer picture.
, Detroit Pistons
, Joe Dumars
, Lindsey Hunter