Rockets hire Kelvin Sampson as lead assistant, but he could still become the Pistons’ head coach

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (hat tip: Brad Monastiere):

Rockets reached agreement w Bucks’ Kelvin Sampson to be lead assistant under Kevin McHale, per source.

Without knowing more, it’s impossible to tell whether the Pistons have bungled their coaching search, but the possibility is concerning.

If they wanted Kelvin Sampson, they clearly dragged their feet too long. If they didn’t want Sampson – and given that he’s never been an NBA head coach, I think this is more likely – no big deal.

I still don’t think the Pistons need to rush to hire a coach – as long as they get their top choice. What difference does it make whether they make a hire today or in a month? The coach likely won’t even be able to talk to his players until after that.

But as known candidates like Sampson and Dwane Casey take other jobs, I get more worried the Pistons will end up settling for a second-tier choice.

No reason to panic yet, but keep your guard up.


Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

Kelvin Sampson has joined Houston’s staff as an associate head coach. But he has an out clause if a head coaching job becomes available

A coach normally has to receive permission from his current team to talk to another. In Sampson’s case, he can talk to any team he wishes…

This sheds a positive light on Sampson. The Rockets wanted him so badly, they’re willing to chance losing him and shuffling their staff late in the offseason.