Coaching Carousel Starts Spinning
By Randy Renner
Still nothing official from the Thunder but head coach Billy Donovan has apparently decided to bring at least one of his assistants from the University of Florida here to Oklahoma City and let go at least one of the assistants from Scott Brooks' staff.
Several reports over the last few days indicate Anthony Grant, the former head coach at Alabama and VCU and before those stops a long-time assistant for Donovan at both Florida and Marshall University, would be joining the Thunder staff.
Today, ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting Rex Kalamian, Brooks' lead assistant, will not be retained by Donovan.
That's a move that had been expected.
Kalamian is very much respected around the NBA and his name has come up the last couple of seasons for head coaching jobs. If he doesn't land one of those in the coming weeks, he would most likely re-join Brooks if the former Thunder head coach lands a head coaching job soon. He would also be a top candidate for lead assistant positions elsewhere. Robert Pack and Mike Terpstra, who were also assistants for Brooks, are also likely to be let go.
The other two coaches who worked under Brooks, Mark Bryant and Darko Rajokovich, are expected to be retained.
Donovan could also bring John Pelphrey, another of his assistants at Florida, to the Thunder. Pelphrey is a former head coach at Arkansas also worked as an assistant under OSU legend Eddie Sutton in Stillwater.
It's doubtful any of those men would be designated as "lead assistant," that position would likely go to another veteran NBA assistant or perhaps a former head coach like Mike Malone who was fired early this season by Sacramento despite receiving high praise from his players and the Kings making some obvious improvement. Another name that could get into the mix is former New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams who was fired just this week.
Williams may also be a candidate for the head coaching job in Orlando but probably not Denver. If he doesn't land a head coaching job he would be highly sought after as an assistant.
Donovan and GM Sam Presti have been talking to staff and coaching candidates for about a week trying to put a staff in place. That task will probably take another week or two and could take longer depending on which candidates could also be involved in talks with other teams.