Coaching carousel hits Bulls' bench; Grizzlies to interview Pinckney

Coaching carousel hits Bulls' bench; Grizzlies to interview Pinckney
June 12, 2013, 4:30 pm
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Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is widely regarded as one of the best in the business, but as much as his individual work ethic is praised, it's not a one-man coaching staff.

That's why it's unsurprising that some of his assistants are garnering attention around the league during what has already been a tumultuous run of NBA coaching changes, with more to come.

Wednesday it was first reported by CBSSports.com that Bulls assistant coach Ed Pinckney is a candidate for the Memphis Grizzlies' head-coaching vacancy. USAToday.com reported that Pinckney, who was previously an assistant for the Minnesota Timberwolves and his alma mater, Villanova, which he led to a historic NCAA Championship in 1985, will interview for the position Thursday, after the Bulls granted the Grizzlies permission to discuss the job with him.

"We've got an excellent staff," Bulls general manager Gar Forman told CSNChicago.com. "Obviously, we've got an excellent head coach in Tom and it's great that people are taking notice of his staff.

"We'd never stand in the way if they have an opportunity to try to advance," he continued. "But if it not, we'd love for them to stay in Chicago."

Last week, Memphis parted ways with former head coach Lionel Hollins, who led the Grizzlies to the most successful season in franchise history before losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

[RELATED: Thibodeau named assistant coach of USA Men's National Team

Grizzlies assistant coach Dave Joerger is reportedly the leading candidate for the position, but recently-fired Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl is also said to be in the running and reports indicate that former Phoenix Suns head coach Alvin Gentry will interview for the job Friday.

Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin is also viewed as a potential future head coach and according to league sources, the Philadelphia 76ers have started doing background work on him in advance of bringing in candidates to interview for the position in earnest. New general manager Sam Hinkie is said to be focused on the upcoming NBA Draft and the Sixers have not moved as quickly as other organizations to hire a new head coach to replace Doug Collins.

Griffin reportedly had a phone interview for the Detroit Pistons' job that recently went to Chicago native and ex-Oklahoma City Thunder assistant Maurice Cheeks, as well as interviewing for the Portland Trail Blazers' opening last summer.

Yet another Bulls assistant, Andy Greer, was being considered for a position on the staff of new Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek, but elected to remain in Chicago, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, and there is speculation that with Cheeks' departure, the Thunder may attempt to lure Bulls assistant Ron Adams back to Oklahoma City. Ironically, Adams became a Thunder aide following his first stint in Chicago under Scott Skiles.

In addition to the vacancies in Memphis, Philadelphia and Denver, the Los Angeles Clippers are also undergoing a coaching search, with Gentry, Karl, ex-Portland head coach Nate McMillan and Indiana Pacers lead assistant Brian Shaw reportedly among the candidates. The Brooklyn Nets filled their vacancy Wednesday with just-retired point guard Jason Kidd, but there could be another opening soon, as there are reports that Chicago-area native Doc Rivers hasn't committed to returning to coach the Boston Celtics.

In other Bulls news, backup big man Taj Gibson was confirmed as one of 27 players who will participate in USA Basketball's Select Team mini-camp next month in Las Vegas, as previously reported. Thibodeau, who was named an assistant coach for USA Basketball on Monday, will also be in attendance.