Report: Fizdale, Hunt on Sixers coaching radar

Report: Fizdale, Hunt on Sixers coaching radar
June 8, 2013, 11:45 am
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Dave Fizdale, right, has been an assistant in Miami for five seasons. Melvin Hunt, right, has served as an assistant in Denver for three years. (AP)

It’s only natural that the list of coaching candidates continues to expand or change for Sixers president Sam Hinkie. Some presumed candidates have been hired elsewhere and unknown names have managed to gather steam in the 24 days Hinkie has been on the job.

ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, who is covering the NBA Finals, tweeted Friday that there is talk in Miami the Sixers have interest in Heat assistant coach Dave Fizdale and Denver assistant coach Melvin Hunt to be their next head coach. Fizdale is 39 years old. Hunt is 43. Both men played college basketball before working their way up to their current positions.

The interest in Fizdale would explain why there has been such a delay in hiring Doug Collins' successor. Fizdale is off limits until the Finals are over. The Spurs lead the best of seven series, 1-0.

Who is Fizdale and why would he be appealing to Hinkie? First of all, he is on the bench for a team looking to repeat as World Champions. Second, he is said to be a very good communicator and he has been entrusted with player development. Fizdale has been an assistant coach in Miami since 2008 and before that he was with the Hawks and Warriors.

A year ago the Portland Trailblazers had interest in talking to Fizdale about their head coaching vacancy but Fizdale actually declined the interview. This time around the Sixers may be able to engage him in conversation and ultimately convince the five-year Heat assistant coach that the time to run his own show is now.

In addition to being a Nuggets assistant coach, Hunt has been an assistant with the Cavaliers, Lakers and Rockets. With George Karl being let go as Denver’s head coach, it is unclear if Hunt will be given an opportunity to lead the team he has assisted the past three seasons. Under Karl and Hunt, the Nuggets won 57 games this past regular season.

Another name that has surfaced as a possible candidate for the Sixers is Memphis assistant coach Dave Joerger. The 39-year-old was a head coach in the International Basketball League, the Continental Basketball League and the NBDL before joining Lionell Hollins' staff in 2007. In his career, Joerger coached five championship teams. Yes, Joerger has won all his championships in the minor leagues but five titles is impressive.

Hollins is only under contract through June 30 and he has been given permission by the Grizzlies' front office to speak with other teams about job opportunities, even though Hollins has said he would like to remain in Memphis. If Hollins is not renewed, Joerger, like Hunt, may be the first in line to assume the head coaching job for the team he helped get to the Western Conference finals.

The Sixers, Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons, Brooklyn Nets and Denver Nuggets all have openings. Milwaukee, Charlotte, Atlanta, Cleveland and Sacramento have filled their vacancies. If Memphis makes a change, that means 12 of the NBA's 30 franchises will have a different head coach to start next season, a staggering number.