Houston Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson has been reported by Yahoo! Sports to be a significant candidate for the newly vacant Brooklyn Nets head-coaching job.
The Nets surprisingly fired Avery Johnson on Thursday after going 14-14 so far this season. The Nets had a great month of November but only won three games in December. I think Avery was unfairly blamed for the Nets struggles.
Nets general manager Billy King is set to meet with Sampson along with other candidates. He is said to be intrigued with Sampson.
Kelvin is Kevin McHale’s top assistant and has a significant amount of freedom with the play calling on both sides of the court. When McHale left the team earlier this season to spend time with his now deceased daughter Sampson took over and led the Rockets to a 7-6 record under his belt.
People around the Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs have high praise for Sampson’s ability to connect with star players. Kelvin was also a very successful college coach as he went 488-269 between stints with Washington State, Oklahoma and Indiana. Sampson was also an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks under Scott Skiles in 2008 before he moved on to Houston in 2011. He was also a finalist for the head-coaching job for the Detroit Pistons before getting beat out by Lawrence Frank.
Sampson has a clause in his contract that will allow him to leave the Rockets at anytime if a head-coaching job is available to him. I would love for him to be able to stay with Houston and eventually become their head coach one day but you can’t blame a guy for not wanting to wait. Especially a coach as good as Sampson.