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Bobcats to begin interviewing Head Coaching candidates next week

Although most eyes are on the surprisingly entertaining 1st round of the NBA playoffs, the Bobcats front office is busy beginning to select the potential coaching candidates that they will interview in the coming weeks. The four names that you’ve heard the most about so far — Nate Tibbetts, Kelvin Sampson, Elston Turner & Alvin Gentry.

Kelvin Sampson has a good reputation throughout the league with coaches and players, although most average basketball fans associate his name with the ugly way he was dismissed from Indiana University for recruiting violations in 2008. Since then, Sampson has been on three different NBA coaching staffs — San Antonio, Milwaukee and Houston. Sampson would seem to be the choice if Charlotte is aiming to land a players coach, but considering the youth with this bunch it’s likely going to be a mixture of developmental/meshing with the players personalities.

Alvin Gentry was fired mid-season by the Phoenix Suns and is now showing interest in coming back to coach in Charlotte. Gentry has been the head coach for Miami, Detroit, Phoenix & L.A. Clippers in 12 seasons in the NBA. He is also a North Carolina native and played his college basketball at Appalachian State. Gentry is most remembered for his run with the Phoenix Suns & Steve Nash in 2010 when the Suns lost 4-2 against the Lakers in the western conference finals. In Gentry’s time with Phoenix, we can all remember how deadly the Nash/Amar’e duo was — no, the Bobcats don’t have players to the caliber of those two during their primes, but it’s safe to assume that Gentry would be a great fit in continuing the development of Kemba.

Elston Turner is probably a name that folks are not as familiar with, but may also be the best candidate of this bunch. Turner was one of Alvin Gentry’s assistants in Phoenix until Gentry was let go in January by the team, and left as well after not getting the interim job that went to Lindsey Hunter.

Turner was brought to Phoenix as a defensive specialist to go hand-in-hand with Gentry’s up-tempo, heavy PnR style offense. He spent time as an assistant in Houston, Sacramento and Portland before going to Phoenix — Turner also interviewed for the Portland head coaching position last summer before the team gave the reigns to Terry Stotts.

This is quite possibly the best candidate for player development — Nate Tibbetts coached two seasons in the NBDL where he took the Tulsa 66ers to two straight playoff appearances before joining Byron Scott’s staff in Cleveland. Tibbetts is thought of as a defensive minded coach and his Tulsa teams ranked high in defensive stats both seasons he was there. It’s obvious that Tibbetts is very well respected throughout the league for being a fantastic developmental coach for young players.

Budding star Kyrie Irving has had very high praise for Tibbetts while the two have spent time in Cleveland together — “Coach Tibbetts told me what to do and what not to do every single day.’’