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OT: Pollin after Carlisle and Van Gundy

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From the NY Times


June 5, 2003

Wizards Join the Rockets in Talking to Van Gundy


eff Van Gundy, the former coach of the Knicks, met yesterday with executives of the Washington Wizards to discuss their vacant head coaching position, according to two Eastern Conference officials. The Knicks, who hold the contractual rights to Van Gundy until July 31, gave the Wizards permission to speak with Van Gundy yesterday morning.

Van Gundy is also scheduled to meet today with Carroll Dawson, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, and to tour Houston and the Rockets' new arena.

A Rockets spokesman, Nelson Luis, confirmed the plans for today, which were first reported yesterday by The Houston Chronicle. Van Gundy has already met once with Rockets officials.

Leslie Alexander, Houston's owner, is not scheduled to meet with Van Gundy today, Luis said. Alexander's absence could delay any plans by the team to make Van Gundy an offer.

"Jeff Van Gundy's planning on going around and seeing the city and the new arena at C. D.'s invitation," Luis said, referring to Dawson.

Van Gundy is one of four coaches whom the Rockets have interviewed. Larry Brown and Paul Silas took jobs in Detroit and Cleveland, leaving Van Gundy and Mike Dunleavy as the front-runners in Houston. Dunleavy does not have another meeting scheduled with Houston, Luis said. Dawson has said that he will not include Rick Carlisle, fired last week by Detroit, in his search.

Van Gundy, reached by telephone yesterday, would not comment on his coaching plans.

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From the Post


Carlisle Meeting in Works

Wizards Contact Fired Coach's Agent to Gauge Interest

By Steve Wyche

Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, June 4, 2003; Page D05

CHICAGO, June 3 -- The Wizards have contacted the agent for Rick Carlisle and could meet with the recently fired Detroit Pistons coach this weekend or early next week about Washington's coaching vacancy, according to Warren LaGarie, Carlisle's agent.

Wizards President Susan O'Malley contacted LaGarie yesterday and asked if Carlisle would be interested in the Wizards' job, to which she was told he would.

LaGarie described the conversation regarding the Wizards' job as preliminary because Washington still plans on hiring a president of basketball operations before it hires a coach, the agent said.

The Wizards fired Doug Collins as coach on Friday after two seasons.

Milwaukee Bucks General Manager Ernie Grunfeld was initially denied permission to speak to Washington about the executive position by team owner Herb Kohl. Kohl, however, might allow Grunfeld to speak to the Wizards if compensation could be arranged. The type of compensation likely would be monetary or come in the form of a late-round draft pick.

The Bucks yesterday said their position of not granting Grunfeld permission to seek employment elsewhere, at this time, remains the same. Grunfeld has one year left on his contract but the team is for sale and he is unsure if he has a future with the Bucks after this season.

Michael Jordan, who recently retired from the Wizards and was not re-hired as its top basketball executive, has reportedly been organizing an ownership group to buy the team.

Carlisle, the 2001-02 coach of the year, was surprisingly fired Saturday after leading the Pistons to consecutive 50-win seasons, then to the Eastern Conference finals last month. He was replaced by former Philadelphia 76ers coach Larry Brown, who canceled a meeting with the Wizards last week. Brown likely would have been a candidate to hold both the executive job and the coaching position.

Carlisle will interview with the Los Angeles Clippers about their coaching job in the next few days at the pre-draft camp in Chicago. LaGarie said Carlisle is not expected to interview with Washington in Chicago because O'Malley and team owner Abe Pollin, who are handling the interviews, are not expected here.

Carlisle coached current Wizards' swingman Jerry Stackhouse two seasons ago in Detroit, when, in his first season as coach, Carlisle resurrected the Pistons and got them to postseason. Despite his success in Detroit, the Pistons fired him because of a supposed rift between him and ownership and some players.

"If there was such a gap between players and Rick, I don't see how they would have fought back from being down three games to one against Orlando in the playoffs," LaGarie said. "I don't remember many teams playing harder for a coach."


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Looks like Stack put in a good word for Carlisle


Stackhouse Keeping Eye on Calendar

By Steve Wyche

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, June 5, 2003; Page D10

SAN ANTONIO, June 4 -- Swingman Jerry Stackhouse said his future with the Washington Wizards could hinge on whether the team offers him a contract extension before July 1, when he can opt out of the remainder of his two-year, $15 million deal.

Stackhouse said he has discussed his future with team owner Abe Pollin, whom he encouraged to pursue Rick Carlisle for the vacant head coaching job.

"I'm committed to be in Washington, if they want to extend me or whatever they feel they need to do," Stackhouse said today during a break while filming a public service announcement about fighting obesity and diabetes. "I'm willing to do whatever. Right now I'm in the middle of the road."

Stackhouse, who averaged a team-high 22 points last season, said Pollin told him he would like for the yet-to-be-hired president of basketball operations deal with the specifics of Stackhouse's contract.

Several league officials said Stackhouse could be taking a financial risk if he opts out because there might not be many teams that would pay him as much as he is making now. Stackhouse, though, said he is seeking long-term security.

If he does opt out, the Wizards could have $12 million in salary cap space to pursue free agents. If Stackhouse doesn't opt out, Washington would have roughly $5 million under the salary cap.

"I've got options," Stackhouse said. "There are some scenarios that could work if they feel they don't want me. It's a decision we have to make."

Stackhouse said, from his perspective, it won't matter much who the team hires to be president of basketball operations. As for a coach, he made his position pretty clear: Carlisle, who was fired Saturday by the Detroit Pistons despite back-to-back 50-win seasons. Stackhouse said he has spoken to Carlisle about the vacancy.

"He's a great coach that would be a great fit for us," Stackhouse said. "He's a great assessor of talent and skill. Once he observes a player's talent and finds out what that player's strengths are, that's what he builds on. Whether we get him or not, I don't know. I talked to Mr. Pollin and put in my pitch."

Stackhouse played for Carlisle two seasons ago. Carlisle led the Pistons to the Eastern Conference finals this year but was fired last weekend because of a supposed rift with ownership and some players. The Wizards contacted Carlisle's agent this week and could meet with Carlisle in the near future.

Carlisle will interview with the Los Angeles Clippers about their head coaching job and he is believed to be a candidate for the Portland Trail Blazers job, currently held by Maurice Cheeks. The Blazers may allow Cheeks to pursue the vacant coaching position with the Philadelphia 76ers, where he played and served as an assistant coach.

Stackhouse declined to discuss former teammate Michael Jordan or his feelings about Pollin not re-hiring Jordan to be the team's president of basketball operations. Several team sources said Stackhouse and Jordan did not have a healthy relationship.

Stackhouse continues to be active in the Washington community. He will be honored Thursday night by the Washington Chapter of the American Diabetes Association and he will be the keynote speaker at HealthFest on the Mall on June 21-22. Stackhouse, mainly through his Triple Threat Foundation, has been involved in helping to raise funds to research and education for the prevention of diabetes, which took the lives of two of his older sisters.

"My situation with the Wizards has no bearing in terms of my focus with my foundation and my fight to make people aware of taking care of themselves," Stackhouse said. "This is more of a national thing. It's a great fit here in Washington, but that's going to carry on regardless. This is my passion."

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Abe is retarded. He's actively looking at coaches, then admitting he isn't hiring any of them because he doesn't have anyone to run the team yet.


By the time he gets around to hiring a former player with no prior experience, or some other ex-GM who's already proven to be mediocre at the job, Carlisle and Van Gundy will already be hired by someone else.


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