CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Patrick Ewing is one of several candidates the Charlotte Bobcats will interview for their head coaching vacancy and the Hall of Fame centre will meet with team officials next week, said people familiar with the situation.
The people spoke to The Associated Press Thursday on condition of anonymity because the team hasn't publicly announced its list of candidates.
Ewing is an assistant with Orlando and a friend of Bobcats owner Michael Jordan.
The Bobcats have interviewed Golden State assistant coach Michael Malone and Bobcats assistant Stephen Silas, son of former Charlotte coach Paul Silas, the people told the AP. The Bobcats are also interested in Indiana assistant Brian Shaw, Cleveland assistant Nate Tibbetts and St. John's assistant Mike Dunlap. It's expected the Bobcats will talk to several other candidates before making a decision.
Charlotte finished last season 7-59, the worst winning percentage in NBA history (.106).
Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins and general manager Rich Cho are leading the coaching search and have been on the West coast this week where they interviewed Malone.
Malone interviewed for the Warriors head coaching position last year but lost out to Mark Jackson. Despite not getting the job, he was hired as an assistant coach on Jackson's staff and is one of the highest paid assistants in the NBA at $750,000 per year. His father, Brendan, has worked as the head coach of the Toronto Raptors.
Higgins said after the season the Bobcats planned to undergo an exhaustive search that would include interviewing "quite a few" candidates for the job.
Ewing is the most recognizable name so far.
A college star Georgetown, Ewing played for the New York Knicks from 1985 through 2000. He's worked extensively in developing Magic centre Dwight Howard into an All-Star.
"It's been mystifying to me that assistants that don't have near the experience that Patrick has have been getting jobs," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said Wednesday. "He's ready. And I hope this off-season will be his time."
He'll face plenty of competition.
Among the other Bobcats candidates, Stephen Silas worked alongside his father and even stepped in as head coach for a handful of Bobcats games last season.
Shaw worked seven seasons an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers and also spent time in Cleveland. He interviewed for the Lakers' job but management went with Mike Brown.
Most of Tibbetts' coaching experience is in the NBA Developmental League. He worked as the head coach of the Tulsa 66ers before going to the Cavaliers.
Dunlap has been with St. John's since 2010 and filled in as head coach last season while Steve Lavin recovered from cancer surgery. Previously he was an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets in 2006-08 and also has experience coaching in college at Southern California, Arizona and Oregon.
It's possible the coaching search could stretch into June with some bigger profile candidates waiting to see if the Bobcats land the No. 1 pick in the May 30 NBA lottery.
The Bobcats know the job may not be an easy sell after coming off a rough season.
But Cho said previously he wants to hire a candidate that is excited about the challenge that lies ahead, not someone who looks at the job as an uphill battle.
"Those are the type of coaches we don't want to bring in," Cho said. "I want somebody that will relish the opportunity and look at it as a challenge. It's really easy to go to a winning team and take that opportunity. But I want somebody in here that's going to look at this as a great opportunity and a challenge and a chance to build something from the ground up."
Associated Press writer Kyle Hightower in Orlando contributed to this report.