Do not expect the Milwaukee Bucks to remove the “interim” tag from head coach Joe Prunty’s job title anytime soon—or ever.
League sources told The New York Times‘ Marc Stein that they expect the Bucks to chase bigger, more established names to serve as permanent successors to the fired Jason Kidd. The current list of candidates is believed to include Jeff Van Gundy, Monty Williams and David Fizdale, among a few others.
Here are the details from Stein’s latest mailbag:
There’s a belief out there that the Bucks’ ownership, heading into a new building next season, wants to make the biggest splash it can manage. It’s a greater given that there will be no shortage of external interest in the job, whatever holes this roster sports, thanks to the presence of the superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Current TV analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Kevin McHale, league sources say, are among the marquee names that can already be found on the Bucks’ list of candidates. The former New Orleans coach Monty Williams and Fizdale have also been mentioned as likely candidates — and word is that even former Louisville coach Rick Pitino could get an exploratory look here.
Yours truly is on the record advocating for Fizdale in this situation. He helped reinvent the Memphis Grizzlies’ shot profile before things went south, and the Bucks offense could use some rejiggering after stalling down the stretch of a few crucial games. Van Gundy would be an interesting fit as well, given his reputation as a strong defensive mind and Milwaukee’s relative lack of discipline on the less glamorous end. Monty Williams falls into a similar mold; he’s well respected by players and other coaches around the league.
Let’s get this out of the way: The Bucks should steer clear of Rick Pitino, even on a preliminary basis. They don’t have the necessary goodwill built up to chase someone working off a monumental scandal.
Beyond that, it’s tough to predict where the Bucks will turn. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s rising star should give them the pick of the available litter, but the direction they take their search likely depends on how their season ends.