Higgins wasn't necessarily surprised, saying Friday, "It's all part of the process and I'm sure it's happened before."
Charlotte settled this week on three finalists for the job -- Sloan, Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw and Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Quin Snyder. Higgins says both Shaw and Snyder had second interviews this week that included team owner Michael Jordan and the meetings went well, calling them "impressive candidates."
However, Higgins says neither has been offered the position.
Sloan initially told Sports Illustrated on Thursday he had pulled out of the running.
"I took myself out today," Sloan said. "I don't want to comment on it because it's never profitable for anybody. It just makes it sound like you're making a statement about someone. But they were wonderful and there were no problems. I just took myself out."
Sloan, the former Jazz coach who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, was the only candidate with prior head-coaching experience. The 70-year-old Sloan resigned abruptly during his 23rd season with Utah last year.
Sloan told Sports Illustrated he wasn't disappointed with the outcome.
"No, not at all," Sloan said. "Whatever happens, happens. I don't have any control over those things. I just do what we've got to do. If somebody calls me, I guess I'd listen to what they have to say. But I don't have an agent, and if somebody calls, I'd be willing to listen to them."
Shaw, an assistant with the Indiana Pacers, is perhaps the most highly coveted assistant coach in the league. He is also a top candidate for the Orlando Magic coaching job. Snyder is an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers.
While Shaw has more NBA experience than Snyder, winning three titles as a player and another two as an assistant coach with the Lakers, he has never been a head coach. Snyder has only two years' experience as an assistant coach in the NBA -- starting in 2010-11 with the Philadelphia 76ers followed by last season with the Lakers -- but prior to that spent seven seasons as the head coach of University of Missouri followed by three seasons as the head coach of the Austin Toros in the D-League.
Information from The Associated Press, ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard and ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin was used in this report.