New Mexico St. coach Theus to talk to Kings

Reggie Theus, who recently received a new contract at New Mexico State, will interview Friday with the Sacramento Kings about their coaching job.

The Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday that Theus is one of six candidates who will interview with the Kings this week. Theus told ESPN.com he will interview on Friday.

This will be Theus' second interview with an NBA team since the Aggies' season ended. He earlier interviewed with the Charlotte Bobcats about their opening, telling ESPN.com that landing a job as an NBA coach remains a career aspiration.

Theus' interview in Sacramento will come about two weeks after he received a rollover five-year contract extension at New Mexico State worth a reported $466,000 annually. The deal makes him the highest-paid coach in the Western Athletic Conference.

A source said Theus would leave the Aggies if the Kings, a franchise for which he starred when it was based in Kansas City, offered him the job. Theus was in line to interview with the Kings last year but the timing didn't work out. Eric Musselman was hired by Sacramento, then fired at the conclusion of the 2006-07 season.

The Kings' interest isn't surprising considering team owners Joe and Gavin Maloof have financially supported New Mexico State University in the past. Theus has long had ties with the Kings, having spent nearly five years with the team in its days in Kansas City and subsequent move to Sacramento.

"I'm very loyal to my job but at the same time Mac [New Mexico State athletic director McKinley Boston] understands I'm an NBA guy," Theus told ESPN.com in early May after coaching the Aggies to a 25-9 record and the program's first NCAA tournament since 1999.

"I know I can get it done," Theus, a former NBA All-Star, said of coaching in the NBA. "I can have the same relationships with NBA players. I understand it. I've walked in their shoes. I understand the good and the bad of the NBA. I understand the attitude and what players expect."

Theus, who played for UNLV from 1976-78, spent 13 seasons in the NBA, averaging 20 points a game four times (including 23.8 ppg for the Chicago Bulls in 1983). He ended his NBA career with the Nets in 1991 before playing in Europe until 1993.

He coached as a volunteer at Cal State-Los Angeles, in the summer leagues for the Sixers and the Nuggets and with ABA's Las Vegas Slam before signing on as an assistant to Rick Pitino at Louisville. Theus just finished his second season at New Mexico State, where he inherited a team that went 6-24 in 2004-05 and posted back-to-back winning records.

He has also worked as a broadcaster and an actor, including his three-year stint as coach Bill Fuller in "Hang Time," an NBC show in the same vein as "Saved by the Bell."

Senior writer Andy Katz covers college basketball for ESPN.com.