Patrick Ewing, Bobcats to talk

Updated: May 8, 2012, 9:02 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Over the next week, Michael Jordan's Charlotte Bobcats will interview several candidates for their vacant head coaching position, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard.

Orlando Magic assistant Patrick Ewing is one candidate who will get to interview with the Bobcats, sources said.

Yahoo! Sports reported the news earlier Tuesday.

Charlotte has not yet asked Orlando for permission to speak with Ewing and is not likely to do so until the Magic are eliminated from the playoffs, according to the sources.

Ewing has been an NBA assistant coach for eight seasons, and has spent the last five seasons working with Stan Van Gundy and the Magic.

Golden State assistant Mike Malone and former Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan are also candidates, sources say.

Stephen Silas, a current Bobcats assistant and the son of recently fired coach Paul Silas, will also interview for the job, the sources said.

Rod Higgins, the club's president of basketball operations, and Rich Cho, the general manager, were in California to meet with Malone Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the sources added.

Next week in Charlotte, said the sources, the Bobcats will interview two fairly unknown assistant coaches, Mike Dunlap of St. John's University, and Nate Tibbetts, an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Before assisting Steve Lavin at St. John's, the 53-year-old Dunlap worked at Arizona and Oregon. He also spent two years as an assistant on George Karl's staff in Denver.

Tibbetts, 34, was a head coach in the NBA's D-League for four years prior to joining Byron Scott's Cavaliers staff in December and is viewed around the league as a young up-and-comer in the mold of Oklahoma City's Scott Brooks and Miami's Erik Spoelstra. Tibbetts and Cho developed a relationship while Cho was an assistant general manager in Oklahoma City and Tibbetts was coaching the Thunder's D-League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers.

"Coach Dunlap's being invited to interview for the head coaching position with the Charlotte Bobcats is a compliment to Mike and our program," Lavin said of Dunlap. "I enthusiastically support Mike in the process. As a head coach, I encourage all of my assistants to aspire to become head coaches."

The Bobcats have had cursory conversations with McMillan, who will be in high demand this offseason after being released by the Blazers in March, sources said. The Bobcats are also expected to interview Brian Shaw, an assistant with the Indiana Pacers, according to the sources, and the Bobcats reportedly also have interest in former Utah Jazz coaching legend Jerry Sloan.

Back in March, Ewing said that he's ready and eager to have a team to call his own.

"I'd be interested in any job, but this is home, naturally," Ewing told ESPNNewYork.com before a Knicks game. "I still have my place here (in New Jersey), and I'd love to interview for any job, here or anywhere.

"I played here. I know the ins and outs of New York, the media, the fans."

Ewing laughed when he mentioned the fans. He was respected and admired as a Knick, but not necessarily beloved. If Ewing ever won the championship as a coach he didn't win as a player, that would change.

"I think I've paid my dues," said Ewing, who was given a standing ovation when his image was shown on the Garden scoreboard during a second-quarter timeout. "I've been an assistant coach for eight, going on nine years, and I'd love to have an opportunity to get an interview.

"I've put in the work. I've learned from a lot of very good coaches in Stan (Van Gundy), Jeff (Van Gundy), and Doug Collins, and I've played for a lot of great coaches. All I need is an opportunity, and once I get that opportunity, hopefully I'll be successful."

The Bobcats' search is expected to go on for several weeks, if not a few months, and new candidates could emerge if current head coaches lose their jobs, sources said.

ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard and ESPNNewYork.com's Ian O'Connor contributed to this report.

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