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Mo Cheeks gets third interview for Pistons coaching job

Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets

DENVER, CO - MARCH 01: Assistant coach Maurice Cheeks of the Oklahoma City Thunder feeds a pass as the players warm up prior to facing the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on March 1, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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Mo Cheeks, the lead assistant in Oklahoma City who was the former head coach in both Portland and Philadelphia, appears to be on the doorstep of being the next coach of the Detroit Pistons.

He is going into the third phase of the interview process, reports Marc Stein at

Sources told that Cheeks’ trip was actually his first visit to Detroit as part of this process after conducting his first interview for the job by phone and then meeting separately with Los Angeles-based Pistons owner Tom Gores.

The consensus in coaching circles is that Detroit is closing in on a choice between Cheeks, currently an assistant coach in Oklahoma City, and former Seattle and Portland head coach Nate McMillan.

Cheeks was basically a .500 coach in his two stints (284-296) with three playoff appearances. That record, however, may be more a reflection of the talent on those teams and not just the coaching.

McMillan was the frontrunner from the start but Cheeks appears to be in the conversation. McMillan is in the interview process with the Clippers.

Remember that Phil Jackson is consulting on the Pistons interview process. That would suggest a couple things: First, that Detroit will be deliberate in choosing, as Jackson always is. Second, that if the job is not filled by the time the Pacers become eliminated, expect Brian Shaw to get an interview.