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Nuggets GM: ‘We want to have a coach as we head into the draft’

Atlanta Hawks v Denver Nuggets

Atlanta Hawks v Denver Nuggets

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After recent head coaching hires by the Thunder, the Magic, the Pelicans and the Bulls, the Denver Nuggets remain the last team left with a vacancy at its head coaching position.

Interim head coach Melvin Hunt is rumored to be the frontrunner for the job, but it’s unclear why the team hasn’t interviewed more candidates to this point, especially after knowing for so long that it would me in the market for a new coach once Brian Shaw was relieved of his duties at the beginning of March.

With the June 25 NBA Draft rapidly approaching, the Nuggets may begin to move much more quickly with their search.

From Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post:

“I think the deadline is we want to have a coach as we head into the draft,” Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly said at the outset of the process. “It’s a pretty pivotal pick for us, and a pretty pivotal moment.” ...

The Nuggets are trying to be as detailed as possible in an effort to avoid a repeat of the failed Brian Shaw era. Shaw was fired in March, and Melvin Hunt took over as the interim coach. Hunt has been interviewed for the job. The Nuggets have also talked to Mike D’Antoni, who coached current Nuggets Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari while with the New York Knicks from 2008-11.

Denver talking to D’Antoni isn’t the same as interviewing him, and it’s worth noting that Hunt did an excellent job with the team (when he was allowed to) after taking over late in the season.

With so many of the top candidates having already accepted other positions, at this point it wouldn’t at all be surprising to see the organization go with a familiar face in Hunt, rather than rushing to install a lesser-known individual into the job for the next several seasons.