Houston Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson has come up as a “significant” candidate for the head coaching job, according to Adrian Wojnarowski:
Nets general manager Billy King is intrigued with Sampson, among other candidates, and is expected to eventually speak with him, sources said.
Sampson has elevated his stature as a head-coaching candidate as the top assistant for Kevin McHale in Houston. When McHale left the team early this season to tend to his ailing daughter, Sampson led the Rockets to a 7-6 record that triggered a spurt that has Houston at 16-12 and in sixth place in the Western Conference.
Houston officials praise Sampson’s ability to connect with star players, something he cultivated spending several months with Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs and under McHale in Houston. McHale gives Sampson significant freedom on the offensive and defensive ends to implement the Rockets’ style of play.