East Rumors: Bucks, Kelvin Sampson, Wizards, Sixers


The Bucks have interviewed University of Houston coach Kelvin Sampson about their head-coaching vacancy, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Sampson joins a long list of candidates that reportedly also includes former Suns coach Monty Williams, former Hornets coach James Borrego, ESPN analyst Mark Jackson, Suns assistant Kevin Young, Bucks assistant Charles Lee, former Raptors coach Nick Nurse, Trail Blazers assistant Scott Brooks and Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson.

Along with those names, the Bucks have also spoken to Wizards assistant Joseph Blair, per Wojnarowski. Blair won a G League title as coach of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in 2019.

Sampson is a former Bucks assistant coach and spent six years in the NBA as an assistant overall. He has led the Cougars to four straight Sweet Sixteen appearances, having coached them since 2014.

  • GM Jon Horst said the Bucks have begun preparations for the No. 58 pick, the final pick of the 2023 NBA Draft. “It’s not unforeseeable that we could acquire a first-round pick in some sort of deal that we execute prior to or at the draft, and they have to be ready for that,” Horst said, via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “We obviously possess a pick at the end of the second round. We have to be ready for that. But also, the trades and things that happen from a personnel, an NBA personnel standpoint, be ready for that.”
  • Former 76ers coach Doc Rivers is a “sleeper” candidate for the Bucks’ coaching vacancy, a source told Joe Vardon of The Athletic.


The Wizards have interviewed Clippers general manager Michael Winger for their head of basketball operations vacancy, per Wojnarowski.

Winger becomes the second known candidate, joining Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon. Bucks assistant GM Milt Newton and Cavs assistant GM Mike Gansey has also been linked to the position. (Full Gansey post.)

Winger has been an NBA executive for almost 20 years, having worked in the Clippers’ front office under Lawrence Frank since 2017. He once served as Cavaliers director of basketball operations from 2005-10, then joined Sam Presti in the Thunder front office for seven seasons.

Winger has actually been a candidate for several top front-office jobs over the years, but has either not gotten the job or removed himself from consideration.

  • For the latest on all the news out of Washington, be sure to regularly visit our Wizards page.


President of basketball operations Daryl Morey indicated it may take some time for the Sixers to find their next coach.

“We’re taking a careful process with the coach, we do not think it will move quickly,” Morey said, via Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice. “We’re going to look at all the candidates, we’re already very encouraged by the candidates that reached out. We have an MVP player, we have a great roster that lots of players want to play with, lots of coaches want to be with.”

The Sixers are looking to replace Rivers after three seasons and another second-round playoff exit.

Sixers assistant Sam Cassell is among those linked to the vacancy in Philadelphia, as are former Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni (full post), Williams, Nurse, former Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer and former Lakers coach Frank Vogel.

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