The Charlotte Bobcats have received permission to interview Los Angeles Lakers assistant Steve Clifford for their head-coaching job, a Lakers spokesman confirmed Friday.
Clifford, known for his defensive expertise, spent the previous nine seasons working for the Van Gundy brothers – first Jeff Van Gundy with the Houston Rockets, then Stan Van Gundy with the Orlando Magic.
When Stan Van Gundy’s tenure in Orlando ended, Clifford went to the Lakers to work for Mike Brown, who lost his job early this season. Brown’s replacement, Mike D’Antoni, installed Clifford as his lead assistant.
Clifford becomes the sixth known candidate to fill the opening created when the Bobcats fired Mike Dunlap last month. The others:
Former Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry and four assistants: Nate Tibbetts (Cleveland), Kelvin Sampson (Houston), Jeff Hornacek (Utah) and Elston Turner (most recently with the Suns). Rick Bonnell