The Oklahoma City Thunder head coaching job is currently vacant and a multitide of names have emerged in OKC’s coaching search.
Names that have emerged as potential candidates include Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, Denver Nuggets top assistant, Wes Unseld Jr. and rising coaching star, David Vanterpool; a lead assistant of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
A name that the Thunder should consider is NBA Champion, current New Orleans Pelicans color commentator and Sirius XM NBA Radio host, Antonio Daniels. “The thing is, I love to coach,” Daniels told me on the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show.
“I’ve had my own basketball camp for 20 years. I love teaching the game of basketball and I literally love it. And I can’t say this enough and with enough passion behind it, I love the fan base in Oklahoma City. I do. Like, when I retired my first team-affiliated job was with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Obviously, I’ve had radio shows and so forth but, my first team-affiliated job was with the Oklahoma City Thunder and that fan base is so vested. They are so passionate and I love that fan base in Oklahoma City. And I know Sam. Sam Presti was the video guy here in San Antonio when I was a Spur – So of course!”
A retired 13-year NBA vet, Daniels,45, was the Vancouver Grizzlies’ fourth overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft out of Bowling Green. During his career, Daniels has also had stops with the San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle Sonics, Washington Wizards, New Orleans Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers.
Daniels won an NBA Championship with the Spurs in 1999.
Million Dollar Question: If offered the Thunder head coaching position would Daniels take it?
“Would I seriously think about it,” asked Daniels.
“Of course I would. Like, I would be a fool to say, ‘If I was offered a head coaching position after never having any coaching experience at the NBA level, I would turn it down…’ No. I would love the opportunity to prove myself as a head coach. To take what I’ve learned from Jim Larrañaga and Greg Popovich and Nate McMillian you know, and Byron Scott and all the coaches that… Doug Collins; all the coaches that I was blessed to play under that have impacted my life and now have the opportunity to build my own culture and to think what that would look like.”
The Thunder’s head coaching job became availabe after the Thunder and Billy Donovan decided to part ways after five years. In those five seasons, Donovan compiled a 243–157 coaching record while making the postseason each year and advancing past the first round just once.
The Thunder exceeded expectations this season. With a potent roster of Steven Adams, Lu Dort, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dennis Schroeder, Danilo Gallinari, Nerlens Noel and Chris Paul, OKC held a 44-28 record and fifth place finish in the NBA’s Western Conference standings.
Chris Paul averaged 17.6 points, 5 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 1.6 steals in the regular season and guided the Thunder to the NBA Playoffs where they’d eventually lose to the Houston Rockets.