The Los Angeles Clippers have cast a wide net in the first week of their coaching search, and it includes names previously thought to be outside their price range such as ESPN broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy, Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins and Indiana Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the team's thinking.
The Clippers also are thinking about requesting permission to speak with at least one other current NBA head coach, one source said.
Former Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry, former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan are also on the team's radar, sources said.
"They seem to be thinking big," according to a league source who has talked to the Clippers recently.
Big generally means expensive, and there's considerable skepticism around the league that Clippers owner Donald Sterling would be willing to pay the kind of salary it would take to lure Van Gundy, Hollins or Shaw. But Los Angeles' front office has so far been proceeding as if that won't be a major issue, sources said.
Sterling has been reluctant to sign coaches or front-office staff to contracts longer than one year after he was stuck with a $13.5 million payout to former coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy, whom he fired in 2010.
The Clippers have yet to formally request permission from the Grizzlies to speak to Hollins, whose contract expires at the end of June, but intend to do so soon, sources said. The Clippers will also have to wait to speak to Shaw, who is currently coaching with the Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Clippers have made it clear they prefer someone with NBA head-coaching experience, sources said, but an exception might be made for Shaw, who has been given strong endorsements by several Clippers players, including Lamar Odom.
The team is intrigued by Van Gundy, according to multiple sources, although it's not clear yet how interested he is in returning to the coaching ranks.
There will be stiff competition for both Hollins and Shaw. ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reported earlier this month that the Brooklyn Nets are interested in both Hollins and Shaw. Philadelphia and Detroit have also reportedly been interested in Shaw.