If you thought the Wizards made it through the coaching silly season without anyone trying to hire away someone on their staff, think again. The Denver Nuggets still have an open coaching spot, and it appears Wizards' head assistant Don Newman is one of the candidates they've spoken to about the job, according to Real GM's Shams Charania:
Newman's 16 NBA seasons as an assistant coach — including an eight-year stint with the San Antonio Spurs where he developed strong defensive principles and closely worked with Tim Duncan — give him the credibility to discuss a head coaching position. Since joining Randy Wittman's staff in 2012, Newman has served as the architect of an improved Wizards' defense.
The Nuggets' front office needed to get permission from the Wizards to discuss their open position with Newman, who spoke to GM Tim Connelly.
It's a bit surprising to see Newman's name come up at this point in the Nuggets' coaching search, considering how most of the rumors around Denver so far have been pointing towards Mike D'Antoni, Mike Malone, Mike Woodson or interim head coach Melvin Hunt. Newman is the first and only candidate rumored to be in the running who does not have previous head coaching experience.
Still, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Newman is starting to get the attention of other NBA teams. It's hard to serve eight years under Gregg Popovich without getting consideration for a head coaching job at some point, and his success in Washington over the past three years only helps his profile.
Odds are, Newman is a long shot to get this gig, mainly because of the proven pedigree of the coaches that have already been linked to Denver. But if Washington continues to improve next season, it won't be long before Newman's a serious candidate somewhere in the not too distant future.