One year after interviewing to be the Charlotte Bobcats’ head coach, Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing has been hired as Steve Clifford’s top assistant, an informed source confirmed.
An agreement in principle had been reached by the Bobcats and Ewing as of Tuesday. A formal announcement should come later this week.
Yahoo Sports first reported Ewing’s hire Tuesday afternoon.
Ewing, one of the game’s best centers when he played for the New York Knicks, will have the title associate head coach. He worked with new Bobcats coach Clifford when both were on Stan Van Gundy’s staff with the Orlando Magic and previous to that with the Houston Rockets under Jeff Van Gundy.
Ewing was out of coaching last season after Stan Van Gundy was fired by the Magic. Before that he coached with the Washington Wizards (2002-03 season), the Rockets (2003-06) and Orlando (2007-12).
Ewing worked with center Dwight Howard in Orlando, helping him with post moves and shot-blocking technique. Ewing figures to spend a lot of his time in Charlotte working with third-year center Bismack Biyombo, who the Bobcats selected seventh overall in the 2011 draft.
Biyombo finished last season tenth in the NBA in shots blocked (1.77 per game), but is quite limited offensively. Biyombo averaged 4.8 points in 27 minutes last season. He has little shooting range and was unreliable at the foul line.
Ewing, who scored more than 24,000 points in a 17-season NBA career, had a wide variety of post moves and a particularly effective fade jump shot along the baseline.
Ewing is close friends with Bobcats owner Michael Jordan. They played together on the 1992 “Dream Team” that won the Olympics. Both were represented as players by agent David Falk.
Ewing was one of 10 candidates interviewed a year ago before the Bobcats hired Mike Dunlap as their fifth head coach. Dunlap lasted a single season, going 21-61 before being fired in April.
That means the Bobcats at No. 4 won’t get a visit from Porter. It also suggests the Washington Wizards, with the third pick, are the floor for where Porter will land in the June 27 NBA draft.
The Wizards have a strong need for a small forward, and Porter’s ties to the Washington area, via Georgetown, make him a logical selection for the Wizards. If Porter is off the board before the Bobcats pick, then they will have access to at least two of four other top prospects: Nerlens Noel of Kentucky, Ben McLemore of Kansas, Anthony Bennett of Nevada-Las Vegas and Victor Oladipo of Indiana.
As a Bobcat, Porter would have been somewhat redundant to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who the Bobcats selected second overall a year ago. However, general manager Rich Cho has said the Bobcats should take the best available player regardless of who is already on the roster.