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Originally published June 6, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 6, 2007 at 6:46 PM

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Sonics will hire Presti as GM, source confirms

The Sonics will hire Sam Presti as their general manager, an NBA source confirmed today. Presti, the San Antonio Spurs' assistant general manager, agreed to an offer from the Sonics on Tuesday night.

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Sonics will hire Sam Presti as their general manager, an NBA source confirmed today.

Presti, the San Antonio Spurs' assistant general manager, agreed to an offer from the Sonics on Tuesday night. A news conference is planned for Thursday to announce the hiring.

Sonics president Lenny Wilkens is focused now on coaching candidates to replace Bob Hill.

One team source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Seattle's short list includes former Indiana coach Rick Carlisle, former Minnesota coach Dwane Casey, Spurs assistant P.J. Carlesimo and Lakers assistant Jim Cleamons.

Among the four, Carlisle is the most experienced, having guided the Pacers and Detroit to a combined 281-211 regular-season record and five playoff appearances in six seasons. His teams have won three Central Division championships and made two trips to the Eastern Conference finals.

Carlisle has a year remaining on his contract with Indiana and has the option of taking a front-office position with Indiana. The Pacers, however, hired coach Jim O'Brien last week and Carlisle is expected to agree on a buyout next week. It was believed that he would spend a year away from coaching and work the 2007-08 season as an analyst for ESPN, but Carlisle said his future is undecided.

Carlesimo has also spent six seasons as an NBA head coach -- three in Portland and three in Golden State -- where he compiled a 183-222 record. His greatest success was at Seton Hall, where he led the Pirates to six NCAA tournament appearances in 12 years, including the 1989 championship game in Seattle.

His greatest failure was at Golden State, where he never won more than 21 games in a season and his NBA tenure was marred by his role as the victim in the 1997 choking incident involving Latrell Sprewell. After six seasons on the San Antonio bench and helping the Spurs to two NBA championships, he's one of the league's hottest assistants.

While Carlisle and Carlesimo are seeking their third attempt at coaching an NBA team, Casey is hoping to get a second chance in the league after being dumped midway during last season when Minnesota had a 20-20 record. The Timberwolves finished 32-49.

Casey was 53-69 in 1½ seasons. He has been linked to an assistant job with the Boston Celtics, but those reports are speculation.

Cleamons has been an assistant coach with the Bulls, Lakers and Hornets, and was head coach of the Dallas Mavericks from a little more than one season in 1996-97, with a record of 28-72.

Carlisle, Casey and Carlesimo have Northwest ties. Casey spent 11 seasons coaching in Seattle, seven years as an assistant and four as associate head coach. Carlisle served as a Sonics analyst during the 2000-01 season. He also spent three years as an assistant under Carlesimo in Portland.

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Even though those four are the early favorites, other coaching candidates could emerge.

The Chicago Tribune reported Saturday that Bulls assistant Jim Boylan had informal discussions with the Sonics on Friday. Los Angeles Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis, who is a finalist in Sacramento, has reportedly received permission to talk to Seattle, and New York assistant Herb Williams was spotted chatting with Sonics president Lenny Wilkens at the camp.

"Just talking," Williams said. "Not about that [the Sonics job]. ... I basically said 'hi' and 'bye'. I've got too much respect for coach [Wilkens] to approach him about that job like this."

Williams was an assistant under Wilkens in New York.

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