Marc Stein of ESPN reports:

Mike Woodson

The Minnesota Timberwolves’ long-anticipated firing of Kurt Rambis this week doubles the number of coaching openings in the league, because the Detroit Pistons still haven’t hired a replacement for John Kuester yet.

NBA coaching sources say that the Pistons are inching closer to a decision, though.

Of the five known candidates for job, sources say that former Pistons assistant Mike Woodson is still the closest thing to a favorite, thanks largely to Woodson’s good working relationship with Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars and the fact that Detroit would know exactly what it’s getting after Woodson’s work under Larry Brown during the Pistons’ 2004 title run…

The other three known candidates to get interviews are Kelvin Sampson (about to leave Milwaukee to become Kevin McHale’s lead assistant in Houston), Pistons legend Bill Laimbeer (last seen on Rambis’ staff in Minnesota) and Checketts favorite Patrick Ewing (from Stan Van Gundy’s staff in Orlando).

InsideHoops.com editor says: I’ve heard that Woodson is the favorite, followed by Frank, followed by the rest. And as for when the team may hire a coach, it’s tough to say. If the Pistons decide Woodson or Frank is their guy but fear that some other team might be close to making an offer to one of them, it would probably prompt Detroit to speed things up. Otherwise, it’s nicer financially for the team to wait and not hire a coach until the season is approaching and contact with players is allowed.

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