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Oklahoma City Thunder guard Derek Fisher, right, reacts after being called for a foul as Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant looks on during the second half in Game 3 of an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal, Friday, May 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 99-96. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
NBA: Bobcats hire St. John’s assistant Mike Dunlap as head coach
First Published Jun 18 2012 11:15 pm • Last Updated Jun 19 2012 12:06 am

The Charlotte Bobcats on Monday hired St. John’s assistant Mike Dunlap to be their new head coach, two people familiar with the decision said.

The choice comes as a bit of a surprise because Dunlap was not one of the team’s three finalists and rejoined the picture late.

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He was originally one of the 10 candidates to interview for the job, but the team trimmed the list to former Utah coach Jerry Sloan, Indiana assistant coach Brian Shaw and L.A. Lakers assistant coach Quin Snyder last week. Sloan withdrew from consideration for the job on Friday.

At some point Dunlap re-entered the picture and was offered and accepted the job Monday night. Dunlap, 54, will replace Paul Silas, whose contract was not renewed after Charlotte finished with the worst winning percentage in NBA history this past season. The Bobcats were 7-59.

A former assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets, Dunlap assumed all duties with the St. John’s program after head coach Steve Lavin took a leave of absence last season to deal with prostate cancer.

Dunlap has spent most of his career at the college level and has worked under Lute Olson in Arizona. He joined St. John’s after serving as the associate head coach on Pac-10 staffs at Arizona and Oregon.

Hornets shuffle execs

New Orleans Hornets president Hugh Weber is leaving the NBA club, and new owner Tom Benson has appointed top New Orleans Saints executives Dennis Lauscha and Mickey Loomis to oversee both teams.

The change, made official on Monday, puts Lauscha in charge of both clubs’ business operations. Loomis — the Saints’ general manager, who faces an eight-game NFL suspension for his role in the team’s bounty program — will also head up the Hornets’ basketball operations and oversee general manager Dell Demps.

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Weber joined the Hornets after Hurricane Katrina, while the club was displaced to Oklahoma City from 2005-2007. The NBA retained Weber after buying the Hornets from George Shinn in 2010.

Meantime, the Hornets appear increasingly serious about pairing another front-court prospect with consensus top overall draft choice Anthony Davis. New Orleans hosted 6-foot-11 Baylor forward Perry Jones III and 6-9 Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger for pre-draft workouts on Monday, boosting to seven the number of big men not named Davis who have worked out for the team.

The Hornets have the first and 10th overall picks in the June 28 draft.

In addition to seven frontcourt players, the Hornets have worked out four guards, including Duke’s Austin Rivers and Connecticut’s Jeremy Lamb.

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