Philadelphia 76ers owner Harold Katz said yesterday he has no timetable for naming a new coach but did express interest in Georgetown's John Thompson as a possible replacement for Billy Cunningham.
"I really haven't considered going out of the pro ranks, but if we do, I'd be interested in Thompson," Katz told the Associated Press.
"He has been mentioned as a serious candidate for an NBA job," Katz went on. "I respect his abilities. He meets my requirement of firmness and his style is similar to NBA basketball. He teaches the fast break and man-to-man defense. He's a quality coach. But his name hasn't been bandied about here."
Katz and Thompson did not return telephone calls to The Washington Post.
Thompson, who already told the Seattle SuperSonics he was not interested in coaching their team, said in an interview with the Post May 15 that he could be persuaded to take a job in professional basketball "if the conditions were right for me." Those conditions, he said, included having full authority in player personnel decisions.
On May 17, following reports that he was a candidate for the Chicago Bulls' job, Thompson said he likely would remain at Georgetown, where he has been for 13 seasons, although, "I would never say never . . . You explore opportunities just like everyone else does."
The Rev. Timothy Healy, president of Georgetown University, said yesterday, "A lot of people are interested in John Thompson, as I would expect. I don't know anything about the Philadelphia situation."
A number of names have been mentioned in connection with the Philadelphia job since Cunningham announced Tuesday he was resigning after eight seasons. They include those of Chuck Daly, coach of the Detroit Pistons and a former 76ers assistant under Cunningham; Milwaukee Bucks Coach Don Nelson, and Matt Guokas, a former player and the team's assistant coach.
"If Chuck Daly were available, he'd make a hell of a candidate," Katz told the Detroit News.
"That's all speculation," Daly said. " . . . As far as I'm concerned, I have a contract in Detroit."