The Milwaukee Bucks coaching search has begun in earnest with team officials interviewing candidates Nate McMillan and Kelvin Sampson this week.

They are the first candidates to be interviewed as Bucks general manager John Hammond prepares to make just his second full-time coaching hire since arriving in Milwaukee in 2008.

And the interviews come against the backdrop of additional team turmoil revealed in a CBSSports.com report that surfaced Thursday.

According to the report, Bucks center Larry Sanders and shooting guard Monta Ellis nearly came to blows following Game 3 of the first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat.

After the Bucks lost, 104-91, to the Heat at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on April 25, Sanders made a speech in the locker room, according to the report.

"We need to start playing together as a team and stop worrying about next year," Sanders said, according to one of the people briefed on the confrontation. "We need to stop being selfish and start worrying about right now."

Ellis took offense and approached Sanders and squared off with him, sources told CBSSports.com. A teammate got between the two players and separated them before the conflict became physical.

Hammond, contacted Thursday night, said he had no comment on the report.

Ellis has an $11 million player option on his contract and has until June 20 to decide whether to return to the Bucks or opt out and become an unrestricted free agent.

Milwaukee's other starting guard, Brandon Jennings, is a restricted free agent, and the Bucks have the right to match any offer made by another team when the free agency period opens in July. The Bucks' top reserve guard, J.J. Redick, is an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The Bucks were swept in four games by the Heat, losing all four by double-digit margins, and interim coach Jim Boylan was fired on May 1, three days after the quick exit from the postseason.

Boylan went 22-28 in the regular season after replacing Scott Skiles in early January. But the Bucks won just four of their final 16 games.

McMillan also has interviewed for the vacant coaching position in Detroit, where Lawrence Frank was fired at the end of the season.

The 48-year-old McMillan is the former head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics and also has been active coaching with USA Basketball. He served as an assistant under Mike Krzyzewski as the U.S. team won gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics.

McMillan turned around a losing situation in Portland, and in his final three full seasons his Trail Blazers teams won 54, 50 and 48 games, respectively. He was fired with a 20-23 record during the lockout-shortened 2011-'12 season.

A native of Raleigh, N.C., McMillan played 796 NBA games, all with Seattle.

He is known as a disciplinarian and a strong defensive coach.

The 57-year-old Sampson, a native of North Carolina, was an assistant with the Bucks for three seasons after a long coaching career in the college ranks. Sampson coached at Washington State, Oklahoma and Indiana before joining Skiles' staff during the 2008-'09 season.

In the past two years Sampson has been an assistant to Kevin McHale with the Houston Rockets. Houston made plenty of roster changes before and during the past season but finished eighth in the Western Conference and lost in six games to Oklahoma City in the first round of the playoffs.

Among the players Sampson has worked with in Houston are all-star shooting guard James Harden, Omer Asik, Chandler Parsons and former Bucks player Carlos Delfino.