Securing the head coaching vacancies

NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - October 21, 2020 - 12:00am

At every end of a sporting season, if a team does not perform to expectations, usually the most expendable guy is the coach.  Except for a few who seem to find a home after evictions, most stay in coaching purgatory until salvation comes.

This corona-interrupted NBA season had coaches settling on seats without knowing that it has ejectors.  Especially at Disney World where some teams were widely assumed to go far yet unexpectedly disintegrated, coaches bore all the responsibility.  In other words, coaches are is hired and fired every offseason.

Still looking for guidance out of limbo are the Indiana Pacers, who fired Nate McMillan.  It was reported that Chauncey Billups will be interviewing for the job as well as former Sacramento Kings head coach Dave Joerger.

Alvin Gentry was given the pink slip by the New Orleans Pelicans after a five year stay and a single trip to the playoffs.  Reportedly, LA Lakers chief assistant Jason Kidd is a prime candidate and LAL’s recent championship will boost his stock.  Stan Van Gundy is also on the Pelican’s short list.

Perhaps anticipating dismissal after the Lakers beat them in the WC semis, Mike D’Antoni jumped the gun on Houston and announced that he won’t be returning next season as their coach and would be testing the open market.  It was also reported that he had some friction between Rockets team owner Tilman Fertitta.  As of this writing, the market is still open for D’Antoni. 

Houston must make a move this coming season as the James Harden era is nearing its end and decide if they continue with their small ball which encountered big problems, literally and figuratively, in the post season.  Jeff Van Gundy, who lives in the Houston area and coached the Rockets from 2003 to 2007, interviewed for the job.

By a mutual agreement, Billy Donovan left the OKC Thunder and accepted the head coaching job for the Chicago Bulls, who fired Jim Boylen after a year and a half.  The Bulls hope to make the playoffs this 2020-2021 season with Donovan, recently named as Coach of the Year by the National Basketball Coaches Association.

Doc Rivers was fired by the LA Clippers but it didn’t take long for him to get hired by the Philadelphia 76ers.  He can flick the right switches for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and bring Philly back to Finals contention.  And the Clippers sealed a 5-year deal with assistant Tyrone Lue, who had the support of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.  The contract reportedly pays at least $7million annually and makes him one of the highest paid head coaches in the league.  His familiarity and good relations with the players as well as his 2016 championship with Cleveland as a rookie coach made the search easier

The Brooklyn Nets hired HOFer Steve Nash to be their new coach, but it was reported that resident superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are not too receptive.  Across the bridge, the New York Knicks hired Tom Thibodeau as their next head coach.  How these crosstown teams fare in the coming season is still a wait-and-see.

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