NBA Rumors: 5 Coaches Who Won't Be Around Next Year
With only a month left to go in the regular season, it's safe to say that there probably won't be any more head coaches relieved of their duties this year.
That doesn't guarantee that those coaches will be back next season, however. When the final buzzer sounds for many teams next month, expect a few franchises to make a significant change on their bench, resulting in several high profile names looking for work this summer.
So with that in mind, here's a look at five coaches who are likely to receive a pink slip from their employers soon after the end of the 2011-12 season.
Vinny Del Negro, Los Angeles Clippers
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When the Los Angeles Times runs a story with the headline "Vinny Del Negro is still coaching the Clippers," that tells you all that you need to know about the current state of Donald Sterling's team.
While the excitement from Lob City has faded, the Clippers have become one of the better teams in the Western Conference. But missing the playoffs entirely is a very real possibility, and if that happens, do not expect the Clippers—who are only financially obligated to Del Negro for the remainder of this season—to bring Del Negro back for another campaign.
Del Negro met with the Clippers' front-office to discuss his job status on Friday, but both sides declined to comment about the situation. For what it’s worth, a "no comment" is far better than the dreaded vote of confidence.
Paul Silas, Charlotte Bobcats
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The white courtesy phone will likely ring for Paul Silas shortly after the Charlotte Bobcats play their final game this season.
It's hard to make a case for Silas to remain on the Bobcats' bench. Charlotte ranks last in points per game, next-to-last in rebounds per game, and the team is allowing more than 100 points per game—fourth-worst in the NBA.
Silas actually did a decent job in his first turn with the Bobcats last season, guiding the team to a 25-29 mark over its final 54 games. But Charlotte's 7-39 record this year is completely unacceptable considering the team has a fair amount of young talent on their roster (Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, Gerald Henderson).
With another high-lottery pick on deck, don't be surprised if team owner Michael Jordan installs a new coaching staff well before the June 28 draft.
Monty Williams, New Orleans Hornets
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Monty Williams had a fine debut on the bench last season for New Orleans, guiding the team to 46 wins and a spirited six-game first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2011 playoffs.
But thanks to the now-infamous Chris Paul trade and the departure of All-Star forward David West, the Hornets have limped to a 12-36 start this year. And while the Paul trade brought a bunch of valuable assets to New Orleans, those players have yet to mesh into a cohesive unit.
The jury is still out on whether Monty Williams can be an effective NBA coach, but he probably won't get another chance to prove himself in New Orleans.
According to the terms of the lease that the Hornets recently signed, New Orleans Arena will soon benefit from a $50 million renovation. Don't be surprised if the league-owned Hornets undergo a renovation of their own this summer, beginning with Williams.
Randy Wittman, Washington Wizards
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When Randy Wittman replaced Flip Saunders on the Washington Wizards' bench earlier this year, it was clear that he was only promoted to keep the seat warm for another coach.
Relatively speaking, the Wizards have been better with Wittman (his 9-22 record is miles better than the 2-15 mark Saunders posted to begin the 2011-12 season), but he clearly isn't the head man to lead them going forward.
Now that the team has shed itself of Nick Young and JaVale McGee, the Wizards—a team looking at a top-six selection in this summer's NBA draft—are shaping up to be one of the more attractive teams for prospective head coaches this offseason.
Avery Johnson, New Jersey Nets
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With the New Jersey Nets failing—at least temporarily—to acquire Dwight Howard, and with star point guard Deron Williams eager to test the free-agent waters, Avery Johnson's position as the team's head coach is becoming more tenuous with each passing day. Johnson, whose winning percentage with the Nets is a robust .303, has only one year at approximately $4 million left on his deal—a not-so-bitter pill for Nets' owner Mikhail Prokhorov to swallow, if he so chooses.
And it's likely that he will choose to do so. His team ranks in the bottom third in virtually every major offensive and defensive category, and their 16-34 record is the fourth-worst in the entire NBA.
The soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets are moving into the Barclays Center this fall, and with a franchise eager to make a big splash upon their arrival, Johnson probably doesn't make the trip with the team across the Hudson River.