NBA Players and Coaches Who Should Be Fired at Season's End
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The NBA playoffs aren't the only thing that is around the corner. For a little less than half of the league, the offseason is on the horizon, and that means firing time.
For the NBA's lottery teams, the next month won't be spent chasing a title. Instead, it will be spent reviewing failed seasons. Decisions will have to be made in short order, and most of those decisions won't be pretty.
The NBA has already seen four coaching changes during the 2012-13 season. Mike Brown left the Los Angeles Lakers after five games. Avery Johnson lasted 28 games with the Brooklyn Nets. It took 32 games for Scott Skiles to part ways with the Milwaukee Bucks, and Alvin Gentry left the Phoenix Suns after 41 games.
A few more will be coming down the pike with a lot of teams wrapping up disappointing seasons.
Players won't be immune to the axe come the offseason. Only half of the league's 30 teams have used their amnesty clauses thus far. That means 15 teams have pink slips in their back pockets for whenever they see fit.
Other than that there are contracts that won't be renewed and options that won't be picked up. Though no players technically get "fired," there are options on the table for teams to part ways with players whose services are no longer required.
Note: All statistics and records used in this story were accurate as of April 6.
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It is sure to be a busy offseason for the Utah Jazz, whether they wind up in the playoffs or not.
As things currently stand, the Jazz are a half-game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. If the rest of the season plays out and they remain on the outskirts, there is no question that Tyrone Corbin should be let go.
Corbin got the head coaching spot in Utah after Jerry Sloan's mid-season resignation in 2011. Upon the end of the 2010-11 season, Corbin was granted a two-year deal with a team option for year three.
In his first full season, the Jazz made the playoffs with a 36-30 record but were embarrassingly swept out by the San Antonio Spurs in the opening round. This year, the Jazz have not improved and will be lucky to sneak into the postseason.
Though the Jazz already picked up Corbin's option for next season, that isn't a great resume.
The Jazz will have six meaningful players hitting free agency this summer, including starters Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Randy Foye and Mo Williams. Utah is in for a whole lot of turnover and a rapid rebuild. It makes a lot of sense that the Jazz would bring in a new coach to help cultivate a new culture and look.
Corbin has simply not proven enough to be the man for this job. There have been some question marks with the playing time of Gordon Hayward, as well as lineup instability with their three talented bigs.
Barring a very good playoff performance, Tyrone Corbin should be fired.
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To be fair to Doug Collins, he was set up to fail in 2012-13.
Just one year ago, Collins was a hot new coach and had the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the playoffs. Now, he is on the hot seat after a season of disappointments.
The 76ers traded away his best player and leader in Andre Iguodala, in exchange for a full season of Andrew Bynum distractions.
As much as Jrue Holiday proved himself an elite point guard, Lavoy Allen and Evan Turner didn't make the improvements that were expected. The Kwame Brown experiment failed, and—I'm not sure I mentioned this—their $16.8 million trade return has not played a game.
There have been a few instances this season that drew a map to Collins losing his team. Of course there was the tirade after a loss to the Orlando Magic. The 76ers have also been mired in four separate slumps of five or more straight losses.
One of the biggest risks with these young and talented teams is that as soon as a coach loses them, they are gone. Veteran coaches of veteran teams have leeway with the way they can present themselves depending on how a season is going. Collins may not have that cache with his team quite yet, and I'm not sure if he'll get another chance.
Philadelphia is five games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The fall from grace was quick and painful for Collins. Unfortunately, he was put in a position to fail.
Because of that, come season's end he should be fired.
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The moment Golden State Warriors fans have been waiting for could soon be arriving.
Yes, they are in the playoffs in the Western Conference again, but it also may be the swan song of Andris Biedrins.
The Warriors' big man has been a disappointment for years now, yet continued to cash some big checks. His contract has an early-termination option for next season at $9 million. That's what Biedrins made this year for playing 9.4 minutes in 51 games.
He scored only .5 points per game and was once again an embarrassing 30.8-percent shooter at the free-throw line. On top of that depressing information, Biedrins hasn't played close to a full season since 2007-08, when he was a very viable center in the NBA.
With the emergence of Festus Ezeli as a solid second-round pick and the hopeful health of Andrew Bogut, Biedrins has become expendable.
The Warriors used their amnesty provision on Charlie Bell already, but they should take this early-termination chance seriously and consider lopping off Biedrins and his $9 million black hole.
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The Houston Rockets previously used their amnesty provision on Luis Scola, so they don't have that available to get out of a jam.
The good news, other than the fact that they are headed to the postseason, is that they won't need to. Fransisco Garcia is playing under the final year of his guaranteed contract. Next season he has a team option available for $6.4 million.
Garcia made more money ($6.1 million) this season than James Harden ($5.8 million). I'll repeat that. Fransisco Garcia made more money playing basketball this season than James Harden. Garcia was the third-highest-paid player on the Rockets this year, behind Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik.
His play this year has really not been worthy of the contract. Garcia is shooting just 39 percent from the field, scoring 5.4 points in 17.4 minutes per game. The Rockets can easily find someone to deliver those numbers for far less money.
Given general manager Daryl Morey's recent run of shrewd moves, I trust he'll save himself some cash and not pick up Garcia's option.
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The Orlando Magic haven't had a lot to feel good about this season, and Hedo Turkoglu is right at the forefront.
Turkoglu's positive test for steroids provided another black mark on a disappointing season for the Magic. They now stand at 19-58 and are in the conversation for the most ping pong balls in June.
The veteran forward was supposed to serve as a mentor for the host of young players that made up the majority of the Magic's roster. Following the Dwight Howard trade, a rebuilding period was obvious. Unfortunately, Turkoglu's 20-game suspension hindered even his abilities as a veteran presence.
In 11 games, he's averaging just 2.9 points in 17.2 minutes per game. He was also scheduled to make $11.8 million this year.
Turkoglu has a $12 million early-termination option for next season. Given that the Magic are really pushing their younger guys this year and will be next year, it's time to send Turkoglu on his way.
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The Sacramento Kings are still very much a mess. Unfortunately there isn't a whole lot they can do this offseason, especially with their future location up in the air.
One thing they can do, is rid themselves of John Salmons.
Salmons is actually the highest-paid player on the 27-49 Kings this season, making a cool $8 million to shoot under 40 percent from the field. He's scoring nine points a game and doing little else in his 30.4 minutes. This is his second straight poor season, and he is clearly proving that he is not worth this much money.
Salmons is set to make $7.6 million next season and has an early-termination option for $7 million in 2014-15.
Salmons isn't helping the Kings go anywhere, except maybe Seattle. The franchise still has its amnesty provision available, and it may be time to cash that in on John Salmons.
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Toronto Raptors fans have been at odds with Andrea Bargnani for some time now. At the end of the 2012-13 season, he may finally be on his way out.
The former No. 1 overall pick has never truly lived up to expectations, but up until recently, he's been a solid player. Over the past two seasons, we've seen some sort of deminishment in Bargnani's game that has left him a shell while on the court.
He has suffered a myriad of injuries over the past two seasons. Bargnani will have missed 47 games by season's end, as he is out for the remainder with an elbow injury. This comes after missing 35 games a year ago. He has become a liability on the Raptors' roster.
Bargnani is set to make $10.7 million next season, with an early-termination option for $11.5 million in 2014-15. The Raptors still have their amnesty provision, which has to be burning a hole in their pockets at this point.
Toronto was a possible surprise pick early on, but is now just 29-47 on the year. A lot of their surprise potential was dependent on Bargnani having a bounce-back year. He didn't, and now the Raptors are stuck putting together pieces.
They could make things easier on themselves if they sent Bargnani packing this offseason.
Ben Gordon or Tyrus Thomas
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The Charlotte Bobcats have two players primed for amnesty in Ben Gordon and Tyrus Thomas.
They'll only be able to pick one to fire, but both have been sizable disappointments and are worthy of pink slips.
Gordon picks up a $13.2 million player option next season, after raking in $12.4 million this year. For that money, the Bobcats got 11.7 points in 21.3 minutes a night. Gordon shot 41 percent from the field and made a home on the perimeter, getting to the line a career-low 1.8 times per game.
Gordon has not been the leader Charlotte hoped for when flipping Corey Maggette for him last year. Amnestying him will save them that $13.2 million off the cap and allow them to attack the free-agent market aggressively.
Tyrus Thomas, on the other hand, is under contract for the next two seasons. He'll make around $9 million average for the two years after this current season.
After his first 1.5 seasons with the Bobcats, the deal they gave him seemed pretty fair. He was scoring at a nice clip and providing plenty of rebounding off the bench. The past two seasons, though, he has failed to even come close to shooting 40 percent, and the rebounding well has dried up.
In just 22 games this season, Thomas is shooting 34 percent and grabbing 2.5 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game. The Bobcats can't afford to pay big money for that production over two more seasons.
Someone has to go, as layoffs are sure to be rampant with the 18-59 Bobcats. The first one out the door should be Gordon or Thomas.
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The Chicago Bulls have been a great surprise this season. They've taken the floor without Derrick Rose again and again and have wound up in the playoffs with a 42-33 record.
There are a lot of congratulations deserved for Bulls players, though one should stop short at Richard Hamilton.
Hamilton has dealt with a host of minor injuries all season, the most recent of which, a back issue, will probably keep him out for good. That will leave him at 45 games played this season, after just 28 a year ago. Hamilton hasn't missed fewer than 10 games since 2006-07.
The 35-year-old has a non-guaranteed deal that would net him $5 million next year. The recently frugal Bulls could probably find that money useful elsewhere. Especially with both Marco Belinelli and Nate Robinson's deals expiring at season's end. Both have been much more effective for Chicago than Hamilton.
His issue isn't that he has been awful; it is just that he hasn't been the Richard Hamilton everyone knows for some time. Even with his minutes cut to 22.4, he was shooting 43 percent and 30 percent from beyond the arc. As his quickness wanes, a large chunk of Hamilton's value falls.
It's time for the Bulls to let him go and look for solutions elsewhere.
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Drew Gooden has been an effective NBA big man for 10 years and nine teams. However, the Milwaukee Bucks should probably let him go this offseason.
Gooden is set to make $6.7 million in each of the next two seasons to essentially be a low backup and veteran presence in the locker room. That is something that the Bucks can find for a lot cheaper on the open market.
He hasn't helped his case by being absent for much of the 2012-13 season. He has played in just 16 games this year, averaging 9.4 minutes. With that time, Gooden is shooting 32.8 percent and grabbing just 1.8 rebounds a night. This is certainly a big drop from his 13.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game a year ago.
The Bucks made a concerted effort to move towards a younger core this season, integrating Larry Sanders and John Henson into the frontcourt. From this point forward, it appears they will be getting the majority of minutes alongside Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
All four of those guys are under contract for the next couple seasons, with only Ilyasova ($7.9 million) making more than Gooden.
As great as he may be for the locker room, the Bucks' amnesty provision is just sitting there waiting to be handed to Gooden.