With the offseason already here for a number of NBA franchises and a handful of clubs soon to join them after getting eliminated from the playoffs, the coaching carousel has once again begun spinning.
There are currently five vacancies for a head coaching gig and plenty of assistant opportunities opening up.
Let’s take a look at a few of these gigs and find out which candidates are being considered to fill these voids.
After Scott Skiles was fired in the middle of the season, interim coach Jim Boylan led the Bucks to 22-28 record and four-game sweep at the hands of the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.
This clearly was not what ownership was expecting from this team, especially not after trading for J.J. Redick at the deadline in February.
Ken Berger, CBS Sports’ NBA Insider, found that management is exploring a number of proven commodities to fill the vacancy.
The Bucks are allegedly seeking out former Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy, Kelvin Sampson—the Houston Rockets top assistant and interim head coach while Kevin McHale was attending to personal matters—and Lakers assistant Steve Clifford.
Clifford is interesting because he was a promising assistant under both Stan (Orlando) and Jeff Van Gundy (Houston) early on in his career.
Since the Bucks are looking for a defensive-minded coach to control the locker room, it makes sense to hire Stan Van Gundy—especially if they are trying to make a playoff run in 2013-14.
The Pistons parted ways with coach Lawrence Frank after another dismal season in 2012-13 as the team finished his two-year tenure in Detroit with a 54-94 record.
While Frank did an admirable job developing the young, upcoming stars—such as Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe—the franchise was not going to turn the corner with him at the helm.
Who should coach the Pistons?
ESPN’s Marc Stein found via league sources that the team brass is currently conducting a search for a replacement. Former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan is on the short list, as is Lindsey Hunter, the Phoenix Suns interim head coach.
McMillan surprisingly was not hired by any team for the 2012-13 campaign, despite leading the Blazers to back-to-back 50-plus win seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-10. He made three straight postseason appearances before being canned midway through the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.
Detroit is a perfect scenario for McMillan, as the veteran coach can take over an up-and-coming roster and guide the Pistons back to prominence.
Los Angeles Lakers
Don’t worry (or rejoice) Lakers’ fans; Mike D’Antoni is not going anywhere—yet.
However, after the embarrassing sweep in the first-round of the playoffs, this club direly needs to shake things up. One of those changes will be bringing in a defensive-minded assistant, according to Berger.
That would ideally be Team USA co-worker McMillan, but he’s likely to get offered a head coaching gig and would be more likely to accept that over being D’Antoni’s assistant.
Alvin Gentry, former head coach of the Phoenix Suns and an assistant under D’Antoni during his tenure in the desert, is one possible candidate—although he will also be interviewing for head coaching gigs this spring.
If Gentry winds up reuniting with his former mentor in L.A., it could be a major boon for the team’s defense and prospects of improving in 2013-14.