As the second round of the 2013 NBA playoffs gets underway, a handful of non-contending teams are already looking at various ways to improve in the upcoming 2013-14 campaign.
Many of these eliminated or non-playoff franchises are exploring the option of making a coaching change, as that can sometimes be the simplest, cheapest and most effective way to improve in the offseason.
Let’s take a look at some of the buzz being generated around the league concerning which coaches are being considered for open positions, which have been fired and more.
Milwaukee Bucks Have Difficult Decision to Make
After firing interim head coach Jim Boylan—who went a meager 22-28 and landed the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference after taking over for Scott Skiles—general manager John Hammond is currently searching high and low for the next coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.
With the Bucks' potential free agency issues, what sort of coach should they look for?
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bucks are planning to interview former Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan and current Houston Rockets top assistant Kelvin Sampson.
Both coaches are hot names this offseason and will be interviewing for multiple positions that have opened up around the Association.
Milwaukee will be tough to sell them on, as a number of key players on the roster are set to hit the open market in the near future. Monta Ellis is expected to opt out this summer and seek a new deal, while J.J. Redick is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the time.
Star point guard Brandon Jennings may not even be around after next season, as the restricted free agent won’t speak about his future and would likely demand a large amount of money to stay with the Bucks.
Bucks G Brandon Jennings on if he wants to continue with Milwaukee: "I don't know. I can't answer that." Jennings a restricted free agent.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) April 30, 2013
Any potential hire here will have to be willing to develop some younger talent and willing to rebuild from the bottom up, which would be the case if Milwaukee collapses in free agency.
Detroit Pistons Bring in an Expert
With the Pistons looking to finally install a winning head coach (something they haven’t had since Flip Saunders left town with his 176-70 record), the team brass decided to bring in an expert.
According to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, Detroit owner Tom Gores and general manager Joe Dumars elected to hire Phil Jackson in a consulting capacity.
The 11-time NBA Finals-winning coach doesn’t have a formal title, but he will be advising the organization and hopefully helping to bring in a candidate more successful than former coaches Lawrence Frank, John Kuester and Michael Curry.
While fans are likely hoping that the Gores and Dumars would just ask Jackson to stay on board and coach the Pistons, his outrageous salary demands and other considerations would be too much for a rebuilding franchise to pay.
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated noted that Darrell Walker, a former assistant under Kuester and Curry, is up for consideration. However, the team would be better served cutting ties and completely moving on from that unsuccessful period in its history.
Knicks assistant coach Darrell Walker is a candidate for the Pistons coaching job, sources say. Walker was a Pistons assistant from '08-'11— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 2, 2013
It’ll be interesting to see which other candidates wind up heading to the Motor City, but supporters can rest assured that the Zen Master is going to put his stamp of approval on this hire.
Brooklyn Nets Willing to Wait
Now that interim coach P.J. Carlesimo has been informed by Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King that he won’t be back in a head coaching capacity next season, the organization can begin looking in earnest for a long-term solution.
Plenty of rumors have been surfacing concerning who will take this high-profile position, so let’s take a look at some of the more convincing ones.
On Jeff Van Gundy front w/ Nets: Far less mutual interest between franchise and coach than I had originally been led to believe.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 5, 2013
Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News noted the that Phil Jackson and former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan were identified as two potential candidates at a media session on Sunday.
Outside of these aging Hall of Famers, Brooklyn will be talking to Brian Shaw, the Indiana Pacers assistant who has been a hot name in recent weeks. Pacers president Donnie Walsh has given the former player and longtime assistant permission to interview with the Nets after the season.
Considering the Pacers are currently up 1-0 in their second-round series with the New York Knicks, it could be some time before that occurs.
Fortunately, King noted that the search has no timetable and could take up to a month or more to find the right candidate.
Asked Billy if he had a timetable. Said he doesn't. "If it takes a month, it takes a month."— Rod Boone (@rodboone) May 5, 2013
It’s important that a thorough job be done, as this coach could wind up being the difference between another first-round exit and a championship run in Brooklyn.