Even though the NBA playoffs are just starting to heat up, the coaching carousel is already spinning at a rapid rate. Teams know the offseason can get hectic with the draft, free agency and other moves, so stabilizing the coaching staff early is key.
The name generating the most attention is Phil Jackson. The longtime coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers would be a coveted commodity based on his past success. Whether he returns to the sidelines or in another capacity will be a major summer story.
Let's check out some of the latest talk involving Jackson along with a couple other coaches making headlines recently. It will be interesting to see how many changes are made before next season after so much early buzz.
Jackson has nothing left to prove as a coach. The 11 championship rings say it all. Any argument about having star players like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant leading the way ignores the fact that's how sports work. Stars win titles, the job of a coach is keeping them on the same page and he did.
The Brooklyn Nets tried to entice him to coach their talented squad, which fell well short of expectations this season. While he turned them down, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, she states he hasn't completely ruled out a coaching return.
Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne
Phil turned down Nets, but source tells ESPN he's still open to possibility of coaching if he "has say in the roster."5/8/2013, 3:40:26 AM
It would probably take a perfect storm of circumstances for Jackson to coach again. That said, the fact the idea hasn't been totally shot down gives hope to teams looking to land a marquee coach. He would be a major coup for any franchise that could convince him to step back onto the sidelines.
Rivers was Coach of the Year for the 1999-2000 season with the Orlando Magic and has spent the past nine seasons with the Boston Celtics. The crowning achievement came in 2008 when he coached the Celtics to an NBA title.
Chris Broussard of ESPN reports the Nets are interested in getting Rivers away from their division rivals. The sticking point is the fact Boston would have to release its coach from his contract for him to head to Brooklyn.
The article doesn't state how likely that type of move would be, but it's hard to imagine the Celtics letting their head coach go to a direct competitor. Still, it shows how desperate teams like the Nets are when it comes to finding a coach who can help turn things around.
Vinny Del Negro
The Los Angeles Clippers were eliminated by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. The early exit after a promising regular season has led to the focus shifting to Del Negro, whose teams have been knocked out in Round 1 in three of four playoff appearances.
Del Negro will meet with Clippers owner Donald Sterling in the near future to discuss his fate, reports Ken Berger of CBS Sports. He states sources believe the team will part ways with Del Negro after three seasons at the helm.
If the Clippers do decided to move in another direction, another team will join the coaching hunt. It's unclear if they would go after a high-profile name like Jackson or Rivers, though. More should be known once Del Negro's fate is officially decided.