NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Vacant Head Coaching Positions

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVMay 25, 2014

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 24: Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls yells instructions to his team during a game against the Indiana Pacers at the United Center on March 24, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Many of the NBA teams looking to fill the void at head coach have been slow to act in the weeks after the regular season concluded, but that's changed quickly as of late.

With the draft lottery over and the 2014 NBA draft a month away, it's getting to be crunch time in the coaching search. Teams are starting to compete with one another for the top names on the market, while others with current positions continue to be included in the rumors.

Here's a breakdown of the latest coaching buzz surrounding some of the most notable available positions.


Lakers Targeting Lionel Hollins?

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 25:  Head Coach Lionel Hollins of the Memphis Grizzlies speaks during a press conference after loosing in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the  Memphis Grizzlies during the 2013 NBA Playoffs o
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers were one of the teams content with waiting until the draft lottery to start reaching out to potential suitors for the head coaching job, and now a former head coach has seen his name emerge.

Lionel Hollins has popped up as a serious potential replacement for the departed Mike D'Antoni, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:

Lionel Hollins has emerged as a candidate for the Los Angeles Lakers' coaching job, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Lakers management plans to interview Hollins later this week, league sources said.

Hollins also plans to interview for the Cleveland Cavaliers job, according to USA Today's Sam Amick.

Wojnarowski added that the Lakers have met with two other coaching options, Mike Dunleavy and Byron Scott, prior to planning the Hollins interview. Out of those three, Hollins is the only one without Laker ties—Dunleavy coached the Lakers from 1990-92 and Scott played 11 seasons in gold. 

Despite that, it's hard to say Hollins doesn't boast the most impressive coaching resume of the three. He sent the Memphis Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals last season and made it to the playoffs each of his last three seasons there. 

It would be surprising if more names didn't pop up, considering this is the Lakers job we're talking about, but it looks like Mitch Kupchak has finally hit the ground running in pursuit of L.A.'s new front man. 


Could Knicks Snag Tom Thibodeau from Chicago?

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 22: Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls complains to a referee during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs against the Washington Wizards at the United Center on April 22, 2014 in Chic
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

After taking the Chicago Bulls' job for his first head coaching position, Tom Thibodeau hasn't seen a serious reason to explore another job despite constant courting and a sterling reputation across the Association.

However, that's changed with the New York Knicks' job opening.

According to Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher, Thibodeau would only leave for one team—the Knicks, which Bucher calls his "dream job." 

Thibodeau was an assistant in New York from 1996-2003, coaching underneath Jeff Van Gundy for five seasons and Don Chaney for two more. 

Bucher brings up good points that such a deal might hinge on Carmelo Anthony's future with the team as well as Derrick Rose's progression from his second serious knee injury in the last two-plus seasons. 

NBC Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin sees a different sort of snag later down the line if Thibodeau-to-Knicks develops:

Thibodeau would certainly be taking a gamble with a potential Knicks move. The Bulls have proven to be title contenders when they have a healthy and deep roster, but that hasn't been the case in recent seasons. New York failed to make the playoffs last season and an unsuccessful tenure there could be cut short by the added pressure of coaching in the Big Apple. 

With Bucher reporting a rift between Thibodeau and Chicago's front office, however, anything could happen in the coming weeks. 


Dave Joerger-to-Minnesota Hitting a Snag?

Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

It became apparent days ago that the Grizzlies weren't too upset with letting head coach Dave Joerger explore the Minnesota Timberwolves' vacant position. Now, the T-Wolves might be using that against them.

An Associated Press report via stated that Joerger had been agreed upon as Minnesota's newest head coach, and that the only thing inhibiting the deal were contract negotiations and compensation for the Grizzlies. The latter seems to be holding everything up, per ESPN's Marc Stein:

Stein also said that Joerger still aspires to be the next Timberwolves coach over Memphis, but the snag in negotiations—Wojnarowski reported that the Grizzlies wanted a second-round pick in return—forced him to change his tune:

The T-Wolves look to be smitten with Joerger as their new coach, but it's apparent that the franchise—likely to enter another rebuilding phase with Kevin Love's departure imminent—has more stock on a second-round pick than most other teams. 

Joerger and the Grizzlies have seen their rocky relationship broadcasted throughout this episode, and Minnesota has obviously noticed. Despite that, a second-round pick for an up-and-coming coach that seems completely bought into the upcoming rebuilding process doesn't seem like much of a reason to move on with a coaching search when they have their guy circled. 

If Joerger is the long-term answer at coach, forking up a second-round pick should be an easy choice for Minnesota. All indications are that it's easier said than done, in the Timberwolves' case.