Pants On Fire: Five NBA Coaches On The Hot Seat

Jeff HicksCorrespondent ISeptember 1, 2010

Pants On Fire: Five NBA Coaches On The Hot Seat

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    As much as you are trying not to think about it, you are. Everyone loves a tragedy, and the star of the tragedy in the NBA is the head coach.

    Just as every year in the office there is a death pool (sadly), there is the chopping block pool in professional sports. If you are in an MLB one that goes through November, you have to be licking your chops.

    Despite the thought that one good season can keep a coach employed, many times, that one season ends in November or December instead of April, May, or June.

    There appears to be at least two handfuls of coaches who are locked in their jobs, but here are five that may be sweating it out, hoping to not see that pink slip before or after game 82 and their potential last day.

Flip Saunders- Washington Wizards

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    No one was happier about the arrival of John Wall in D.C. than Flip Saunders.

    Not only is Wall a seat-filler, but he is a major talent that could flip (no pun intended, yes it was intended) the Wizards organization right side up. Guns in the locker room, suspensions, and lousy play have plagued the Wiz for the last few years.

    If Wall hits a wall (another pun) in his rookie year, Flip won't be around to help him break through it.

    Saunders has three years left on a four year deal.

     

    Seeing Pink: February or later, if at all.

John Kuester- Detroit Pistons

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    John Kuester got his first NBA head coaching job from the Detroit Pistons in January of 2009. He spent almost 30 years as an assistant or head coach in college or the pros before tasting the senior circuit.

    All he has to show for it is a declining Piston team devoid of prime-time talent.

    Kuester is a classic case of getting a gig, not having a lot to work with, and looking worse for it. A stand up guy like the former three-year pro should not have been dealt this slight hand of fate. But he was, and his head made be rolling sooner than you may think.

     

    Seeing Pink: February or later, if at all.

Jay Triano- Toronto Raptors

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    Speaking of teams with no talent...

    Jay Triano was given the reigns to the Toronto Raptors during the 2008 season, and has a sparkling win percentage of 44% since then.

    Now Triano is faced with being the sideline general for a team without it's best player in franchise history, Chris Bosh, and sometimes talents Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani, and young hopefuls DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems.

    Barf.

     

    Seeing Pink: January

Jim O'Brien- Indiana Pacers

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    Former Philadelphia 76ers GM Billy King fired him because he wanted someone else after the 2005 season. Jim O'Brien took the 76ers to their last playoff appearance until 2008.

    With Indiana since 2007, O'Brien has not had the same results, thanks to poor drafting and a lack of interest of free agents coming to Indianapolis, home of nothing. Despite the actual reasons, management always blames the head coach.

    The recent acquisition of guard Darren Collison should make the team a playoff contender in a weak bottom half of the east, but it is yet to be seen if he will be on the sidelines if/when they get into the post-season.

     

    Seeing Pink: January or February

Don Nelson- Golden State Warriors

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    Don Nelson may not see game one in a couple of months, let alone next April.

    Earlier in August, NBA Fanhouse's Sam Amick had spoken to Nelson, who said he would not return unless he was asked to. New ownership made Nellie's return a question mark.

    Nelson has said he would like to finish out his contract, which would be in its final season. He has is the winningest coach in NBA history, and also has 1,000 losses to go along with his 1,335 wins.

    Despite the decision by ownership, Nelson has run his "all offense, no defense" system to two-straight losing seasons, both of which saw the Warriors win less than 30 games.

    His storied run as an NBA head coach is almost done, and the sun will set some time this season.

     

    Seeing Pink For The Last Time: January or sooner.

Just Missed The Chopping Block

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    How long will he wear that smile?Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Erik Spoelstra- Miami Heat

     

    Kurt Rambis- Minnesota Timberwolves

     

    Mike D'Antoni- New York Knicks

     

    Nate McMillan- Portland Trailblazers