NBA Hot Seat: Predicting the Next 10 Head Coaches To Be Fired
Nobody likes losing. It stinks.
When you're shelling out millions of dollars on a basketball team, you're probably more displeased with it than most.
NBA coaches get hired, fired, then re-hired every year. Sometimes we see it coming, sometimes we can't believe a guy just got canned.
I hear you asking yourself, "Of the 30 people currently employed as head coaches in the NBA, which are most likely to be checking the classifieds soon?"
Now, if I were to attempt to project what will happen in three years, I could probably find a way to say that every coach is in danger. For your sake and mine, I won't be doing that.
Instead, let's take a look at the 10 coaches most likely to be fired during, or immediately following, this season.
It's still very early in the year and many things could obviously change, but based on the events of this young season, these are the guys soon to be hearing rumors.
Just for fun, I'll throw Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat in there. A lot of people are wondering if he's going to get the Stan Van Gundy treatment and "resign" from his position at some point this year, giving way to Pat Riley.
Riley has said that he has no intention of coaching again and that Spoelstra is a fine, young coach who can take the team to the promised land, but Van Gundy had the team on its way to the playoffs when he stepped down after visiting the Eastern Finals the previous season.
Hey, you never know.
John Kuester—Detroit Pistons
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Kuester took over as head coach of the Pistons last year and didn't do much, going 27-55.
Things aren't looking too good this year, either, as the team is off to an 0-5 start.
The Detroit gig is Keuster's first stint as the main man in the NBA, so it's unlikely that he'll be given the time or leeway a more experienced guy would get.
The players and coach have already started taking shots at each other; never a good sign.
Keuster proclaimed that the team needed more leadership from its players. Tayshaun Prince did not disagree, but also added, "It goes both ways. He says we got to be more vocal, he has to do some things better, too. Obviously . . . it ain't just the team."
Sounds like it'll be a fun season in Detroit.
Flip Saunders—Washington Wizards
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With a career record of 614-456, Saunders has been a solid coach in the league. The knock on him has been his inability to get it done in the playoffs.
The Wizards aren't a very good team and have distractions galore, a good mix for a forgettable season.
Flip is in just the second of a four-year deal, but we all know these things don't really mean that much if a team struggles.
Saunders wasn't able to break through to the Finals with Kevin Garnett in his prime, and after taking over a loaded Pistons team in 2006, he lasted just three years.
He has enough years under his belt to be granted some patience, but a bad season will likely have him updating his resume.
Kurt Rambis—Minnesota Timberwolves
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The T-Wolves were bad last year and look even worse this year.
Management clearly had no faith in the team when it told fans not to expect them to be competitive and Michael Beasley has already grown frustrated and said that his team is the worst in the NBA.
We're not even two weeks into the season and this stuff is starting already?
Not a good sign for Rambis.
Rick Adelman—Houston Rockets
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Adelman has a splendid career record of 906-576. Like Saunders, though, he has been unable to secure a championship.
After a long run of success with Portland, Adelman went to Golden State where he lasted just two years.
He then made his way to Sacramento and had another period of prolonged winning before moving on to Houston.
History loves to repeat itself, and things are starting to look awfully familiar for Adelman.
He's in his fourth year with the Rockets where, despite missing the playoffs a year ago, expectations are somewhat high.
Houston has started out slow, however, and might not be as good as many expected. If that's the case, look for someone else on the bench next season.
Doug Collins—Philadelphia 76ers
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Each of Collins' stops in his coaching career have generally followed the same arc. He takes over a team, it improves his first year there, gets even better in his second season, but by the third it all falls apart.
This happened to him in Chicago and Detroit, with his stint in Washington not even viewed as completely legit. Many feel that Collins was hired by Michael Jordan simply because he would not get in MJ's way.
When Jordan left Washington, Collins did too and was in broadcasting until this summer, when Philadelphia hired him.
If you read up on Collins, it seems that players do not generally respect him, and with Philadelphia not looking good at all this year and the coach having some serious health issues, it's unlikely that he will be back next season.
Vinny Del Negro—Los Angeles Clippers
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Once again, the Clips came into the season with raised expectations and, once again, they look awful.
Del Negro had teams with more talent in Chicago, but was just a .500 coach there, so why would he be expected to do better in LA?
It's not generally wise to employ a carousel of coaches and give guys just a year at a time, but this organization has never been known to make smart moves.
Sorry, Vinny, you might be on unemployment next summer.
Jay Triano—Toronto Raptors
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Since taking over for Sam Mitchell in 2009, Triano is 66-84, clearly not a good mark. If a guy hasn't gotten it done in three years, he's not coming back for a fourth.
He couldn't find the playoffs when Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu were there, and the team has much less talent this year.
It should be a long season for Triano in cold Toronto, but at least he'll be able to enjoy his summer somewhere else.
Scott Skiles—Milwaukee Bucks
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Skiles has been known to ride his players a bit too hard at times, leading to them tuning him out.
His teams have not generally handled expectations well and, after making the playoffs a year ago, the Bucks have postseason dreams again, but are off to a not-so-great start.
With good players in Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bogut and John Salmons, missing the postseason will not be taken kindly by management.
Hope you have some money in savings, Scott.
Jim O'Brien—Indiana Pacers
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O'Brien is below .500 in his nine-year coaching career and has made the playoffs just three times.
After posting consecutive 36-win seasons in 2007-08 and 2008-09, the team failed to improve last year, going 32-50.
It's now or never for O'Brien with the Pacers. Another poor performance and Indiana will have a job opening.
Larry Brown—Charlotte Bobcats
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A Hall of Fame coach with over 1,000 career wins, Brown has never stuck around in one place for long.
He has coached nine teams in his 27-year career, and has lasted more than three years at just three of his stops; his six in Philadelphia being his high-mark.
He got the Bobcats into the playoffs a year ago, but they are struggling out of the gates this time around.
Michael Jordan has never taken losing well and is unlikely to tolerate it as an owner. If the team fails to reach the postseason, Brown could be on his way to yet another organization.