Report: Some NBA Teams Have 'High Interest' in Hiring Black Coaches

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 21, 2021

This March 19, 2014 photo shows Detroit Pistons guard Chauncey Billups looking on from bench against the Denver Nuggets in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Denver. The Detroit Pistons announced, Monday, June 30, 2014, they won't pick up the team option on Billups’ contract for the 2014-15 season. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

There may be more Black head coaches in the NBA as soon as the 2021-22 campaign with seven current openings.

"Several NBA sources tell The Undefeated that there is high interest from teams to hire African American coaches who could perhaps relate more strongly with the league's predominantly Black players," Marc J. Spears reported.

Just seven of the league's 30 head coaches were Black at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, but available positions with the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers present opportunities to change that total.

Teams are surely seeing the success of others along those fronts as well, particularly in these playoffs.

Three of the four teams still remaining in the postseason have Black head coaches with Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns, Tyronn Lue of the Los Angeles Clippers and Nate McMillan (interim) of the Atlanta Hawks. 

Celtics star Jaylen Brown was among those who pointed to the success of Williams, Lue and McMillan:

Jaylen Brown @FCHWPO

Analytics : 7 nba teams are remaining 4 are lead by African American head coaches

"Three out of the four coaches left standing are going to be Black coaches," Lue said. "That says a lot about how we can coach. Hopefully, we can stop getting looked down upon so we can build a way for all the young Black head coaches."

Spears reported that "an increase in Black head coaches is among the requests" from players.

Spears also listed a number of candidates, including Chauncey Billups, Darvin Ham, Charles Lee, Willie Green, Melvin Hunt, Brian Shaw, Teresa Weatherspoon, Jamahl Mosley, Wes Unseld Jr., Mike Brown, Sam Cassell, Ime Udoka, Jacque Vaughn and David Vanterpool.

On Monday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Billups "has been in contact with several teams in this search process" and is one of the "leading candidates" for the Trail Blazers' position.