NBA Coaching Carousel: The Best Candidates on the Market

AS it stands right now, there are six NBA teams looking for new head coaches. Everyone managed to survive the axe last offseason, but they weren’t so lucky this time around. For some of the franchises (*cough Knicks cough*) this coaching decision is crucial for their success after years of struggle, and there are plenty of viable candidates out there.

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Mark Jackson

Head Coaching Record: 121-109 (NBA)
SINCE being let go by the Warriors back in 2015, Jackson has been performing broadcasting duties with ABC. His firing was deemed by some as a necessary move in allowing Golden State to move forward while some credit him for planting the seeds that allowed a championship to be possible in San Fransisco. Jackson’s tumultuous relationship with players and personnel in his last gig might deter some teams from pursuing him as well.

VERDICT: It’s unlikely that Jackson leaves the booth and heads to the sidelines. My guess is he stays with ABC as a broadcaster.

Sam Cassell

Head Coaching Record: N/A
SPENDING some time next to Doc Rivers has undoubtedly helped Sam Cassell’s coaching career. He was already tabbed as a likely future head coach during his playing days, having played for eight different NBA clubs and splitting time as an assistant in Washington and LA. For sure, Cassell is one of the hottest coaches on the board at the moment.

VERDICT: He should get hired and if I was a betting man it would be by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Jerry Stackhouse

Head Coaching Record: 70-30 (G-League)
LAST season Jerry Stackhouse led the Raptors 905 (Toronto’s G-League affiliate) squad to a championship, won G-League Coach of the Year honours and proved it was no fluke in 2017-18 by making a return trip to the Finals. Stackhouse is almost a certainty to make his way to an NBA franchise this offseason.

VERDICT: He is one of the favourites, he’ll get a job for sure. My money is on the Hornets and Michael Jordan hiring the former Tar Heel in Stackhouse.

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David Fizdale

Head Coaching Record: 50-51 (NBA)
POOR Dave Fizdale found himself canned just 19 games into the season after clashing with Marc Gasol and a 7-12 start. The former Miami Heat assistant was considered a rising star by some and his firing came as a bit of a shock. That being said I’m sure another team or three will be more than happy to give him another chance.

VERDICT: Fizdale might just be the best coach available. He is apparently meeting with the Knicks and he should be their No. 1 choice.

Jay Wright

Head Coaching Record: 544-250 (College)
FRESH off another Villanova national title it will be hard to pry Jay Wright away from the Wildcats. Wright has no NBA coaching experience, but I’m sure that won’t deter front offices from attempting to make a big splash by signing him. A team that has a lot of young talent and future assets, like maybe Phoenix, could tempt Wright to join the pros. Previous college coaches haven’t got the best track record transitioning to the NBA, giving him another reason to stay with Nova.

VERDICT: Barring anything crazy I think he’s staying in college.

Spurs Assistants – Monty Williams, Becky Hammon, Ettore Messina, Ime Udoka

Head Coaching Record: N/A
INSTEAD of breaking down all of the Spurs assistants individually so I’ve cheated and compiled them together. It’s likely that Pop’s tree will continue to grow with teams chasing one or more of his understudies for their own coaching crops. Some of them (Hammon and Williams) are less likely to leave than others (Messina and Udoka), but there’s no denying they are hot prospects.

VERDICT: With multiple EuroLeague titles to his name, Messina is the one most likely to leave San Antonio and my guess is he will be calling Orlando home.

Mike Brown

Head Coaching Record: 347-216 (NBA)
BROWN has had the ‘pleasure’ of coaching superstars like LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving and Kobe Bryant in his head coaching career. Funnily enough, those guys probably boosted his career wins tally and while he isn’t likely to leave the Warriors his track record does speak for itself.

VERDICT: Chances are he probably won’t leave the Warriors. Even if he does Brown might be overlooked by others on the market.

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David Blatt

Head Coaching Record: 83-40 (NBA), 137-95 (Euroleague)
DAVID Blatt never got a fair run in Cleveland, shafted by the GM LeBron James halfway through season two. The Cavs hired him with the intention of allowing him to adapt to the NBA game and grow with a young team, but James’ signature changed their timeline. I’d love to see him build a culture in NYC and drag the franchise back from the ashes. It’s worth mentioning he and Knicks president Steve Mills played college together too.

VERDICT: I would love him with the Knicks, whom he has a meeting scheduled with. They can build something with Blatt.

Jeff Van Gundy

Head Coaching Record: 430-318 (NBA)
STALWART former head coach Jeff Van Gundy is another broadcaster who is trying to be lured to the bench. After previously leading the Knicks to the playoffs in six straight seasons, Van Gundy has been linked with rejoining New York as the rumour mill continues to churns. Never say never…

VERDICT: I think much like Mark Jackson, Van Gundy will stay in the booth.

Peace ✌

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