Three teams will have new coaches to start the 2012/13 season, as Jacque Vaughn will take over the Magic, Mike Dunlap is the new man for the Bobcats, and Terry Stotts got the Blazers job. A handful of other teams either gave their coaches new deals or picked up their options. Put together, these coaches are the least likely to be replaced at any point this season. It's not without precedent that a new or recently extended coach would quickly lose his job, but it's safe to say they all have a pretty long leash.
The process of hiring a new coach gets a lot of attention, but contracts for existing coaches often slip under the radar. Here are the coaches already in place who got new deals in the offseason.
- July 2: Scott Brooks signs a four-year, $18MM extension with the Thunder — The summer's most contentious coaching negotation wrapped up weeks after Brooks took the team to the NBA Finals. The deal, which resembles the one Rick Carlisle got from the Mavericks in May, puts Brooks amongst the league's highest-paid coaches, more than doubling his $2.1MM salary from 2011/12. The Thunder had been holding out for a shorter deal, and reportedly began having internal discussions about possible replacements for Brooks, including Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy.
- June 4: Randy Wittman signs a two-year deal to remain as coach of the Wizards — GM Ernie Grunfeld, who had just received his own new deal in April, removed the interim tag from Wittman's title. The value of Wittman's deal was not released, but Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports heard that the team was unwilling to make a "significant financial commitment," and locked up Wittman instead of pursuing more prominent coaching candidates. Wittman had been an assistant to Flip Saunders, but took over the head job when Saunders was fired following a 2-15 start.
- May 29th: The Clippers exercise their option on Vinny Del Negro — Though the Clippers took a leap forward with the additions of Chris Paul and others last season, Del Negro was rarely credited with any of the team's newfound success, and was dogged by whispers he would be replaced almost right up until the Clippers exercised their option. There was internal discussion about letting him go when the team hit a rough patch last year, but Del Negro, a favorite of owner Donald Sterling, survived. Neil Olshey, who was the GM when Del Negro got the extension, is gone, but Del Negro was part of a three-man team to replace him before Gary Sacks got the job full-time earlier this month.
- May 25th: Mike Woodson signs a three-year extension with the Knicks — The deal gives Woodson about $4MM per season, an includes an option in the third year, according to Stephen A. Smith of ESPNNewYork.com. Presumably, that's a team option, but in either case it was a significant vote of confidence for Woodson, who replaced Mike D'Antoni in March. The specter of Phil Jackson was present until the deal got done, though Woodson had a major ally once the Knicks also decided to bring back GM Glen Grunwald.
- May 18th: The Hawks exercise their option on Larry Drew for 2012/13 — The move dispelled rumors that the Hawks would decline the option, and that Drew would be a candidate for the Blazers' job. The move was one of Rick Sund's last as GM of the team, and it remains to be seen whether new GM Danny Ferry will want to keep his inherited coach beyond this season.
- May 15th: The Bulls confirm they will pick up their option on Tom Thibodeau for 2012/13 — GM Gar Forman and Thibodeau downplayed a report that the coach was unhappy with his contract situation in April, but the two sides have reportedly been discussing a long-term extension off and on since before last season, without resolution. They resumed those talks this month, as other coaches have lobbied for Thibodeau to receive a lucrative extension. He's likely in line for one that resembles the deals that Brooks and Carlisle got.
- May 15th: The Mavericks give Rick Carlisle a four-year extension — One year removed from leading the Mavs to an NBA title, the team locked up its coach long-term, setting the market for Brooks' deal with the Thunder. TNT's David Aldridge, writing on NBA.com, later reported that the deal averages better than $4.5MM a season, and Ric Bucher of ESPN.com reported that the first year of the contract gives Carlisle $4.6MM.