Eight coaches who’ve guided teams to the NBA Finals within the past 15 years have been linked to open jobs within the past month. One, Mike Brown, was re-hired by the Cavaliers, the team he took to the Finals in 2007. Another is Phil Jackson, who doesn’t appear to be interested in coaching again. His 11 championships would make him the obvious top choice for many, but even without him, there’s an impressive collection of veteran coaches on the market.
There are also plenty of worthy up-and-comers in the mix for coaching jobs. Still, even for those who follow the likes of Kelvin Sampson, Brian Shaw and Michael Malone on a nightly basis, there’s no telling exactly how it will go once a career assistant has an NBA team of his own. Sampson has a little more oomph to his resume, since he took over the Rockets for a while during Kevin McHale‘s absence this season, but even that experience pales in comparison to the lengthy track records of some of the coaches looking for work. Teams with their eyes set on a splashy hire, like the Nets, appear destined to go with someone their fans have seen on the sidelines before.
Assuming the Zen Master is unavailable, if you were running an NBA front office and had decided to hire a veteran coach, which one would you pick? I’ve listed the six guys, aside from Brown and Jackson, who’ve been to the Finals, but feel free to name another candidate in the comments.