2018 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker

After a period of virtually unprecedented stability in the NBA’s head coaching ranks, the coaching carousel started spinning again during the 2017/18 league year. Three teams made in-season coaching changes, installing interim replacements, and five more clubs have parted ways with their head coaches since the regular season ended.

In the space below, we’ll provide daily updates on the head coaching searches for each club that has yet to give anyone the permanent title. Some of these searches could extend well into the spring, so be sure to check back each day for the latest updates.

Updated 5-25-18 (11:55pm CT)

Active Searches:

Detroit Pistons

  • Out: Stan Van Gundy (story)
  • Rumored candidates or targets: Dwane Casey (story), Jerry Stackhouse (story), Becky Hammon (story)
  • Rumored target before he was hired by another team: Mike Budenholzer (story)
  • The Pistons are seeking a new head of basketball operations and head coach, since Van Gundy held both roles. Detroit may address its head of basketball operations vacancy before focusing on a new coach, but that’s not a lock. Casey is said to be a primary target in the coaching search.

Orlando Magic

  • Out: Frank Vogel (story)
  • Interviewed or will interview: David Vanterpool (story), Ime Udoka (story), Kelvin Sampson (story), Steve Clifford (story), David Fizdale (story; hired by Knicks)
  • Other rumored candidates or targets: Dwane Casey (story)
  • Rumored, but not believed to be in running: Jerry Stackhouse (story), Nick Nurse (story), Tom Izzo (story)
  • The Magic said after firing Vogel that they planned to take their time with their search, and they’ve made good on that promise. Orlando has been secretive about its targets, but Sampson is believed to have emerged as a top candidate.

Toronto Raptors

  • Out: Dwane Casey (story)
  • Interviewed or will interview: Nick Nurse (story), Rex Kalamian (story), Jerry Stackhouse (story), Ettore Messina (story), Ime Udoka (story), Mike Budenholzer (story; hired by Bucks)
  • Setting a franchise record for wins in a season (59) and winning the Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year award didn’t save Casey’s job, with the Raptors dismissing him in what Masai Ujiri called “a very difficult but necessary step.” Toronto has assistants qualified to take over, but appears ready to consider outside candidates too.

Completed Searches:

Atlanta Hawks

  • Out: Mike Budenholzer (story)
  • In: Lloyd Pierce (story)
  • After initially giving Budenholzer permission to interview with other teams seeking a new head coach, the Hawks and Budenholzer reached an agreement to mutually part ways, leaving Atlanta on the lookout for a new coach of its own. After three meetings with him, the Hawks made Pierce their man.
  • Interviewed: Nate Tibbetts (story), Stephen Silas (story), Jay Larranaga (story), Jarron Collins (story), Darvin Ham (story), David Fizdale (hired by Knicks)

Charlotte Hornets

  • Out: Steve Clifford (story)
  • In: James Borrego (story)
  • In addition to firing Clifford, the Hornets made a change in their front office this offseason, hiring Mitch Kupchak as their new president of basketball operations and general manager. Kupchak led the search for a new head coach, and Borrego was the team’s choice.
  • Interviewed: Jay Larranaga (story; second interview), Jerry Stackhouse (story), Ettore Messina (story), David Fizdale (story), Ime Udoka (story), David Vanterpool (story), Jim Boylen (story), Nick Nurse (story)

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Out: David Fizdale (in-season change)
  • In: J.B. Bickerstaff (story)
  • J.B. Bickerstaff, who finished the 2017/18 season as the Grizzlies’ interim head coach, was elevated to the permanent role after Robert Pera retained control of the franchise. Bickerstaff and the Grizzlies agreed to a new three-year contract that includes a team option in year three.

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Out: Jason Kidd (in-season change); Joe Prunty (interim coach)
  • In: Mike Budenholzer (story)
  • Even before he parted ways with the Hawks, Budenholzer was rumored to have interest in the Bucks’ head coaching job. The Bucks considered other candidates – including finalist Ettore Messina – and Budenholzer received interest from other teams, but the two sides ultimately came together, agreeing to a four-year deal.
  • Interviewed: Joe Prunty (story), Ettore Messina (story), Steve Clifford (story), Monty Williams (story), David Blatt (story), Becky Hammon (story), Jay Larranaga (story)
  • Informal conversation: Jim Cleamons (story)
  • Had planned to interview: James Borrego (story)

New York Knicks

  • Out: Jeff Hornacek (story)
  • In: David Fizdale (story)
  • The Knicks cast a wide net as they searched for a new head coach, meeting with current and former head coaches, assistants, and even a TV analyst with no previous coaching experience. In total, they interviewed 11 candidates, ultimately landing on Fizdale, who agreed to a four-year contract with the club.
  • Interviewed: Jerry Stackhouse (story), Mark Jackson (story), Mike Woodson (story), Kenny Smith (story), Mike Budenholzer (story), David Blatt (story; second meeting), James Borrego (story), Jay Larranaga (story), Juwan Howard (story), Mike Brown (story)

Phoenix Suns

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3 thoughts on “2018 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker

  1. Charlie

    As a Bucks fan, we better not have Prunty return in the coaching staff even if we get to the ECF

    • BrewBucksVikes

      I wouldn’t mind seeing him come back as an assistant, but the best option for head coach is budenholzer if hawks let him leave.

  2. Z-A

    If you keep hiring retreads, why would you expect different results? At this point we know what Mike Brown, Frank Vogel, Van Gundy, Jackson, et al are as a coach. Unless your team sports 1 or 2 HoFers, what will change? If you have 1 or 2 HoFers you’re unlikely to be in need of a coach.


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