Checking In On NBA Head Coaching Searches

It has been nearly four weeks since the NBA regular season ended, and while a few head coaching situations have been resolved since then, several more remain unsettled. With so many candidates being linked to so many separate jobs, it’s time to check in on this spring’s coaching searches to see where they stand.

Let’s dive in…

Completed searches:

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Named interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff the permanent head coach.
  • The Grizzlies’ search wasn’t much of a search at all. Rather than bringing in outside candidates, the team doubled down on Bickerstaff, having been impressed with his developmental work, if not his record (15-48).

New York Knicks

  • Hiring David Fizdale to replace Jeff Hornacek.
  • An extensive search resulted in the hiring of Fizdale, who was perhaps the most coveted candidate on the market this spring — the Suns reportedly made Fizdale an offer for their job, and he spoke to multiple other teams. The former Grizzlies coach will be officially introduced as Hornacek’s replacement this week.

Phoenix Suns

  • Hiring Igor Kokoskov to replace interim head coach Jay Triano.
  • While the Suns reportedly offered the job to Fizdale before deciding on Kokoskov, they sound pleased with how their search turned out. An assistant in Utah, Kokoskov is finishing up his playoff run with the Jazz. His deal with the Suns figures to be made official once Utah is eliminated.

Ongoing searches:

Atlanta Hawks

  • While Sixers assistant Lloyd Pierce appeared to be emerging as the frontrunner for the Hawks’ job over the weekend, a Sunday evening report suggested three more assistants – Nate Tibbetts (Blazers), Stephen Silas (Hornets), and Jay Larranaga (Celtics) – are also in the mix. Those appear to be Atlanta’s finalists, though Jarron Collins and Darvin Ham have also interviewed.

Charlotte Hornets

  • Ettore Messina, David Vanterpool, Ime Udoka, Jim Boylen, Nick Nurse, and Jerry Stackhouse have reportedly talked to the Hornets about their head coaching job. However, Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga and Spurs assistant James Borrego are viewed as the current frontrunners. Charlotte is conducting second interviews with both Larranaga and Borrego, with owner Michael Jordan present at those meetings.

Detroit Pistons

  • The Pistons’ search just got underway today, as the team parted ways with Stan Van Gundy. They’re on the lookout for a new head of basketball operations too, so they may address that position before hiring a new coach.

Milwaukee Bucks

  • A playoff team, the Bucks got a late start on their head coaching search, but they’re making up for lost time, reportedly lining up interviews with Ettore Messina, Steve Clifford, David Blatt, Becky Hammon, James Borrego, and more. Two former NBA head coaches, Mike Budenholzer and Monty Williams, are said to be among the favorites for the Milwaukee job.

Orlando Magic

  • The Magic indicated at season’s end that they’d be in no rush to hire a new head coach, and they’ve made good on that promise, with very few reports surfacing on their candidates. They reportedly received permission to interview Blazers assistant David Vanterpool and Spurs assistant Ime Udoka, and have also been linked to Nick Nurse and Jerry Stackhouse of the Raptors. No clear frontrunner has emerged yet though.

To follow updates on the head coaching searches beyond this snapshot, be sure to check out our tracker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

View Comments (0)