Community Shootaround: In-Season Coaching Changes

After Larry Drew replaced Tyronn Lue on the Cavaliers‘ bench earlier this season, we took a closer look at the NBA’s in-season head coaching changes from the last several years.

Our deep dive revealed that, outside of 2016/17 – the rare NBA season that featured no firings – and the 2013/14 campaign – in which Pistons head coach Maurice Cheeks was the only one replaced – there have been at least three in-season coaching changes during every season so far this decade.

That didn’t necessarily mean that we should have expected two more coaches to be dismissed after Lue was fired, but it seemed like a safe bet that Lue wouldn’t be the last one to go this season. That turned out to be the case, with the Bulls announcing on Monday that they’ve parted ways with Fred Hoiberg.

With two head coaches down, we could still have at least one more firing to go, if recent history is any indication. But it’s unclear which coach is most at risk now that Lue and Hoiberg have been ousted.

Many of the NBA’s very worst teams, including the Suns, Hawks, Knicks, Cavaliers, and Bulls, have hired new coaches within the last year, reducing the odds that additional changes are on the way. And many of the league’s biggest underachievers so far, including the Celtics, Jazz, Rockets, Heat, and Spurs, have highly respected coaches who should be in no danger of losing their jobs.

Scott Brooks (Wizards) and Luke Walton (Lakers) seemed to be on the hot seat earlier in the season, but their teams have been on the upswing lately, as have Tom Thibodeau‘s Timberwolves. There has reportedly been friction between Dave Joerger and the Kings‘ front office, but it seems hard to believe Sacramento would make a change in the midst of the team’s most surprisingly successful start in years.

What do you think? Will there be a third head coach fired during the 2018/19 season? If so, which coach do you view as most at risk of losing his job?

Head to the comment section below to share your two cents!

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8 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: In-Season Coaching Changes

  1. I still think Luke Walton is at risk. I also think the Utah Jazz coach might be if they continue to struggle.

    • They have completely turned it around after the trade though. Looks like he saved his job. So far, at least.

  2. What about Stevens. Boston is been the biggest disappointment in the league so far, above Wizards, Rockets, Jazz & Spurs.

  3. Jason Lancaster

    Brooks seems like the most likely, only Thibs didn’t do himself any favors mismanaging the Butler trade.

    Gentry and Stotts also seem like possibilities. Neither deserves to be fired, but both teams could very easily stumble mid-season and all but miss the playoffs. If that were to happen to either team, I could see the owners firing the coach to avoid losing their star player…

  4. x%sure

    Lebron will probably want coach Walton to stay between him and Earvin, who wants a faster pace and more ball movement. Lebron will resist that and expect Luke to either back him or at least not actively force him. Walton is in a tough spot between egos, but historically, coaches who back the team’s top player last the longest.

    Walton’s best bet is to keep a low profile like Pelinka and wait until ownership is forced to choose between Johnson and James.

    Interesting that Johnson has made this difference public several times already and has blistered Walton, since he is not the likely winner between him and James. Johnson is the bigger threat to Walton.

    I would hate to be a Laker player, deciding which ego to back. One would have to choose James, a few lockers down. Any Laker coach, Walton or not, has to know that in figuring how to lead the team. I doubt Johnson is more important than Pelinka as well!
    Start your downvotes…

  5. Otogar

    I think Thibs will be fired after the season ends unless the Wolves reach conference semis (which seems unlikely), but not before. Scott Brooks can certainly be in danger again as soon as the Wizards enter another losing streak and is another likely off-season casualty. But for me the strongest candidate to lose his seat during the season is Joerger. The King’s strong start is not sustainable and once they begin to go down in the standings, the discrepancies with the front office about youth development may take their toll.

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