2019 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker

So far this spring, we have yet to see the sort of NBA head coaching turnover we got a year ago, when eight teams made changes. However, a handful of clubs have parted ways – mutually or otherwise – with their head coaches since the end of the 2018/19 regular season.

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 6-11-19 (11:05am CT)


Completed Searches:

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Out: Larry Drew (story)
  • In: John Beilein (story)
  • Although Drew did an admirable job in difficult circumstances with the Cavaliers in 2018/19 after taking over for Tyronn Lue six games into the season, he never seemed to want the job on a permanent basis. He and the Cavs agreed to part ways at season’s end, and after a long interview process that saw the club focus primarily on NBA assistants, Cleveland decided to turn to the college ranks by hiring Beilein. The two sides reportedly agreed to a five-year contract. The Cavs later hired J.B. Bickerstaff as Beilein’s associate head coach.
  • Also considered: Juwan Howard (story), Jamahl Mosley (story), J.B. Bickerstaff (story), Alex Jensen (story), Ime Udoka (story), Ettore Messina (story), Steve Hetzel (story), David Vanterpool (story), Nate Tibbetts (story), Wes Unseld Jr. (story), Jordi Fernandez (story)

Los Angeles Lakers

  • Out: Luke Walton (story)
  • In: Frank Vogel (story)
  • Following Magic Johnson‘s abrupt resignation, general manager Rob Pelinka oversaw a bumpy search for Walton’s replacement. Williams and Lue were believed to be L.A.’s top two targets, but Williams turned down a Lakers offer to join the Suns, and a potential deal with Lue fell through. The Lakers’ Plan B was Vogel, who signed a short-term (three-year) contract that will coincide with the remaining term on LeBron James‘ deal. Vogel will be joined by new assistant Jason Kidd.
  • Also considered: Monty Williams (turned down offer), Tyronn Lue (negotiations fell apart), Jason Kidd (story), Juwan Howard (story), Frank Vogel (story), J.B. Bickerstaff (story), Lionel Hollins (story), Mike Woodson (story)

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Out: J.B. Bickerstaff (story)
  • In: Taylor Jenkins (story)
  • The Grizzlies‘ front office was in a state of upheaval this spring as well, as veteran general manager Chris Wallace was re-assigned to the scouting department as the same time as Bickerstaff was dismissed. The team’s new-look front office took its time determining Bickerstaff’s replacement and eventually decided on Jenkins, who has several years of experience working under Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta and Milwaukee.
  • Also considered: Alex Jensen (story), Jarron Collins (story), Igor Kokoskov (story), Nate Tibbetts (story), Adrian Griffin (story), Sarunas Jasikevicius (story)

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Retained: Ryan Saunders (story)
  • Newly-hired president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas launched a head coaching search after assuming control of the front office, considering several outside candidates for the job. Ultimately though, the Timberwolves decided to stick with Saunders, who was the team’s interim head coach during the second half of the 2018/19 season after Tom Thibodeau‘s ouster.
  • Also considered: Juwan Howard (story), David Vanterpool (story), Chris Finch (story), Darvin Ham (story)

Phoenix Suns

  • Out: Igor Kokoskov (story)
  • In: Monty Williams (story)
  • The turnover in the Suns’ head coaching ranks continued this spring, as the team elected to dismiss Kokoskov just one year after hiring him. Phoenix’s new management group made a strong long-term commitment to its new choice for head coach, agreeing to a five-year contract with Williams, who will be responsible for shepherding a young roster led by Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Mikal Bridges.
  • Also considered: David Vanterpool (story), Nate Tibbetts (story)

Sacramento Kings

  • Out: Dave Joerger (story)
  • In: Luke Walton (story)
  • Just two days after they fired Joerger and one day after Walton officially left the Lakers, the Kings reached an agreement to hire Walton as their head coach on a contract that will run through the 2022/23 season. The expedited process reflected the fact that Walton was the No. 1 choice on Vlade Divac‘s wish list, as the recently-extended Kings GM wasted no time in going after his top target. Originally hired by the Lakers to focus on developing their young prospects, Walton should be tasked with a similar role in Sacramento, assuming an investigation into sexual assault allegations against Walton doesn’t prompt the team to change course.
  • Also considered: Ettore Messina (story), Monty Williams (story)
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7 thoughts on “2019 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker

    • Luke Adams

      Saunders is still the heavy favorite to keep that job. If that changes and they start interviewing new candidates, they’ll be included here.

  1. x%sure

    Hammonds would check a lot of boxes for CLE, I wouln’t rule her out. Unless she’s not interested… CLE will be interviewing a lot of candidates & maybe by now she’s wary of “virtue-signaling”.

  2. D$!LLKU$H-og

    Looks like PHX keeping Kokoskov for another year. He had Booker, Ayton, Bridges, Jackson, Warren, Ariza then Oubre, Holmes and J Crawford. PG’s were Okobo, Melton and T Johnson after the deadline. Not a great roster, not terrible but what would Pop do with them? You gotta think he’d have them winning at least 30 maybe even 40.

  3. I always hated team’s that know there gonna suck, axing there head coach a yr after signing em.

    It’d be like my Knick axing Fizdale after last yrs season. Gotta let a coach create his atmosphere , and incorporate his system and form relationships with the guys…etc Unless it’s for drama of a diff kind , team’s canning coaches because there team,that they knew was gonna suck for a few yrs sucks in yr1, is a nonsense move by ownership and front office

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