Poll: Most Appealing NBA Head Coaching Opening

As our head coaching search tracker shows, there are currently three NBA head coaching jobs up for grabs. That number looked like it might get as high as five early in the offseason, but the Kings quickly replaced Dave Joerger with Luke Walton, while the Timberwolves appear likely – for now – to retain interim coach Ryan Saunders.

That leaves three teams in the market for a head coach. The most noteworthy club in that group is the Lakers, who are undergoing some upheaval in the front office as well after Magic Johnson‘s abrupt resignation.

Walton was originally hired in Los Angeles to help develop the team’s group of young prospects, and he was doing a decent job of that before the 2018/19 season rolled around. Once LeBron James joined the Lakers, expectations changed for Walton and the team, and like David Blatt in Cleveland, he was no longer viewed as the right man for the job.

Coaching James isn’t an easy job, and the Lakers are in disarray at the moment, but they’re still the Lakers, one of the most storied franchises in any sport. And of the three teams seeking head coaches, they’re the closest to contention, particularly if they’re able to land a second star to pair with LeBron on the trade market or in free agency this summer. That should make the job appealing to veteran coaches, particularly those with previous head coaching experiences.

The Cavaliers, on the other hand, will likely be in the market for a younger, up-and-coming coach who has a strong player-development background and perhaps extensive experience as an assistant as well.

With LeBron no longer around in Cleveland, the Cavaliers are still in the relatively early stages of a full-fledged rebuild, with building blocks like Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman, Larry Nance, and a top-six pick in 2019 making up the future core. Since contention isn’t an immediate priority, the Cavs will want to find their own version of Kenny Atkinson or Lloyd Pierce, who can grow along with the team’s young players.

As for the Grizzlies, they might be somewhere in the middle. As long as Mike Conley is still on the roster, the team won’t be entering a full-fledged rebuild. But there’s no guarantee that the new decision-makers in the front office won’t trade Conley this season, kick-starting a rebuild centered around Jaren Jackson.

None of these jobs necessarily represents a perfect situation for a new head coach. The Lakers haven’t been to the postseason since 2013, their president of basketball operations just quit on the team, and no NBA player has more power than LeBron. The Cavs’ roster isn’t exactly loaded with talent, and Dan Gilbert doesn’t have a reputation as one of the league’s best owners. The Grizzlies just fired head coach J.B. Bickerstaff hours after since-demoted general manager Chris Wallace assured reporters that Bickerstaff would be back for 2019/20.

What do you think? Which of these head coaching openings looks most appealing? And would the Kings have been your pick if they hadn’t filled their vacancy so quickly?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section to share your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

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15 thoughts on “Poll: Most Appealing NBA Head Coaching Opening

  1. x%sure

    lol All the critics of Lakers/Busses/Pelinka/Lebron/Balls/Lakers’ roster… but they will take the job over others.

    • kenleyfornia2

      People will really pretned the Timberwolves or Grizzlies are more appealing than the Lakers. Shows how crazy the Lakers derangement syndrom has become

  2. Reflect

    All three of these jobs are awful, and the Lakers are the least awful of the three.

    • zmay718

      All are awful, but I think the Lakers are the least desirable choice. The Lakers coach (unless hand picked by LBJ) is 50/50 to get fired immediately upon hire.

      • kenleyfornia2

        Really because the Grizzlies have fired 3 coaches in 3 years while the Lakers have only 1. Guess making up narrarives is part of the Lakers hate now.

      • Reflect

        The Cavaliers had 3 head coaches in the past 4 years. Tyronne Lue won a ring, then got fired because the awful Cavs team without Kyrie and Lebron was somehow expected to actually win games. That’s to say nothing of two different disputes over salary in that same time frame: Larry Drew, and David Blatt. So not only are they stupid, but they’re also cheap.

        The Lakers have quite a bit of dysfunction but at least they pay up for coaching talent, and have an average roster. Those are two things that cannot be said for the other two teams.

        • That would be 3 in five years. Plus the Cavs do pay up for coaching as they paid more than the Lakers did. You’re thinking of the lowball offer for David Griffin and Gilbert did that b/c he didn’t want him back.

          Also, the Cavs did want to win and try to get in the playoffs this past season, but injuries derailed that idea early and often this past season, so it was rebuild. Any time a team loses a LeBron James you rebuild.

  3. Michael Chaney

    They’re all terrible jobs. The Lakers job has more pressure than probably any in the league, and as a Cavs fan I can attest to the fact that coaches don’t seem to have a long leash with LeBron. The Cavs won’t legitimately compete for a while, and Dan Gilbert doesn’t have a good reputation. The Grizzlies have JJJ and maybe Conley, but Pera is a pretty bad owner too and making the playoffs in the west with that roster looks tough.

    I’ll be biased and say the Cavs’ job is the least terrible though. There shouldn’t be overly high expectations while it’s still early in the rebuild, and there are a few interesting pieces on the roster to mold. There’s also the chance of getting to draft a stud like Zion or Morant, they’ll have cap flexibility in a year or two, and even though Gilbert isn’t great he’s at least been willing to spend money when it’s needed.

    • x%sure

      As a Cavs fan, you could list the coaches who James got fired, stop at Blatt who was doomed anyway for a Euro style and misuse of Love, and realize that point has limitations. Nobody else has snapped up Blatt, or tried, or tried before the Cavs.
      For decades coaches have known that job security meant making your peace with the team’s top player, and James is no different.

      In Cleveland right now, a coach had better “develop” Sexton, who is heavily backed in the FO. But Sexton is not known to be demanding personally or even say much, and he is developing, and wants to more. So easy-peasy.

      In Memphis, they haven’t hired the coach’s boss yet… which may be an opportunity to influence who that is. They may even have a dual coach/GM availability.
      The Lakers may too…

      • Michael Chaney

        You could add Mike Brown to that list too though. And while Blatt was doomed from the start (which I agree with), you could also make the argument that he should have never been the candidate in the first place. That’s why no one’s gone after him since then.

        • x%sure

          I had to look that up… Mike Brown was fired early in the summer of ‘the decision’, 2010.

          “Some wondered if James ordered it. Windhorst: “I can guarantee you with a billion percent certainty that’s not true. Could LeBron have raised his hand and stopped it? Yes. But at that point, LeBron had already decided he was leaving. They couldn’t get a hold of him.”
          link to mercurynews.com

          The Orlando fiasco in 2009 turned fans against Brown, as Stan VanGundy outcoached him; I think James generally supported him. Irving got Brown fired the second time. Irving also got Griffin, an Irving supporter, fired indirectly by demanding out.

          • I thought as I’ve read many times, that Irving was ticked they fired Blatt in the first place b/c he liked him. He wanted and was told, the Cavs was his team. Then AFTER Blatt was hired, James came back. That’s a crucial point b/c Blatt was hired to develop the young team. Not to win a championship. But that quickly changed once LeBron was on hand, Love was added as the draft picks (Wiggins mostly) were gone.

            But Mike Brown Was NOT involved nor any were near the Cavs organization during the James/Irving/Love run at the four straight appearances in the NBA Finals.

            Lakers nor Grizzlies came close to getting in the NBA Finals in any of those years.

            Also, James is done. All he’ll do is take away shots from the young kids much the same way Kobe did for his last 3 or 4 seasons. Remember the lightbulb shines brightest just before it burns out and James’ Brightest was 2017/18 season.

            I’d take the no brainer Cavs like Michael suggested simply b/c they’re a championship run organization. And now that they’re on the rebuild, there’s little to no pressure to win it all this coming season or next.

            Best wishes the LA LeBron’s and the Grizzlies as they also try and rebuild.

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