When the Knicks launched a search for a new permanent head coach that ultimately led them to Tom Thibodeau, it was considered likely to be the first of multiple NBA coaching hires in 2020. However, it’s no longer clear whether or not that will be the case.
In our 2020 head coaching search tracker, we suggest that the situations in Brooklyn, Houston, and Chicago are among those worth keeping an eye on. Jacque Vaughn was a midseason replacement who was promoted to head coach in March, Mike D’Antoni is on an expiring contract, and Jim Boylen is coming off a disappointing season and being evaluated by a new-look front office.
There’s a possibility that none of those teams makes a change though. Multiple reports this summer have indicated that Vaughn will be given every opportunity to win the Nets‘ permanent job; D’Antoni has handled the Rockets‘ transition to “micro-ball” admirably so far; and Boylen is reportedly gaining momentum to retain the Bulls‘ job.
Today’s report on Boylen noted that financial considerations could be a major factor in the Bulls’ decision, and Chicago probably isn’t the only club in that boat. The coronavirus pandemic will result in major revenue losses for teams across the NBA, so giving an incumbent head coach one more year may look a whole lot more appealing than firing him, hiring a new coach, and paying off multiple contracts.
Additionally, a number of the teams that finished near the bottom of this year’s standings or who have underachieved this season have head coaches who are safe due to their rock-solid résumés (ie. Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, and Terry Stotts) or because they’re recent hires who deserve a longer look (ie. Luke Walton and Ryan Saunders).
Even taking into account those caveats, it’s possible we’ll see some coaching changes this summer or fall. Teams that disappoint in Orlando will be worth monitoring. D’Antoni could be back on the hot seat, for instance, if Houston doesn’t win at least a playoff series or two. And it’s hard to imagine Brett Brown returning for another season if the Sixers don’t make it out of the first round.
We want to know what you think. Do you expect to see some more coaching changes happen in 2020, or will be things relatively quiet on that front? If you anticipate changes, which teams do you see making moves?
Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts!