Luke Walton became the first head coach to be let go during the 2021/22 NBA season earlier this week, but he may not be the last.
Although coaching changes happen most frequently in the spring once a team’s season has ended, some clubs decide not to wait that long, preferring to get a head-start on the transition midway through the year. Given the success Nate McMillan had in turning the Hawks’ season around when he took over for Lloyd Pierce in March, it’s possible we’ll see a couple more teams besides the Kings try to replicate that reversal of fortune with an in-season change.
With that in mind, we want to know which head coaches you believe will be most at risk during the 2021/22 season.
A report earlier today from Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggested that Stephen Silas of the Rockets may be the next coach to find himself on the hot seat. Houston has been the NBA’s worst team so far this season, with a 1-16 record, a 15-game losing streak, and a last-place ranking in several important offensive categories.
Still, the Rockets didn’t enter the season with postseason aspirations, and Silas has another year left on his contract after this season. Would a team on track to finish at the bottom of the NBA standings really be in a rush to make a midseason change and commit to paying two coaches for the next year-and-a-half, with a playoff berth seemingly multiple years away?
Sports betting site BetOnline.ag has Silas listed third in its odds for the next NBA head coach to be fired. Pistons head coach Dwane Casey, whose team is off to a 4-13 start, is atop that list. Like Silas, Casey wasn’t expected to lead his club to the playoffs this season, but there was an expectation that the Pistons would perhaps be a little more competitive than they have been.
On the other hand, with the exception of a blowout home loss to the Kings, the Pistons have been beaten by good teams so far, and all indications are that the organization thinks highly of Casey. In fact, he signed a contract extension just six months ago, locking him up through 2023/24. If things really go south in Detroit this season, maybe he finds himself on the hot seat, but I’m skeptical we’re at that point yet.
BetOnline.ag lists Frank Vogel of the Lakers between Casey and Silas as the second-most likely candidate to be the next coach fired.
The Lakers entered the season with championship aspirations but have underachieved so far, posting a 9-10 record. LeBron James‘ absences due to injuries and a one-game suspension have contributed to Los Angeles’ struggles (the team is 4-7 without him), but even with James in the lineup, the club has looked disjointed and inconsistent.
Like Casey, Vogel received a contract extension earlier this year. However, that extension didn’t really represent a massive vote of confidence. Entering the final season of the three-year contract he signed in 2019, Vogel had just one year tacked onto his deal, despite winning a title in 2020. Since his one-year extension only covers 2022/23, it wouldn’t necessarily preclude the Lakers from making a change if their struggles continue.
What do you think? Are Silas, Casey, or Vogel in any real trouble yet? Is there another head coach whose job security looks more tenuous to you? Do you think we’ll get any more in-season coaching changes in 2021/22?
Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts!