The Pistons, Raptors and Rockets are the main teams to watch for head coaching changes once the NBA season ends, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.
Detroit’s Dwane Casey met with ownership to discuss his future after Wednesday’s game, and sources tell Fischer that some staff members are preparing for a change to take place. Fischer cites a source with knowledge of the situation who says Casey may be given the option of returning as head coach for the final year of his contract or moving into an advisory role with the front office.
Bucks assistant Charles Lee, who has interviewed for numerous head coaching positions in the past, is a top candidate if the Pistons’ job opens up, according to Fischer, who hears that Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin may be given consideration as well. Griffin previously worked under general manager Troy Weaver as an assistant coach in Oklahoma City.
Nick Nurse amplified questions about his status in Toronto last weekend when he said he plans to take some time after the season to evaluate his future with the organization. There were already rumors that the Raptors were considering a coaching move following a disappointing season that will result in a spot in the play-in tournament.
Former Celtics coach Ime Udoka is considered a leading candidate to replace Nurse if he either decides to move on or is dismissed by the team. Udoka was a finalist for the job before Nurse was hired in 2018, and he has a strong relationship with executive Masai Ujiri through the Basketball Without Borders program.
Nurse could wind up in Houston, where Stephen Silas appears likely to be replaced after three years of rebuilding, Fischer adds. Nurse was the Rockets’ G League coach from 2011-13, but he’s not the only potential candidate with ties to Houston or to James Harden, who will reportedly be an offseason target in free agency.
Fischer notes that Trail Blazers assistant Scott Brooks coached Harden in Oklahoma City, while Pistons assistant Rex Kalamian worked on Brooks’ staff with the Thunder. Fischer states that Kalamian has been mentioned by several NBA sources as a potential addition in Houston, possibly as an assistant.
Elsewhere, Fischer hears that league personnel are watching Steve Clifford’s future with the Hornets. The current leadership isn’t considering replacing Clifford, who’s still on the first season of his new contract, Fischer adds, but that could change if Michael Jordan sells enough of his interest in the team that there’s a new primary governor.