Top NBA Coaching Candidates Available This Offseason
10 years ago you would’ve found it crazy to think that players with little coaching experience would be able to nab a head coaching job with no problem.
But that’s the new age of basketball we live in, where former floor generals are now viewed as top candidates for coaching vacancies and legendary big men like Patrick Ewing are rarely offered more than an assistant role due to their past position as a player.
From Mark Jackson, to Steve Kerr, to Jason Kidd and now possibly Derek Fisher, the NBA’s becoming dominated by former guards more than ever, as executives feel they are the best fit for the job.
However, there’s still a wide range of coaches available on the open market (former point guards or not), possessing plenty of experience and the necessary tools to lead teams out of the gutter and back to a winning culture once again.
Jeff Van Gundy
The younger of the Van Gundy brothers, Jeff has spent the last 7 years as a TV analyst for ESPN after getting canned by the Rockets, when he led the team to a 52-30 record.
Recently he hasn’t expressed much interest in returning to coaching duties, but if he decides to give up his TV job, expect numerous teams to pencil him in as a potential candidate.
Not many coaches are let go after winning coach of the year, but that was the case for George Karl despite leading the Nuggets to a franchise best (in the NBA not ABA) 52 wins back in 2013.
In an interview with Brett Pollakoff of NBC Sports, he said he’s interested in returning to coaching duties, but has yet to receive any contact from a single NBA franchise.
Following the Thunder’s game 6 loss to the Spurs, Fisher received a barrage of questions regarding whether he’d step into a coaching position.
And boy did his answers leave plenty of speculation.
When asked if he’d consider coaching former teammate Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles, Fisher responded per The Oklahoman‘s Darnell Mayberry:
“I hadn’t thought about that much. But when you’re brothers, you’re brothers, regardless of what capacity it’s in… If something like that were to happen, we’re brothers so we’ll figure it out.”
The Knicks and Lakers appear to be premier destinations for the 18-year floor general, however Fisher must first bring his career to an end if he’s to evolve into the latest player gone coach.
Like George Karl, Hollins was yet another highly successful coach to get terminated after a prosperous season, going 56-26 and leading the team to its best record in franchise history.
He’s recently received interest from the Cleveland Cavaliers as well as the Los Angeles Lakers, however even if he’s unable to land either job, expect the former Grizzlies coach to field more offers as the offseason continues to unfold.
The former NBA player has done a phenomenal job reshaping Iowa State’s basketball program, earning two NCAA tournament bids in his three year tenure and posting an impressive 70.3 win percentage, the university’s best in nearly 15 years.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, several NBA GMs are interested in Hoiberg’s services, but feel he may be tough to land given his current contract:
“If I had to make a hire this year, [Hoiberg] would be one of the first calls I’d make,” one NBA general manager told Yahoo! Sports on Sunday. “He is a natural for our league… However it [contract] would need to be a long-term commitment, because he could stay at Iowa State forever.”
Over the years we’ve seen numerous teams offer mammoth contracts to coaches, so to say Hoiberg will remain with the Shockers is uncertain.
If a franchise like the Bucks or Jazz feel they need to go all in on a head coach, don’t be surprised to see Hoiberg accept an offer and transition in the NBA by next season.
Follow Evan Caulfield on Twitter @fieldhoops