Latest posts by Hunter Robinson (see all)
- Robinson: So this is the wild West we’ve heard so much about - December 12, 2018
- Robinson: Who may be next in coaching unemployment line? - December 5, 2018
- Sitting at 10-10, Kings in prime position to go on run - November 26, 2018
When the Chicago Bulls fired Fred Hoiberg after a 5-19 start, it marked the second time already this season a coach had been fired.
With two coaches gone that were on, arguably, the hottest seats in the NBA, it is hard to gather who could be the next head coach relieved of his duties.
Here are a few names to keep an eye on as the season continues and don’t be surprised if at least one of these guys joins Hoiberg and former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue in the unemployed column.
Dave Joerger, Sacramento Kings
The Kings have a nickname that has fit them quite well over the past decade, the “Kangz.” For most, it is normally accompanied by a shrug emoji. The Kings are off to a 12-11 start, with a relatively easy schedule remaining, yet there are rumblings that the front office and coaching staff aren’t seeing eye-to-eye. Still, winning cures all and as long as the team is playing .500-level basketball it is unlikely a change will be made.
Scott Brooks, Washington Wizards
The Wizards are off to a terrible start compared to past seasons and there are reports the front office has realized the current collection of players can’t mesh together, opting instead to try and shed salary while going through a quick, one-season rebuild. John Wall is an untradable contract but someone has to take the fall for the rough season, enter Brooks. He has long been on the shortlist for underachieving coaches, just this time around his team’s underachieving could actually cost him his job.
Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota Timberwolves
Thibodeau may be in the same boat as Brooks. When coaching a team with two above-average players, you are expected to play better than .500-level basketball. Thibodeau is widely known as an intense coach, something that only works with certain players. If Karl Anthony-Towns, the cornerstone of the franchise, is tired of the Thibodeau coaching style it is likely Thibs could see the door. A moving on from Thibodeau would likely happen after the season as a good playoff series could save his job.
Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat
Spoelstra is a dark-horse candidate to be fired. Questions arose about Spoelstra after LeBron James left the Heat in free agency during the 2014 offseason. Pat Riley, president of the Heat, publicly gave support for Spoelstra. Since LeBron’s departure, the Heat have missed the playoffs twice and haven’t won more than 48 games, which was back in the 2015-16 season.
The Heat are off to a 9-14 start, which is below expectations of Heat fans. Miami is like Los Angeles, fans expect success no matter what. Spoelstra had success with LeBron and it gave him some breathing room, now fans want him to show he can bring them success without LeBron or the retiring Dwyane Wade. The price for failure is high in a city that demands success, it could very well cost Spoelstra his job.