A slow-spinning coaching marketplace
With only a few openings so far and two teams moving deliberately in their searches, it has been a quieter spring than usual on the NBA coaching front
There are only three teams in today's NBA without a head coach.
The Sacramento Kings have moved quickly to zero in on Mark Jackson, Mike Brown and Steve Clifford as the three finalists to replace Alvin Gentry, but the Los Angeles Lakers and Charlotte Hornets appear to be in no hurry to fill their vacancies.
The coach whose future has been discussed the most over the past six weeks, aside from the Lakers' since-dismissed Frank Vogel, is Utah's Quin Snyder ... even though Snyder is under contract for one more guaranteed season with a club that has been open about its desire to retain him.
It is what you would describe, then, as an atypical coaching marketplace. One which isn't exactly moving at carousel speed.
We probably shouldn’t be surprised after the 2021-22 season began with seven new coaches (Boston’s Ime Udoka, Dallas’ Jason Kidd, Indiana’s Rick Carlisle, New Orleans’ Willie Green, Orlando’s Jamahl Mosley, Portland’s Chauncey Billups and Washington’s Wes Unseld Jr.) and two more (Atlanta’s Nate McMillan and Minnesota’s Chris Finch) starting their first full season in charge. That’s almost a third of the league that essentially just went through the hiring process.
Yet Charlotte’s recent dismissal of James Borrego, after he just received a contract extension last August, certainly surprised some people and serves as a reminder: It’s always wise, in #thisleague, to brace for an unexpected coaching change (or two) even when the climate appears to be calm.
Until the next surprise? Our best and latest intel from the coaching grapevine:
The Hornets, league sources say, would have interest in Snyder if he indeed parts ways with the Jazz following Utah's third first-round exit in the past four seasons. Very little, beyond that, has seeped out yet about Charlotte's search. Snyder is expected to meet with Utah-based reporters as early as this week for his annual end-of-season news conference after Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said Friday that there is “no other partner” he would rather have.
The search for Vogel's successor is widely expected to move slower than most because the Lakers need to find an established coach who can win LeBron James' buy-in. The most capable coaches are obviously employed elsewhere already.
Michigan's Juwan Howard is known to hold James' respect after their time together in Miami but is said …
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I really don’t want to be the one constantly tabulating and bringing up these figures. It’s not a fun gig. But injuries have had a significant impact on the first 16 days of the playoffs — just like last season’s playoffs. We can’t pretend like they haven’t.
A record 10 All-Stars missed at least one game during the 2021 postseason: Boston’s Jaylen Brown (wrist), Utah’s Donovan Mitchell (ankle), Brooklyn’s James Harden (hamstring), the Lakers’ Anthony Davis (knee/groin), Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving (ankle), Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid (knee), Utah’s Mike Conley (hamstring), the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard (knee), Phoenix’s Chris Paul (COVID-19) and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee).
On Monday night, Embiid (orbital fracture) will become the seventh current All-Star to miss at least one game in these young playoffs. His six predecessors: Dallas’ Luka Dončić (calf), Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton (knee), Phoenix’s Devin Booker (hamstring), Toronto’s Fred VanVleet (hip), Chicago’s Zach LaVine (COVID-19) and Miami’s Jimmy Butler (knee).
Question of the Week
I am a restaurant addict. I’ve been this way since I was in high school. Once I reached my junior year, when students at my school were first allowed to leave campus, I had to go somewhere every weekday.
The lunch rotation (McDonald’s, Arby’s, Carl’s Jr.) was pretty pedestrian back then, but the habit was cemented early. In my sportswriting adulthood, I most definitely rank NBA cities based on beloved hotels and restaurants. That’s what I’m rooting for in the playoffs.
I also rely heavily on dining out to help get my writing unstuck. Words always tend to flow a little bit easier when I indulge in a good meal as I’m scribing. Sitting solo somewhere, just me and my BlackBerry, I feel an obligation to churn out something passable after treating myself to something delicious.
But I do have a question about the serving component of dining out. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel as though there’s an increasing rush to snatch plates and utensils off the table like never before. Can someone in the restaurant game explain this to me? Or is it something I have dreamed up in my head?
Dot Dot Dot (🏀🏀🏀)
🏀 Don't expect much bold talk from the Dallas Mavericks as they enter the second round for the first time in 11 years and face the 64-win (and suddenly full-strength) Phoenix Suns. They are well aware how good the Suns are. Behind the scenes, though, team officials are …