The NBA is deep inside of the playoffs. For the other 26 teams that are not playing anymore the off season has officially begun and for some that means it’s time for new leadership. There are 2 vacancies that have recently been filled and 5 jobs as of right now that are still available. We here at Kind of Like Sports will talk about how the proceedings have went so far.
Steve Kerr gets the Golden Ticket
Easily the most talked about name in this summer’s coaching vacancies was Steve Kerr. Kerr is a former player with a few championship rings to his credit. He has never been a head coach or an assistant but with the success of guys like Mark Jackson and Jason Kidd kind of eased team’s fears of that lack of experience. Kerr’s relationship with Phil Jackson and the speculation of him going to the Knicks may have driven the price up.
Kerr has taken what is seen to be the best available job in the coaching market with the Golden State Warriors. A playoff team with a superstar sharp shooting guard leading the way, they may be only a move or two away championship contention. With a 5 year deal worth 25 million he will definitely get his chance to grow in a market that is not as intense as New York.
The Pistons Roll With Van Gundy
The Pistons hire their 1st post Joe Dumars coach in Stan Van Gundy. The former Orlando Magic head man will also have Dumars old position as Head of Basketball Operations. So the coach will get shop for his own groceries. Not have the trigger happy Dumars over his should, Van Gundy can get a chance to settle in mold a team in his image. He inherits strong piece in the middle in Andre Drummond but unfortunately he also gets Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith with the deal too. Van Gundy will also have to decide what to do with the talented Greg Monroe who seems to be good trade bait. He is 20 million under the cap and has a lottery pick in this year’s draft so he has all the opportunities in the world to succeed.
The Wolves were 40-42 last year and have one of the top players out there in Kevin Love. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Kevin Love is a free agent in 2015 and may want to spend the rest of his good years with a contender. The Western Conference is already stacked up. They do have some pieces with Ricky Rubio at the point and maybe an impact scorer away from getting into the playoffs. They also have a lottery pick in this year’s draft. May not be a great spot for a veteran coach but maybe a great proving ground for an up and comer.
The Knicks On The Clock
The Knicks are one of the two vacancies that are the most intriguing and high profile. A storied franchise in the world’s biggest market will definitely be a pressure cooker. The job of bringing New York’s premier basketball team back to prominence is one of high risk and high reward. Here is the good news Phil Jackson will have your back and you have an owner who is not afraid to cut the check. The major obstacle is that roster that even with Melo gone next year would over the cap. So the first year or two there will be some growing pains. The Knicks do not have a lottery pick to come in and make an instant impact either. Tim Hardaway Jr and Iman Shumpert are the young bright spots on an otherwise aging roster with big contracts.
This job is definitely for the strong willed who can take the scrutiny of the New York media market. That being said they are in the Eastern Conference where getting in the playoffs doesn’t even require a winning record. A coach with strong name recognition or a solid background as an assistant would be ideal for this spot.
The good news for Cavalier fans is that there are only 30 of these jobs in the world so somebody will take it. After firing Mike Brown for the 2nd time Cleveland is looking for another coach. Let’s look at the tape here. You got a an owner who writes sensitive letters when a player leaves and Cleveland doesn’t really have the free agents breaking down the door. There are not too many people who volunteer to live in Cleveland. Kyrie Irving is there but his contract should be coming due soon so that maybe another departure also.
Getting Jazzy in Utah
The Jazz are a small market team with a lot of potential. This might be one of the sleeper jobs out there that is available. They have some solid young pieces in guys like Derrick Favors and Trey Burke and they have a lottery pick this year’s loaded draft. Not sure if the ownership is ready to spend big but the money is there, the Jazz will have about 30 million dollars in cap room. The downside is that they are in the loaded Western Conference but for a young hire energy coach this might be a dream job.
Showtime in LA
You only get a few shots at jobs like this one. How many times do you get to coach the Yankees in baseball or the Cowboys in football? Well this is one of the 3 marquee jobs in the NBA with the Celtics and Knicks being the others. The good news is that Kobe Bryant will be back for the next 2 years and the bad news is that Kobe will be back for the next 2 years. The world does not know exactly what a Kobe in his mid-30s recovering from a major injury will provide. The Lakers never see themselves as rebuilding but more retooling.
They do have 30 million in cap space and will have 40 million in the 2015 summer and generally don’t have a hard time attracting free agents. The downside is that this job comes with high pressure and the last 2 guys who had this job didn’t last too long. Their fans expect championships and they are not used to waiting.
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr