NBA

2021 NBA head coach carousel: Who are the best coaches for the available jobs?

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Jason Kidd, Terry Stotts and Becky Hammon (NBAE/Getty Images)

The NBA Finals are still ongoing, but several teams are already in offseason mode, with two franchises currently in search of a new head coach.

It began with the Boston Celtics, who became the first team to fill a vacancy with the hire of long-time assistant coach Ime Udoka. The next domino to fall? The Indiana Pacers, who are bringing back Rick Carlisle, who led the franchise from 2003-07.

The Dallas Mavericks made the third hire of the offseason, bringing in Jason Kidd to lead the franchise moving forward while the Portland Trail Blazers added a different championship point guard in 2004 Finals MVP Chauncey Billups. The Orlando Magic were the next to make a hire, tabbing longtime assistant coach Jamahl Mosley as their next lead man.

As it stands, the New Orleans Pelicans and Washington Wizards are the two remaining teams in search of a new head coach.

With two openings, who will land where? Take a look at some names that have come up in conversations for available coaching jobs.

Terry Stotts

Regular-season record: 517-486 (.515)

Postseason record: 23-44 (.343)

After nine seasons at the helm in Portland, both Stotts and the organization mutually agreed to part ways.

Stotts, who led the Blazers to a 42-30 record in 2020-21, is not expected to be on the free agent market for long. A graduate of Bloomington North High School in Bloomington, IN, Jason Quick and Shams Charania of The Athletic have reported that Stotts is believed to be a candidate for the Pacers job.

Mike D'Antoni

Regular-season record: 672-527 (.560)

Postseason record: 54-56 (.491)

After a four-year stint as the team's head coach, D'Antoni and the Houston Rockets mutually agreed to part ways in 2020.

The two-time Coach of the Year has spent the 2020-21 season as an assistant coach on Steve Nash's staff with the Brooklyn Nets but did interview for the Trail Blazers' coaching vacancy, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Kenny Atkinson

Regular-season record: 118-190 (.383)

Postseason record: 1-4 (.200)

After eight seasons as an NBA assistant, Atkinson took over as the head coach of the Nets ahead of the 2016-17 season.

The 54-year-old led the Nets to the postseason in 2019, losing in five games to the Philadelphia 76ers. Brooklyn relieved Atkinson of his head coaching duties 62 games into the 2019-20 season. Known for his ability to get the most out of young talent, Atkinson is currently an assistant for the LA Clippers under Tyronn Lue.

Steve Clifford

Regular-season record: 292-345 (.458)

Postseason record: 5-16 (.238)

After the Magic committed to a rebuild, the franchise and Clifford mutually decided to part ways.

Clifford, who brings over 20 years of coaching experience and eight years of head coaching experience, is the type of coach that could do well with a team equipped to win now.

Wes Unseld Jr.

Unseld has spent 16 seasons on different NBA staffs, most recently getting promoted to associate head coach of the Denver Nuggets this past season, his sixth with the franchise.

The son of the Hall of Famer with the same name, Unseld has spent time with two franchises that have openings, beginning his coaching career as an assistant coach with the Wizards and serving as an assistant with the Magic from 2012-15. He is expected to be in consideration for both posts, and the Magic have reportedly already made an interview request (per Mike Singer of the Denver Post).

Willie Green

Green, a 12-year NBA veteran, has been in the coaching ranks for the past five years.

After beginning as an assistant under Steve Kerr with the Golden State Warriors, Green moved on to Phoenix in 2019 to serve as an assistant under his former teammate and head coach in Monty Williams, Green, who played for Williams with the New Orleans Hornets, is considered to be a prominent candidate for the New Orleans Pelicans job, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

Charles Lee

An assistant with the Bucks, Wojnarowski initially reported that Lee is also an expected candidate for the job in New Orleans.

As the process continued, Lee remains in consideration for the Pelicans job and is also a finalist for the vacancy with the Wizards. The 36-year-old is a native of the Washington, D.C. area and has been an assistant under Mike Budenholzer since 2014, spending four seasons with the Atlanta Hawks and the last three with Milwaukee.

Becky Hammon

Hammon is wrapping up her seventh season as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich. A six-time WNBA All-Star, Hammon has continued to rise in the coaching ranks, interviewing for numerous positions in years past.

She led the Spurs to a Summer League title in 2015 and, this past December, took over as acting head coach after Popovich was ejected from a game.

Hammon has reportedly interviewed for the job in Portland.

Sam Cassell

A member of Doc Rivers' staff in Philadelphia, Cassell is in his 12th season as an NBA assistant.

Last year, Cassell interviewed for the opening with the Clippers before following Rivers to Philly. A native of Baltimore, MD, Cassell spent five seasons as an assistant with the Wizards franchise, which makes for two connections.

Also of note

Teresa Weatherspoon - After her first season as a full-time assistant coach in New Orleans, multiple reports have indicated that Weatherspoon is expected to be a serious candidate for the Pelicans opening, though team president David Griffin deemed reports of her candidacy as "premature."

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