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NBA

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

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Houston Rockets have tabbed Stephen Silas as their next head coach, meaning the NBA's offseason coaching cycle is almost complete.

As it stands, the Oklahoma City Thunder are the final team in search of a new leader on the sidelines for the 2020-21 season.

MORE: Meet the new head coaches for 2020-21

Including the Rockets, eight teams have filled head coaching vacancies in this unique offseason period, with the New Orleans Pelicans hiring Stan Van Gundy, the Indiana Pacers hiring Nate Bjorkgren, the LA Clippers hiring Tyronn Lue, the Philadelphia 76ers hiring Doc Rivers, the New York Knicks hiring Tom Thibodeau, the Brooklyn Nets hiring Steve Nash and the Chicago Bulls hiring Billy Donovan.

With that in mind, let's take a look at some names that are likely to come up in coaching conversations, beginning with former head coaches that are not currently coaching.


Kenny Atkinson

Regular-season record: 118-190

Postseason record: 1-4

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

The 53-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. He is rumoured to become an assistant coach with Tyronn Lue and the LA Clippers.

Brett Brown

Regular-season record: 221-344 (.391)

Postseason record: 12-14 (.462)

In 2013, Brown assumed the helm in Philadelphia after spending nine seasons as an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs, winning two titles in that span.

After four rough years to begin his tenure in Philly, Brown amassed a 146-91 (.616) record over his final three seasons, leading the Sixers to three consecutive postseason appearances and two playoff series wins.

He was relieved of his head coaching duties after Philly was swept in the opening round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs by the Boston Celtics.

Mike D'Antoni

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

Postseason record: 54-56 (.491)

D'Antoni took over as head coach of the Rockets in 2016 for what was his fifth head coaching job.

In four seasons at the helm, D'Antoni amassed a 217-101 (.682) record, leading Houston to the postseason each year, including an appearance in the 2018 Western Conference Finals.

After losing to the Lakers in five games in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, D'Antoni informed Rockets ownership that he would not be returning to the team for the 2020-21 season.

Mark Jackson

Regular-season record: 121-109 (.526)

Postseason record: 9-10 (.474)

Jackson, a 16-year NBA veteran, led the Golden State Warriors from 2011-14, earning playoff appearances in his final two seasons.

Since being relieved of his head coaching duties in 2014, Jackson has been a mainstay in the broadcast booth but is believed to have a desire to get back into the coaching ranks in the future.

Nate McMillan

Regular-season record: 661-588 (.529)

Playoff record: 17-36 (.321)

The 56-year-old McMillan has over 15 seasons of head coaching experience with the Seattle SuperSonics, Portland Trail Blazers and Pacers.

He led Indiana to the postseason in each of his four years at the helm but as the team faced various injuries and obstacles each season, it was unable to get out of the first round during his time, leading to his firing in August 2020.

Jeff Van Gundy

Jeff Van Gundy NBA

Regular-season record: 430-318 (.575)

Playoff record: 44-44 (.500)

Van Gundy hasn't led an NBA team since the 2006-07 season but had a very successful tenure during his 11 seasons as an NBA head coach.

He led the eighth-seeded New York Knicks to the NBA Finals in 1999 and led the Houston Rockets to three playoff appearances and two 50-win seasons. More recently, Van Gundy has coached the United States National Team at the 2017 Fiba AmeriCup and the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Van Gundy is scheduled to interview with the Houston Rockets.


According to reports…

There are a number of former head coaches that have been reportedly linked to coaching opportunities but are currently on other staffs.

Earlier in the summer, Los Angeles Lakers' assistant coach Jason Kidd interviewed for the Knicks coaching vacancy that was eventually filled by Tom Thibodeau (per Sports Illustrated).

Kidd had a prior head coaching stint with Brooklyn before leaving to lead the Milwaukee Bucks while Lue led the Cavaliers to the first NBA title in franchise history back in 2016.


Elsewhere…

Like the above three, there are a number of assistant coaches around the league that are assumed to be next up and have received consideration in years past and during this current cycle of coaching searches.

Long time Spurs assistant Becky Hammon is thought to be in consideration for the Pacers coaching job, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Hammon, who played over a dozen year professionally, led the Spurs Summer League team to a title in 2015.

Mavs assistant Jamahl Mosley and Spurs assistant Will Hardy are also two names to keep an eye on, as they 'made a strong impression' while in consideration for the Knicks job, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.


In the college ranks

A report from ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz listed Dayton Flyers' head coach Anthony Grant as a potential head-coaching candidate. Grant, who was an assistant for the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2015-17, earned six Coach of the Year honours after leading Dayton to a 29-2 record in the 2019-20 season.

Both Shams Charania of The Athletic and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski have reported that Villanova Wildcats head coach Jay Wright will be in consideration for 76ers head coaching position but Wright took to Twitter to share that he is "very happy and honoured to coach at Villanova" and will not be moving on.

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