After the surprise firing of Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd, we will be looking at other coaches who are on the hot seat.
Kidd’s firing has put the rest of the league on notice. Although Kidd wasn’t the greatest coach, he had been good for the Bucks organization. So good that his All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo said he would talk to the front office about saving Kidd’s job. The Bucks are currently 5th in the Eastern Conference standings (27-22) and could still finish higher in the standings by the time playoffs are here.
The Bucks will have to learn a new scheme under interim head coach Joe Prunty who wants to prove that he’s the right man for the job.
The Bucks aren’t the only team who have fired their coach during the season. The Memphis Grizzlies fired David Fizadale in November, and the Phoenix Suns fired Earl Watson three games into the 2017-18 season.
Which coaches could join them soon?
Let’s take a look:
Mike Budenholzer, Hawks
Coach Bud was named the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks after the 2013 NBA season. Budenholzer was a former assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs, and he was supposed to turn the Hawks into the Spurs of the east.
Although he has made playoffs in each of his first four seasons as coach of the Hawks, Bud was never able to get them to the NBA Finals. Even when they had a franchise-best 60 win season, they lost to LeBron James in the Conference finals.
The Hawks are currently the worse team in the league, and the situation is not getting any better.
Frank Vogel, Magic
Like the Hawks, Orlando is one of the worse teams in the league this season. Although the blame can’t be put on coach Vogel, he is likely the odd one out on their office. Vogel is currently in the second season of a four-year deal, and he has shown he is a pretty good NBA coach; just not the right one for the young Magic team. With a brand new front office still trying to figure out a direction, every win is essential.
We expect Vogel to finish out the year as coach of the Magic, but there will be a change made.
Jeff Hornacek, Knicks
Despite the strong start to the season, Hornacek could be removed from his duties as head coach of the Knicks. The Knicks are also going through front office changes, and if they don’t start to win games like they want, Hornacek could be gone before the season ends.
Alvin Gentry, Pelicans
The Cousins trade and strong finish last season gave Gentry one more year to prove himself. Even though the Pelicans are in the playoff picture right now, the recent injury to DeMarcus Cousins may affect their chances to hang on to the playoff spot. We expect the Pelicans to make some sort of move to help fill the void of Cousins, but if Gentry can’t get them to the playoffs, you can count him out of a job.
Doc Rivers, Clippers
Rivers has been the Clippers head coach for the past five seasons and has never gotten past the second round of the playoffs. He has gotten a vote of confidence from owner Steve Ballmer, but Rivers assembled this roster, and if things keep going as they’ve been going, he will be responsible for the disappointment.
It is clear that the Clippers want to start over after they traded Blake Griffin away. Doc could be the next piece out the door after a disappointing run with the Clippers.
Fred Hoiberg, Bulls
Let’s face it, Hoiberg was put in a pretty bad situation when he took over for Tom Thibodeau. Hoiberg was merely a replacement coach during a rebuilding stage for the Bulls. Once Jimmy Butler got traded, Dwayne Wade wanted out too. Even though the future looks bright for the Bulls young Squad with Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen, we don’t expect Hoiberg to be a part of it much longer.
Dave Joerger, Kings
Joerger had his option for 2019-20 picked up in September thinking that there will be some sort of stability, but we know that isn’t possible with this Kings team. The Kings don’t have any real big name players besides maybe George Hill, who could be on his way out through a trade. They are simply one of the worst teams in the league and last in the West standings.
They are also 29th in offensive efficiency and 29th in defensive efficiency, and that could cost Joerger sooner or later.
Terry Stotts, Trail Blazers
Stotts has done an excellent job with the Blazers roster, but can’t get much love from the fans or another team. The dynamic backcourt of the Blazers is what has helped Stotts have his coaching job for this long.
However, they are also one of the last teams in the playoffs and the first ones out, that is if they even make the playoffs. If they miss playoffs or even have an early exit, the Blazers could be moving on from Stotts.
Dwane Casey, Raptors
Like the Clippers, Casey and Raptors have never made it to the Finals, mostly in part because of LeBron James and his dominance.
Every year Toronto finishes among the top of the East standings, but they never go anywhere with it.
For Casey to keep his job, he will need a more extended postseason, maybe even an upset over LeBron and the Cavaliers will help. Let’s see how this one plays out for Casey.