The NBA has two more vacancies for head coaching jobs after Rick Carlisle stepped down as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, and the New Orleans Pelicans fired Stan Van Gundy after one season.
At least seven NBA teams will be seeking a new head coach in the coming weeks. That list includes the Boston Celtics, New Orleans Pelicans Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, Orlando Magic, and Washington Wizards.
Last week, the Indiana Pacers fired Nate Bjorkgren after one disastrous season as their head coach. Also last week, the Portland Trail Blazers and Terry Stotts decided to part ways after almost a decade in Rip City. Stotts is rumored to become the next head coach of the Pacers, but he’ll also interview with the Dallas Mavericks because he’d be foolish to pass up a chance to coach the Slovenian wunderkind Luka Doncic.
|NBA Head Coaching Vacancies
|Team||Former Head Coach
|Boston Celtics||Brad Stevens|
|Dallas Mavericks||Rick Carlisle|
|Portland Trail Blazers||Terry Stotts|
|New Orleans Pelicans||Stan Van Gundy|
|Orlando Magic||Steve Clifford|
|Indiana Pacers||Nate Bjorkgren|
|Washington Wizards||Scott Brooks|
That help-wanted list could become eight deep as Mike Budenholzer is rumored to be on the chopping block if he doesn’t guide the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA Finals. The future looks grim for Budenholzer with the Bucks down 3-2 against the Brooklyn Nets.
Carlisle era dunzo in Dallas
Carlisle spent 13 seasons with the Dallas Mavericks and won an NBA championship in 2011 with Dirk Nowitzki. He was one of the longest-tenured head coaches in the NBA along with Gregg Popovich and Erik Spoelstra.
“After a number of in-person conversations with Mark Cuban over the last week, today I informed him that I will not be returning as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks,” Carlisle said in a statement to ESPN. “This was solely my decision. My family and I have had an amazing 13-year experience working with great people in a great city.”
Carlisle is a good coach, but the Mavericks are in the middle of a major shakeup within the organization. The Athletic reported an in-depth look at the sh-tshow and power struggle in Dallas. The team recently fired long-standing general manager Donnie Nelson, who clashed with the quantitative research and development department run by former pro sports bettor and poker pro Haralabob Voulgaris. Over the last year, Voulgaris gained more power and was dubbed the shadow general manager.
“Because Voulgaris’ influence was greater than his official role, those within the front office — and executives around the league who interacted with them — were often confused about who actually held power,” reported The Athletic.
Mark Cuban, a self-admitted geek and self-made tech billionaire, firmly believes in the age of analytics. He hired Voulgaris to spearhead the team’s quant and analytics department. Insiders think Carlisle stepped down out of solidarity with Nelson, and to avoid the incoming maelstrom of drama that’s already brewing in the Big D.
Meanwhile, the new general manager will have to figure out how to dump the Unicorn and his hefty contract while building a team around Luka Doncic in pursuit of an NBA title.
Next Mavs head coach: Mosley, Hammond, or Billups?
Several names are on the shortlist to become the next Dallas Mavs head coach, including Chauncey Billups, Becky Hammond, Jamahl Mosley, Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts, Mike Brown, and Mark Jackson.
Hammond, currently an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs, will try to make history by becoming the first female head coach in the NBA and the first female head coach in any major American professional sport. Meanwhile, Carlisle is the new favorite to fill the Boston Celtics vacancy. Carlisle is buddies with Brad Stevens, who recently stepped down as the Celtics head coach to accept the general manager job.
Ex-NBA players turned assistant coaches — Sam Cassell and Billups — are also rumored to coach in Boston next season.
SVG out of NOLA
Van Gundy lasted just one season in the Big Easy before the Pelicans fired him as their head coach.
Coaching the New Orleans Pelicans sounds like a great opportunity for the chance to be involved with Zion Williamson. The Pelicans miscalculated with Van Gundy, however, who struggled to relate to the young team and modern NBA game. The front office thought Van Gundy could develop Zion like he did Dwight Howard in Orlando in the late 2000s. Alas, it didn’t work, and they decided to punt on Van Gundy after a single season.
Fred Vinson worked within the New Orleans Pelicans (and New Orleans Hornets) organizations for the last decade. If they choose to hire from within, Vinson is the logical choice to become the next head coach of the Pelicans.