As teams struggle, coaches’ seats get warm
by Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
In any other venue, and considering the chill that has come over most of the country, the hot seat would typically be a popular one this time of year.
But not in the NBA, where the goal of coaches and general managers is to keep their keisters cool both before and after Christmas rolls around. And while most of them who aren’t named Mike Brown appear on track to do just that, it’s still worth canvassing this landscape to see who may or may not be left out in the cold like the former Lakers coach was just five games in. A quick peek, with insight gleaned from power players and decision makers alike…
Toronto (4-17) – As hot seat situations go, the blame game inevitably comes down to the question of whether the team is failing because of the quality of the roster itself or because of how the players on the roster are performing. Coaches are always easier to fire than players, so the latter scenario doesn’t typically bode well for the play-calling types.
So when Raptors team president and general manager Bryan Colangelo went out of his way in an interview on the team’s network during Sunday’s 102-83 loss at the Clippers on Sunday to make it clear that a lack of talent wasn’t the problem, then went on to make repeated references to a lack of “attention to detail” and “focus,” it was fair to wonder what sort of message that sent about Casey’s future. Yet two people with knowledge of the Raptors’ thinking who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue told USA TODAY Sports that Casey is not in jeopardy at the moment, and the more relevant question is how long it will be until Colangelo makes a roster move that helps his own situation.
While Casey is under contract through next season, Colangelo’s deal expires after this season and he’s well aware that he needs to turn this tide. To that end, the Raptors are dangling seventh-year center and 2006 No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani as trade bait but don’t have any takers thus far. … [For more on As NBA teams struggle, their coaches' seats get warm, click here.]