Big-name coaches wait in wings
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
For the many NBA coaches who aren’t sure if they’ll be in their current jobs by next season, it has to be unsettling to know about all the high-powered sharks circling like they always do this time of year.
And this go-round we’re not talking about your run-of-the-mill sand sharks. The list of former coaches who could return is Great White-caliber, highly respected men who may be looking to get back in the mix: Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan, Jeff Van Gundy, Stan Van Gundy, Nate McMillan and Mike Brown, to name a few.
One slot is already open, with Doug Collins stepping away from the bench in Philadelphia. So before the playoff season becomes the front-and-center story for the next eight weeks, here’s a quick peek at the coaches considered in greatest jeopardy of being replaced, along with other NBA locales that may see new coaches for various reasons (all records are through games of Tuesday night):
IN DEEP TROUBLE
Lawrence Frank, Detroit – The former New Jersey Nets coach who was hired in the summer of 2011 fought for his job publicly on Tuesday, making it clear that – despite the well-chronicled and sad situation with his ailing wife – he wants to return. But while team president Joe Dumars may avoid the wrath of owner Tom Gores, it would be quite a surprise if Frank isn’t fired.
Before a current four-game winning streak, the Pistons had lost 27 of 36 games and backtracked from Frank’s first year on the job (.358 winning percentage at present compared to .378 last season when they went 25-41).
Byron Scott, Cleveland – Scott may have assumed the toughest job in the history of the NBA in 2010, when he was hired without knowing if LeBron James would return and embarked on quite the cleanup-act when James left for Miami. But the progress hasn’t come quickly enough for owner Dan Gilbert’s liking.
The Cavs were 19-63 in Scott’s first season (.232), 21-45 in his second (.318) and just 24-57 this season (.296), though the long list of injuries he had to deal with can’t be ignored. His two … [For more on NBA coaches: This firing season, big names wait in wings, click here.]