It didn’t take the NBA long to start firing coaches this year. Fred Hoiberg is the latest victim after he was fired by the Bulls a mere 24 games into the season. That seems early, but he wasn’t even the first coach to be let go this year. That honor belongs to Tyronn Lue and the Cavaliers after he was fired just six games into the season.
Teams no longer wait to remove a coach if they feel it’s necessary. Even if the move isn’t going to do anything to change the season as a whole it can show fans of a team that an attempt at change or progress is being made. Not all firings, however, are created equal. Some coaches are fired even when they’ve been successful due to internal drama or not being able to take their team to the next level. Expectations vary across the NBA and sometimes a front office just wants change.
Nobody is safe. Hoiberg and Lue were proof of that. The only question now is who might be next? Here are a few potential places to look for our next NBA coaching change.
It’s mind boggling that this is even a discussion right now, but that’s the situation the Kings have put themselves in. Despite a surprising 11-11 start and being one of the more fun teams in the league, Joerger is reportedly having issues with the front office.Those growing problems could eventually lead to someone getting fired, but which direction the Kings choose to go in remains to be seen.
Joerger isn’t a perfect coach. He was originally fired from the Grizzlies job despite succeeding there due to do differences he had with that front office. So it’s not like he isn’t known for butting heads, but the Kings were expected to be one of the NBA’s worst teams this season. Sitting at .500 entering December is a major accomplishment for them. This is an extremely fun team to watch. They’re No. 1 in pace and the roster is full of athletic young guys. The last thing the Kings should do is rock the boat on this and potentially ruin the success they’ve had.
Of course, this is the Kings and nothing is ever simple with them. The front office always has final say over how a team is operated and if differences can’t be mended with Joerger then a mid-season firing could potentially happen. It would be the wrong decision, but making a wrong decision has never stopped NBA teams in the past. It won’t stop them now. If the Kings really do have to fire him for some reason then it would be far better to at least wait until the offseason to do it. Don’t make the same mistake as last time and fire Mike Malone mid-season only to hire George Karl. That disaster doesn’t need a sequel.
Nobody hurt their own credibility quite like Tom Thibodeau did over the last few months. During the Jimmy Butler saga it became clear very quickly that the Wolves were going to stick with Karl-Anthony Towns. Butler never made it clear that it was a him or Towns situation, but that was a relationship that could never be repaired. As not only the coach, but President of Basketball Operations, Thibodeau needed to ship out Butler quickly and not let him drag the entire team down in a dramatic mess.
So, of course, Thibodeau allowed Butler to crash practice, curse out the entire team, and then return to the team as if nothing ever happened. Unsurprisingly the Timberwolves had a horrible start to the season and Thibodeau was forced to finally trade Butler for a package of Robert Covington and Dario Saric.