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Nothin' but Net: How does the coaching carousel go?

2:07 PM, Apr 4, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - In the NFL, it's called "Black Monday."

The day after the regular season, unemployment lines grow throughout the country as head coaches are relieved of duty. Following this most recent season, eight head coaches in the NFL lost their jobs.

Don't expect anything remotely similar on Thursday, April 18.

There won't be a massive turnaround in the NBA coaching fraternity after this current season. Part of that is due to the fact that four coaches were either fired during the season, or left on their own.

Another reason there won't be much change is that few teams truly failed to live up to expectations. Injuries ravaged a pair of probable playoff contenders (Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers). But most teams finished where most pundits had them pegged.

Plus, the turnaround is such in the NBA that most teams' leaders are only in their second or third year at best.

Let's examine who may be calling their agents looking for opportunities in two weeks.

THE INTERIM GUYS

P.J. CARLESMIO, BROOKLYN NETS

The Nets are 29-17 under Carlesimo's stewardship since Avery Johnson was canned. That record alone should be enough to get Carlesimo a multi-year contract extension, but the Nets aren't an ordinary situation.

Owner Mikhail Prokhorov wants a splash, at least that's been the common thinking. He's one of those obscenely wealthy guys who laughs while watching TV in his "money room."

The main goal is an NBA title, yes, but it's also to compete with the New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden.

There were reports of a courtship of sorts with Phil Jackson, who appears to be more interested in his new toy, Twitter, than with coaching the Nets.

Yet, Brooklyn may take another run at the Zen Master, who ran out of fingers for his championship rings. Either Van Gundy brother, Jeff or Stan, would be a big enough name to satisfy Prokhorov's star crush, and both are great coaches.

Another name you'll hear some might be Kentucky's John Calipari. He's splashy all right, but had a dalliance with the NBA back in the late 1990s for the same Nets squad. He went 72-112 and was fired 20 games into his third season. Of course, since, Calipari has won a national title at Kentucky, but this is far- fetched.

Hunch here is that the Nets will talk to some big names. Best-case scenario is they land a Van Gundy, but otherwise, they'll probably go back to Carlesimo and say they wanted him all along.

LINDSEY HUNTER, PHOENIX SUNS

His tenure has been bumpier than a motocross track. First, assistants Dan Majerle and Elston Turner jumped ship when neither was chosen as Alvin Gentry's replacement.

Since, the Suns are only 10-23 under Hunter and he's resorted to benching guys who he feels aren't playing hard. That's a bold move from an interim coach.

Lon Babby was just extended two years this week as the president of basketball operations and a few weeks ago, he spoke of leadership and his interim coach.

"But I think we're getting some of that from Lindsey Hunter," Babby told KTAR/Arizonasports in a radio interview. "We can talk about that at the appropriate time, but I do think we've made progress in some of that area."

If 10-23 is progress, then, kudos to Hunter on a job well done. He is trying to change the culture and takes effort and accountability seriously.

The problem is this roster. There isn't a single impact player there, save for maybe Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat. What is the philosophy of this franchise? Why did Babby get two more years?

When there are so many questions, it's always been my belief that craziness continues.

Hunch here is, for no reasonable reason, expect Hunter to be back next season with a new contract.

JIM BOYLAN, MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Boylan took over the Bucks when Scott Skiles left. Skiles wasn't under contract for next season and thought it just best to leave on his own accord.

Boylan will make the playoffs with Milwaukee, although the Bucks may not have a winning record.

Nothing during his tenure, in which Boylan has gone 18-20, the Bucks haven't exactly improved. Factor in that Boylan and Brandon Jennings don't appear to be reading the same book, let alone be on the same page.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's name has been rumored for this post. That would be something - the tall guy from "Splash" coaching in the NBA.

Hunch here is Boylan is back to being an assistant somewhere next season.

THE SACRAMENTO/SEATTLE SITUATION

Keith Smart has to wait out what happens with the Kings. It's unfair to speculate on his status since no one know what the team's status itself is.

THE VOLUNTARY LEAVERS

RICK ADELMAN, MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

Adelman is two wins shy of 1,000 in his career. At his worst, he is a top-10 coach in the NBA. He's won everywhere he's ever gone in his career, made trips to the NBA Finals and is just brilliant.

But this season has taken a heavy toll on Adelman.

On the court, All-NBA forward Kevin Love has played 18 games. Ricky Rubio has played 49, Nikola Pekovic is at 58, Andrei Kirilenko 56 and Brandon Roy, who the team brought out of retirement this offseason despite having the knee strength of Christmas tinsel, gutted out five appearances before shutting it down for ... bad knees.

The only Minnesota player to appear in every game this season is Luke Ridnour. He's a nice guard, but if he's the only one you can count on every night, you're in the weeds.

The biggest reason Adelman may walk away (and he's said he will contemplate his future in the offseason) is the health of his wife. He missed 11 games in January when his wife Mary Kate suffered seizures. Mary Kate Adelman's condition has improved, but, according to a USA Today piece on Wednesday, the cause of the seizures is still unknown.

"I'm just taking each day as it comes and will make a decision (about his future) somewhere down the road," Adelman told USA Today. "The biggest concern is to try and keep these guys going - and my wife, obviously."

Hunch here is Adelman comes back, barring any complications with his wife's health. When full, the Minnesota roster is talented enough to make the playoffs, although Pekovic and Kirilenko could walk.

DOUG COLLINS, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

Here's another gentleman who took the 2012-13 season hard.

A lot of smart people believe Collins was the driving force for the fateful Andrew Bynum offseason trade that yielded zero games played, but plenty of fascinating hair styles.

Make no mistake, if Collins leaves in the offseason, it will be of his own decision. The new Sixers ownership loves Collins more than ice cream and CEO Adam Aron has said Collins is no danger of losing his job.

But Collins goes full-bore. He doesn't know any other way. He lives and dies with every possession and this season has clearly wore on him. Collins lost his mind in a postgame presser about his team's effort against the Orlando Magic.

Collins likes Philadelphia, but there are other factors to worry if you're a Sixers fan who is pro-coach.

First, he is the best basketball analyst in the world and ESPN, TNT and NBA TV will get into a huge bidding war for his services, should they become available. Being a television guy keeps Collins in the sport and doesn't cause him to worry about his blood pressure.

Secondly, Collins has been a coach at three other spots (Chicago, Detroit and Washington). He's never lasted longer than three seasons in any of those spots. The 2012-13 season is Collins' third with the Sixers. If history is a barometer, Collins may not want back.

Hunch here is 50/50 at best. This season really has taken a toll on Collins, but he loves the area and feels loyalty to an organization that drafted him No. 1 overall. The slight lean is one more season.

THE INVOLUNTARY LEAVERS

This group is much harder to figure out. Let's assume anyone who makes the playoffs is safe. We'll throw Tyrone Corbin of the Utah Jazz and Mike D'Antoni of the Los Angeles Lakers in that group as well, although both would not look forward to a phone call from this writer if he was in charge.

Also, we will disqualify the three coaches who started this season - Mike Dunlap (Charlotte Bobcats), Jacque Vaughn (Orlando Magic) and Terry Stotts (Portland Trail Blazers). All have shown enough improvement that they warrant another season.

Randy Wittman's Washington Wizards have been sensational with John Wall in the lineup.

Dallas' Rick Carlisle didn't have one of the greatest players ever for half the season and is a top-five basketball mind with a compliment of talent.

Dwane Casey of the Toronto Raptors earned a full season with his new roster and should contend for a playoff spot next season.

Monty Williams of New Orleans is well-liked and will get a chance to grow with last season's No. 1 pick Anthony Davis.

That leaves just two.

LAWRENCE FRANK, DETROIT PISTONS

Frank should be dreading a meeting on April 19. In two seasons in Detroit, Frank is 50-91 and this team is not devoid of talent. Almost every team in the league would fist-fight for Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Brandon Knight.

It's only his second season with the Pistons, but, including his start with the Nets before he got canned in 2009, he's 50-107. That's unacceptable.

Hunch here is Frank is back for one more season, but he's had two starts to a campaign of 0-8 or worse. Frank does that again and he's gone.

BRYON SCOTT, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Scott is an accomplished coach. He's been to the NBA Finals with the Nets, won the Southwest with the New Orleans Hornets and got the unenviable job of pioneering the Cavs through the post-Lebron era.

It's been shaky. Scott is 62-156 in three seasons with the Cavaliers. All-Star guard Kyrie Irving has missed 23 games, Anderson Varejao 49 and Dion Waiters 17.

The problem has been the Cavs don't appear to be playing hard - at all.

"I'm very disappointed in the way we played," Scott said after the team's 10th straight loss on Wednesday. "We just didn't show any life. The energy, the effort wasn't there, for whatever reason."

Has he lost the team?

"I still don't feel that way," Scott replied.

He may be wrong.

Hunch here is, with one year left on his contract, Scott comes back, but has literally the shortest leash in the NBA next season. This is not a confident hunch.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

- Mark Cuban is not drafting Brittney Griner. He's not doing it in the second round or whenever he thinks. It's not sexist to think a woman can not play against men in the NBA. Can women compete with men in basketball? Of course they can. Can they at the NBA level? No, not against the best basketball players in the world. If this were to happen, it diminishes Griner because it's just a stunt. This is just more ranting and pot-stirring from the best in the business at it.

- There are going to be some angry fan bases when the NBA owners decide the fate of the Kings. Sacramento or Seattle? Hard to speculate on anything about it since we don't know inside the minds of the owners.

- Movie moment - One of my favorite writers ever is Roger Ebert, the famous movie critic who is once again battling cancer. I urge you to take a gander at his reviews of "North," or "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo." Also, please admire this quote, "To call it an anticlimax would be an insult not only to climaxes but to prefixes."

- TV moment - "Arrested Development" returns on May 26. I am not a man of wealth or means. I've said for a while, the most important possession I'd ever leave to my son is the first three seasons of this show on DVD.

The Sports Network

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