View Full Version : Sheridan: Coaches on the hot seat (ESPN.com)

11-17-2006, 11:20 AM
Chris Sheridan has the odds on which coach in the NBA will be fired first.

More... (http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=sheridan_chris&id=2664214&campaign=rss&source=NBAHeadlines)

11-17-2006, 01:02 PM
I would like someone to post this, if they are willing. Thanks in advance.

11-17-2006, 01:59 PM
It's early.

There, we've gone ahead and uttered the same two words with which Bob Weiss and Stan Van Gundy might have reassured themselves a year ago, the same two words Mike Fratello and Doc Rivers might be repeating like a self-hypnosis mantra as they stare at the ceiling late at night and try to make the bad thoughts go away.

Remember, it's a fine line between a coach saying it's early and an owner or general manager saying he wants to make a move before it's too late, so it isn't too soon to start handicapping who will be the first of the league's 30 coaches to lose his job. Weiss and Van Gundy were the only two coaches to lose their jobs midseason in 2005-06, but there were nine in-season coaching changes the previous year, so the argument can be made that we're on the verge of cycling back to a season of coaching carnage.

With that in mind, we present our first top-five list of who's on the coaching hot seat.

The odds under each coach represent the likelihood that he will be the first man fired this season.


Mike Fratello, Grizzlies

The Czar of the Telestrator opened the offense up Wednesday night in Sacramento and let his team run, but the result was an all-too-familiar L on the ledger, dropping Memphis even further into the cellar as the team with the league's worst record.

One thing working in Fratello's favor is the calendar. No big changes are expected in Memphis until after the sale of the team is complete, and right now owner Michael Heisley is waiting until Dec. 1 to see if his minority partners will match the purchase price offered by an investor group led by former Duke player Brian Davis. If the minority owners pass, and the sale to Davis' group occurs, it will go to the league's board of governors for approval. Until then, everything is on hold. ODDS: 5-2

Doc Rivers, Celtics

We were all set to make Doc the odds-on favorite, but then his team went and crushed the Pacers by 26 on Wednesday night, prompting us to contemplate adding Rick Carlisle to this list.

We do know for certain that Boston's owners are getting restless in their fifth year, and we also know that the longer Rivers sticks around, the longer Danny Ainge will have a blame buffer keeping him out of the firing line. It might be easier for the Celtics to shake things up with a trade, but something's got to give fairly soon despite Rivers' recent statement that he "loves" this team. ODDS: 5-2

Dwane Casey, Timberwolves

Owner Glen Taylor was rather harsh toward the second-year coach in a preseason interview in which he knocked Casey's inexperience and revealed how he is grooming Fred Hoiberg to replace Kevin McHale as the next general manager. Remember, there's at least one desperate move still to be made here before Kevin Garnett might approach Taylor and say he's had enough.

When Randy Wittman was brought in as an assistant in the offseason, he and Casey were both assured it was not as a coach-in-waiting. But keep in mind it's a millionaire's prerogative to change his mind, and Taylor has enough money to qualify. ODDS: 5-1

Bob Hill, SuperSonics

New owner Clay Bennett has been in charge for only about three weeks, so it doesn't behoove him to make any major changes too soon.

Hill started just 1-4 before winning three straight Eastern road games, then lost at home to Philadelphia on Wednesday. Any kind of sustained slide -- and Seattle's schedule over the next two weeks is daunting -- will give Bennett an excuse to bring in his own guy. Remember, Rick Adelman is lurking out there. ODDS: 7-1

Sam Mitchell, Raptors

The blame buffer factor comes into play here, too, because if Bryan Colangelo fires the coach to whom he gave eight new players, there will be no one else to point the finger at if this overhauled roster starts resembling last year's Raptors.

Mitchell is in the final year of his contract and has friends scattered throughout the league, so he's not worried about being able to land a job with another team (as head coach, or not) if he loses this one. ODDS: 9-1


Terry Stotts, Bucks: The expectation in Milwaukee is to make it to the second round of the playoffs, and the further the Bucks fall below .500, the worse things will look for Stotts. ODDS: 12-1

Mo Cheeks, Philadelphia (et al): The 800-pound gorilla living across town is named Larry Brown, aka the only coach to have success with Allen Iverson. Brown also could be a candidate if they sour on Eddie Jordan in Washington or Bernie Bickerstaff in Charlotte. At least Cheeks is currently above .500, as is the next guy on our list. ODDS: 12-1

Jeff Van Gundy, Rockets: After Houston blew a 19-point lead and scored just 28 in the second half against the Spurs on Tuesday, the dark circles under Jeff's eyes were bulging again. ODDS: 15-1

Isiah Thomas, Knicks: The further James Dolan slumps in his seat (by the way, there were at least 5,000 empty seats at MSG on Wednesday), the worse the prospects look for Zeke. But he's probably got a couple of months more, at the least. ODDS: 15-1

Flip Saunders, Pistons: Watch whether there are any loaded quotes aimed at Flip coming from Detroit's veterans if they suffer a couple more bad losses like Wednesday night's against the Hornets. ODDS: 20-1

Sadly, Rick isn't on the list.