When the Sacramento Kings fired Reggie Theus this morning, to me, this action sent a strong message to other coaches throughout the NBA â€“ losing will not be tolerated.
Whereas coaches have always been given a grace period in the past, whether it was dealing with a young roster or injuries to a team’s key players, GMs nowadays seem to have little patience when it comes to the bottom line.
Looking at the League from the bottom up, if more losses than wins means you’re out of a job, the next coaches statistically in line for an ESPN studio gig are Mike Dunleavy (Clippers), Larry Brown (Bobcats), Don Nelson (Warriors), Jim O’Brien (Pacers), Marc Iavaroni (Grizzlies) and Scott Skiles (Bucks).
Of this group, Brown (7-17) and Skiles (10-15) are in their first season, and should be immune to dismissal; O’Brien (43-62) and Iavaroni (31-75) are in their second year, and have programs in serious rebuilding mode; and Nelson (97-91) is in his third season with the previous two accompanied by winning records.
Out of all six, the veteran Dunleavy and O’Brien should potentially have the most to worry about. While off to a 6-17 start, Dunleavy has a 181-252 record in his sixth season at the helm for the Clippers. With one winning campaign in five seasons, the waiting period should be over. On the other end of the spectrum, with an All-Star in Danny Granger, the Pacers are underachieving and should be better than their 7-16 start.
While the six head coaches that have been fired so far this season is a league record before Christmas, it will be interesting to see if Santa Claus delivers any more pink slips before the new year.
Do you see another coach being fired before Christmas?