The NBA has seven new coaching vacancies following the 2020-2021 NBA season. Some teams have the ideal coaching situations. As the team has a playoff-caliber roster, young talent, or both. Head coaches want to see success with their team, as most would prefer to come into an organization that has winning features. While other teams have neither the roster nor the talent to entice premiere coaches to join their organization. These NBA vacancies are either Ideal for coaches or shaky for coaches going into the 2021-2022 NBA season.
Boston Celtics – Ideal
The Boston Celtics need a new head coach after eight seasons of Brad Stevens. In a unique scenario, Stevens was promoted from his coaching job to basketball operations. Stevens now finds himself controlling the team’s roster moves, rather than game managing.
The Celtics have a roster filled with young talent. Making this one the NBA’s most prestigious coaching vacancy this NBA offseason. Highlighted by all-star forwards Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who are both under the age of 25. Both players have All-NBA caliber talent and are arguable the NBA’s best young duo. Both have tremendous offensive and defensive skill sets making their flexibility to multiple coaching styles.
With Stevens now the new president of basketball operations of the organization, it will seem that the team might find some major new roster pieces. It has been rumored that Kemba Walker played his last season in Boston as his management team has confirmed some uneasiness with the prior management. With Walker dealing with injuries and not the same player as he was in Charlotte, Stevens will move the all-star point guard this offseason.
Even with Walker possibly not being on the roster, the team is filled with talent. Stevens is coming off coaching the team after eight seasons and knows the team very well. Making him a very reliable operator to rebuild this team as a contender. Stevens is a defensive-minded and tactical playcalling coach. This will translate into the former coach trying to acquire defensive players in the offseason. This coaching vacancy is a dream job for a veteran coach.
Portland Trail Blazers – Shaky
The Portland Trail Blazers shockingly parted ways with Terry Stotts after nine seasons with the team. The team parted ways with Stotts due to the lack of playoff success. Stotts has been a good regular season coach as in eight of the nine seasons he had the team reach the playoffs. However, in eight seasons the team only accomplished to make the Western Conference finals once. Portland under Stotts has only advanced to the second round three times and is mostly eliminated in the first round.
The coaching vacancy in Portland is an intriguing one. As the coach coming into the next season will have to deal with a disgruntled Damian Lillard. Lillard in recent media coverage has showcased his unhappiness with the organization not building a team around him and failing in the playoffs. Although this past season was mostly due to the team dealing with injuries to key players, the team is not a championship-caliber team. Lillard could request a trade, or demand a rebuild that involves trading away CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic. Which in total would reshape the team, making it very difficult for a new coach to win.
New Orleans Pelicans – Ideal
The New Orleans Pelicans shockingly parted ways with Stan Van Gundy after one season. The coach had only one season to try and make the playoffs with a young team. As their three best players are under the age of 24, the veteran coach had a tough route to win. Zion Williamson is a golden apple of a player for a coach, and most coaches would love to coach him. Pairing an athletic freak of Williamson with a shooting Brandon Ingram, the team has a bright future. The team also has the right bench veterans on the team in Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe.
The roster is built to contend for the playoffs, and the organization is looking to win now. The biggest question that coaches will have coming into this organization is whether the team will hold onto 23-year-old point guard Lonzo Ball. Ball is a tremendous floor general and is working on his shooting making him a dual-threat. A dream job for most coaches to have three young talents, that have both young and veteran bench pieces.
Indiana Pacers – Ideal
The Indiana Pacers parted ways with Nate Bjorkgren after an injury-riddled season. The team made major moves this past season as they traded away Victor Oladipo. The team did acquire Caris LeVert in exchange, but he only played for half the season. Indiana would also lose T.J. Warren after four games, and Myles Turner for a third of the season. The Pacers are filled with talent at every position and are dark horses for the top of the Eastern Conference next season.
The team when healthy can compete with most NBA teams in a seven-game season. Bjorkgren was a rookie head coach and couldn’t command the locker room. Due to the team’s disappointing season, the front office had to let go of the coach in hopes of hiring a veteran coach. The team can make a run in the playoffs with their current roster if they stay healthy. Thus making this team an ideal situation for most coaches.
Orlando Magic – Ideal
The Orlando Magic went to a full rebuild after a few seasons of mediocrity. The firesale during the last few hours of the trade deadline marked such a change. It was only time that Steve Clifford would part ways after the season. The Magic are looking to find a coach that can develop players. The team has some young talents in Cole Anthony, Wendell Carter Jr, and R.J. Hampton. Although all three still have a long way to develop before they become elite players in the NBA.
The team may not see success for a few years, but at least the team has a few pieces to start to build around. Orlando also has a few pieces to which they can trade for future assets, creating a more sustainable rebuild. This team would be a perfect fit for a rookie head coach who is willing to take heavy loss season to build up their career. This vacancy also invites veteran head coaches that are mostly known for development over winning.
Washington Wizards – Shaky
The duo of Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal seems great on the surface. However, the team is unsure of what the future looks like with the duo. Beal has been very cryptic about his time with Washington, and it seems that he could request a trade at any moment. This Wizards team without Beal will be stuck in mediocrity, making it a very unpleasurable destination for a head coach.
The team also does not have a lot of talent around their two All-NBA caliber stars. The bench is awful, and their young talent has yet to shine in the NBA. The front office made the move to acquire Westbrook last offseason, but have made very few movements to make the team better since then. It would be hard to entice a great coach to come to Washington unless the team promises that Beal will be involved in the long-term process.
Dallas Mavericks – Shaky
Rick Carlisle stunned the NBA world by telling the Dallas organization that he would not return to the team next season. Thus ending his 13-year tenure with the organization. Dallas has a rare superstar in Luka Doncic that highlights the team’s potential. Doncic is the one and only type of player, that dominates the offensive side of the ball at all times.
Although the team has Doncic, it seems that his tenure might be coming to a close in Dallas. In recent news, the superstar has been growing frustrated with the organization, and with the departure of Donnie Nelson, the star’s displeasure has grown. The roster in Dallas has two all-star caliber players in Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. The team is surrounded by shooters, but the team lacks depth in case of an injury occurs. The team is also in disarray with the performance of Porzingis in the playoffs.
Porzingis and Doncic could not be on the roster after a year or two depending on how negotiations go with the front office. This would create disruption in the locker room and with the team-building process. Bringing in a new head coach in a locker room filled with uncertainties wouldn’t be desirable.
Follow John Devereaux on Twitter @NBADevereaux
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images