Despite back-to-back appearances in the post-season, the winds of change are beginning to swirl in the Windy City, where head coach Vinny Del Negro’s future is in jeopardy.
“When I took over a couple of years ago to now, there have been a lot of strides made in a lot of areas,” Del Negro said. “I’m proud of that.”
He should be, but the 17th head coach in Bulls history had an altercation with executive vice-president John Paxson last month, raising doubts about Del Negro’s tenure.
Chicago isn’t the only place where a coaching change is expected.
- Charlotte: Larry Brown’s family is in Philly, where the itinerant coach once helped lead the Sixers to an NBA final appearance; Bobcats meekly exited from the playoffs and their roster isn’t exactly flexible.
- New Orleans: GM Jeff Bower is back doing what he does best. The interview process continues with Mark Jackson said to be the next to get quizzed.
- Philadelphia: Doug Collins is the sentimental favourite; no one knows what will happen if Brown resurfaces as the team’s top executive.
- Atlanta: All Mike Woodson has done is make the Hawks better, but no contract extension has been offered and Woodson’s name has been linked with Brown in Philly.
- L.A. Clippers: Interim Kim Hughes was the latest to get gassed for a franchise that has missed the playoffs in 15 of the past 17 seasons.
- New Jersey Nets: GM Kiki Vandeweghe at least presided over a team that didn’t set the all-time record for futility; Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau gets bandied about in the swamps.
- Miami: Depending on the kind of team the Heat assembles, maybe a coach with more experience than the inexperienced Erik Spoelstra is in order.
Frequently mentioned candidates around the league include Avery Johnson, Jeff Van Gundy and current assistants Ty Corbin (Utah), Dwane Casey (Dallas) and Monty Williams (Portland).