While teams who are still playing this time of year usually have head coaches they are confident in, many of the other 24 teams not currently playing in the postseason ponder a change at the top. Boston was a team that acted swiftly after their first round loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Danny Ainge retired as general manager, and head coach Brad Stevens was elevated to the front office. The best available NBA head coaching candidates will be sought after by teams like the Celtics, Blazers, Magic as they look to reset their franchises.
Boston now has an opening on the bench, and one of the biggest offseason storylines revolves around Celtics head coach candidates.
Best available NBA head coaches
Let’s take a closer look at the top NBA head coaching candidates for the teams that need to fill their vacancies.
After nine years at the helm of the Portland Trail Blazers, the organization and Stotts mutually agreed to part ways.
Terry Stotts is a great man, but it’s time.
You can’t lose this series.
— Ry (@JustRyCole) June 4, 2021
While he wasn’t able to take the Blazers to an NBA Finals, he had a very solid run, posting a winning regular season record in seven seasons. In 2019-2020, the Blazers finished under .500, but won their play-in games and qualified for the playoffs. Stotts was also a lead assistant for the Dallas Mavericks when they won the championship in the 2011 season.
Although he hasn’t quite had recent success in the postseason, he has some Nate McMillan-like appeal to him. Don’t be surprised if he’s the head coach of a team that makes the second round or conference finals next year.
When it comes to coaches who have never won a ring, Mike D’Antoni has to be right up there. He came within a whisker of making it to the NBA Finals on a couple of occasions with the Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets.
Can the Bucks trade for Mike D’Antoni at halftime?
— Dave DuFour (@DaveDuFourNBA) June 8, 2021
D’Antoni would only be an attractive candidate for a team looking to advance deeper into the playoffs immediately, since he just turned 70 years old last month. D’Antoni’s teams are usually at the top of the league in pace and offensive efficiency, and could elevate superstar players to new heights (think Damian Lillard in Portland as a possibility).
The first two coaches on this list have a laundry list of coaching experience at the NBA level, but a third candidate who’s significantly newer to the scene is getting a lot of attention.
Former NBA champion point guard Chauncey Billups, who had his best days as a player with the Detroit Pistons, is shooting up the ranks as a head coaching prospect.
Billups has definitely been the apple of a few organizations’ eyes the past few seasons, getting consideration as both a front office star and a future big name coach.
He’s only spent one year on the bench as an assistant, which was this season with the Los Angeles Clippers. But his youth and connection to the players of this era might make him the new voice a team needs.