By Paul Forrester
April 29, 2005
Coaching Carousel
With Phil Jackson seemingly linked to every bench opening in the NBA, surveys the coaching landscape and speculates who is safe and who should be putting his house up for sale.
Atlanta Hawks
Current Coach: Mike Woodson
Status: Questionable -- No one expected much, but winning only 12 games is enough to get anyone in trouble.
Boston Celtics
Current Coach: Doc Rivers
Status: Safe -- First division title since 1992 -- and, more important, good relationship with GM Danny Ainge -- buys Doc some breathing room.
Charlotte Bobcats
Current Coach: Bernie Bickerstaff
Status: Safe -- Unless Bickerstaff kicks himself upstairs, he's safe after crafting a surprisingly competitve season out of the expansion 'Cats.
Chicago Bulls
Current Coach: Scott Skiles
Status: Safe -- Not beloved by his troops but beloved by the Bulls' brass after getting the club to the postseason for the first time in the post-Jordan era.
Cleveland Cavaliers
Current Coach: ?
Status: Open -- Given all of the rumors and hand-wringing in Cleveland, perhaps making LeBron player/coach would insure he sticks around.
Dallas Mavericks
Current Coach: Avery Johnson
Status: Safe -- The Mavs didn't miss a beat with the Little General on the bench, and owner Mark Cuban rewarded him with a four-year deal.
Denver Nuggets
Current Coach: George Karl
Status: Safe -- A close relationship with ownership and a 32-8 regular-season mark means Karl isn't going anywhere.
Detroit Pistons
Current Coach: Larry Brown
Status: Questionable -- The Pistons would like him back, but who knows what lurks in the heart of Larry Brown?
Golden State Warriors
Current Coach: Mike Montgomery
Status: Safe -- Baron Davis, this has the makings of a beautiful relationship.
Houston Rockets
Current Coach: Jeff Van Gundy
Status: Safe -- A leopard can change its spots. JVG eased back the pedal on defense and his Rockets responded.
Indiana Pacers
Current Coach: Rick Carlisle
Status: Safe -- Given that he guided the Pacers to the playoffs after the season they had, there should be a statue of the guy in Indy.
L.A. Clippers
Current Coach: Mike Dunleavy
Status: Questionable -- Another disappointing season, but Dunleavy's a legit coach who doesn't complain and has some young talent to work with.
L.A. Lakers
Current Coach: ?
Status: Open -- Kobe Bryant, proximity to the beach, a glamorous history. What's not to like? Kobe as the de facto GM, that's what.
Memphis Grizzlies
Current Coach: Mike Fratello
Status: Safe -- Guided the listless Grizzlies into the postseason and, unlike his mentor, he doesn't seem in danger of burning out soon.
Miami Heat
Current Coach: Stan Van Gundy
Status: Safe -- Barring a coup by Pat Riley, the other Van Gundy should be on the Heat bench at least Shaq calls it quits.
Milwaukee Bucks
Current Coach: Terry Porter
Status: Questionable -- Although the Bucks were derailed by T.J. Ford's spine injury, the Bucks played with little fire in '04-05.
Minnesota Timberwolves
Current Coach: ?
Status: Open -- Assuming Kevin Garnett doesn't ask out, the T'wolves may only be a trade (preferably involving Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell) away from returning to the playoffs.
New Jersey Nets
Current Coach: Lawrence Frank
Status: Safe -- Jeff Van Gundy-lite has proved he not only can handle Xs and Os, but surly superstars, too.
New Orleans Hornets
Current Coach: Byron Scott
Status: Questionable -- When you work for the worst owner in the NBA, you're likely to get treated as poorly as everyone else who's crossed George Shinn's path.
New York Knicks
Current Coach: Herb Williams
Status: Questionable -- Gave the Knicks a long-needed defensive focus, but he likely isn't a big enough name to charm Isiah Thomas into letting Williams keep the job.
Orlando Magic
Current Coach: Chris Jent
Status: Doubtful -- If someone can explain to us exactly what Orlando -- and GM John Weisbrod -- is doing, we're all ears.
Philadelphia 76ers
Current Coach: Jim O'Brien
Status: Questionable -- That anchor pulling the Sixers' ship down is also known as Chris Webber.
Phoenix Suns
Current Coach: Mike D'Antoni
Status: Safe -- Thank you, Coach D'Antoni, for making the NBA fun again and reminding your coaching brethren that it's OK to run.
Portland Trail Blazers
Current Coach: ?
Status: Open -- There's some talent here if someone has the patience to guide the youngsters and the stiff upper lip to teach Darius Miles some manners.
Sacramento Kings
Current Coach: Rick Adelman
Status: Safe -- If only the season ended in mid-April. Still, Adelman will keep the Kings competitive as their window closes shut.
San Antonio Spurs
Current Coach: Gregg Popovich
Status: Safe -- Is there a smoother-running, smarter organization than the Spurs'?
Seattle SuperSonics
Current Coach: Nate McMillan
Status: Doubtful -- Had a great contract year. If Seattle goes plays hardball during contract negotiations, expect McMillan to walk.
Toronto Raptors
Current Coach: Sam Mitchell
Status: Questionable -- No excuses approach made the Raptors a tough-minded unit. Confrontational style took its toll on his popularity in the locker room.
Utah Jazz
Current Coach: Jerry Sloan
Status: Questionable -- After enduring personal tragedy and a dispiriting season on the bench, does Sloan have the fire to re-energize the Jazz?
Washington Wizards
Current Coach: Eddie Jordan
Status: Safe -- The playoffs are showing the Wizards' soft underbelly, but the fact that Washington is in the playoffs is enough for now.

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