Mo Cheeks, Brian Shaw among head coaches in waiting
The coaching carousel spun early this season, with Mike Brown, Avery Johson and Scott Skiles stepping off and Mike D'Antoni, P.J. Carlesimo and Jim Boylan stepping on to replace them, all before the All-Star break. More jobs, in all likelihood, will open this summer, and -- with the understanding that the usual suspects (Phil Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, Nate McMillan) will be checked out -- here are some of the top assistants who should get a few phone calls.
Shaw has been down this road before: He interviewed for the head-coaching jobs in Charlotte, Orlando and Portland last summer, even turning down a formal offer from the Bobcats to return to Indiana. He'll remain in demand after another strong season with the Pacers.
"He is going to be at the top of everyone's interview list," a Western Conference general manager said.
The knock on Budenholzer is ... well, it's unclear what the knock is. "Honestly, I couldn't tell you," an Eastern Conference executive said. "He is as qualified as anyone."
Malone was voted the top NBA assistant by general managers in 2011-2012 and finished tied for third in the poll at the start of this season (Shaw was first and Budenholzer second). One executive described Malone, who was a finalist for the Orlando job last year, as "a lock" to get a job this summer.