The NBA Coaching Carousel was set in motion after the season but got a jumpstart in the past couple of days. First Mike Brown was unexpectedly canned in Cleveland, and then late Tuesday the Pistons hired Stan Van Gundy to not only coach but run basketball operations.
Van Gundy is the first domino to fall of the seven open positions, and it was a bit unexpected that he went to Detroit after it was reported earlier in the day that the Warriors were close to signing him. The Warriors now are flailing a bit in trying to woo Steve Kerr, who is the recipient of an incessant courtship by his old coach Phil Jackson and the Knicks.
Let's speculate that, as expected, Kerr goes to the Knicks. The Warriors would have some qualified candidates remaining (this roundup by Sekou Smith suggests Lionel Hollins is the best fit) but their desperation could catch up to their cash and perhaps they turn their eyes to Tom Thibodeau.
It was reported last week that the Warriors (and prior to that, the Lakers) were interested in Thibs, but nothing came of it. After those initial reports, neither team made official contact. And neither the Bulls nor Thibs responded to the rumors, which was strange but explainable in that they're both strange and don't entirely get along. But the chatter has gone away, even though the notion of Thibodeau being, er, not-unavailable hasn't.
Even if nothing seems to be moving on the Thibs front for now, his assistants could be in the mix. When Ron Adams was canned last offseason, he wasn't replaced, and thus the Bulls coaching staff kind of looks like a bunch of relative lightweights (cheap-weights too, I'd guess!). But the lack of experience may be deceiving, as both lead assistant Adrian Griffin as well as Ed Pinckney were mentioned as part of Kevin Arnovitz's list of 'prospects' for the next batch of head coaching hires. Both interviewed for the 76ers position last season, and Griffin was reported a an early 'top candidate' for the Cavs job.
We know Thibs was miffed (to say the least...really, we don't know, so: let's say the least) about Adams leaving, though it's possible he's the type to figure he can do it all himself regardless. 'Next man up' could apply to his staff even if another assistant leaves. When looking at possible replacements (or additions, it's a pretty small staff compared to some teams) we can go back to the upheaval in Golden State. When Mark Jackson was let go, his assistants went with him. They included long-time Org. soldiers Pete Myers and Lindsey Hunter, with Brian Scalabrine being fired from there a few months ago.