So far, the 2022 offseason hasn’t been an especially busy one on the head coaching carousel. In some years, upwards of one-quarter or one-third of the NBA’s teams make coaching changes once the season ends, but just three clubs are currently searching for someone to fill that job: the Lakers, Kings, and Hornets.
There’s still plenty of time for that to change. Perhaps Quin Snyder will decide to leave the Jazz or longtime Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will opt to retire. It’s also possible a playoff team that falls short of its expectations will make a change. For now though, there’s just those three openings.
The three teams seeking a new head coach have one thing in common: They all expected to make the playoffs in 2021/22 and fell short.
No team missed out on the postseason in more dramatic fashion than the Lakers, who were among the NBA’s title favorites entering training camp. The team was never able to properly acclimate Russell Westbrook to his new team, didn’t get enough production from several veteran reserves, and was hurt by injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The Lakers are one of basketball’s marquee franchises and any team with LeBron and AD on the roster is capable of contending, but some candidates may be wary of pursuing the job. The front office, which has been rumored to meddle, has sky-high expectations for the team but lacks the trade assets and cap flexibility to significantly upgrade a roster that finished out of the top 10 in the West. Some veteran coaches might also be turned off by the way the team handled the ouster of Frank Vogel, who won a title for L.A. less than two years ago.
If the Lakers are one of the NBA’s marquee franchises, the Kings are…somewhere on the other end of the spectrum. In 2022, Sacramento set a new league record for futility by missing out on the playoffs for a 16th consecutive season and traded away one of its best recent draftees, second-year guard Tyrese Haliburton, at the trade deadline.
Still, the duo of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis represents a good start, especially on offense. If the team can surround Fox and Sabonis with players who can shoot and defend, there’s some intriguing potential on this roster. Adding those kinds of players is easier said than done, but rookie guard Davion Mitchell has big-time defensive upside and Harrison Barnes is a solid three-and-D wing.
The Hornets, meanwhile, have made the play-in tournament twice in a row, but were blown out and eliminated in their first play-in game both last year and this year. Charlotte looks like a team on the rise, with LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, and P.J. Washington still getting better. But Gordon Hayward‘s health problems and a lack of a strong presence at center have limited the team’s ceiling since Ball and Hayward arrived in 2020.
We want to know what you think. Which of these head coaching openings looks most appealing to you? Which do you expect to attract the strongest group of candidates? Which is the least appealing?
Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts!