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Best NBA Coaches Without a Job

Frank Vogel

Less than two years after he guided the Lakers to their 18th NBA championship, Vogel’s tenure as the team’s captain came to an end. Whatever pressure Vogel may experience in the future should seem insignificant after his success in the spotlight of coaching LeBron James and the Lakers. He’s a highly underrated coach who has won over multiple franchises. He certainly deserves another chance.

Kenny Atkinson

Atkinson may be waiting for a better opportunity or to succeed Steve Kerr. Although officially the head coach in Brooklyn during the first season of the Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving period, Atkinson left the position 62 games into the season and never coached a game featuring Durant. Although the Nets have a number of young players who need to be brought up to speed in order to contribute to a team with great expectations, Atkinson is mostly recognized for his player development work and relationships with younger players, which would really suit in Brooklyn. He would be great in Brooklyn again after the Durant-Kyrie situation blows up as we all know it eventually will. To bad that bridge is likely burned.

Terry Stotts

The Trail Blazers reached the NBA Playoffs for the eighth straight year under Stotts’ leadership during the 2020?21 season, his final as a head coach. Stotts, a seasoned coach with almost 30 years of experience, would raise the bar wherever he went, but it might not be enough for a team that wants to win the championship. I think he’d be great with a young team like Houston or Orlando who wants to try to fast forward the winning next season.

Mike D’Antoni

The only real question here is the age and if he even wants to coach. If he were 65 instead of 72 he’d be number one on this list. If it goes south in Philadelphia he’s a perfect fit for a season or two. The Sixers have largely replicated what D’Antoni worked with in Houston with Daryl Morey in charge and a team that has James Harden, Montrezl Harrell, Danuel House, and P.J. Tucker. Although D’Antoni works as a coaching consultant in New Orleans right now, he would undoubtedly respond to Morey’s call to at least hear out the idea of a prospective reunion. Despite this, it is difficult to imagine D’Antoni leaving his post to take a job elsewhere in the league.

Dave Joerger

Joerger has six seasons of experience as the team’s captain, and even though his time with the Kings didn’t go well (which may say more about Sacramento than Joerger), he succeeded Lionel Hollins as coach of the Grizzlies during the Grit-and-Grind Period. It’s critical to have experience coaching a team with a well-defined identity. He’s experienced and should get another shot.

Sam Cassell

Cassell followed Rivers to Philadelphia in 2020 after spending six seasons on his staff in Los Angeles. Cassell has yet to earn a head coaching job in the NBA but during every cycle is a hot name on the interview circuit. He’s earned the right to have a chance at a new job.

Ime Udoka

He did a very good job with Boston, but as well as Joe Mazzulla has done replacing him takes off some of the shine in my opinion. The off the court questions are really the big issue and how they are likely resolved is just more time. I do believe he’ll get another chance at some point, but it’s probably to soon to have him high on any list just yet.

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