Betting on the Next NBA Coach to Be Fired: Nuggets' Leader Next to Get the Axe?

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 1:33 PM GMT

Two NBA teams have changed head coaches this season. It's not likely another will be fired during the season, but what jobs might have new guys for 2015-16? We project NBA odds on who might go.

Last offseason, nine teams made coaching changes. They were: Brooklyn (Jason Kidd out, Lionel Hollins in), Cleveland (Mike Brown out, David Blatt in), Detroit (John Loyer out, Stan Van Gundy in), Golden State (Mark Jackson out, Steve Kerr in), LA Lakers (Mike D'Antoni out, Byron Scott in), Milwaukee (Larry Drew out, Kidd in), Minnesota (Rick Adelman out, Flip Saunders in), New York (Mike Woodson out, Derek Fisher in) and Utah (Corbin out, Quin Snyder in).

Thus one would presume that those nine coaches are safe. Kerr might win NBA Coach of the Year. Saunders and Van Gundy also run their teams so they are their own bosses. You don't fire yourself. Maybe Saunders goes back to only front office duties. The Magic are not likely to keep interim coach James Borrego on a full-time basis after dumping Jacque Vaughn a few weeks ago. The Kings are set with George Karl, who replaced Corbin, who replaced Mike Malone, who never should have been fired in the first place.

Thus I pinpoint only four guys who might want to get their resumes ready.

 

Brian Shaw, Denver: Even Money
The Nuggets decided not to bring Karl back after he led Denver to 57 wins and was the NBA Coach of the Year in the 2012-13 season. Shaw had been a highly sought-after assistant who had been interviewed for a few head-coaching gigs. It seemed like a pretty good hire, but the Nuggets slipped to 36-46 last year and are just 20-36 entering Tuesday this season. The team appears ready for  a full-blown rebuild, having already traded guard Arron Afflalo and taking offers on Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried. Frankly, anyone could be had on Denver other than rookie center Jusuf Nurkic. Lawson apparently doesn't get along with Shaw, either. I think it's very unlikely Shaw returns next season. The Nuggets need an overhaul everywhere. Keep this in mind for future NBA picks.

 

Monty Williams, New Orleans: +400
This is Williams' fifth season at the helm in New Orleans, and he has just a 157-211 record. Obviously that's not all on him as the team traded superstar Chris Paul after the then-Hornets were 46-36 and a playoff team in Williams' first year. New Orleans also lucked out in winning the 2012 NBA Draft lottery and having the opportunity of taking franchise player Anthony Davis out of Kentucky. He has been better than advertised. And that's one disclaimer on Williams: If Davis wants him to stay, Davis is going to get what he wants because the team needs to lock him up long term. The Pelicans still have an outside shot of grabbing the West's No. 8 seed this year but they can't get healthy. Davis, Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday are all out currently.

 

Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City: +700
It seems every week that you hear another Brooks rumor. Why is this guy always on the hot seat? He was the NBA Coach of the Year in 2009-10 and has led the Thunder to one NBA Finals and the playoffs each of the past five seasons. I expect that streak to rich six in a couple of months as the Thunder should hold off the Suns and Pelicans for the West's No. 8. But perhaps Thunder ownership may feel the need to do something desperate if the Thunder lose in the first round of the playoffs -- especially if it's an ugly loss. OKC will do whatever it needs to in order to make Kevin Durant happy with him set to hit free agency after next season. If Durant wants Brooks to stay, then Brooks stays. But this title window could be closing.

Before placing your bet, compare NBA odds on offer with our live page.

Randy Wittman, Washington: +1000
Wittman probably would have been canned last season if Washington hadn't won 44 games, the most under his tenure, and advanced one round in the playoffs. Now the pressure is on to reach another level, which would be the Eastern Conference Finals. The Wizards looked like one of the NBA's better teams at 31-15 in late January. However, the club is just 2-8 since then entering Tuesday. A first-round playoff flameout will, in my opinion, lead to a change with the Wizards.