We saw coaching history in the NBA last year in terms of stability, but it’s essentially a lock that at least one head coach will be fired during the new season. The Bookmaker betting favorite is Chicago’s Fred Hoiberg, but what’s the best bet?
The NBA had an unprecedented offseason of change, with superstars like Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and others changing teams. It’s going to be an incredibly interesting 2017-18 season. Do you know what didn’t happen this summer? A head coaching change. Amazingly, from the start of last season to the tip off of the 2017-18 campaign, not one team made a change on the bench. That’s a first in the Association. Last season was the first since 1963-64 — and only the fourth in league history — in which there were no in-season changes.
That likely means we see a ton of coaching firings this season. Here are the Bookmaker betting options on the first to go.
Fred Hoiberg, Bulls (+250): Hoiberg, a former Bulls guard, is 83-81 in his two seasons in Chicago. I get why the NBA odds favor him as the first to be canned because his team is going to be putrid this season with the lowest projected win total of any team. But that’s why I disagree with Hoiberg as the top betting choice: Bulls management has no reason to fire him until the team is close to being competitive again. That’s going to take likely at least two seasons.
Alvin Gentry, Pelicans (+300): The Pelicans have hugely disappointed in Gentry’s two seasons as he has a 64-100 record despite one of the NBA’s five best players in Anthony Davis. This is a huge season for that franchise because fellow All-Star DeMarcus Cousins can hit free agency after it. So if the Pels struggle again, Cousins is likely to leave (or could be traded in-season). In May, GM Dell Demps and Gentry were both given a public vote of confidence by Pelicans executive Mickey Loomis. That’s never a good thing.
David Joerger, Kings (+400): Joerger did a fine job at Memphis before heading to Sacramento last year, with the Kings going 32-50. I don’t think he has much of a shot at being fired because the Kings are in the same boat as the Bulls: full-blown rebuilding. Thus, why pay a coach to go away and then pay more to hire another one?
Frank Vogel, Magic (+600): The Magic do have a new general manager in John Hammond, hired in May, and new GMs tend to like to hire their own guys. But Vogel was highly regarded as Indiana’s coach and it’s not really his fault the dysfunctional Magic were 29-53 in his first season. He might not be back next year but will make it through the season.
Nate McMillan, Pacers (+700): Indiana has a new team president in Kevin Pritchard after Larry Bird stepped down so perhaps Pritchard wants to hire his own coach. But McMillan was really put into a no-win situation this offseason when Pritchard got pennies on the dollar in trading George to Oklahoma City. Not sure firing McMillan solves anything.
Jason Kidd, Bucks (+800): I don’t see this one as the Bucks are a team on the rise – Greek Freak! -- and could be the third-best club in the Eastern Conference this season behind Cleveland and Boston. Although, expectations can get you fired if you don’t produce.
Dwane Casey, Raptors (+1300): The Raptors probably won’t be as quite as good as they were the past two seasons after losing a few guys to free agency, but they still will win somewhere around 46 games and make the playoffs behind Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas.
Rest Of Field (+400): Guys I think who could be in trouble early are Detroit’s Stan Van Gundy, the Knicks’ Jeff Hornacek, the Clippers’ Doc Rivers, Hawks’ Mike Budenholzer and 76ers’ Brett Brown. I’m going with the field only as I believe the Pelicans start off decently. Otherwise it will be Gentry.Free NBA Pick: Field +400Best Line Offered: Bookmaker