- Some big NBA names like Doc Rivers are on the coaching hot seat.
- No coaches in the first year at their jobs are on the NBA coaching hot seat.
Four NBA head coaches are in their first year. Inevitably, more turnover will ensue, and some coaches will be fired or depart by the end of this season.
For example, the Nets and Steve Nash parted ways just seven games into their season with a 2-5 record. Nash was 99-67 during his tenure in Brooklyn.
When teams don’t live up to their NBA odds of making the postseason or winning a title, a change in head coach is one of the first places franchises look at.
Here’s a list of coaches who might be on the hot seat and replacements if they’re fired.
NBA Coaches on the Hot Seat
Dwane Casey — Detroit Pistons
The Pistons have a young and exciting roster after selecting Cade Cunningham first overall in 2021 and Jaden Ivey fifth overall in 2022. Naturally, that puts pressure on head coach Dwane Casey.
In his first four seasons with the Pistons, Casey was 104-198 during the regular season. They were 23-59 last year and started this season 15-49, some of the worst win percentages in the NBA. If they don’t start showing promise, Casey may be on his way out.
Replacement: After a few seasons as an assistant coach, Kenny Atkinson may be ready for a head role once again.
Atkinson was 118-190 with the Nets from 2016-20. He has since been an assistant with the Clippers and now the Warriors. That experience may help prepare him for working with this young Pistons roster.
Billy Donovan — Chicago Bulls
In Billy Donovan’s third year as head coach of the Bulls, the season is not going as expected with a 29-36 start. That would put Chicago in 12th place in the Eastern Conference and not even in a play-in game.
Donovan was 320-231 in the regular season and 19-27 in the playoffs as a head coach before this season. He was also head coach of the Thunder from 2015-20.
Replacement: Frank Vogel knows the pressure of leading a franchise in a large market. He could be suited for this job.
Vogel is 431-389 as a head coach, having led the Pacers, Magic and Lakers. He helped the Lakers win a championship in 2020, but they went 33-49 during the regular season in 2021-22, which led to his departure.
Nick Nurse — Toronto Raptors
Nick Nurse led the Raptors to a championship in his first season as their head coach in 2018-19. But the state of the franchise hasn’t been quite as hopeful the past few years.
The Raptors were 27-45 in 2020-21 and could be looking at a second losing season in three years as they started 32-33, good for ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors front office might not have much more patience if they don’t make the playoffs.
Replacement: It’s unclear whether Mike D’Antoni would be open to being a head coach now that he’s in his 70s, but he would be an interesting hire here. Some have speculated he was an option for the Hawks.
As a head coach, D’Antoni is 672-527 in the regular season and 54-56 in the postseason. He could be a short-term answer for the Raptors if they decide to make a run at the playoffs this year, and he could help them at least improve offensively.
Doc Rivers — Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers face massive expectations with superstars Joel Embiid and James Harden on the team. So if they don’t appear to be in serious contention for a title at any point this year, head coach Doc Rivers may take the blame.
In his first two regular seasons as Philadelphia’s head coach, Rivers went 100-54 with a 51-31 record in 2021-22. But the 76ers haven’t advanced past the second round of the NBA playoffs with Rivers, so how long he stays in Philadelphia will likely hinge on the team’s success in the postseason.
Replacement: Sam Cassell or Dave Joerger would be logical in the long term and short term. Both are assistants on the staff and would be ready if the 76ers move on from Rivers midseason.
Cassell, a former All-Star player, has recently been a head coaching candidate. Joerger is 245-247 during the regular season as a head coach for the Grizzlies (2013-16) and Kings (2016-19).
Jamahl Mosley — Orlando Magic
In Jamahl Mosley’s first season as Orlando’s head coach, the Magic went 22-60, the second-lowest win total in the NBA. They started the 2022-23 season 27-38, one of the worst records in the league.
The Magic knew they had a young roster that would need time to figure things out. But if they don’t show enough promise, perhaps the organization looks in another direction for its head coach. After all, the Magic haven’t kept a head coach for more than three seasons since Stan Van Gundy (2007-15).
Replacement: Terry Stotts has plenty of head coaching experience, and that may help with leading this team to the next stage of its development.
Stotts most recently was the Trail Blazers’ head coach from 2012-21. He has a 517-486 overall record as a head coach.
Fired NBA Coaches
Nate McMillan of the Hawks and Steve Nash of the Nets are the two NBA head coaches to be fired this season. However, there could be more before the offseason begins.
NBA Head Coaches
|Coach||Team||Years of Prior Experience|
|Wes Unseld Jr.||Wizards||1|
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