With Jeff Van Gundy reportedly leaving the Rockets, the NBA is a coaches' market with several solid openings. The top available candidates ought to be able to command top dollar with multiple suitors bidding for their services. Here's a list of the openings in the order of which jobs I think are most appealing:
- Houston (if Vescey's report pans out) - The Rockets have some major league pieces with Yao and T-Mac. In fact, they even have a solid supporting cast. Depth is definitely a problem but any available coach will be looking hard at that job.
- Indiana - I'm trying to be objective, but if J.O. is healthy this team could improve quickly with a couple of key personnel move. If J.O. is dealt then you can assume a solid young nucleus will be put in place to build around. Solid ownership and Donnie Walsh still advising with Larry Joe Legend should draw interest from any available coach.
- Sacramento - The Kings have been a model franchise for several years. As long as the Maloofs stayed tuned in, they will be willing to provide any coach with a solid roster of talent. The wild card that is Ron Artest could be a factor in a coach deciding between two offers when all else is equal.
- Charlotte - The Bobcats' job looks pretty good when you consider all of the young talent and the solid finish to the '06-'07 season. They'll be bringing in another nice talent after the draft this year, so a new coach could help catapult Charlotte into playoff contention next year. Hey, it is the East, so that's not asking too much.
- Seattle - The Supersonics are full of questions marks. Will Rashard Lewis be with the team? Will the young front court talent, especially Robert Swift, be able to contribute NBA production any time soon? Oh, and will the team stay in Seattle and if not, then where will they move? The Supes have some nice pieces and if things were stable this job would rank higher.
- Memphis - Talk about talent. This job should be higher on the list and maybe their horrific season this year is blurring my senses. But is just seems like the whole joint is unsettled. The team has been up for sale, but it hasn't sold and now may not be sold. Jerry West is going back to Cali, stylin', profilin' and the team needs a new coach. Add that to the fact that their best player, Pau Gasol, was begging for a trade all season so no one should consider him happy to be in Memphis. OK, my senses are fine. This job is quite risky with all of the distractions going on. But, again, there is talent on the roster and the right coach could make himself look like a genius with a quick turnaround. Oh, and a top pick wouldn't hurt things either.
If the Orlando job opens up then the Magic have to slide into the two hole on Dwight Howard's presence alone. The guy is a nice franchise cornerstone to build around.While we wait for the Raptors and Sam Mitchell to finish the first dance, the Pacers will have to fill their dance card with a few extra options to make sure they are nimble in a coaching market where the top prizes may go quickly.