NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Head-Coaching Vacancies

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2013

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 18: Head Coach Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics reacts in the fourth quarter during the final minutes of a 103-105 loss to the Miami Heat on March 18, 2013 at theTD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  The Heat kept their winning streak going to 24 games in a row, which is the second longest in NBA history.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Now that the NBA Finals are finally over, we can get down to real business: the various head-coaching openings in the league.

The margin for error for head coaches is so small. One season you're the hero, the next you're the goat. Plus it's much easier to switch out a head coach than it is a group of players.

Many of the vacancies have been filled, but there are plenty of high-profile teams that are looking for somebody to prowl the sidelines.

Here is the latest news for two teams in the market for a head coach, and one coach who just can't seem to decide what he's doing.


Finally, an End to the Doc Rivers Saga

It appears that Doc Rivers will decide his future very soon, which should be good news for the fans that are tired of hearing about the speculation regarding he and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Rivers will speak with Danny Ainge and come to a decision on his future by Monday.

This comes after ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein reported the Clippers were no longer going after Rivers. He would have been a great fit for a Clippers team that is built to win now, but Los Angeles wouldn't part with a first-round draft pick in order to get him.

Losing out on Rivers could have massive consequences. Wojnarowski also reported that Chris Paul is "unhappy with the fallout over the failed deal." That doesn't do anything to help LA's chances of re-signing Paul this offseason.

Just when it seemed like the franchise was winning in spite of Donald Sterling, the wheels look to be falling off.


Clippers Turn to Byron Scott

With no chance of landing Rivers, the Clippers have turned their focus to Byron Scott. Chris Broussard of ESPN reported Sterling and Scott met to talk about the vacancy, with the meeting going "very well."

Now Broussard is reporting that the Clippers have begun talking financial terms with Scott's agent:

Clippers president Andy Roeser has broached financial parameters of a potential contract with Scott's representatives, sources said. After talks with the Boston Celtics regarding Doc Rivers broke down again Friday, Roeser reached out to Scott's camp.

It is not clear whether the Clippers' recent contact with Scott means he is the front-runner among the non-Rivers candidates, a source said.

Hiring Scott would be less than exciting for Clippers fans. He's most recently had rather uninspiring stints with the New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Consider ESPN's Bill Simmons less than upbeat about the prospective move.

Scott helped to take the New Jersey Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. Slowly but surely, that has looked like the result of Jason Kidd being at his creative best. Scott has only made the playoffs twice since then, failing to make it past the second round in both cases.

A team that should have title aspirations should probably be aiming a little higher than Scott.


Vinny Del Negro an Option for the Nuggets

The previous Clippers coach, Vinny Del Negro, was less than convincing in the role. It looked as if the Clippers won in spite of their head coach. There would be points in the game when Del Negro looked completely out of his depth and have no idea how to make the necessary adjustments.

Apparently, the Denver Nuggets haven't been watching Clippers games over the past three seasons. Wojnarowski reported the Nuggets have interviewed Del Negro about their opening at head coach:

Del Negro will be the third candidate to meet with Nuggets management for the vacancy. 

Former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins and Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw met with team CEO Josh Kroenke and general manager Tim Connelly on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hollins and Shaw are still considered leaders for the job, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

It's hard to be too positive about this news.

The Nuggets have a talented young core of players. You don't want to see those players wasted with a bad head coach.

Firing George Karl was a bit odd after he was named Coach of the Year, but Denver did get eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in eight of the last nine seasons.

Substituting Del Negro for Karl is a definite downgrade.