In the NBA, no coach is safe — ever.
Just ask Steve Nash, who lasted all of seven games this season before getting canned by the Nets.
So unless your name is Gregg Popovich or Erik Spoelstra, and your team starts to underperform … well, it may be time to start sweating under the collar. Like, profusely.
With that in mind, here are five coaches who could be on the hot seat before the end of the season.
1. Tom Thibodeau, Knicks
The Knicks looked to be a feel-good story just two seasons ago, making the playoffs by playing the Thibodeau way. They scratched, they clawed, they defended and played with a certain joy. Last year? Yeah, not so much. On paper, the Knicks don’t seem like they’re headed for a postseason berth this season, either. That’s probably the fault of whoever put together the roster. But team president Leon Rose won’t fire himself. It’s true he’s tight with Thibs. That rarely saves a coach, though. If the front office feels the team has underachieved, it’s not the team that goes first. Guess who does?
2. Doc Rivers, 76ers
Every year, Joel Embiid is fantastic (when healthy). Every year, the Sixers are expected to make a run at the Finals. And every time they don’t get there, there are rumors that they may be looking for a new main man on the sideline. For Rivers, it might be more than just a rumor this time. The Sixers have some lofty expectations. And this has to be the season they at least come close to reaching them. Otherwise, yeah, changes are likely coming.
3. Stephen Silas, Rockets
By all accounts, Silas is wonderful individual and pretty decent coach. But this will be another rebuilding season for the Rockets, and so far, they look bad. Like, real bad. They were bad last year, too. Eventually, that badness (and not in a good way) leads to a short leash for the coach. As one former NBA coach told Hoops Wire, GMs are often in “cover-my-butt mode” when things are continuously dreadful. Silas could be the next victim of that.
4. Mark Daigneault, Thunder
See directly above.
5. Dwane Casey, Pistons
If the media had to pick their favorite coach, just based on overall friendliness, Casey would win the award every year. Probably hands down. But this is the NBA, and being a great guy can only get you so far. Like the others, Casey has actually done a nice job with the hand he’s been dealt. But sometimes, that’s just not enough. And it’s probably not fair. Either way, Casey is in no danger of losing his job at the moment, as all the front office wants is to see this young roster make strides. So far, the Pistons are doing that.