The 2019-20 season is officially in the books and the NBA Draft and free agency are still weeks away, yet there have already been some major moves made when it comes to coaching. In fact, every team in need of a new head coach has hired one, expect for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are still searching for a replacement for Billy Donovan.
NBA coaches are hired -- and fired -- every offseason. It's part of basketball, and this year has been no different. Teams are constantly looking to get better, and switching up the person calling shots from the sideline is typically one of the first moves made by an organization in the name of improvement.
Most recently, the Houston Rockets have identified a replacement for Mike D'Antoni. The Rockets are set to hire Stephen Silas to be their next head coach. Silas has been an assistant in the NBA since 2000, working for seven different teams. He joined Rick Carlisle's staff with the Dallas Mavericks in 2018. He will take over a Rockets team that holds the league's longest current postseason streak.
Earlier this month, Stan Van Gundy agreed to a deal with the Pelicans to become the next head coach of the franchise. The deal between the two sides is reportedly for four years. During that time, Van Gundy will be tasked with building the team into a perennial contender in the competitive Western Conference while also overseeing Zion Williamson's growth into a superstar.
Elsewhere, the Indiana Pacers hired Toronto Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren to be their next head coach. The team made the hire official Tuesday afternoon, but the details of the contract are not yet known. Bjorkgren had been an assistant with the Raptors since 2018 after Nick Nurse became the coach in Toronto.
Also making a coaching hire were the Los Angeles Clippers, who elevated assistant coach Ty Lue to the position of head coach as the two sides came to an agreement on a five-year deal. Lue will be the successor to Doc Rivers, who signed with the Philadelphia 76ers earlier this month after spending seven seasons with the Clippers. Despite title expectations this season, the Clippers lost to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals, and after that disappointing finish the front office clearly felt that it was time for a change. It didn't take long for Rivers to find a new job, however, as he agreed to a deal with Philadelphia just a few days after parting ways with L.A.
Elsewhere around the league, the Chicago Bulls hired Billy Donovan as their new head coach. The former Thunder coach parted ways with OKC after their first-round exit against the Rockets. Donovan will now lead a young Bulls team that has undergone all sorts of changes this offseason, and is looking to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017. The Brooklyn Nets made the first surprise move in finding a new coach, as the franchise hired Hall of Famer Steve Nash to lead the Nets into a new era.
Not keeping their jobs were Pacers' Nate McMillan, who was dismissed after four seasons as well as 76ers' Brett Brown, who was fired after seven seasons, including a sweep at the hands of the Celtics in first round of the NBA playoffs. Also, Mike D'Antoni decided to leave the Rockets, the and the earlier in the month. In July, the Knicks hired Tom Thibodeau as their next head coach after an extensive search directed by new team president Leon Rose.
We'll keep you updated below with all the coaching moves around the league.
NBA hirings and firings
|Stephen Silas||Mike D'Antoni||Silas will enter his first head-coaching gig facing immediate expectations. The Rockets have made the postseason for eight straight seasons, but they have been unable to advance out of the West. Pressure will be on Silas to change that.|
|Stan Van Gundy||Alvin Gentry||The Pelicans wanted a coach with postseason experience, and they got that in Van Gundy. He led the Heat to the Eastern Conference finals in 2005 (they lost to the Detroit Pistons in seven games) and his Orlando Magic team made it to the NBA Finals in 2009 where they lost to the Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers in five games. The Magic also made it back to the conference finals in 2010.|
|Nate Bjorkgren||Nate McMillan||Indiana went with a first-time head coach in Bjorkgren, but they're clearly hoping that the championship experience he gained on the sideline in Toronto will help the team get over the hump, as they have lost in the first round in five straight seasons.|
|Ty Lue||Doc Rivers||Lue served as an assistant under Doc Rivers last season, and thus he is familiar with the Clippers roster and organization. Lue brings championship experience to the sideline after leading the Cavaliers to a title in 2016, and the Clippers are hoping that he will be able to push the right buttons in order to get them to their first Finals.|
|Doc Rivers||Brett Brown||The Philadelphia 76ers parted ways with Brett Brown after seven seasons at the helm. He was there for Sam Hinkie's regime and eventually turned the team around into a contender, guiding them to the playoffs in each of the past three seasons. They routinely fell short in the playoffs however, and though there's debate about how much of that was Brown's fault, the front office decided the team needed a new coach. Initially, they had their sights set on Mike D'Antoni, but after Doc Rivers parted ways with the Clippers, the Sixers quickly got in touch and gave him the job.|
|Billy Donovan||Jim Boylen||The Chicago Bulls fired Jim Boylen on Aug. 14 after an abysmal 39-84 record over a year-plus at the helm. In their first big move, Arturas Karnisovas, the new vice president of basketball operations, and Marc Eversley, the new general manager, hired former Thunder coach Billy Donovan as their new head coach.|
|Steve Nash||Kenny Atkinson||The Nets went with a splashy hire in Nash, someone who has no coaching experience whatsoever, but has plenty of name recognition. Nash's close relationship with Kevin Durant likely played a significant role in choosing him to lead Brooklyn, after the two worked closely together while K.D. was with the Warriors . Although Nash has no coaching experience to speak of, he's one of the smartest point guards to ever play the game, we'll have to see if that translates well as a coach.|
|Tom Thibodeau||Mike Miller||After an exhaustive search directed by new president Leon Rose, the Knicks ultimately decided that Thibodeau was the right guy for the job. Thibodeau previously served as the head coach of the Bulls and the Timberwolves , and he is known for having well-disciplined teams that excel on the defensive end of the floor. Thibodeau will now have an opportunity to mold a young Knicks roster that includes promising players like R.J. Barrett and Mitchell Robinson .|
|J.B. Bickerstaff||John Beilein||Beilein resigned from his post as coach of the Cavaliers during the All-Star Break, leaving Cleveland with a 14-40 record. J.B. Bickerstaff took over as head coach from there.|
|--||Billy Donovan||The Thunder and Billy Donovan mutually agreed to part ways following the conclusion of the season. Donovan had been with the Thunder since 2015 and led them to within one game of reaching the 2016 NBA Finals. However, after four consecutive first round exits, the two sides decided to go in different directions.|