4 NBA Head Coaches On The Hot Seat

The NBA season has already witnessed a coach firing, as Tyronn Lue was booted out of Cleveland as the head coach of the Cavaliers. Moreover, it is widely known in the NBA that one coach has an anything-but-safe grip on power. That coach is part of the new hot seat list in the NBA, just two weeks into the very long 82-game season. Most teams have played seven or eight games at this point.

Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves do not have a terrible record, but they don’t have a good one either at 3-4. That won’t help Thibodeau, who has clashed with star player Jimmy Butler over contract demands and tried to trade Butler to a few NBA teams, including the Houston Rockets and Miami Heat. That level of discord within the Timberwolves is an embarrassment the rest of the league is paying attention to. For some reason, Minnesota owner Glen Taylor has not yet fired Thibodeau, but that decision could still come at any moment, and a three-game losing streak could be all Taylor needs to feel empowered enough to finally pull the trigger. Thibs is existing on the very thin and frail limb. He has no margin for error at this point. Firing him could enable Taylor to rearrange his front office and redraw a contract to meet Butler’s needs while also improving morale throughout the roster, which did not get along last season in spite o the franchise’s trip to the playoffs.

Scott Brooks, Washington Wizards

The Wizards are, by the numbers, the worst defensive team in the NBA. They allow an average of 125 points per game. That is even worse than the Los Angeles Lakers, who give up 122.4 points per night. The Wizards look like a team that needs to be blown up, and that shouldn’t happen with John Wall and Bradley Beal on the roster. Yet, it’s the reality. No one trusts each other on defense. Players are lazy and sloppy and unfocused. A coach cannot exist much longer if those basic traits continue. The Wizards might try to trade players before they fire the coach, but that is not how things usually work in the NBA. Management has a lot of decisions to make in Washington, and none of them are enviable ones.

Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City Thunder

You wonder how many times Donovan can keep struggling at the start of a season and retaining his job. Donovan watched Oklahoma City stumble early last season, and while the Thunder did scramble to make the playoffs, they didn’t get an especially high playoff seed and were bounced in the first round by the Utah Jazz. Oklahoma City has a superstar in Russell Westbrook, and that is supposed to lead to at least a second-round playoff appearance. With Paul George still in town – having chosen not to relocate to Los Angeles as everyone felt this past offseason – there is little excuse for OKC to be this bad. Donovan will be given some time to repair the situation, but if OKC keeps going in the wrong direction over the next two months, a firing in January would hardly be out of the question – even late December would be reasonable if the Thunder continue to bumble along.

Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers

This is the least likely of the four hot seats, but the Lakers did not get LeBron James to be mediocre, and if the situation craters in the next few months or perhaps over the course of the whole season without any course correction or improvement, Walton could be fired. It probably wouldn’t happen within the season, but it might happen at the end of the season next April.