NBA coaching tracker, latest updates: Kenny Atkinson changes mind on Hornets job; Lakers hire Darvin Ham
There is typically a lot of turnover on the sideline following an NBA season. However, this year has been a bit different as only four teams (so far) parted ways with their head coach following the 2021-22 campaign, and three two of those gigs have already been filled.
The Charlotte Hornets and Kenny Atkinson agreed on a deal to make the Warriors assistant their new head coach, but days later Atkinson changed his mind and will remain with Golden State. Charlotte will have to continue looking for James Borrego’s replacement.
Another team still looking for a new coach is the Utah Jazz, who announced that Quin Snyder is stepping down as the team’s coach after eight seasons. “After eight years, I just feel it is time to move onward,” Snyder said in a statement. “I needed to take time to detach after the season and make sure this was the right decision.” The Jazz will now begin searching for Snyder’s successor.
The Los Angles Lakers fired coach Frank Vogel immediately after the season, and ultimately replaced him with Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham after an extended search. Vogel coached the Lakers for three seasons and led them to a title in 2020. Ham, meanwhile, has already received a stamp of approval from Lakers star LeBron James.
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The Sacramento Kings have also fired, and hired, a head coach since their season ended in April. The team parted ways with interim head coach Alvin Gentry, and replaced him with Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Brown. Brown has served as associate head coach of the Warriors since 2016. While Gentry was replaced as the coach, he didn’t go far, as he took a job in Sacramento’s front office.
More teams could hop on the coaching carousel between now and next season. Here’s our tracker of all of the major moves taking place on the bench.
NBA hirings and firings
After eight seasons, Snyder decided to step down from his role with the Jazz, despite the fact that the team wanted him to return as head coach. The Jazz made the playoffs in each of the last six seasons under Snyder, but they were unable to advance past the Western Conference semifinals in any of those campaigns. Utah will now look for a replacement that can potentially get it over the hump and into the conference finals for the first time since 2007.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers won a championship only two years ago, but after a disappointing season marred by injuries and a badly-built roster, they are now desperately trying to salvage what remains of the LeBron James era while simultaneously building for a future without him. Ham comes from the Mike Budenholzer tree, and has been instrumental in the development of several Bucks, including Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez. He lacks head-coaching experience, but should be a great fit for the Lakers.
Luke Walton, Alvin Gentry
Sacramento went with the Warriors assistant coach to replace Luke Walton, who won 31 games in each of his two full seasons with the Kings, but never managed to make the playoffs in five full seasons as a head coach. Mike Brown will try and get Sacramento back into the postseason for the first time since 2006.
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Kenny Atkinson was set to replace Borrego, but changed his mind and will remain with the Warriors as Steve Kerr’s assistant. Whoever ends up taking the job will take on a talented roster that includes LaMelo Ball.
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Still, without a starting center in place and financial issues looming, that new coach will have plenty of problems to solve.