July 20, 2005

The thing about NBA head coaches

What in God's name is happening in the NBA? The way head coaches are treating and treated by their respective teams is rediculous. Rick Carlisle wins 50 games for Detroit, fired. Flip Saunders takes the Wolves to the Western Conference Finals, then due to his players being bitches, he's fired. The Lakers chase Phil Jackson out of town, then bring him back a year later at $10 Million per. Larry Brown, who was the reason Carlisle was removed at Detroit, starts talking to Cleveland about their open GM position. While his team is battling for a championship! That obviously pissed off Joe Dumars and the Pistons, so they paid him his money(around $18 Million) and sent him on his way. Well, Cleveland lost interest and grabbed Danny Ferry to fill the GM spot, but now Isaiah "Idiot" Thomas is supposedly prepared to offer Brown $50-60 Million over 5 years.

There are things I understand and things I don't.

I understand why Rick Carlisle was let go. It wasn't because he was a bad coach, it was because the Pistons had an opportunity to get the best coach in the NBA (my humble opinion). Okay, shitty thing to do to Rick, but I understand why. I also understand why Flip Saunders was fired in Minnesota. He was fired because the team stopped responding to him, and there had to be some kind of change. Shitty deal for Flip, but I understand why the Wolves did it. I can even, on some levels, understand why Detroit is now throwing Larry Brown out the door (a rich, rich man). He was disloyal and a distraction to his players at the most important time of the season. That and they've got a great coach just waiting for a call in Saunders. Of course, on the other hand, I don't think it was such a good idea to give him his money to not coach, but hey, I'm not emotionally involved.

What I don't understand is what the Lakers and the Knicks are doing.

Two years ago, Shaq and Phil were tossed out of Los Angeles because Kobe didn't like them. Now Laker brass understands how important a great coach is to their team. So they're gonna pay the second best coach in the NBA (again, my humble opinion) $50 million over 5 years. Wow. What? Um, really Mitch? The story out of LA was that Kobe and Phil couldn't work together because Phil was tired of Kobes' ways and Kobe thought of himself as the star in Tinsletown. So what makes any of those guys think it'll work now? Sure, $10 million buys a lot of patience with bullshit, but is Phil really gonna be happy with a team that didn't make the play offs? Especially when the Lakers traded away a piece that Phil was excited about (Caron Butler to Washington)? Is Kobe gonna be mature enough to deal with a coach who knows what he wants from players and won't just let them fly off the handle bars? Will he be able to get his shit together like another superstar Phil helped win championships? On top of all that, will the team be good enough to even make a run? Probably not, but it remains to be seen.

Now the Knicks, shit, you've seen what I think about Isaiah Thomas and the Knicks. Every time I think they're done doing the rediculous, Isaiah steps up and sets me straight by doing something even more stupid. If you pay attention to the circus that is the NBA rumor mill, you are already aware of Larry Brown's history. He's got a short attention span and doesn't stay in one place for very long. So why, if you're an NBA GM, would you offer a guy like that a ton of money over more than a couple years? Why Zeke, why? Oh, right, because you're the Knicks GM and you're not very good at using your brain. Sorry, I almost forgot. $60 Million dollars spent on your head coach!? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

Sorry, I got a little excited there.

It continues to amaze me how screwed up the coaching situation in the NBA is. Good coaches getting fired to hire great coaches, who then leave to supposedly retire, but get lured back into the league by ridiculous sums of money, only to be chased out of town by a superstar who's too self absorbed to realize that there aren't championship rings handed out without great coaches. It just such a cluster fuck I can't even stand it.

The nice thing I see on going on in the NBA coaching ranks is that a lot of young coaches are getting chances on good teams. Dwayne Casey in Minnesota, Mike Brown in Cleveland, and previously, Stan Van Gundy in Miami. They're all young coaches looking to make a name for themselves with good teams and good situations. Exhale......and now I'm calm.

1 comment:

Drew Boatman said...

Right on all counts.

I'm reminded of the Paul Silas debacle in Cleveland. I mean, really. You've got the best rookie in the NBA, probably the best rookie in history (combining potential with current ability), and you hire Paul Fucking Silas to run your team? Why not just go for Rick Pitino? Jerry Tarkanian? It's just sad, Paul Silas is a terrible coach, but they hired him, it seemed, for the name more than the coaching talent. And of course they missed the playoffs. There was never a doubt they were going to. Paul Silas is not a very good coach. They needed someone less mad and younger, someone who didn't scream at people and bench star players because of attitudes.

Also, one time in an interview, Silas screamed at a reporter "What, am I speaking Chinese?!?!? I said I'm not going to talk about it!!!" That was pretty cool.

I agree about young coaches. Think of last year's crop of quality young guys: D'antoni, McMillan, Cheeks, Stan Van Gundy, even Jeff in Houston, hell even Avery Johnson. I think those guys, and new guys like Casey and Weiss will come up and hopefully change this bullshit coaching carousel that's going on with NBA owners.

Fuck, and last year, I thought we were totally immune to that. No matter what happened, I thought, we'll at least have Flip in the driver's seat. Sucks to be on the other side of it. Time to go drink Drambuie