The Charlotte Bobcats have done the honorable thing and spared Paul Silas the pain of watching the Bobcats on a daily basis by not renewing his deal today. Silas coached 120 games for the Bobcats. He won 32 of them. Seven of those came this season, in what was the worst season by any NBA team ever. And to top it all off, Silas got into a shoving match with Tyrus Thomas.
At a press conference that just wrapped up, President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins said there is no timetable for a replacement, but he did say Silas’ son Stephen, currently an assistant, will be interviewed for the head coaching position. The rest of the coaching staff is under contract until June 30, and “as of right now,” they still have jobs. I am willing to bet that as of July 1, they won’t … or at least most won’t.
Now the attention turns to the successor. General Manager Rich Cho said the team is not limiting the scope of its search to former NBA head coaches. That means a lot of guys are going to be considered for a job that may not be so appealing to a lot of guys.
I am betting you can scratch any big college names off the list. John Calipari will not ditch Kentucky to take this mess on. Calipari wants a ready-made roster that just needs a little prodding if he is going to leave a basketball-mad Kentucky Wildcats culture fresh of a title. There may be a few former NBA coaches looking for work, but the good ones can afford to wait and find something better.
My guess is this job will fall to one of the assistant coaches who are itching to get a head coaching job. I think Michael Jordan will want someone with some playing experience to teach these kids the ways of the NBA. And while Paul Silas has had some pretty damn good playing experience, it does not resonate with the youngsters. Silas comes from a different era. He comes from a time where no one made millions, no one had Twitter, and no one even heard of a sneaker deal.
Two names stand out, to me, as guys who have been itching for a shot.
Brian Shaw and Patrick Ewing.
Both have wanted to be head coaches for quite some time. Shaw thought he had a job in Los Angeles before Jim Buss pulled the rug from under him as the team disassociated itself with anything close to Phil Jackson. He is currently sitting next to Frank Vogel on Indiana’s bench, and I don’t see Vogel leaving that seat any time soon.
Ewing is an assistant in Orlando with a well-documented craving for a head coaching job. Both he and Shaw might be waiting out the Stan Van Gundy situation before going for the Magic job (assuming there IS a job to be had). The Magic are a better situation because they, at least, have Dwight Howard.
Sorry Kemba Walker and college stud to be determined by the bouncing ping pong balls … Dwight trumps you. My guess is if one or both of those guys misses out on the Orlando gig, they will go hard after the Bobcats job.
Is it the best job in the world? Nope. But it’s a way into the pipeline. And once you are in, you are much more likely to stay in. The only thing these guys have to worry about is going through the interview process.