NBA Futures: Which Head Coach Will Be Fired Next?

By in NBA on
6 Minute Read

We will typically see a few head coaching changes over the course of a normal NBA season. On Sunday, the Sacramento Kings became the first team to part ways with their coach, as they sent Luke Walton packing after two-plus years on the job. The Kings are off to a ragged 6-11 start, and the news of Walton’s dismissal was hardly a surprise. Just last week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Walton was already on the hot seat.

As is usually the case, the oddsmakers at BetOnline have been keeping tabs on the latest coaching developments. As of Monday, you can actually wager on which person will take over for Walton on a full-time basis. The Kings tapped Alvin Gentry as Walton’s interim replacement on Sunday, and the longtime head coach is among the frontrunners to land the actual gig. You can also wager on which head coach will be the next to lose his job.

Let’s sort through the odds and find some betting value.

Who Will Get the Kings’ Full-Time Job?

  • Kenny Atkinson (+400)
  • Terry Stotts (+500)
  • Becky Hammon (+600)
  • Alvin Gentry (+700)
  • Darvin Ham (+800)
  • Doug Christie (+1000)
  • Mike D’Antoni (+1000)
  • Bobby Jackson (+1200)
  • Mark Jackson (+1200)
  • Jeff Van Gundy (+1400)
  • Stan Van Gundy 1400)
  • Charles Lee (+1600)
  • Sam Cassell (+1600)
  • Steve Clifford (+1600)

The Kings haven’t enjoyed much success over the years. Sacramento hasn’t made a playoff appearance since 2006, and they’re certainly up against it again this year. The Pacific Division is likely the best in all of basketball. The Warriors and Suns look like legitimate title contenders thus far, while the Lakers and Clippers are always in the conversation. The Kings do have plenty of solid young talent on the roster, but making up ground in this stacked division won’t be easy.

Gentry has bounced around the NBA in various coaching posts since 1988, so he’s not some unknown commodity. The 67-year-old is a very respected name, and his teams have always been known for playing at a fast pace. After Walton’s firing, general manager Monte McNair said,

“I think Alvin, certainly, and the rest of our coaching staff, there will be some continuity, but also Alvin’s done a great job at many different spots. I think Alvin has seen a lot of things. He has a wealth of experience.”

Obviously, Gentry’s candidacy to land the job on a full-time basis will depend on how the team responds to the coaching change. If the Kings suddenly take off under Gentry’s watch, his chances of earning the permanent gig will certainly improve. We saw a similar situation unfold in Atlanta last year. Nate McMillan took over after the Hawks fired Lloyd Pierce halfway through the season. The team performed significantly better under McMillan, which led to the Hawks deciding to keep McMillan in place permanently.

While the Kings may ultimately prefer to hire a younger coach, it’s hard not to like Gentry at the current +700 odds. He’s going to get the first crack at the job, so he should probably be the early betting favorite.

If Not Gentry, Then Who?

Before the Kings named Gentry as interim coach, there was some speculation on social media that Doug Christie (+1000) could’ve gotten the job. Christie, who was a very popular player during his time in Sacramento, is in his first year as an assistant on the coaching staff. The former broadcaster has been around the game for decades, but his lack of coaching experience likely cost him a shot at landing the interim gig.

Still, if Gentry flames out, Christie will almost surely get an interview for the main job. We don’t yet know much about Christie’s coaching philosophy, but his familiarity with the team’s roster should help his chances, in theory. Christie at +1000 makes for a very, very interesting value option if Gentry doesn’t get the job. Bobby Jackson, another popular former player, is currently coaching the Kings’ G-League affiliate in Stockton. Jackson offers a little more upside than Christie at +1200, but I think Christie makes for the better bet.

Former NBA head coaches Kenny Atkinson (+400) and Terry Stotts (+500) are the early favorites. Atkinson, who formerly coached the Nets, is currently serving as an assistant for Steve Kerr with the Warriors. Stotts was fired earlier this year after a successful run in Portland, and he’s currently out of the league.

Atkinson did an excellent job during his lone previous head coaching stint in Brooklyn, where he helped mold a young Nets roster into a playoff contender. If the Kings are interested in a coach with a solid history of developing young talent, Atkinson makes sense. With youngsters like Davion Mitchell and Tyrese Haliburton in the fold, Atkinson would make sense for the Kings. Stotts doesn’t really seem like a good fit for a rebuilding team, so I’ll pass on the ex-Blazers coach at +500.

Spurs assistant Becky Hammon (+600) is always a popular name. She reportedly interviewed for a number of head coaching vacancies over the summer, but she’s still waiting for her first chance to lead a team. It’s hard to argue that she isn’t ready for the spotlight considering she’s been working under the legendary Gregg Popovich for years. If the Kings want to make a splash, Hammon looks like a quality option at +600.

As of now, I’ll rank my favorite betting values for the Kings’ full-time coaching job as follows:

  1. Doug Christie (+1000)
  2. Becky Hammon (+600)
  3. Alvin Gentry (+700)
  4. Kenny Atkinson (+400)
  5. Bobby Jackson (+1200)

Which Coach Will Be Fired Next?

  • Dwane Casey (+200)
  • Frank Vogel (+300)
  • Stephen Silas (+500)
  • Willie Green (+600)
  • Mark Daigneault (+1000)
  • Nick Nurse (+1100)
  • Taylor Jenkins (+1200)
  • Nate McMillan (+1800)
  • Ime Udoka (+2000)
  • Jamahl Mosley (+2000)
  • Mike Budenholzer (+2000)
  • Rick Carlisle (+2200)
  • Chauncey Billups (+2800)
  • Michael Malone (+3300)
  • Chris Finch (+4000)

Another firing this season is no certainty, but we do have a few intriguing candidates. Dwane Casey of the Pistons is the early 2-1 favorite, but I don’t necessarily think he should be. Detroit is not a good basketball team, but no reasonable person could have expected them to be. The Pistons are off to a 4-12 start, but that’s hardly a surprise.

Between Cade Cunningham, Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey, and Jerami Grant, the Pistons have some solid building blocks in place. This is Casey’s fourth year on the job with the team, and his job right now is to continue to guide that young core along the right path. Casey previously led the Raptors from the doldrums to the brink of a title before his firing in 2018, and I would imagine the Pistons’ brass is still optimistic that he can do the same thing in the Motor City. I’ll pass on Casey’s +200 odds to be the next coach fired.

Frank Vogel, though? Now we’re talking. The Lakers opened the season with the second-best odds to win the championship after a very busy offseason. It’s still early, but the clock is certainly ticking. LA’s narrow win over Casey’s Pistons on Sunday pushed the Lakers to just 9-9 on the year.

There was always going to be a learning curve for this team considering all of the new players they brought in over the summer, but how long of a leash does Vogel get?

Vogel led LA to a title in his first year on the job in 2020, and injuries played a big role in their early playoff ouster in the spring. LeBron James isn’t getting any younger, though, and the Lakers can’t afford to waste much more time in their limited championship window. I don’t think Vogel is to blame for this team’s shortcomings. GM Rob Pelinka should be the guy on the hot seat after assembling this weird roster, but the head coach is always the first one to take the blame. If the Lakers don’t show serious improvement soon, Vogel’s job could be on the line.

Stephen Silas of the Rockets (+500) is the only other coach that looks like a potential goner. The Rockets are another team that was not expected to contend this season, but few could have expected them to be quite this bad. Houston is off to a 1-15 start, and they’ve lost each of their last 14 games entering Monday’s game in Boston.

Silas is only in his second year on the job, so Tilman Fertitta may not be too keen on letting him go just yet. He was hired into a pretty terrible situation, so blaming him on the Rockets’ shortcomings is likely a bit unfair. I’m not sure Silas is a lock to begin next season on the Rockets’ bench, but it’s still difficult to imagine the team letting him go this early in his tenure.

All things considered, Frank Vogel looks like the best bet here.

  1. Frank Vogel (+300)
  2. Stephen Silas (+500)
Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...

View all posts by Taylor Smith
Email the author at: [email protected]