After Mike Dunleavy was relieved of his coaching duties last night, there is already speculation about who will replace him permanently. Dunleavy will stay on as GM because of the $5.5 million he is owed next season, and Clippers fans are praying that he makes better decisions choosing a coach than he did while pacing the sideline himself. Kim Hughes will most likely serve as interim coach for the remainder of the season, but with a good foundation of veterans and young talent, expect the Clippers to attract the attention of big-name coaches currently out of work, along with a good selection of assistant coaches and college coaches looking to make the jump.
One thing to keep in mind is that working for Dunleavy is not necessarily an attractive prospect for just anyone, as the Tony Soprano look-a-like has proven to be abrasive, controlling and unpredictable throughout his career.
Clippers fans have waited for Dunleavy’s exit long enough, and although they will continue to suffer in the Lakers’ shadow, they at least deserve a coach who can get them to the postseason. Donald Sterling has screwed them for years, and with Hollywood studios right down the freeway, why not make the coaching search a reality show and let fans make the decision?
We’ll start with five coaching candidates making pitches, and each week we’ll eliminate a coach until one remains. I know I’d love to see Jeff Van Gundy channel his personality in other mediums and Mark Jackson attempt to explain his defensive philosophy by continually saying “Hand Down, Man Down!”
Here are the initial five candidates, in order, I’d like to see in L.A.:
1. Sam Cassell – A former Clipper in its Glory Day (2005-2006), essentially a player-coach in his waning years and now an assistant coach with the Wizards, Cassell would be a good fit for this team as a beginning coach. And maybe Dunleavy can repay Cassell a favor for making him play for the Clippers.
2. Jeff Van Gundy – Personality, defense and hanging onto legs of players, JVG would let B-Diddy run the offense and bring good offensive assistants. Best of all, guys will want to play for him. Why hasn’t this guy made it to L.A. yet?
3. Byron Scott – Former Laker, wicked mustache, and experience with uptempo offenses, Scott won’t get the job but his seriousness would give the Clip Show some credibility.
4. Mark Jackson – One of the all-time great PG’s, a great complement to JVG in the booth and the guy knows his stuff. Still, I don’t think the Clippers will give Jackson the position because the guy has zero coaching experience. Sure he’d potentially be a great coach, but he should have gained some experience as an assistant instead of taking the broadcasting route. If this were just up to Dunleavy, he’d probably be brash enough to give it to Jackson.
5. Greg Anthony – Does the guy even want to coach? Who knows, but Anthony would be a good fit having played under Dunleavy on the 1999-2000 Blazer team that was one memorable “Bryant to Shaq!” alley-oop away from making, and probably winning, the NBA Finals. Anthony has been one of the smartest NBA and NCAA commentators since retiring from the League, and though he wouldn’t necessarily make for good reality TV, he would be a guy Clippers fans would want to attempt to pry from the booth.
What do you think? Who do you think the Clippers should hire as their next coach?