As quickly as Jason Kidd retired from the NBA, he became the league’s newest head coach. The Brooklyn Nets hired the future Hall of Fame point guard to replace P.J. Carlesimo. Kidd becomes the first player to coach in the season following his retirement since Avery Johnson, who was fired by the Nets earlier this season.
With Brooklyn done with their head coaching search, three playoff teams are still looking to fill their vacancy. The Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, and Memphis Grizzlies are all in need of a new head coach. George Karl was fired from Denver and Vinny Del Negro was let go by L.A. after disappointing first-round exits. Memphis decided not to bring back Lionel Hollins after his contract expired, despite leading the team to the Western Conference finals.
Two names seem to be connected to each job opening. Brian Shaw became an assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers after spending several years on the Los Angeles Lakers bench, and Doc Rivers has led the Boston Celtics since 2004. However, both appear to be seeking employment elsewhere. Shaw wants to be a head coach for the first time in his career, and while Rivers is still under contract with the Celtics, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports that the coach thinks it “may be time for a change.”
The Clippers are interested in both Shaw and Rivers. Boston’s head coach is, reportedly, their top choice. However, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reports that team president Danny Ainge has denied Los Angeles permission to speak with the former NBA champion. The Celtics want Rivers to return in 2013-2014, but could let him go if they receive ample compensation.
Denver might be the most likely spot for Shaw to begin his career as a head coach. According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the Nuggets No.1 priority is finding a coach with championship experience. Shaw has been to the NBA Finals several times as both a player and an assistant. He could also be a good fit with Denver because of their potential on defense with players like Kenneth Faried, Andre Iguodala and JaVale McGee.
Coming off a win in the first two rounds of the postseason, the Grizzlies are looking for a coach that can help them win a title next season. USA Today reports that Memphis would have interest in Rivers if he became available. Assistant coach Dave Joerger, though, is considered to be the leading candidate to replace Hollins.
The availability of Hollins could become an obstacle for Shaw or Rivers in trying to land a new job. In the last three seasons, Hollins has won three playoff series, including upsets of the No.1 seed San Antonio Spurs in 2011 and Oklahoma City Thunder in 2013. He is on Denver’s short list and is set to meet with Los Angeles, as well.