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NBA Coaching Carousel Continues Spinning

by Photo of Kenneth Teape

The Clippers, Nuggets and Grizzlies all found new head coaches to man the sidelines.

NBA Coaching Carousel Continues Spinning

The big turnover in head coaches in the NBA continued throughout the last couple of days. The first move to come down was Doc Rivers heading to the Los Angeles Clippers from the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics released Rivers from the last three years and $21 million from his contract and received compensation in the form of an unprotected 2015 first round draft pick. This move has implications to both rosters, as Kevin Garnett can no longer be traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. The NBA will veto any trade involving Garnett and DeAndre Jordan per league rules disallowing any trade that will only be executed after a prior move being made. Garnett and Paul Pierce look to be on their way out of Boston now one way or another as the Celtics will end a very successful era and head into the rebuilding stage.

For the Clippers, this move should all but ensure the return of Chris Paul, who was an unrestricted free agent. Paul was supposedly in the ear of management to try and get Rivers on the sidelines after Vinny Del Negro was let go after the season. Paul got his wish and will most likely return to the Clippers who will look to revamp their roster more to Rivers liking.

The Denver Nuggets announced Monday night that they had named Brian Shaw their next head coach. This will be Shaw’s first head coaching gig after serving almost a decade as an assistant learning the trade. Shaw will be faced with a big challenge filling the shoes of a living legend and reigning Coach of the Year George Karl, who even after a 57-win season was let go after losing in the first round of the playoffs for the ninth time in Denver.

Shaw was an assistant on two very successful teams, learning from Phil Jackson on the Lakers bench for six seasons and spending the last two with the Indiana Pacers alongside Frank Vogel. Shaw has been a winner as a player and assistant coach, winning five championships in his 10 seasons playing and coaching with the Lakers; he will look to bring that winning pedigree to a very talented Nuggets team looking to get over the hump.

Another coach receiving his first head coaching job is Dave Joerger. The Memphis Grizzlies assistant was elevated to the head coaching position to replace Lionel Hollins, who was not retained even after a franchise best season for the Grizzlies. Joerger has spent the last six seasons on the Grizzlies bench so the transition should be easy for him and the players as they already have a relationship built.

Joerger oversaw the Grizzlies defense the past three seasons and they saw immense growth on that side of the ball. After finishing ranked 25th in the 2009-2010 season in defensive efficiency the Grizzlies improved to ninth in 2010-2011, seventh in 2011-2012 and second in 2012-2013 under Joerger’s watch.

The Grizzlies have improved each of the past five seasons so the job will not be easy for Joerger, but brining in someone with familiarity with the franchise and who knows the players will be a big help compared to the other first time coaches that will be on the sidelines this season. In addition to Joerger and Shaw, five other coaches will be taking over as head coaches for the first time in their careers. The other five are Jason Kidd with the Brooklyn Nets, Jeff Hornecek with the Phoenix Suns, Mike Budenholzer with the Atlanta Hawks, Steve Clifford with the Charlotte Bobcats and Mike Malone with the Sacramento Kings.

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