How NBA coaches were fired behind the scenes

Today, the average lifespan of an NBA coach seems to be only 24 seconds of shooting time.hardcore likes Gregg Popovich, Eric Spoelstra and Steve Kerr An outlier in this volatile profession.

After the regular season, the Lakers, Kings and Hornets have all made coaching changes, hoping to improve next season.Even so Frank Vogelwon the title just two seasons ago, despite a disappointing season, and James Borrego Over the past two seasons, each has won 10 more games.

“Everybody’s going to love you, and then everybody’s going to hate you,” a former NBA coach told HoopsHype.

So how do these shootings happen behind the scenes? HoopsHype interviewed five NBA executives, three coaching agents and a former NBA coach to find out.

Who is calling?

In the past, it was mostly executives who made the big decision to fire a coach. Over the past decade, however, as a new wave of owners has entered the league, multiple executives have put owners above them and determined the fate of coaches.

“In the environment I’m in, a lot of the time it’s ownership-driven,” an NBA executive told HoopsHype. “The owner doesn’t like the guy and doesn’t think he’s doing a good job. The owner will say, ‘This is not our coach. We need to move on. The owner will force these issues. The owner doesn’t like this guy, you really have to stretch your neck. ?”

“The owner would simply say, ‘This is my decision,’ another NBA executive told HoopsHype. “That’s why. I appreciate your views and opinions on this. Ultimately, I am the one who pays the bills. Ultimately, I’m responsible for the products we put out on the floor. This is my decision. “

Multiple NBA coaching agents echoed executives’ sentiments that the final decision could be in favor of the owner.

“I think most owners with less than 10 years of ownership are more like that (hands-on) than ever before,” a current coaching agent told HoopsHype. “They’re more involved than ever, and it’s detrimental. Yes. Very few teams have hands-off owners. Most of them are very active and want to be involved in the process. It’s a toy for them. They enjoy it. It’s scary, but for now That’s it, and I don’t think the future will change.”

“In the NBA, the owner has the final say,” another coaching agent told HoopsHype. “General managers who make decisions on paper usually don’t. There are multiple ways information about a shot can be passed on to a coach or how it happened. Every team is dynamic between the front office and ownership. “

In the end, the decision came down to a difference in approach. Coaching is process oriented. Ownership is results-oriented. Meanwhile, executives are in the middle.

Is there a vertical alignment between owners, general managers, and coaches? If anything, you typically see teams talking about championship expectations, roster builds to make the playoffs, or no mention of expectations or rebuilding.

What are the deciding factors?

Whether an owner or general manager fires a coach, there are usually several factors that lead to a coach being fired.

On the court, does the coach’s play match the quality of his star players? Do players and coaches get along? Does the coach make adjustments during the game and create an effective ATO (after the game is suspended)? Has the team stabilized under his leadership?

“Eventually, a star player will tell the front office staff or even the owner, ‘I’m telling you, we’re just tired of playing for this guy,'” an NBA executive told HoopsHype. “We don’t have juice on the floor. Nobody listens to him. We don’t think he knows what he’s talking about. We’d win more games if we played for someone else.'”

sometimes it’s not the star player in the model LeBron James, Bradley Bealor Damian Lillard. Can be a professional and well-respected veteran with great credibility and ear for front office or ownership.

“It’s usually not the player, by the way, usually the player’s agent, because the players are talking about a tough game, but they don’t want to be in a bind,” one of the coaching agents told HoopsHype. “Agents have been complaining all season. You have to take it with a grain of salt. No player wants to take responsibility for the result.”

Off the field, does the coach take responsibility instead of stealing the spotlight at the press conference? Does the coach respect owner or management requests to play young players, or adapt his coaching style to a faster-paced offense or small-ball philosophy? Is the coach spending too much money on the team? Is there a rising assistant coach on staff or elsewhere worth pursuing?

Other times, it’s as simple as a new boss or general manager wanting to pick his guy. Sometimes general managers fire coaches to deflect bad decisions on the roster and place the blame elsewhere. Finally, the owner may want to take action because it looks good in the media and is rented hype.

“Business is affected by factors beyond anyone’s control,” an NBA coaching agent told HoopsHype. “Whether it’s players, agents, or media leaks, it’s untrue, but notorious.”

How to perform shooting?

If the owner decides to fire the coach, the general manager is unlikely to tell him he was fired under certain circumstances. Sometimes the messenger can be the owner. In rare cases, it is both the general manager and the owner.

From an executive’s perspective, you want to make decisions quickly and quickly.

“You say, ‘We wish you all the best, and we’ll say good things about you,'” an NBA executive told HoopsHype. “Do you have any questions? Some people get it. Some people are frustrated and you help them through it. Well, it’s over.”

Most coaches see the writing on the wall, which leads to brief conversations.

“They’re usually very brief,” an NBA executive told HoopsHype. “Whoever the decision maker is, sits with the coach and says, ‘This is a decision I made. These are the reasons I made this decision. For me, it’s not a negotiable decision. But, I What to do is respect any request that you have to send this message in some way. I will also respect any request that you may need help in finding another employer. I will not belittle you or say anything negative about you . . For where we’re going, we’re going to keep going without you.”

However, some coaches used the time to hit back at any criticism they received in meetings or throughout the season, according to an NBA executive and a coaching agent. When that happens, it can get a little combative.

“It definitely gets really intense at times,” the coaching agent told HoopsHype. “Sometimes the coach’s ego gets in the way and he’s like, ‘Fuck. I’m quitting. You didn’t fire me.'”

Press release

After firing a coach or “parting ways,” as most press releases say these days, executives and the coach’s agent typically leave with the team’s public relations department if they leave on relatively good terms. Usually it’s done to best help both sides, but more of a coach, in the best possible way.

“I verbally produce the narrative with the team’s president or general manager, and he relays it to the PR guy who called me,” explains a coaching agent. “From my point of view, I do it again. We got the first draft, and then I fine-tuned and tweaked it. They’re not a radical version of the process. If it’s friendly enough, we can get to that stage and pull together , it’s usually not as intense as hostility and hostility.”

If there is hostility or hostility, the coach, general manager or owner may Give way Put the media ahead of the news and help shape the narrative.

“I think people can read through those press releases,” another coaching agent said bluntly. “Normally, you’d see the line parting ways with each other, but nine times out of ten, this guy got fired.”


Immediately after being fired and leaving the meeting, the coach’s phone lights up like Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

“Everybody’s going to call you right away when something happens,” a former NBA head coach told HoopsHype. “Five minutes after you’ve been told to let go, it’s hard to choose who you want to talk to, who you want to talk to and what you want to talk about. The first thing I do is call my wife and let her know. I grabbed my employees and let them know. Then, I talked a little bit with my agent.”

The calls included stories from former coaches, current coaches, reporters and coaches trying to gather intelligence, friends, family, and more.

According to the former NBA head coach, he got great advice on what not to do, including reacting to every negative report about why he was fired, or clarifying because someone had to leak something. The story of the false narrative that emerged to explain why he was fired. fired.

“I think there’s a lack of decency and humanity in some situations,” the former NBA head coach told HoopsHype. “It’s a little unfair for Borrego. He was just extended last year and fired this year, which shows that there is no consistency and support, maybe not even consistency goals and expectations. Something persuaded them to commit after last year. Two years. Then, after winning another 10 games, something drastic made them back off their commitments.”

It could be a whirlwind for the coach to go through with his agent and family in the days following his dismissal while figuring out his near-term future.

“The coach and his family are going through all these emotional stages, and you have to go through these different stages with them, depending on the coach’s personality, the family and the sense of security they have,” an NBA coaching agent told HoopsHype.

Although the ending was bittersweet, there was even a sense of gratitude in the emotional spectrum for the coaching opportunity.

“I’m not going to fuck you for making me rich and moving on over the past few years,” said one former NBA coach.

You can follow Michael Scott (@MikeAScotto) on Twitter.

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