Could Frank Vogel be on the hot seat if the Lakers underperform? @LakersSBN (Twitter)
- Several bubble coaches are under pressure and could lose their jobs before the 2020-21 NBA season
- Missing the playoffs or underachieving in the postseason could see some high-profile coaches fired coming out of the bubble
- Odds on the number of coaches to be fired and betting discussion are available below
With competitive NBA games underway in the Orlando bubble, the pressure is on head coaches. Picking up wins might not matter too much to those teams at the top of the NBA Championship odds right now, but the coming weeks will be pivotal in the career of many coaches.
Some will be judged on how close they get to the playoffs. Others will be looking to get out the first round. Another group have loftier ambitions, knowing that anything other than a Conference Finals appearance could spell the end of their tenure. Perhaps some need to reach the Finals to keep their job.
The table below shows the odds for this one – how many bubble coaches will lose their job before next season?
Odds on NBA ‘Bubble’ Coaches to Be Fired Before Next Season
|Prop||Over Odds||Under Odds|
|Total Bubble Coaches Fired Before Next Season||Over 1.5 (-130)||Under 1.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Aug. 5.
The future of Mike D’Antoni remains unknown. For now, though, the assumption is this his final season on the bench for the Houston Rockets. Contract negotiations were not successful earlier in the season.
Crucially, there is no detail on this prop about how D’Antoni is accounted for. If he does leave the Rockets before next season, it will simply be the end of contract, not a firing. It could be assumed that D’Antoni walking in the offseason would not count to the total of fired coaches. Even if so, his availability is a factor to keep in mind when evaluating what other teams might do.
Mike D’Antoni: “We took a couple of bad shots, missed a couple of foul shots, and they just played better than we did.”
— Anthony Duckett (@a_duckett) August 5, 2020
Regardless of how Houston fare in this postseason, D’Antoni will be a man in demand if he’s on the market this off-season.
Sixers Desperate for Success
Brett Brown’s job has been the most speculated about in the NBA over the last couple years. Given their playoff exits, and the struggle to bring the best out of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, Brown is understandably a man under pressure. Trade rumors swirl around Simmons and Embiid with monotonous regularity, but Brown will likely be the first to go if Philly disappoints in the postseason.
Brown has faced unfair criticism as a coach. He guided the team through The Process and has a great working relationship with Embiid. There are reasons aplenty to keep him on board, but as the Sixers get more desperate for success, and with a bloated payroll, a head coaching change seems likely if they don’t make a deep run.
𝙿𝙾𝚂𝚃𝙶𝙰𝙼𝙴 𝙼𝙴𝙳𝙸𝙰 | 𝟶𝟾.𝟶𝟹.𝟸𝟶
“That was a big shot he hit and he gave us the win—I’m extremely happy for him.”
💭 @JoelEmbiid on Shake’s game winner against the Spurs. pic.twitter.com/3hxReRc7YA
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) August 5, 2020
The Sixers are one of the leading candidates for a coaching change.
Hope in Phoenix
For the first time in years, there’s legitimate reason for hope in Phoenix. The Suns, who got a brilliant, buzzer-beating win over the Clippers on Tuesday, are on course for their best winning percentage since 2014-15.
In Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges, they have a core to believe in. The optimism is deserved.
Monty Williams has overseen a marked defensive improvement and they have got good minutes from the veterans on the roster.
DEVIN BOOKER IN THE BUBBLE:
🔥 27 Pts, W
🔥 30 Pts, W
🔥 35 Pts, GW buzzer-beater pic.twitter.com/s3ewgZF58m
— ESPN (@espn) August 4, 2020
The Suns could still finish 13th in the West. Williams has done a good job, but the unpredictable Suns could be lured by a bigger name if one becomes available. Replacing Williams would be a bold, perhaps reckless move. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
2020 NBA Championship Odds Tracker
Bud Needs the Finals
Milwaukee couldn’t have asked for much more from Mike Budenholzer. Giannis Antetokounmpo is on the verge of becoming a back-to-back MVP. They have posted historic numbers and sewn up the number one seed in the East with games to spare. Khris Middleton has ascended to All-NBA level.
Bucks HC Mike Budenholzer and Thunder HC Billy Donovan were voted the National Basketball Coaches Association co-coaches of the year, sources told @wojespn. https://t.co/bAaVJoQ0pQ
— ESPN (@espn) August 3, 2020
Regular season supremacy is nice. They are a great team. After letting a two-game lead slip in the Conference Finals last season, the Bucks need to prove they can convert their regular season dominance into a Finals appearance.
It is easy to link their on-court success with Antetokounmpo’s free agency. Budenholzer’s relationship with the Greek Freak must help his job security, though a premature post-season exit and the Bucks could look to go in a different direction.
Bet the Over
The aforementioned head coaches are just a few that could be fired before next season. The likelihood of them losing their jobs varies, but there’s enough that are at threat to suggest backing the over here.
Reporter: It sounds like you want this one tonight.
Frank Vogel: I want all of them
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) August 3, 2020
As well as he’s done this season, Frank Vogel is surely not safe if things go badly for the Lakers. It doesn’t take much for a coach to lose his job when the expectations are so high and LeBron James is on the team. Washington could opt for a fresh start with Bradley Beal and John Wall returning for next season. The Kings could replace Luke Walton after a tough first year.
This off-season will not be packed with free agent drama like last. Coaching changes could take center stage.
Pick: Over 1.5 bubble coaches to be fired before next season (-130)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.