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Waiting for the phone to ring

NBA coaching carousel likely to stop for these men

Posted: Wednesday March 22, 2006 11:45AM; Updated: Wednesday March 22, 2006 12:59PM
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Though ensconced as a Mavericks consultant, Don Nelson may jump back into a huddle if the right team comes calling.
Though ensconced as a Mavericks consultant, Don Nelson may jump back into a huddle if the right team comes calling.
Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images
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So your favorite team is out of the playoff race and you're already looking ahead to next season. If only you could find a 7-foot center who could give you 20 and 10 each night.... But there's nobody available who fits that description. So you do the next best thing: blame the coach.

Yes, that's right, all you really need is a new X's and O's genius to take your team to the next level. But who's out there? Here's a look at some of the top candidates who might be available this summer.

Don Nelson

The three-time NBA Coach of the Year, currently a "consultant" in Dallas, would have no shortage of suitors if he decided to get back in the game. But it would probably take a lot of money -- and the right situation -- to convince him to give up his semi-retirement sipping mai tais poolside in Maui.

Rick Adelman

In the final year of his contract, the longtime Kings coach has been twisting in the wind all season. He could re-sign in Sacramento, especially the way his team is playing lately. But the Maloof Brothers made a run at Phil Jackson last summer, and Adelman might just decide to seek a fresh start a la Nate McMillan, who switched from Seattle to Portland after last season.

Stan Van Gundy

Oh yeah, we forgot. He quit because he wanted to spend time with his family. But in case the former Heat coach changes his mind (cough, cough), he can expect to hear his name mentioned for just about any opening that might arise. After all, he went 101-63 in his two full seasons in Miami, leading the Heat to the Eastern Conference finals in 2005.

Tubby Smith

Rumors continue to swirl that the Kentucky coach is unhappy in Lexington and is willing to make the NBA jump, possibly to Charlotte as Bernie Bickerstaff's handpicked replacement. But Smith has a whopper contract that runs through 2011, and it's unlikely Charlotte would fork over the kind of dough needed to buy him out.

P.J. Carlesimo

Forget the Latrell Sprewell fiasco. The Spurs assistant has head coaching experience in the pros (Warriors) and in college (Seton Hall), along with a reputation for knowing his X's and O's. He has been waiting for the right offer, even declining interviews in some cases, and was a finalist for the T'wolves vacancy a year ago.