Portland's Terry Stotts Favored To Be First NBA Coach Fired

National sportswriter Mike Tierney breaks down the odds for which NBA coach will get fired first. Terry Stotts has the lowest odds, but several others are right behind him.

 

Owners of NBA teams must have misplaced their pink skips.

With the schedule more than two-thirds completed, not a single head coach has been canned. Nine were dismissed during the past two regular seasons, seven of them before the All-Star break.

Coaches of winning squads cannot rest easy. The most celebrated firing last year was David Blatt. The Cavaliers were 83-31 over 1 1/2 seasons with Blatt at the helm.

Surely the ice will be broken soon.

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Nine candidates for the initial sacking are listed by the wagering website BookMaker.eu.

Terry Stotts (Portland) +400
Mike Budenholzer (Atlanta) +500
Jeff Hornacek (New York) +550
Alvin Gentry (New Orleans) +600
Frank Vogel (Orlando) +600
Dwane Casey (Toronto) +650
Kenny Atkinson (Brooklyn) +700
Steve Clifford (Charlotte) +700
Fred Hoiberg (Chicago) +700
Field +1200

Here is a breakdown of each coach who might be hesitant to open their inter-office mail. (The source for information on coaches? contracts is the website Other League. Salaries reflect average salary per year).

Stotts: With two years on his contract at $5 million per, a buyout would be affordable. If the Blazers do not climb into the top eight in the West, his fifth season would end with just five playoff wins in Portland.

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Budenholzer: He lands high on the list because of a relatively low-salaried contract that expires sooner than others and his other role as team president, which means he is being judged from two angles

Besides, the owners who acquired the Hawks in 2015 did not hire Bud the coach or the president. He can remind them of his Coach of the Year award in 2015.

Hornacek: One-and-done coaches are rare. Hornacek, still smarting from his ouster by the Suns last year, should be absolved from unsuccessfully trying to fit a square peg (Carmelo Anthony) into a round hole (a ball-sharing offense). He should last at least until Knicks president Phil Jackson bolts after the season.

Gentry: The pressure has ratcheted up with the acquisition of DeMarcus Cousins. Pelicans brass will count on Gentry to deliver a playoff berth, plus figure out how to deploy Cousins and Anthony Davis in tandem. Both tasks will be challenging.

Vogel: Another newcomer to the job with $16.5 million and three years on his deal following this season. Expectations were low this season in Orlando, and the Magic have certainly met them.

Casey: Fair or not, coaches who elevate a team to the brink of contention but cannot break through soon after eventually wear out their welcome. The Raptors could repeat their East finals appearance but are languishing in fourth place, barely ahead of the Hawks.

Atkinson: The Nets have no competition as the league?s worst team. Good thing for Atkinson he is a rookie head coach who should be granted a grace period. On the other hand, a buyout ($7.5 million covering three years) would not break the bank.

Clifford: He is Charlotte?s sixth coach in the past 13 seasons. Owner Michael Jordan sells enough shoes in a month to pay off Clifford?s contract ($4 million, two years) if he wants to keep the turnstile moving. Because the playoffs were considered a long shot, Clifford should get a reprieve.

Hoiberg: Chicago is wallowing around .500. Worse, the players have been less than compatible. (Two words: Rajan Rondo). This, on top of a 42-40 rookie season for Hoiberg that was not sufficient for a postseason berth.

My pick: If the Bulls continue to drift, they would be in danger of missing the playoffs for the second straight year after previously falling short way back in 2008. A buyout would hurt the pocketbook -- three years, worth $15 million, remain -- but there is a growing suspicion that Hoiberg might be more suited for college.

Stotts is the most vulnerable coach. Hoiberg is not far behind, though, and offers more preferable odds.