Sports / Basketball

Changing coaches an NBA normality

By Associated Press in Miami (China Daily) Updated: 2016-05-14 08:27

Coaching changes are constant in the NBA, except in San Antonio.

Since Gregg Popovich became coach of the Spurs on Dec 10, 1996, there have been 233 coaching changes throughout the rest of the league. The most recent of those came Thursday when Scott Skiles resigned in Orlando.

After Popovich, the second-longest tenured coach in the NBA is Miami's Erik Spoelstra. He was hired April 28, 2008, a couple weeks before Dallas hired Rick Carlisle. Take away Popovich's two-decade-and-counting run, and the average time that an NBA coach has been able to keep a head-coaching gig around the league is about two and a half years.

"It's really disturbing, actually. I've only been a head coach for eight years. So what am I, the second-longest-tenured?" Spoelstra, who rose from the Heat video room to head coach, said earlier this month when asked about the lack of job security in the field.

"That's a sad state of where the coaching profession is right now and stability of organizations," Spoelstra continued. "And that's why it's fairly easy for me to feel grateful being part of this organization for 21 years."

There's only five coaches who were in their current NBA jobs before 2013: Popovich, Spoelstra, Carlisle, Toronto's Dwane Casey and Portland's Terry Stotts.

"The grass," Casey said, "always seems greener on the other side."

Below is a breakdown of total coaching changes by team since Popovich took over as coach in San Antonio.

This doesn't include when coaches missed games for illness or personal reasons, or in situations where the head coach remained officially in place but was not at games (such as when assistant Ron Rothstein filled in for Pat Riley at times during 2006-07 and 2007-08 in Miami, or earlier this season when assistant Luke Walton guided Golden State while Steve Kerr recovered from back surgeries).

Number of coaching changes - Team (s)

13 - Memphis

12 - Orlando, Washington

11 - Brooklyn, Detroit, LA Lakers, Sacramento

10 - Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Golden State, New York

9 - Minnesota, Philadelphia

8 - LA Clippers, Milwaukee, Phoenix

7 - Charlotte, Oklahoma City

6 - Indiana, Portland, Toronto

5 - Atlanta, Boston, Houston, New Orleans

3 - Dallas, Miami

2 - Utah

0 - San Antonio

Note - Totals for Memphis, Orlando, Indiana and Houston include current vacancies.

LeBron says his retirement 'up to my kids'

LeBron James will soon face a triple-team he can't beat.

The NBA superstar, who is making another run toward a title with the Cleveland Cavaliers, said Thursday that he will extend his playing career only as long as his three children will let him.

"It's kind of up to my kids, really," said the 31-year-old father, who is in his 13th season as a pro. "I've missed so much of my kids' tournaments and things of that nature when I'm playing. So, it's kind of up to them. They'll let me know when they're tired of seeing me go away."

James and his wife, Savannah, have two sons and a daughter: 11-year-old LeBron Jr, 8-year-old Bryce and 19-month-old Zhuri. Both boys play basketball.

The Cavs have been in limbo since completing a four-game sweep of the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland's second sweep of these playoffs. The team has spent the past two days practicing while waiting to see if it will play the Toronto Raptors or Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. The Raptors lead the Heat - James' former team - 3-2 in their series, which continues Friday night.

James has never given a firm timetable on how long he intends to play, but the four-time MVP isn't showing any signs of slowing down. He's into yoga and maintains a healthy diet that sometimes gets ruined.

"I like sweets," he said. "More like dessert, stuff like that. I got to try to stay away from it, but it's hard when you have an 11-year-old, 8-year-old and 2-year-old running around. Because that's all they do all day long. So I got to try to stay away from them - which is impossible."

Associated Press

(China Daily 05/14/2016 page12)

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