MIAMI (AP) — 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 2 1-2 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).
It also doesn’t include when New Orleans hired Paul Silas for its expansion year, since that technically was not a coaching change. But it does include when interim coaches were officially named even if they lasted only a few games. And it includes Billy Donovan’s stint in Orlando, when he accepted the job and then resigned within days to return to the Florida Gators.
Number of coaching changes — Team(s)
13 — Memphis
12– Orlando, Washington
11 — Brooklyn, Detroit, L.A. Lakers, Sacramento
10 — Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Golden State, New York
9 — Minnesota, Philadelphia
8 — L.A. Clippers, Milwaukee
7 — Charlotte, Oklahoma City
6 — Indiana, Portland, Toronto
5 — Atlanta, Boston, Houston
3 — Dallas, Miami
2 — Utah
0 — San Antonio
Note — Totals for Memphis, Orlando, Indiana and Houston include current vacancies.
(Sources: Basketball-Reference.com, Official NBA Guide, AP research)