As the Clippers are set to begin their coaching search, let's take a look at ten of the options available.
Prior Jobs: Sacramento Kings assistant (1998-2000), New Jersey Nets head coach (2000-2004), New Orleans Hornets head coach (2004-2009), Cleveland Cavaliers head coach (2009-2013)
Head coaching record: 416-521 (.444), 2 NBA Finals Appearances
Scott, a former NBA player, is perhaps one of the least popular candidates among Clippers fans. Chris Paul's old head coach from New Orleans, Scott is perhaps drawing the most interest due to his connection with the All-Star point guard. While he won 3 NBA championships as a player, he's been less successful as a coach, winning less than half of his games in 11 full seasons and 2 partial ones. He won coach of the year in 2009, but was fired by the Hornets 9 games in to the next season.
Prior Jobs: Los Angeles Lakers assistant (2004-2011), Indiana Pacers assistant (2011-present)
Head coaching record: 0-0
Shaw, another former player, has had his name thrown around by the mainstream media quite a bit during this process. The reason for it is unclear to me. He's a 3-time Champion as a player and a 2-time champion as an assistant coach, all with Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, and the Lakers. I don't know a lot about Shaw, but I'm wary testing out an unproven rookie head coach who used to be a player. You know, like the Clippers did last time.
Prior Jobs: New York Knicks coaching associate (2001-2003), New York Knicks assistant coach (2003-2005), Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach (2005-2010), New Orleans Hornets assistant coach (2010-2011), Golden State Warriors assistant coach (2011-present)
Head coaching record: 0-0
Another rookie head coach, Mike Malone has made his rounds in the last decade as a well respected assistant. He's currently the highest paid assistant in the league for the Golden State Warriors. Malone is given a lot of credit for the Warriors' offensive and defensive improvement this season, as well as the improvement of the Hornets when he was an assistant there under Byron Scott. Again, it's risky to hire a first-time head coach, but at least Malone isn't a former player-turned coach. That means that he had to earn his way up the ranks based on coaching ability- evidenced by his rather hard-to-track resume. If Chris Paul recommends Malone (he played under Malone in New Orleans for a season), I wouldn't have a hard time seeing Mike get serious consideration from the Clippers.
Prior Jobs: San Antionio Spurs video coordinator (1994-1996) San Antonio Spurs assistant coach (1996-present)
Head coaching record: Unknown (He's filled in for Popovich for a few games at a time but I can't find his record)
Budenholzer is one of the most widely respected assistant coaches in the league- actually, probably the single most highly respected assistant. He's been in San Antonio under one of the greatest coaches ever in Greg Popovich for nearly 20 years. He's interviewed for head coaching positions before, but for whatever reason he's never taken a job. Maybe he hasn't been offered or maybe he's turned some positions down. If he likes this Clippers team, and the situation is right for him, and the team decides to offer him the job, I could see him as a good option.
Stan Van Gundy
Prior Jobs: Miami Heat assistant coach (1995-2003), Miami Heat head coach (2003-2005), Orlando Magic head coach (2007-2012)
Head coaching record: 371-208 (.641), 1 NBA Finals Appearance
Stan Van Gundy is an accomplished coach who would probably still be in Orlando if it wasn't for the Dwightmare. Unfortunately, it seems like he won't be a candidate for the Clippers job, as he's announced that he's going to take at least one more season off of coaching to be with his family. If that changes, I would hope to see him get an interview.
Jeff Van Gundy
Prior Jobs: New York Knicks assistant coach (1989-1996), New York Knicks head coach (1996-2001), Houston Rockets head coach (2003-2007)
Head Coaching Record: 430-318 (.575), 1 NBA Finals Appearance
Jeff Van Gundy, brother of Stan Van Gundy, has been out of the NBA since 2007, but he's still been around, broadcasting nationally televised games. Personally, I really like Van Gundy, and I'd like to see him at least interviewed by the Clippers in this process. I believe that he's had opportunities to get back into coaching in the last few years, but he prefers the broadcasting booth. Maybe the Clippers job is intriguing enough to lure him back. Either way I think he's definitely worth an interview, and he's a strong candidate out of the gate.
Prior jobs: Seattle Supersonics head coach (2000-2005), Portland Trail Blazers head coach (2005-2012)
Head Coaching Record: 478-452 (.514)
Nate is an interesting name on the list. Some members of the media speculate that he'll have a position by the end of the summer, and it's just a matter of who can get him. The Clippers certainly seem to be the best option for any free agent coach. While he never had any especially talented teams in Portland, he always had them playing hard, and he always seemed to scrape out wins with large amounts of unfortunate injuries. Would he be as effective coaching a contender? It's hard to know. Nate has some defensive expertise, as he led the NBA in steals in 1994 and made the All-NBA Defensive Second Team in 1994 and 1995 as a member of the Sonics. I would like to get him an interview as well.
Prior jobs: Chicago Bulls head coach (1979-1982), Utah Jazz head coach (1988-2011)
Head Coaching Record: 1221-803 (.603), 2 NBA Finals Appearances
Here's the deal with Jerry Sloan: you don't interview him. You call him and offer him the job, and if he accepts, you pay him whatever his rate is. He's that type of coach. He's literally a living legend. His offense in Utah worked so well to create easy baskets, and there's a reason he almost always led the Jazz to the playoffs. Hopefully he can adjust his Stockton/Malone offense to fit Paul/Griffin. I would honestly be ecstatic if he was the Clippers' new head coach.
Prior Jobs: Chicago Bulls head coach (1989-1998), Los Angeles Lakers head coach (1999-2004, 2005-2011)
Head Coaching Record: 1155-485 (.704), 13 NBA Finals Appearances, 11 NBA Championships
Here's the deal with Phil Jackson: you don't interview him. If he wants the job, he calls and tells you, and he's in the office the next day making eight figures. It's that simple. However, I only put him in here because his name is mentioned so much. He says he doesn't want to coach again, and I believe him.
Prior Jobs: Phoenix Suns assistant coach (1988-1995), Vancouver Grizzlies head coach (1999-2000), Memphis Grizzlies interim head coach (2005), Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach (2008-2009), Memphis Grizzlies head coach (2009-present)
Head Coaching Record: 214-201 (.516)
Lionel Hollins is an interesting case. He's currently coaching the Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals, but his contract is expiring and there were hints of disagreement between him and management all season long. He didn't like the Rudy Gay trade and new ownership could be looking to move in a new direction. There's also the reports that Clippers owner Donald Sterling went to San Antonio-Memphis Game 1 to scout Lionel as a coach. Ultimately, I don't think this will matter, as after the great success the Grizzlies have enjoyed this season, I would be shocked if Hollins doesn't get a long and lucrative extension to stay in Memphis. Which could be dodging a bullet, because I'm not convinced that Hollins is that much better than Vinny Del Negro.