Not all head coaches who left their teams at the end or during the 2013-14 NBA regular season were fired. Tyrone Corbin didn’t get his contract picked up by the Utah Jazz. Rick Adelman retired from coaching altogether, but the Minnesota Timberwolves wouldn’t have kept him. Maurice Cheeks was fired mid-season by the Detroit Pistons, while Mike Woodson got the axe from the New York Knicks a week after he failed to make the playoffs.
These aren’t the only names to be looking for a job – once the playoffs end we might hear of at least one more names that will be unemployed, but for now, these are the four “victims” of the regular season. Cheeks is the only one of them who didn’t get to even complete one full season with the team.
Maurice Cheeks, Detroit Pistons – The only head coached fired midway through the season, lasting only 50 games on the job. Cheeks had a 21-29 record with the Pistons, a team expected to make the playoffs after adding Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings via free agency to Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. However, Cheeks never seemed to get a firm grasp on the team and get players to play for each other, with Smith’s selfish behavior on the court a perfect example of the very small influence Cheeks had on what happened during games. It is the third time in his career he’s been fired, following his stints with Portland and Philadelphia.
Mike Woodson, New York Knicks – Up in the air for a very long time, maybe even since the Knicks were knocked out of the playoffs last season. Woodson took over the job midway through the 2011-2012 season to bring in quick success, making the playoffs twice, including getting to the conference semifinals last season. But this year things went sour. A bad defense and some weird decisions regarding the lineups he used were all part of a 37-45 record that wasn’t enough to get the team into the playoffs. Woodson was fired along with the entire coaching staff as Phil Jackson is trying to bring in a lot of changes this offseason.
Tyrone Corbin, Utah Jazz – Not fired, but didn’t get his contract renewed, which is pretty much the same thing. Corbin became the head coach after Jerry Sloan stepped down surprisingly midway through the 2010-2011 season following the whole Deron Williams debacle. Corbin actually got the Jazz into the playoffs in 2012 but failed to repeat that in 2013, and after Jefferson and Millsap both left last offseason his chances were slim from the start. A terrible start and finish to the season with some nice moments in between, leading to a 25-57 record, were enough for the ownership to decide their continuing rebuilding process will carry on with someone else.
Rick Adelman, Minnesota Timberwolves – Adelman retired from coaching, he wasn’t fired, but it’s hard to believe he would have carried on with the Timberwolves considering the medical condition of his wife which probably more than slightly affected his coaching this season. One of the best head coaches to never win an NBA championship, Adelman did lead the Timberwolves to a 40-42 record this season, but failed to make the playoffs a third straight time. His better days as a head coach: The Blazers (1988-1994), Kings (1998-2006) and the Rockets (2007-2011) are well behind him, and even though he is probably one of the most important offensive minds of the last 30 years in NBA basketball, his time in the league was probably up.