Rick Adelman, one of the winningest NBA coaches of all time, departed the Houston Rockets on Monday in what has been termed a mutual separation. SI.com's Sam Amick reports that Adelman wants to coach again; that alone immediately makes the 20-year coaching vet the top option on the market. He's good enough to perhaps get another coach fired, if an enterprising GM thinks Adelman can be the difference.
Adelman's presence alone boosts the potential wackiness for this NBA coaching carousel, one off to a slow start. But unless the L.A. Lakers preemptively name Brian Shaw the new head coach, the vacancy created when Phil Jackson retires at season's end with throw this thing into overdrive. There are also persistent reports that Doc Rivers will step away from the Boston Celtics to watch his son Austin Rivers play at Duke. If Boston and L.A. are open, we might forget all about that pesky lockout.
Of course, it's not going to take long for someone to put the top available coach (Adelman) and the top available job (Lakers) together; R.A.'s positive history with Ron Artest and resumé of working with skilled big men like Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom won't hurt. Kobe Bryant, an avowed Shaw fan, respects basketball history, and won't ignore that Adelman is in elite company among coaches; only Adelman, Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Red Auerbach, Jerry Sloan and Pat Riley have coached 1,000 games and have a winning percentage better than 60 percent.
But that's a consideration for another time, when the Lakers are actually looking for a coach. Will Adelman last until mid-June, should L.A. make it to the NBA Finals? Adelman won't be desperate; he waited a year -- without severance payments -- for the Houston job, and while he's not getting younger, letting the lockout play out before committing to a roster might be the preferred move. Regardless, there's only one vacancy in the NBA right now, and that's the job Adelman left.
So the mild start to the NBA coaching carousel continues. But trust me: it's going to get nutty before too long.