The unique circumstance of NBA coaching turnover in 2013

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Though the NBA had a record number of coaching changes in the 2013 offseason, it isn't out of the ordinary in the last two decades. The record was also aided by unique circumstance.

The NBA hasn't seen many summers like this one. Thirteen teams hired new head coaches in the 2013 offseason, the most turnover the league has ever seen.

An average of seven teams have made coaching changes during the offseason in the last decade, which is up from a 6.5 average in the 10 years before that, from 1994-2003. That's an average of 6.75 offseason coaching changes in the last 20 years. The count includes interim head coaches hired permanently but doesn't account for head coaches hired midseason -- like Mike D'Antoni's hiring after Mike Brown was fired by the Lakers last year.

But is there a reason for such turnover in 2013? Is it a panic as the Miami Heat and few others have created super teams? Is it a knee-jerk business reaction in a new era affected by the shorter contracts of the collective bargaining agreement?

Maybe it's simply the cyclical nature of a league where winning isn't enough.

It also appears to be coincidental, a perfect storm if you will. Only six of the coaches were flat-out fired or resigned this offseason, and three interim coaches were replaced after they took over midseason in 2012-13. (We'll explain the other four cases below). The total, nine, is a lot but it's happened before. Here's a look at the last 20 offseasons and how even the game's best coaches (not named Gregg Popovich) have struggled to find long-term homes.

2013 offseason

Along with the nine new coaches replacing their fired predecessors, teams also let three coaches walk after their contracts ran out. In that, it's unique those teams allowed those coaches -- Vinny Del Negro, Lionel Hollins and Larry Drew -- to leave after playoffs berths, and in two cases, 56-win seasons. Adding to this season's offseason carnage was the Boston Celtics' "trade" of Doc Rivers to the Clippers. In addition, NBA Coach of the Year George Karl was fired after one of the most successful seasons in Nuggets franchise history.

Total: 13 coaching changes

2012 offseason

Last year's quiet offseason on the coaching front alluded to a number of expiring contracts and even more must-win situations for nearly half of the league's coaches in 2013. Mike Dunlap (Charlotte), Jacque Vaughn (Orlando) and Terry Stotts (Portland) were the newcomers.

Total: 3 coaching changes

2011 offseason

Some losing teams like the Raptors, Pistons and Timberwolves failed to get on track, but the losses also included Rick Adelman, who left after a mediocre tenure in Houston, and Phil Jackson, who retired.

Total: 6 coaching changes

2010 offseason

Along with the usual poor teams that needed new blood, some average squads like Vinny Del Negro's Bulls and a playoff-contending Hornets squad led by point guard Chris Paul needed a refurbishing of the bench.

Total: 8 coaching changes

2009 offseason

Four interim head coaches were replaced this offseason, and Detroit Pistons coach Michael Curry might as well have been. He lasted one full season before getting the boot.

Total: 5 coaching changes

2008 offseason

Like Del Negro, George Karl and Lionel Hollins in 2012-13, successful coaches like Mike D'Antoni (Phoenix) and Flip Saunders (Detroit) didn't return in 2008. Heat coach Pat Riley also handed the reigns over to Erik Spoelstra.

Total: 8 coaching changes

2007 offseason

The Charlotte Bobcats fired the franchise's first coach, Bernie Bickerstaff. Jeff Van Gundy (Houston) and Rick Carlisle (Indiana) lost their jobs despite decent tenures. Stan Van Gundy was also hired by the Magic.

Total: 7 coaching changes**

** This would be eight coaching changes if Billy Donovan's brief acceptance of the Orlando Magic's coaching job is included. The Magic ended up hiring Stan Van Gundy after Donovan accepted the job vacated by Brian Hill, then changed his mind.

2006 offseason

This was a very quiet year considering who was fired. Rick Adelman ended his successful run with the Sacramento Kings, and Larry Brown failed with the Knicks and a questionable roster put together by a questionable front office. Golden State also admitted its mistake in hiring successful college coach Mike Montgomery.

Total: 3 coaching changes

2005 offseason

Mike Brown joined what would be a very solid run with LeBron James in Cleveland, Phil Jackson returned to the Los Angeles Lakers to chase titles with Kobe Bryant and Larry Brown joined the Knicks for his ill-fated one-year run with the team. Other teams that changed coaches: Detroit, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Seattle, Orlando, Philadelphia and Portland.

Total: 10 coaching changes

2004 offseason

Doc Rivers begins the turnaround that would build the Celtics into a championship squad, and Rudy Tomjanovich replaced Phil Jackson in Lakerland before stepping aside for health reasons midway through the year.

Total: 7 coaching changes

**Charlotte was added as an expansion team led by Bernie Bickerstaff.

2003 offseason

A big-name list of coaches left in the 2003 offseason. Those included: Paul Silas (Hornets), Larry Brown (Sixers), Lenny Wilkens (Raptors), Doug Collins (Wizards), George Karl (Bucks), Pat Riley (Heat), Rick Carlisle (Pistons), Rudy Tomjanovich (Rockets) and Isiah Thomas (Pacers).

Silas, Brown and Carlisle immediately found head coaching jobs in Cleveland, Detroit and Indiana. The Van Gundy brothers latched on with Miami and Houston.

Total: 11 coaching changes

2002 offseason

Jeff Bzdelik (Nuggets) and Eric Musselman (Warriors) began what would be brief runs.

Total: 2 coaching changes

2001 offseason

The Cavaliers, Trail Blazers and Wizards all reloaded, and the Pistons inked former interim coach Rick Carlisle permanently.

Total: 4 coaching changes

2000 offseason

Larry Bird stepped aside in Indiana and Lenny Wilkens ended a seven-year career in Atlanta.

Total: 8 coaching changes

1999 offseason

Mike D'Antoni's first taste of head coaching, as an interim coach in Denver, came to an end. Coming into head-coaching gigs were Phil Jackson, who returned to the bench with the Lakers en route to multiple titles, and Doc Rivers, who joined Orlando without any NBA experience.

Total: 5 coaching changes

1998 offseason

Phil Jackson's run with the Bulls ended and was one of the six coaching changes this offseason. Likewise, George Karl's successful tenure with the Seattle Supersonics came to an end. Karl, however, joined a Milwaukee Bucks team that would soon find success with its Big Three of Sam Cassell, Glenn Robinson and Ray Allen.

Total: 6 coaching changes

1997 offseason

Rick Pitino tried out the NBA lifestyle with the Boston Celtics, which didn't last long. Heavyweights Larry Brown and P.J. Carlesimo got back into the coaching groove with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Golden State Warriors, and two-time champion head coach Chuck Daly began his last stint in the league, a final go-round with Orlando.

Total: 8 coaching changes

1996 offseason

John Calipari made the jump from college to the pros with the New Jersey Nets, with some early success and failure thereafter. Elsewhere, Dave Cowens replaced Allan Bristow with the Charlotte Hornets. (Note: Danny Ainge did get his first gig with the Phoenix Suns during this year, but it was eight games into the 1996-97 season, so we didn't count it).

Total: 6 coaching changes

1995 offseason

Alvin Gentry made his head-coaching debut as an interim with Miami, but was replaced permanently by Pat Riley, who left the New York Knicks. Don Nelson replaced Riley on the Knicks' bench.

Total: 5 coaching changes**

**Plus two new expansion hires in Toronto and Vancouver

1994 offseason

Interim coach Magic Johnson finished the previous season with a 5-11 record with the Lakers but was replaced by Del Harris for the 1994-95 season. Rick Adelman (Portland) and Chuck Daly (New Jersey) also lost their jobs.

Total: 9 coaching changes

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