4. Mike D’Antoni
The longtime head coach gets brought up for any opening, but he has not been in the top chair since leaving the Rockets in 2020. D’Antoni was a second-round pick who never played in the NBA but spent 13 years with Olimpia Milano. He later became their head coach before joining the NBA ranks in 1997.
D’Antoni’s first NBA head coaching job was in 1998. He has led five different teams over 16 seasons. The 72-year-old is most famous for coaching the Seven Seconds or Less Suns and helping Steve Nash become a two-time MVP and historically great point guard. D’Antoni helped unlock James Harden in Houston too. The Beard won MVP in 2018, and the Rockets made the second round of the playoffs or beyond in four straight years.
Mike D’Antoni is known as an offensive mastermind, but his teams often struggle defensively. The veteran head coach could help unlock Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, but only if the two stars can stay healthy. The biggest benefit of adding D’Antoni could be on a young lead ball-handler like Dyson Daniels.
Would the New Orleans Pelicans sacrifice their defense to bring on D’Antoni? They were seventh in defensive rating last season and just brought in an underrated offensive mind to work under Willie Green. Could he be next in line if the Pels decide to open their head coaching gig?