With a new NBA season underway, and teams already looking to shuffle the deck, we're about to start hearing which coaches are on the hot seat as GMs try to cover their butts for the stupid stuff they did (or failed to do) this summer.
And sportsbooks aren't missing out on the inevitable rumors and speculation, offering NBA odds on the first head coach to be fired for 2023-24. The majority of the league is aiming to be competitive this season, which means several teams are bound to be disappointed. Even given the flurry of coaching changes over the summer, this NBA futures market is likely to see its result in the coming weeks.
Whose head will land on the chopping block? Check out the first NBA coach to be fired odds for the ongoing 2023-24 season.
First NBA head coach to be fired odds
|Wes Unseld Jr.
|Portland Trail Blazers
|Los Angeles Clippers
|Golden State Warriors
|New York Knicks
Odds as of November 23, 2023.
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Favorite to be first NBA head coach fired
Taylor Jenkins, Grizzlies (+150)
Jenkins tops this list somewhat anomalously, given his franchise's disrupted arc.
Yes, the Grizzlies were supposed to be working towards contention. Yes, the Grizzlies are currently 14th in the West and may have already punted this season.
But anyone thinking Jenkins — who, for argument's sake, was a Coach of the Year finalist in 2022 and is generally regarded among the league's best young coaches — is to blame for this is horribly misguided.
Between Ja Morant's suspension and long-term injuries to key cogs Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke, the Grizzlies entered 2023-24 as the NBA's most depleted roster. Further bit injuries to guys like Marcus Smart, Luke Kennard, and Xavier Tillman have left this unit stripped to the bones.
Yes, the present is very grim in Memphis. But there's a very clear explanation for that, and it has nothing to do with Jenkins. The Grizzlies front office is too smart to panic-fire a coach who's gotten excellent results from this roster for several years now.
Wes Unseld Jr., Wizards (+200)
Things were supposed to be bad in Washington this season, but the early results have been pretty dismal, setting the bar painfully low for competent basketball.
The Wizards are 2-12, besting only the insufferably incompetent Pistons in the East, their games are almost appointment viewing among League Pass geeks for unintentional hilarity and disorganized chaos purposes.
The season is quickly going the way of the 2022-23 Houston Rockets; equal parts daycare and basketball team. It was a toxic environment that stalled the development of Houston's prospects and made them a low-key laughing stock among opposing teams.
The Wizards may choose to nip the situation in the bud and start their rebuild fresh, with a more disciplined foundation.
Billy Donovan, Bulls (+300)
Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls topped the preseason board, and very much remains a coach in limbo.
He helms a poorly-assembled squad with very little upside that's again missing glue-guy PG Lonzo Ball again for the duration of this season. The Bulls have been fighting a losing battle with mediocrity since Ball's legs failed him, and with little roster flexibility, are stuck in NBA irrelevance.
Former All-Star Zach LaVine was recently reported to be on the trading block, and it would shock few if DeMar DeRozan and others were soon to follow. The house-cleaning could very much involve Donovan, who despite roster handicaps, failed to really do much creative with this team.
Adrian Griffin, Bucks (+700)
Obviously, things haven't quite gotten off to the start Adrian Griffin and the Milwaukee Bucks expected this season. While the Bucks are 10-5, tied on record for second in the East, there have been plenty of early bumps in the road, including questionable use of Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo synergies, and a fiery training camp blowup that led to assistant Terry Stotts (Dame's head coach for years in Portland) quitting on the spot.
Furthering Griffin's rough start was this Wednesday night altercation with the last guy on Earth a coach on the hot seat wants to have an altercation with:
This doesn't seem great. pic.twitter.com/OARbqK2kbr— Coach Gibson Pyper (@HalfCourtHoops) November 23, 2023
Literally, as I was updating the odds in this piece, Griffin moved from +4,000 to +700. Where there's smoke, there's usually fire, and there seems to be plenty of smoke coming from both the Bucks' team dynamic and the betting market movement here.
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