Feeling the heat
There are seven NBA coaches in the final year of their contract, and some seats are hotter than others. Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro (pictured) is one of them. Here they are, in order of just how hot those seats could be:
Vinny Del Negro, LA Clippers
Calls for his head last year were quelled by strong regular-season finish, but resurfaced after second-round sweep. Highest expectations of anyone here.
Larry Drew, Atlanta
Hawks assistant from 2004-10, so familiarity is there, but underachieving team already began transition process with trade of Joe Johnson.
Alvin Gentry, Phoenix
Very low expectations could help, but poor performances usually cost coaches, not players, their jobs. A particularly bad stretch could be it for him.
Scott Skiles, Milwaukee
Known for being tough to take for long stretches, Skiles will go as far as the team takes him. A playoff berth should keep him from the relegation zone.
Avery Johnson, Brooklyn
Former Coach of the Year wasn't expected to win much the past two seasons, but he may not survive a slow start with gaudy expectations.
Lionel Hollins, Memphis
Grizzlies, a team lacking brand-name talent, are in third year as a contender. Reflects strongly on Hollins, who has handled wild child Zach Randolph.
Frank Vogel, Indiana (team option)
Coach of the Year candidate last season, should be the safest of these barring complete catastrophe. Has cultivated talents of Paul George and Roy Hibbert.