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NBA head coach rumors: Wizards hire Wes Unseld Jr. for head coaching vacancy

We’re tracking all the teams who are looking for a new bench boss during the summer and offseason.

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Denver Nuggets v Miami Heat
Assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr. of the Denver Nuggets looks on against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on January 8, 2019 in Miami, Florida.
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The NBA Playoffs are still going on, so we’re technically not into the offseason quite yet. It’s still the summer, though, so we get a bit of an offseason feel as the playoffs continue. With teams being eliminated from contention and focusing on the NBA Draft, free agency and next season, there have been a flurry of head coaching moves already made. Here we’re going to be tracking all the latest news and rumors surrounding NBA head coaches.

NBA head coach rumors 2021

Washington Wizards

The Wizards have hired Wes Unseld Jr. to a four-year contract to become the team’s head coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Unseld was an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets most recently before landing the Washington gig. He was an assistant coach with the Wizards, Golden State Warriors and Orlando Magic prior to joining Mike Malone’s staff in Denver.

Boston Celtics

Update, June 9 — The Celtics have been given permission to begin talking to candidates for their vacant head coach position, per Woj. Among the coaches expected to be contacted are Chauncey Billups, Charles Lee and Darvin Ham from the Bucks, Jamahl Mosley of the Mavs and Ime Udoka of the Sixers.

The Celtics didn’t fire Brad Stevens, rather opting to promote him within the front office to replace President of Basketball Ops Danny Ainge, who retired. With Stevens out, the Celtics are looking for a new head coach, a search headed by Stevens himself. The Celtics have already been linked to a handful of names, including Jason Kidd, Lloyd Pierce and Sam Cassell.

Portland Trail Blazers

Update, June 25 — Chauncey Billups has emerged as a frontrunner for Portland’s opening, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Billups is a 17-year NBA veteran who is an assistant coach with the Clippers this season.

Update, June 12 — The Blazers have added Becky Hammon, Dawn Staley, Brent Barry and Chauncey Billups to their head coach search, according to Shams Charania.

Update, June 10 — The Blazers have a new name popping up in reports for their head coach position: Mike D’Antoni. The Nets assistant is drawing interest from Portland and Dame, per Sam Amick of The Athletic. D’Antoni was let go by the Houston Rockets after last season and has also coached the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns

The Blazers let go of Terry Stotts after another early playoff exit. He had done well in Portland but could never get the team over the hump, so when the Blazers had a legit shot at making a run in 2021 and couldn’t, it was time to move on. So the Blazers are in the market for a new head coach. Damian Lillard has reportedly said he wants Jason Kidd to be the replacement in Portland.

Orlando Magic

Update, July 11 — The Magic are bringing in Dallas Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley as head coach, according to Shams Charania.

Update, June 27 — The Magic are interviewing former star point guard and current Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway for their head coaching vacancy, according to Shams Charania. Hardaway is considered a serious contender for the opening.

Update, June 12 — Becky Hammon is set to interview for the head coaching vacancies in Portland and Orlando, according to Shams Charania. Harmon has been an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs since 2014. She previously interviewed for the GM opening with the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Magic and head coach Steve Clifford mutually agreed to part ways a week ago. So the Magic are looking for a new head coach in the middle of a pretty hefty rebuild after selling off players like Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier at the deadline. Orlando has a lot of appealing young assets and could use somebody who can get the most out of its prospects. Terry Stotts has already been linked to the Magic and fans and the like really want former Magic All-Star Penny Hardaway to leave the NCAA to coach in Orlando.

Indiana Pacers

Update, June 21 — The Pacers will be interviewing Steve Clifford, Brian Shaw and Terry Stotts for their head coaching vacancy, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Clifford and Stotts were head coaches this past season with the Magic and Trail Blazers respectively. Shaw was last an NBA head coach with the Nuggets in 2014-15. He was an assistant with the Lakers from 2016-19 before becoming the head coach of G League Ignite.

The Pacers reportedly let go of first-year coach Nate Bjorkgren after one season and a poor finish. Bjorkgren reportedly lost the Pacers locker room and front office throughout the year. So he’s out and Indy is looking for a new head coach. Terry Stotts has also been linked to the Pacers early on.

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks will be in the market for a new head coach after Rick Carlisle told the team he would not return, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Carlisle was with the Mavericks for 13 seasons and won a title with the franchise in 2011.

New Orleans Pelicans

UpdateAccording to Shams Charania, the Pelicans are seriously considering Phoenix Suns assistant coach Willie Green for their head coaching job. Green was previous an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors. He also played in the league from 2003-15.

The Pelicans will not be retaining Stan Van Gundy after a 30-42 campaign. Assistant Theresa Witherspoon is reportedly a serious candidate to replace Van Gundy, but uncertainty surrounding Zion Williamson’s future with the franchise could make this a tough gig.