Chris Sheridan, ESPN.com's rumor man, places Rick Adelman on the hot seat:
The emphasis is mine. Seems like a dumb way to make a decision, doesn't it? I mean, is JoeMa saying that if the Kings get into the second round or the conference finals, he'll have to try to bring Adelman back? But if, you know, the team misses the postseason or gets knocked out in the first round, that guy is gone! I've said before that I think the relationship is too poisonous for it to survive a real bad stretch a la this last winter. Do you want to tie up a couple million in a coach you nor the fan base have any faith in? If you do, and it doesn't work, then you're left with
a) Elston Turner coaching your team, or
b) digging a coach out of the dregs in the middle of the season.
Regardless, you're producing instability. Remember: a guy named Ron Artest is on your team. You generally want to surround frightening loose cannons with stability. Ignore the fact that running mate Bonzi is going to be gone and one of Shareef and Kenny are likely to be traded as well. Yank Mr. Beast's coach out from under him in the middle of a season? Disaster.
I think it's all easily settled this offseason, and in a ESPN chat, Sheridan touches on why:
SportsNation Chris Sheridan: I'll twist your question around a little and re-pose it this way: Which current coach will be out of a job or coaching elsewhere when next season begins? And my answer is Rick Adelman, who probably hasn't appreciated being kept a lame duck all season by the Kings. Joe Maloof told me yesterday that he won't decide for certain whether he'll want Adelman back until he sees how the Kings do in the playoffs. He also indicated that Adelman might want to move on, which struck me as a bit strange. But the more I thought about it and compared it to Nate McMillan's breakup with the Sonics last year, the more it started to make sense.
Like I said, it's poisonous. (And the emphasis, again, is mine.) Everything I've read from Adelman's mouth since Philgate has indicated he has not forgiven the Maloofs for the way they slighted him by courting Jackson when they had a coach under contract, and then not allowing Adelman to speak to Portland. Newsflash to the Maloofs and Chris Sheridan: Rick Adelman is not a coaching slouch. He has a better career record than Larry Brown. He will get a job within days of being released from duty in Sacramento. It's strange that no one else sees that it's Adelman who's calling the shots here. That's price of courting Phil, I guess: You relinquish power to the coach when you realize you probably want to keep him around with your new, new nucleus. Which only furthers the theory that Phil Jackson is truly evil.