With all the hubbub about Golden State's run in the playoffs, and Dallas' collapse, and the intrigue surrounding the lottery and the upcoming draft, the fact that 20 percent of the league's teams currently don't have head coaches - a number that may rise in the coming days - has flown under the radar.
Six teams are absent a coach - well, technically five, but not even Jeff Van Gundy's immediate family believes he'll be back in Houston. How convenient for him that word leaked to the New York Post last week that he was going to quit after the playoffs, when there was next to no chance Rockets owner Les Alexander was going to bring him back next season.
If you get behind the posse, it's a parade, not a chase.
And those half-dozen vacancies may well increase if Orlando dispatches incumbent Brian Hill or Toronto can't reach agreement on a new deal with Sam Mitchell.
It will be interesting to see how coaches do financially in this round of hires. Teams have been increasingly reluctant to throw big dollars at big-name guys - witness George Karl's modest $3 million annual payment in Denver after getting $7 million per year in Milwaukee, and Don Nelson's having to work overtime for the Warriors. (He has to make the conference finals to make $3.5 million.)
But there is still no shortage of interested parties. Consider:
Charlotte. Everyone has been interviewed for this job; Ken Reeves may be next. The current list includes Mavericks assistant Sam Vincent, former Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, Paul Silas, Mario Elie, Mike Fratello, Knicks assistant Herb Williams, Grizzlies assistant Lionel Hollins and ex-Bulls star Reggie Theus, who spent last season getting New Mexico State to the NCAA tournament.
Part-owner Michael Jordan evidently forgives and forgets, or has a sick sense of humor; he and Theus famously feuded as players. (Among other things, it involved . . . someone else. And that's all we're going to say.) Silas, who wants the job - he still has a home in Charlotte - is likely at the front of the current list, though Mitchell may well have the inside track when and if he's freed up from Toronto.
Houston. All that remains is how the Rockets and Jeff Van Gundy will word his departure. It will almost certainly be a "mutual decision" that he will not return. By doing so, Van Gundy will pocket a fat fee.
The name heard most often as Van Gundy's replacement is ex-Kings and Blazers coach Rick Adelman, though Silas' name is believed to be on Alexander's short list, as well. The Rockets can't afford to break in a new coach with Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Shane Battier in the meat of their respective careers. Alexander will also likely inquire about Larry Brown's interest.
The team owner will not inquire about ex-Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, still a local favorite who is currently a scout for the Lakers. Even though Rudy T's contract will be up in a month or so, Tomjanovich is serious about maintaining his improved quality of life away from coaching.
Indiana. Ex-Pacers Mitchell and Mark Jackson are both viewed as the anti-Rick Carlisle, able to communicate better with players while still challenging them to get better. Stan Van Gundy has also interviewed here.
The Pacers have not yet contacted Toronto about Mitchell, waiting to see what happens.
"We're looking for a guy who can coach, a guy that the players understand," Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh said Friday. "I think that's necessary throughout this league right now. You've got so many young players. It takes a guy with multiple abilities."
Memphis. The Grizzlies are taking their time, waiting to see exactly what they'll have in the draft after the May 22 lottery. If they land the first pick, they'll take Greg Oden and Suns assistant Marc Iavaroni would be the odds-on favorite to get the job. If not . . . well, do you want the gig?
Sacramento. GM Geoff Petrie has more say over this hire than he did last year, when Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof pushed Eric Musselman down his throat. Current Kings assistant and former player Scott Brooks' name has been mentioned, but anyone who tells you they know which way the ultra-secretive Petrie is leaning is lying to you. We'll all find out together at the news conference.
Seattle. Lenny Wilkens has managed to become president of the Sonics with next to no fanfare, and is apparently going to pick the new GM for majority owner Clay Bennett. Spurs assistant GM Sam Presti and Pistons director of player personnel Scott Perry are on the short, short list. If Presti gets the gig, many expect him to bring San Antonio assistant P.J. Carlesimo with him to coach. But Carlesimo might well have a shot in Toronto if the Raptors don't re-sign Mitchell.