The position of head coach is always a precarious one, especially in the NBA. We often look at head coaches as those who are safe in their spots and those who are not. But in truth, NBA head coaches fall into plenty of other categories that fit in between those two extremes. Here's a look at the 30 coaches in the NBA, and what their job security looks like.
On the firing block
Fred Hoiberg, Chicago Bulls
Hoiberg was always in a tough spot in Chicago. The front office decided to move on from Tom Thibodeau due to personal differences, then remade the roster to build around Jimmy Butler, moving on from Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, and now the team is stuck between rebuilding and retooling without a particular path to contending again. In the meantime, Hoiberg has found it difficult to control a locker room with strong personalities like Butler, Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade, with some of the team's internal problems spilling onto social media. Add it all up and Hoiberg looks like a prime candidate to be replaced if the Bulls -- who are currently fighting for the eighth seed in the East -- miss the playoffs.
Up in the air
Alvin Gentry, New Orleans Pelicans
Gentry's two seasons in New Orleans has been disappointing. Last season, the Pelicans got off to a to a 4-15 start that dashed any of the team's hopes to build off its playoff appearance from the year before, finishing the season with a 30-52 record. This year, the team started 0-8 but acquired DeMarcus Cousins at the All-Star break while they were hovering near the eighth seed in the West. But the Pelicans have gone 3-6 since acquiring Cousins and appear on their way to missing the playoffs for a second straight season. Gentry has Anthony Davis and Cousins now, but his team needs to start winning, and soon.
Jeff Hornacek, New York Knicks
The Knicks will miss the playoffs once again and Phil Jackson has decided to turn the remainder of the season into another training camp for the Triangle Offense, even running practice himself last week. If Jackson is still with the team next year, will he want to hire another coach to run the Triangle again? And if he's not, will the new regime want to keep Hornacek around? Typical of everything with the Knicks, there are plenty of questions but very few answers.
Earl Watson, Phoenix Suns
The Suns are rebuilding and have a promising star in Devin Booker, but Watson had a 9-24 record last year and the Suns are 22-45 so far this season. When the team is ready to compete again, will they look for a more experienced head coach?
Nate McMillan, Indiana Pacers
McMillan went from assistant coach to head coach this summer when Frank Vogel was let go. The Pacers are another .500 team battling for seeding at the bottom of the East playoff standings, and superstar Paul George is reportedly interested in signing with the Lakers when he hits free agency after next season. Could Larry Bird and the Pacers get desperate and hire a new head coach in George's final season before his contract expires? It's a move we've seen before for franchises hoping to keep their star player. Stay tuned.
Terry Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers have struggled this season and are currently out of a playoff spot after making a surprising second-round appearance last year. Stotts has two 50-win seasons as a Blazers coach and can probably survive a down year, but with the bulk of the roster tied to long-term contracts, Stotts might not have as much time as most people think to turn it around this season or next.
Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers
It's a strange spot to put Doc, especially since the Clippers are on their way to the playoffs again this season. But there's plenty of uncertainty for this Clippers team if they make another early playoff exit. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are free agents, and if they leave, will Doc want to stick around? Or, if the Clippers lose in the first round, will Doc see himself as the problem and resign? There's plenty on the line for these Clippers in the postseason this year.
Safe ... for now
Dave Joerger, Sacramento Kings
Joerger is in his first season in Sacramento, where things remain turbulent, especially after the Cousins trade. Unless Vivek Ranadive and Vlade Divac decide their new head coach is the problem, Joerger will be around to oversee the rebuilding process.
David Fizdale, Memphis Grizzlies
Similarly, Fizdale is also in his first season, and has navigated injuries to his star players and shuffled his lineups around to keep the Grizzlies as a playoff team in the West. All in all, it's been one of the most underrated storylines in the league this year.
Frank Vogel, Orlando Magic
See above. Vogel is in his first year with a rebuilding team. His evaluation won't start until the Magic can figure out how to improve their roster.
Steve Clifford, Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets have been a disappointment, and at 29-38, are going to miss the playoffs. But Clifford is well respected around the league and in the Hornets locker room, and will likely get some more time to figure it out in Charlotte.
Michael Malone, Denver Nuggets
Malone was fired abruptly by the Kings a few years ago, but has proven he is a strong head coach by guiding Denver to a playoff spot at the moment. With a young roster that is poised to improve in the coming seasons, he can be expected to steer the ship in the right direction.
Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City Thunder
Most of the attention has been on Russell Westbrook's MVP-caliber season and deservedly so, but credit to Billy Donovan for adjusting and working around the roster that lost Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka this offseason. Losing Durant is a huge blow, but Donovan has been a key part to at least stabilizing the situation in OKC.
Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz
The Jazz are 42-25 and have by all accounts met most of the expectations and hype heaped upon them in the preseason. The playoffs will be a different story, but Snyder has proven this year he can indeed lead a talented roster to a postseason berth.
Scott Brooks, Washington Wizards
After a disappointing last season, Brooks has the Wizards battling for the No. 2 seed in the East. In OKC, he was often criticized for holding his team back from winning a championship. With the Wizards, Brooks is proving perhaps we didn't give him enough credit as a head coach during his first go around.
Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers
The foundation builders are coaches who are either on winning or rebuilding teams, but are secure in their roles in that they have the trust of management and will be there for the foreseeable future. Walton is a good example, having left the Warriors as an assistant to be head coach of the Lakers this year. The Lakers are still in rebuilding mode, but have a plethora of young stars who have the potential to blossom into a contender soon. The front office just went through a makeover (with plenty of behind-the-scenes drama), but the new regime -- led by Jeanie Buss and Magic Johnson -- seems intent on bringing the Lakers back to glory with Walton as their head coach.
Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn Nets
The Nets' rebuilding plan will be long and arduous, but general manager Sean Marks brought in Kenny Atkinson not to win now, but to start building habits and establishing a culture that was missing in Brooklyn while Billy King kept trading for and signing veterans to chase a championship that the Nets were nowhere close to competing for.
Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota Timberwolves
The Wolves have not performed to expectations in Thibodeau's first season in charge, but Thibs was brought in as a long-term solution for a team that's mired in a deep playoff drought. It will take a few more seasons of disappointment before Minnesota considers a coaching change.
Brett Brown, Philadelphia Sixers
Despite all the losses Brown absorbed for his personal resume during Sam Hinkie's rebuild, he's come out of it with his job intact. This is a Sixers team that could compete soon, provided Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are healthy next season.
Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics
Stevens is regarded as one of the best coaches in the league, and him and Danny Ainge have Boston positioned as a challenger to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers this season.
Mike D'Antoni, Houston Rockets
After unsuccessful coaching stints in New York and Los Angeles, D'Antoni has been reborn this season with a team led by James Harden and an entire team of three-point shooters, a perfect roster for D'Antoni's offensive style.
Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta Hawks
The excitement of Atlanta's surprising 60-22 season from two years ago has worn off, and with the departures of Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver and Al Horford, the Hawks are in a bit of a transition period, albeit still a playoff team in the East. Yet, having come from the Spurs, Budenholzer -- as head coach and president of basketball operations with final say in all basketball matters -- has turned the Hawks into one of the most reputable franchises in the league, and he's simultaneously developed a reputation of getting the most out of his roster every season.
Stan Van Gundy, Detroit Pistons
The Pistons, at 33-33 and fighting to remain in one of the final playoff spots in the East, have underachieved this season, with (thought to be) franchise cornerstones Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond both reportedly on the trading block before the trade deadline last month. But, like Budenholzer, Van Gundy has full control over basketball operations, and given his coaching success at stints in Miami and Orlando, there's a long leash in Detroit for Van Gundy to make it work.
Jason Kidd, Milwaukee Bucks
Kidd forced his way to Milwaukee while he was head coach with the Nets, and is now coach of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Kidd helped convert The Greek Freak to the point guard position and has helped turn him into one of the best players in the league. For that feat alone, Kidd and the Bucks are likely at the start of a very long-term partnership.
In their grace period
Eric Spoelstra, Miami Heat
It's been 2013 since Erik Spoelstra won his last championship in Miami and a lot has changed since. LeBron James is in Cleveland, Dwyane Wade is in a Bulls uniform, and Chris Bosh has been forced to retire. Yet, Spoelstra and Pat Riley have forged a long-term relationship in Miami that should last until the two can turn this roster around. It also helps the Heat have gone 21-5 in their last 26 games with a makeshift roster led by the likes of Dion Waiters, James Johnson, Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson.
Rick Carlisle, Dallas Mavericks
As long as Dirk Nowitzki and Mark Cuban are around, it's hard to see Carlisle -- who agreed to a five-year extension in 2015 -- going anywhere.
Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors
After an Eastern Conference Finals appearance last season, Casey was rewarded with a three-year contract. Casey has improved the Raptors' win total for each of his first five seasons in Toronto, although a long-term injury to Kyle Lowry and inconsistent defense means the Raptors won't surpass last year's 56 wins. Casey has built a program, as he likes to call it in Toronto, and looked to be entrenched as the team's head coach for the foreseeable future.
Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors
Well, let's check the resume: In his rookie season, Kerr led the Warriors to the championship. Last season, the team won an all-time record 73 games during the regular season. This season, the Warriors added Kevin Durant and appear on their way to a third consecutive Finals appearance. He's had a lot of talent on his rosters, but few coaches have had a three year stretch like Kerr's.
Tyronn Lue, Cleveland Cavaliers
It's no surprise the two coaches who have won titles with LeBron are high up on this list. There's probably nothing more to say about Lue, who was a preferred choice as head coach of the Cavs by LeBron over David Blatt.
The standard bearer
Gregg Popovich, San Antonio
Is there anyone else who can top this list? Pop has been coaching the Spurs for two decades, won five championships with Tim Duncan, and has San Antonio near the top of the Western Conference. Pop has built a culture in San Antonio that has endured, and now with Kawhi Leonard looking like the perfect successor to Duncan, Pop will occupy the top spot on these rankings as long as he's around.