Top 10 free-agent coaches

Karl, Del Negro among best options for teams looking to improve in 2014-15

Updated: June 3, 2014, 1:33 PM ET
By Amin Elhassan | ESPN Insider

George Karl, Vinny Del NegroAndrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesVinny Del Negro and George Karl are both attractive choices to lead an NBA franchise next season.

There are just five coaching openings (for now), and a horde of hopefuls are lined up to cash a sizable check and turn the fortunes of a franchise around. Over the past couple of years, teams have increasingly turned to new head coaches to fill the position, creating an overstock of experienced head coaches with strong résumés.

We routinely rank free-agent players, so here is the free-agent ranking of experienced coaches, sorted by career win/loss percentage (minimum 200 games coached).


1. George Karl | Career win/loss: 1131-756 (0.599)
Former teams: Cavs, Warriors, Sonics, Bucks, Nuggets
Reputation: Players' coach

A future Hall of Famer, Karl was the author of innovative, trapping defenses that flouted the now-defunct illegal defense rules by playing the closest thing to zone. His Sonics teams of the early- to mid-'90s were consistently near the top of the league in defensive efficiency despite operating in a fashion that more closely resembles contemporary defenses than the wrestling match style of the day.

Offensively, he was a forerunner in the sort of up-tempo, small-ball offense that has become the norm around the league. Amazingly, he hasn't had a sub-.500 year in more than 20 seasons (not since he was coaching the Warriors), and his last season in Denver saw him win a franchise-NBA-best 57 games and place fifth in offensive rating and 11th in defensive rating. Although Karl has a reputation of needling his players through the media, he has been considered a players' coach for his open style of play and the freedom he gives his veterans on the court.