Add Doc Rivers to the list of managers/coaches who have been traded. A list that has never paid off for either side of the deal. The Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics agreed in principle to terms of a trade that would send Celtics coach Doc Rivers, to the Clippers in exchange for an unprotected fist round draft pick in 2015.
The Celtics will void the remaining three years and $21 million left on Rivers deal, and the Clips will sign him to the exact same contract. The feeling is that with the acquisition of Rivers as coach, this will all but seal the deal to keep all-star point guard Chris Paul in LA with a 5-year max contract.
Upon hearing of the news, I went back to find out how these “coach trades” have worked out in the past. And there is only one instance where the team acquiring the coach has actually won anything. The only thing it really has done is caused greedy owners to fork over good players, tons of draft picks and the overpay the new coach.
Let’s revisit some of these fantastic moves…
MLB: In late October 2011, the Chicago White Sox traded Manager Ozzie Guillen to the Miami Marlins for Double-A reliever Jhan Marinez, Triple-A shortstop Ozzie Martinez and Rookie ball pitcher Ricardo Ambres. In Guillen’s first season at the helm of the “new look” Marlins, Guillen made pro-Castro comments, got suspended, then guided the Marlins to a dismal 69-93 record. On October 23, 2012, Guillen was released from the Marlins, despite three years remaining on his contract.
In October 2002, Lou Pinella was traded to his hometown Tampa Bay Rays by the Seattle Mariners in exchange for the Rays best player, Randy Wynn. Wynn’s first two seasons in Seattle were very good, but never really put the Mariners over the top. Pinella’s tenure in Tampa was a short one, with three losing seasons.
NFL: After the 2001 season, the Oakland Raiders let head coach Jon Gruden sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for first- and second-round draft picks in 2002, a first-round pick in 2003, a second-round pick in 2004, and cash. This is actually the one move that did work. In 2002, Gruden’s first season as head coach, he led the Bucs to the Super Bowl. But unfortunately, Gruden only made the playoffs 3 of 7 years as head coach.
In February 1997, the New York Jets wanted to hire Bill Parcells as head coach, but the New England Patriots wouldn’t let him out of the last year of his deal with the Patriots. The Jets then tried to name Bill Belichick, then a Parcells assistant, as head coach and Parcells as a consultant, but commissioner Paul Tagliabue rejected the deal. Almost a week later, the teams came to an agreement making Parcells head coach of the Jets (with Belichick as an assistant). The Patriots received the Jets’ 3rd and 4th round picks in 1997, a 2nd round pick in 1998 and a 1st round pick in 1999. The Jets also contributed $300,000 to a Patriots charity.
The New York Jets and Patriots were at it again in 2002. A day after Bill Belichick was hired to replace Bill Parcells as head coach of the Jets, Belichick quit. Then later that month, the Patriots signed Belichick to a five-year deal as their head coach, but they gave the Jets their 1st round pick in 2000, 4th round pick in 2001 and 7th round pick in 2002. The Jets gave the Patriots a 5th round pick in 2001 and a 7th round pick in 2002.
NBA: In June 2007, the Miami Heat allowed Stan Van Gundy to leave the team and become head coach of the Orlando Magic in exchange for a 2nd round pick in 2007 and 2008.
One out of six ain’t bad…actually it is. Trading for an established coach or even straight up hiring a former championship coach is rarely the answer. Did you know that no NFL head coach has ever won a Super Bowl with two different teams? That in itself should deter GM’s and owners from doing dumb shit like trading for a coach. Hire a young assistant off a winning organization’s staff. Those are the types of coaches who win championships.