The top coaching candidates, 1 to 25

Editor's note: This article was published on January 23, shortly before Minnesota fired coach Dwane Casey and hired Randy Wittman as the new Timberwolves coach.

Rick Adelman is still keeping up with the Sacramento Kings when he's not flipping the channel to watch the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs, the two teams he finds most pleasing to the eye.

But the teams that Adelman is following even more closely are a pair of high school squads in Oregon, one of which, Lincoln, is coached by his son, David, and the other of which, Lake Oswego, brings his youngest son, Patrick, off the bench.

"David's team only won six games all last season, and they've already won seven this year, and Patrick is playing with Kevin Love, who's up there with O.J. Mayo atop the high school prospects list," said Adelman, who is getting to keep much closer tabs on all six of his children -- not to mention his five grandchildren -- as he sits out the 2006-07 season wondering if and when he'll be asked to coach again in the league where he accumulated 752 career coaching victories before being let go at the end of last season by the Kings.

"We did a good job at the end of the year, but it ended up not meaning much," said Adelman, who still sounded resentful, but not quite bitter, after being let go in Sacramento after eight years at the helm, each season ending in a playoff loss. "You always have that interest in how is it going to work out now, and I still follow them. They certainly have the talent to make the playoffs.

"I'm still just eight months removed from it, so I'm trying to give it some time. They say the biggest stress in your life comes from leaving a job or moving, and I've done both. So we're just trying to settle down and see where we're at, see what comes around," Adelman said. "I can still coach in this league."

Adelman went on to say that he is considering hiring an agent for the first time, realizing there's a crowded field of candidates out there that he expects to be competing against in the not-too-distant future.

The ever-growing size of that crowd of candidates is why we've put together a Top 25 list of the coaches most likely to get a gig leading an NBA team sometime over the next two years.

The list below includes all kinds of different candidates -- Hall of Famers, local heroes, college coaches, young assistants with a growing rep, and lifers who are looking for their next opportunity. Some appear to be in the right place at the right time, while others are waiting for the carousel to come back around.

The rankings are only a snapshot of the way things look in mid-January 2007. Coming into the season, no one had Tony Barone and Ron Rothstein at the top of the list. Things change quickly in the NBA coaching game.

All that said, the top spot goes to someone with a championship ring, lots of wins and plenty of experience, everyone's favorite coaching vagabond ...