Is the Era of Dynastic Coaches Nearing an End?


What do Gregg Popovich, Erik Spoelstra and Steve Kerr have in common? They are the only coaches in the NBA that have remained with their current teams for at least nine seasons. They are considered the last ‘Dynastic Coaches’.

Over the course of recent seasons and for the better part of this year’s playoffs, title and award-winning coaches have parted ways with their franchises.

Whether it’s growing impatience of front offices or being at the height of the player empowerment era, it seems that franchises find it easier to move on from a coach if a title isn’t won soon, regardless of the circumstances.


To make the case for this prompt, let’s take a look at the more recent examples.

Monty Williams

Last season’s coach of the year was believed to be a great fit for the Suns on paper, but their lack of playoff success was glaring. However, his dismissal seemed the least dignified among others. Williams is a great coach, but was tasked with trudging a brand-new roster with minimal depth through the West. It didn’t take long for Williams to find a new home, though. The Pistons gave him the largest coaching contract in NBA history in early June.

Frank Vogel

Vogel, an 11-year vet, won a title in his first season with the Lakers (2020). Had the next season not started 72 days after the finals, his team may have been healthy enough to repeat. After the 2021-22 season, however, Vogel was fired after his team underperformed on the heels of an incompetent roster change the offseason prior. He was finally and deservedly picked up by Phoenix. Vogel’s defensive prowess is certain to bolster their polished offensive roster.

Nick Nurse

One of the most well-respected basketball minds in the association parted ways with Toronto following a play-in loss to Chicago in April. Nurse won a title in 2019 and Coach of the Year the following season. His seasons since have been up and down. With the Raptors looking for a reset, Nurse was able to find a new home quickly as the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Mike Budenholzer

Coach Bud spent five seasons in Milwaukee and helped bring home the franchise’s first title in 50 years. Posting a 310-146 (.680 win-pct) and winning coach of the year in 2019 adds to an astounding catalog. However, losing to the No. 8 seed Heat in the first round was enough for Budenholzer to get the boot. There were questions on his inability to make adjustments all series, but it doesn’t help when your franchise player can’t find the bottom of the bucket in an elimination game.


Gregg Popovich

As the longest tenured active coach in the NBA, ‘Pop‘ has spent 27 seasons as San Antonio’s head coach. During that time, he’s won five NBA championships and is the winningest coach in league history (1,366 wins). Along with being one of the great minds in basketball, Popovich will forever be recognized as the core of the Spurs dynasty.

Steve Kerr

The lead man of the league’s most recent dynasty. While it seems like their run at dominance is nearing its end, the Warriors would have been nothing without Kerr in the 2010s. Kerr’s impact and resume is among that of Popovich. It is hard to see GSW letting go of Kerr unless he steps down.

But even that isn’t definitive in this era.

Erik Spoelstra

From the film room to being the best coach in the NBA, Spoelstra‘s story is astounding. His Heat have only missed the playoffs three times in his 15-year tenure. ‘Spo’ may just be one of the three greatest coaches of all time — behind Popovich and Phil Jackson. Fans, players and the organization praise his coaching ability. Pat Riley, President of the Heat, backed Spoelstra when LeBron was looking for a change in the ‘Heatles’ era. In his sixth trip to the finals, ‘Spo’ is lamenting his legacy as one of the greatest coaches of all time — and as a Miami icon.


These coaches may be few and far between, but there are some teams that may have the next one employed.

Michael Malone

Speaking of coaches being in the Finals this year, Denver coach Michael Malone is knocking on the door of dynastic status. In his eighth season with the franchise, Malone has finally led the Nuggets to the promise land, and they were heavy favorites. He and the Nuggets are an unmistakable example of what continuity brings you in this league.

Taylor Jenkins

Jenkins coaches one of the better young teams in the league. He is a great locker-room coach and has come a long way with Memphis. While his quest for dynastic status still has a long road ahead, success in the near future would work great towards his cause. He and his young core have the makings of a future dynasty.


As stated before, these coaches are few and far between. Yes, there are some great coaches around the league, but there aren’t many that will likely stay with their current franchises for long.

The NBA is in an era where franchises tend to value overpaid players over solid coaches. That’s a harsh reality. Coaches around the league are being scapegoated for poor player performance and mistakes made by front offices.

Once Popovich, Spoelstra and Kerr depart, who will follow in their footsteps? Or are we seriously nearing the end of the dynastic coaching era?

About Connor Moreno

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