I'm not sure if I ever saw Brad Stevens name come up in an NBA rumor. He was one of the least likely to go. People had a hard time believing he'd jump to a high major university, much less to the league. But he's gone. So who might be next?
Fred Hoiberg, Iowa State
A total of zero people would be surprised if Hoiberg took an NBA job. Iowa State fans – who have watched their team win two regular season conference championships in their lifetimes – hold fast to the Hoiberg's quotes about wanting to raise his children in Ames. Well, wanting to do that, and doing it, are two separate things.
Hoiberg might be the most attractive college coach to NBA execs. He spent ten years in the league as a player, and another four in the front office. He's both respected and liked, which is a rare combination.
But he also seems happy in Ames, which is where he was raised, and now he coaches at his alma mater. To pry him out of the college ranks an NBA team will have to deliver a lengthy and lucrative contract.
Larry Brown, Southern Methodist
In the past 49 years, Larry Brown has had 14 coaching jobs. A total of one of those jobs (Philadelphia) lasted longer than five years. In Philly he lasted six. Now he's in to year No. 2 at SMU, which is how long he lasted with the Carolina Cougars, UCLA, the New Jersey Nets, the LA Clippers and the Detroit Pistons. He's already outlasted his tenure with the Knicks, where he was the highest paid coach in the history of the game.
So he can't stay still, and now he's 72-years-old. Sounds to me like one more shot at his 2nd NBA Championship. Of course he says he's sticking around and he loves the college game, but it would be pretty difficult to recruit if he didn't say that.
Andy Enfield, Southern Cal
Enfield is a coach who might be better suited for the NBA than college. He spent several years coaching in the NBA with Milwaukee and Boston, and then he worked with NBA players as a consultant, focusing on improving offensive skills.
Sure, he's only entering his 3rd year as a college head coach, but the NBA is more likely to go outside the box than is a major college. Enfield could probably be picked up for relatively cheap.
Jay Wright, Villanova
Jay Wright understands the temptation of coaching at the highest level. When asked about reports that the Nets might call him in 2010, he famously quipped that he "hopes no one contacts me and I can just coach at Villanova." The urge to coach in the NBA goes beyond the money and the lack of recruiting. It's the highest level of basketball played in the world. If you can succeed in the NBA then you've really made it.
More recently, Wright talked with Colin Cowherd about the tough decisions college coaches have to make when the NBA calls.
Tom Izzo, Michigan State
It blew my mind when I found out that Izzo was contemplating taking the Cavaliers job a few years ago. He was never even on my radar as a guy who might leave the college ranks.
And I still don't think he will, but he's obviously thought about it. And with his leverage at the college level, he could end up with just a massive contract in the NBA.
I don't think it will happen, but if it does, I wouldn't bet against his ability to succeed.