The NBL coaching carousel is in full swing

Going into the 2021 off-season, there are multiple head coach vacancies and, even though basketball is still being played - the playoffs set to tip off shortly - interviews are already underway.

It's been a long time since there's been this much volatility in the head coaching ranks across the NBL, and teams aren't dragging their feet when it comes to filling those high profile positions, with a quick turnaround into next season the expectation.

The most recent opening came when the Cairns Taipans announced that they won't be retaining Mike Kelly for next season, following a campaign where the team went a league-worst 8-28 record.

Nothing is set in stone, but the frontrunner to fill that head coach vacancy in Cairns is Adam Forde, sources told ESPN. Forde just completed his lone season at the helm of the Sydney Kings, with the team having already announced a mutual parting of ways going into their next campaign.

Of course, that means the Kings are also on the hunt for a head coach; a position one NBA source described as "the most-coveted coaching job outside the NBA".

There's a growing reverence among the international basketball community for the Kings' top job. The position is a combination of being able to coach a well-funded team in one of the world's most famous cities, while many also see it as a legitimate pathway to getting on an NBA coaching staff.

With the Kings' season now effectively over, the team is currently in the process of vetting a number of international candidates, sources said.

"One mistake we've probably made, in hindsight, is we need to start getting more longevity with our head coaches," Andrew Bogut, now part of the Kings' ownership group, told ESPN.

"We don't want one-and-done guys. But, on the flipside, a one-and-done guy like [Will] Weaver is a beautiful story for us; a beautiful story for the Sydney Kings, that we develop... one of the best assistants in the [NBA] and will one day be a head coach. The Sydney Kings are on his resume for ever. We love that, but understand we wanna try to have someone that will be here at least two or three years, and if they wanna move on to bigger and better things, we support that."

Over in Brisbane, the Bullets are already deep into planning for life without Andrej Lemanis, who's set to take his talents to Japan.

Among those who've been interviewed for the vacant head coach job, sources said: current assistant coach, CJ Bruton; and Kings assistant coach, James Duncan. Duncan's interview was particularly impressive, sources said.

The Bullets also have strong interest in Adam Caporn, sources said, with Australian Boomers assistant coach consistently emerging as a sought-after figure for NBL teams over the years. Mike Kelly is also among those who are being closely looked at by the Bullets' brass, sources said, but more-than-likely as an assistant.

The New Zealand Breakers remain extremely happy with the job Dan Shamir has done - especially under the unique circumstances; the team playing on the road for most of the season - and the franchise is hoping to keep the Israeli around for as long as possible, sources said. Shamir had already signed one extension with the Breakers that would keep him with the team until the end of 2021-22 season.

The South East Melbourne Phoenix made their feelings about Simon Mitchell known late in this season, picking up his team option to extend him to the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

The final position of note is the one at the helm of the Perth Wildcats, with Trevor Gleeson strongly considering a coaching offer from a professional team in Asia, sources said. Some around the Wildcats don't expect Gleeson to return for the final year of his contract with the team, in order to pursue that offer. Channel 10 was first to report the offer from the team in Asia.