You'd think it would be an easy decision, right? The guy coaches the worst NBA team in history, he's got to go, right?
Right... sort of. Paul Silas indeed won't return to the Charlotte Bobcats next season -- the Bobcats just finished signing their names to a 7-59 overall mark, with a winning percentage of .106 that ranks as the worst in NBA history.
And yet... this wasn't all Silas's fault. In fact, you could argue that most of it wasn't his fault. Silas got to take many of the lumps as the Bobcats tore down the Bobcats' playoff roster of 2010 piece by piece. Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Raymond Felton, Tyson Chandler? Gone, gone, gone and gone.
Silas, 68, ended up this season with a team that was supposed to have an 18-20 point scorer in Corey Maggette who ended up missing half the season with injury and an otherwise young team that was hopelessly outmanned (especially inside) during most games. If Red Auerbach or Phil Jackson, they would still have lost and lost and lost. Not quite as much -- but they still would have been well out of the playoffs.
Of course, the team's youth and injuries don't mean that Silas has an excuse for everything (nor would he want to make one). Bottom line: he couldn't stop the slide. The Bobcats lost their final 23 games -- that's absolutely stunning. Silas at one point put his hands on Tyrus Thomas in a locker-room altercation -- that absolutely shouldn't happen.
Silas is a great guy and an honest guy, and he deserved better. His players all liked him and I think they respected him. But that 7-59 belongs to him, too, and so I can understand why Michael Jordan did this (and I now doubt Jordan will hire Silas's son Stephen for the job, although Stephen is going to get an interview and deserves one).
I'm conflicted about the whole thing, really. Silas with a better roster can do so much better -- remember, he had some success with the Charlotte Hornets as head coach long ago. I'm glad he will end up doing something for the Bobcats in an as-yet-undetermined role.
But Jordan also isn't going to fire himself, and so Silas was the obvious choice to go (he didn't actually get "fired," his contract simply ran out and won't be renewed).
Silas is a good man. This is a bad outcome. And until the Bobcats dramatically improve the roster, it won't matter who comes next.
6 months ago