The Big Ten got a Woj Bomb on Monday morning, as he reported that Michigan head coach Juwan Howard was emerging as a head coaching candidate for NBA openings. Howard spent years as an assistant with the Miami Heat under Erik Spoelstra before taking over as Michigan’s head coach last year. The news certainly came as a surprise.
ESPN Sources: A possible NBA coaching candidate whose name is gaining traction within front offices: Michigan coach Juwan Howard. Howard has an obviously strong resume as a player and later an assistant under Erik Spoelstra. He interviewed for Lakers, Cavs before taking UM job.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 24, 2020
While we don’t know how serious interest will be in the weeks to come, Howard certainly has an impressive resume. He played in the NBA for years before transitioning to an assistant with the Heat and had decent success in his first season as head coach with the Wolverines. While we don’t know what Michigan might have accomplished due to the NCAA Tournament’s cancellation, it seemed likely Michigan would have been included in the field and been in decent position to make a run.
Michigan is expected to return a pretty solid team next season, led by returning stars Isaiah Livers and Franz Wagner. The Wolverines are also expected to add a recruiting class ranked atop the Big Ten by 247Sports. Howard has also been recruiting really well in the 2021 and 2022 cycles.
Should Howard end up leaving Ann Arbor, one would expect the school would express some interest in John Beilein, who left the program for the Cleveland Cavaliers job just a year ago. Beilein only lasted a few months with the Cavs, leaving after a tumultuous few months. He is currently employed as an analyst for Big Ten Network.
We will have to wait and see what happens.
A few hours after ESPN’s report surfaced regarding the NBA’s interest, Howard issued the following statement:
“There was a report of my name as a potential candidate for NBA coaching opportunities. While I am flattered, and know it will more than likely happen again, I am not exploring, seeking or listening. I am the head coach at the University of Michigan! I am blessed to be working at the greatest university in the world. I am blessed to be guiding a group of wonderful young men. We have goals, dreams & championships to win! This is where my focus is. GO BLUE!”
Michigan will certainly hope this resolves the drama for the time being.