The company line is that the Golden State Warriors are scouring the globe for a coach of such incandescence that his introductory news conference is bound to stir the fan base and create ripples throughout the NBA.
You've heard the story, as scripted and sold by new CEO Joe Lacob. The Warriors are determined to join the league's elite, sharing company with the Lakers and Celtics and Bulls and Heat.
Money is no object, according to general manager Larry Riley. The new boss is aiming high, leading with his ambition because he wants to make it abundantly clear that Chris Cohan doesn't work here anymore.
That's the kind of attitude you want from a new owner. It generates excitement and interest. Bold statements about the next coach spice the discussion.
Rarely, though, is the exalted coach awaiting a phone call. It's just not how the NBA works, as indicated by a cursory glance at history.
It's a player's league, exclamation point. Players make -- or break -- coaches.
The next Phil Jackson might be a current assistant, but he'll never duplicate Phil's success without a roster envied by coaches around the league.
The Warriors simply don't have that.
The four most accomplished coaches in league history are John Kundla, Red Auerbach, Pat Riley and Jackson -- all with at least five championships. Kundla's Minneapolis Lakers had four Hall of Famers. Auerbach's Celtics had an astounding 11. Riley's Lakers had three players destined for the Hall and his Heat title team had two. Jackson's Bulls had Michael Jordan, conceivably the greatest player ever, and his Lakers have Kobe Bryant, the best of his era.
Riley would not have succeeded in Miami without Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade, because he would not have demoted himself into the job.
At the next level are several fabulous coaches, all in or certain to enter the Hall, none of whom won much of anything without certifiably great players.
San Antonio's Gregg Popovich has Tim Duncan, the most complete power forward ever. Utah's Jerry Sloan never won it all despite having John Stockton and Karl Malone -- both in the Hall. Detroit's Chuck Daly had Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman, all in the Hall. Lakers legend Bill Sharman coached Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West. Knicks icon Red Holzman had six players bound for the Hall, five of whom formed his starting lineup.
Alex Hannum is one of three coaches to win titles with more than one team. His St. Louis Hawks teams had four Hall of Famers, his Philadelphia teams three.
If Doc Rivers is enshrined, it's because Celtics GM Danny Ainge added Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to a roster led by Paul Pierce.
Show me an extraordinary coach and I'll show you his list of Hall of Fame players.
The Warriors, as currently constituted, have no such player. They don't yet have an All-Star, much less anyone on a path to the Hall of Fame.
And there is no earthly way the next coach is going to, um, "coach up" anyone to Hall of Fame status. Not one of the coaches being speculated upon as a candidate for the Warriors can begin to compare to the aforementioned names. More to the point, all of those fortunate enough to coach exceptional players continue to seek rings.
Jeff Van Gundy? Good coach, knows the game, really knows defense. Coached Patrick Ewing in New York and Yao Ming in Houston, once reached the NBA Finals. He's 44-44 in the postseason, and his last appearance, in 2007, was a first-round defeat.
Stan Van Gundy? Shoved out of Miami by Riley, he moved to Orlando, where his tenure is marked by highs and lows despite perennial all-stars and the league's top defensive center. His latest first-round exit is precisely why he might become available.
Mike Brown? He's Jeff Van Gundy with a mahogany skin tone. Would he be in this discussion if he had not coached LeBron James? Brown is a defensive coach, and the Warriors say they want to improve their defense but not be defined by it.
Sloan is 69, an age at odds with the long-term success sought by Lacob and Co. Same with Rick Adelman, who is 64 and has been here before. Mike D'Antoni, 59, might come available, but he's Don Nelson without the spurious charm. Mike Fratello? No, no, no.
There are some intriguing names, though. Lakers assistant Brian Shaw, an Oakland resident, would listen but is the top candidate to replace Jackson. Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank is a terrific coach and certain to get another job. Mark Jackson, the former point guard who spars with Jeff Van Gundy on telecasts, also is worth a listen.
Solid candidates all, none would arrive with the equipment needed to create a new world order. He'll need a vastly improved roster to have the slightest chance.