Earlier Wednesday, Yahoo! Sports reported that Santa Cruz Warriors' assistant coach Phil Hubbard is considered to be the leading candidate for the Los Angeles D-Fenders' head coaching position.
Hubbard is actually a former D-Fenders' assistant. What's more, he previously served as an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards in the NBA, and happens to also be a former NBA player himself. After working well with the staff in Santa Cruz last season, Hubbard has continued to prove he's deserving (not to mention, also qualified) of such a position.
There's just one problem: to the knowledge of RidiculousUpside.com, the D-Fenders did not formally announce MacKinnon's departure, even following a West Division title, a second seed playoff finish, and a 31 win effort on the year. He, however, is no longer listed as head coach on the team's website.
At this point, sources confirm to RU that MacKinnon will not return.
A man with a wealth of knowledge, experience, and success, Coach MacKinnon is a D-League champion, and also serves as Director of the league's Elite Mini-Camp and National Tryouts. He relates well to his players, can communicate effectively, and knows how to motivate young guns in these types of minor league-like situations. Any team would be lucky to have him. What's more, in certain circles, he's well respected as the Mike D'Antoni of the D-League. With similar offensive philosophies, that made him a perfect fit to coach the D-Fenders last season.
With nearly ten D-League teams still looking for head coaches (the process is a bit more drawn out in the minor league), MacKinnon is sure to land somewhere, if he so desires. There are plenty of openings to fill.
Having said that, if ever forced to play a game of "Dream Commissioner" as the D-League looks to replace Dan Reed, MacKinnon would certainly rank highly on our list. He understands the NBADL better than just about anybody, so it wouldn't be shocking to see him rise up as a candidate for some sort of league front office position in the future, either.