Arron Afflalo

Grizzlies Notes: Coaching Search, Joerger, Conley

Former Pacers coach Frank Vogel will be part of a long list of candidates to replace Dave Joerger, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Tillery expects the Grizzlies to reach out to veteran coaches David Blatt, Brian Shaw, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy. GM Chris Wallace promised a “thoughtful and comprehensive” process, adding that there is no rush to find a replacement. He plans to consider college coaches as well as NBA assistants. “We don’t have a guy,” Wallace said. “We’ll talk to people and see how it goes. It’s not about dealing from a pre-existing category. It’s about finding the right guy. We’re very much in the preliminary stages.” Tillery writes that “reshaping” the team, which the front office didn’t believe Joerger was willing to do, will be among the responsibilities for the next coach.

There’s more out of Memphis:

  • Wallace’s call for stability in the organization is laughable, writes Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal, pointing out that in the past four years, the Grizzlies have been through an ownership change, two GM changes and two coaching changes. Joerger had been expressing his unhappiness in subtle ways throughout the season, Calkins notes, and felt betrayed when Jeff Green and Courtney Lee were dealt away at the trade deadline. Joerger also said the roster was “old and slow” and repeatedly praised Jazz rookie Rodney Hood, whom the Grizzlies passed over in the draft. Calkins questions whether free agent point guard Mike Conley will want to re-sign with an organization that has seen so much turnover.
  • The Grizzlies may not have enough to offer on the free agent market, according to Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders. Memphis must decide by June 29th whether to pick up a $9.4MM option for next season on Lance Stephenson. If the Grizzlies keep him and all their other contracts while renouncing Matt Barnes and Chris Andersen, they will have about $60MM in guaranteed salary against a cap projected at more than $90MM. However, Conley carries a $14MM cap hold, which means money must be cut in other areas for the team to offer a max contract. Vince Carter and JaMychal Green are possibilities, as they both have contracts that won’t be guaranteed until January. Brandan Wright and his $5.7MM deal could be traded to clear more room. Dowsett speculates about Eric Gordon, Joe Johnson, Arron Afflalo, Gerald Henderson and Leandro Barbosa as possible free agent targets.

Knicks Notes: Afflalo, Calderon, Anthony

Knicks shooting guard Arron Afflalo says his desire to be a starter will influence his decision regarding his player option for 2016/17 worth $8MM, Ian Begley of ESPN.com relays (ESPN Now link). “I still believe I’m one of the premier two guards in this league and part of being an elite two guard in this league is opportunity,” Afflalo said. “You have to be in a certain environment where you can excel and show what you can do and hopefully that contributes to winning. And I still believe I’m that player, so I’ll find the best opportunity for me, whether it’s in New York or anywhere else.” The dynamic between Afflalo and the team has been the subject of close scrutiny since interim coach Kurt Rambis‘ decision to use the shooting guard in a bench role and their odd disagreement over the basic issue of whether they had a conversation about it.

Here’s more from New York:

  • Afflalo indicated that he’s looking for one more big contract in his career and reiterated that he views himself as a starter, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “I’ve been through so much in my career in terms of the opinions of how your game fits in certain situations and what can you do?” Afflalo told reporters. “What can you do outside of when you’re in a chance to put yourself in position, you make the move that’s necessary?
  • Veteran point guard Jose Calderon has no issue with accepting a bench role for the Knicks next season, Bondy notes in the same piece. “I’m a team player, and if it’s better for the team, its great, I got no problem with that,” Calderon said. “I know my role, I know my weaknesses. That’s not going to be a problem with me. The organization should not be thinking that they have to start Jose.” New York is instead reportedly thinking about using the stretch provision to part ways with Calderon this summer.
  • Carmelo Anthony plans to be heard by the Knicks front office during his exit interview and wants to be involved in New York’s offseason decision-making process, Bondy writes in a separate piece. “My conversation with them is to be open and honest about what’s going on, about transparency, how we can make this situation better and what we’re going to do to make this situation better,” Anthony said. “At the end of the day, nobody loves this feeling, nobody wants to lose. We work too hard as players to be in this situation right now. Even though we almost doubled our wins from last year, we made some strides in certain areas. But now we got to continue to build on that.
  • Anthony expects some clarity regarding the Knicks’ future when he sits down with team president Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills, Begley relays in a full-length piece. When asked what he hopes to garner from his discussions, Anthony said, “Just an understanding of kind of a plan, a plan of action of what they’re trying to do, what we’re trying to do, what we’re trying to accomplish here. I don’t really have — I think everybody knows my questions that I have. So it’s just a matter of them kind of being transparent with me. We talk. We have an open dialogue, an open conversation, about how we all can get better at this situation moving forward, what I can do to kind of help and kind of fill the holes that we need to fill at this point.
  • The small forward also noted that he is well aware of the players who are hitting the free agent market this summer and the Knicks’ place in that market, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. “Free agency is always going to be big for everybody,” Anthony said. “I looked at the list. I look at the list every day. Whether it’s for me or other teams, I want to see what other guys are thinking about as far as trying to better their team. Where we fit in the free agency market, those are things I pay close attention to.

Knicks Notes: Anthony, Afflalo, Williams, Lopez

Despite Carmelo Anthony‘s plea for continuity, the Knicks could be looking at another offseason of change, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post“I would love to see guys come back and be together for another year and establish something we already created,” Anthony said after Friday’s game. But Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams both have opt-out clauses and could test the free agent market. Afflalo had a public dispute with interim coach Kurt Rambis after losing his starting role and seems likely to turn to down his $8MM option. Williams has a $4.598MM option, but could be aiming for a raise after a productive season. Also headed toward free agency are Lance ThomasLangston Galloway and Kevin Seraphin.

The Knicks are expected to be major players in the free agent market, particularly with an eye toward improving their backcourt, and Berman mentions Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan as a possible target. “If you have the opportunity to make additions in free agency, you should take advantage of that,’’ Anthony said. “That’s why you have salary cap money in the offseason.”

There’s more news out of New York:

  • Center Robin Lopez, one of the team’s free agent additions last summer, has excelled in the triangle offense, Berman writes in a separate story. Lopez is averaging 10.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game after signing a four-year deal worth about $55MM. After a slow start in New York, he began to adapt quickly after Rambis replaced coach Derek Fisher in February. “To see him blossom, to see what he’s done, he’s a smart basketball player, high basketball IQ,’’ Rambis said. “We’re encouraging him to do a lot offensively. In the past he wasn’t asked to do those things. He just had to gain confidence and his teammates had to gain confidence in him.’’
  • Fisher was fired partly because he wanted to make adjustments to the triangle, tweets Frank Isola of The New York Daily News.
  • Anthony’s future in New York will overshadow the Knicks’ offseason, according to Keith P. Smith of RealGM. Anthony is under contract for three more seasons, but a no-trade clause gives him some say in his future. If Anthony decides he wants out of New York, Smith said the team will start rebuilding around Kristaps Porzingis. If Anthony stays with the Knicks, team president Phil Jackson will try to create a contender as quickly as possible.

Atlantic Notes: Afflalo, Thomas, Caboclo

The dynamic between Arron Afflalo and Knicks interim coach Kurt Rambis has been the subject of close scrutiny of late amid Rambis’ decision to use the shooting guard in a bench role and their odd disagreement over the basic issue of whether they had a conversation about it. The latest curious dispatch comes from Rambis, who suggested Sunday that Afflalo’s free agent stock benefits from playing as a reserve, and it’s a remark that hints at an assumption Afflalo will turn down his $8MM player option for next season, observes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News“Him coming off the bench adds nothing but value to him,” Rambis said. “Because whereas some teams may not be looking at him if he decides to opt out of his contract, because they might not have a guy in his position coming off the bench, well they start to go, OK, he’s got the right attitude to come off the bench. And now they can add some productivity for him. So I just think the more versatile the players are, the better they are around the league.”

See more on Afflalo amid items from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets radio broadcaster Chris Carrino’s comment Friday suggesting Brooklyn might have interest in Afflalo appears to have been speculative, but Afflalo’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, is friendly with Nets management and worked with Brooklyn on the Deron Williams and Joe Johnson buyouts within the past year, NetsDaily points out.
  • Lance Thomas appears unlikely to return to action this season after suffering a sprained knee last month, Rambis said, but the Knicks coach has high praise for the soon-to-be free agent, observes Marc Berman of the New York Post. “He’s a huge asset for us,’’ Rambis said. “We miss him a lot — his voice, energy, enthusiasm. He almost embarrasses other guys when they’re not playing as hard as he does.’’
  • Raptors D-League GM Dan Tolzman is pleased with the progress of Bruno Caboclo, who’s played 37 D-League games and five NBA games this season, as Doug Smith of the Toronto Star relays. Caboclo, the 20th pick in 2014, will reach the midpoint of his rookie scale contract at season’s end. “The fire that he’s now playing with is something you’d never see out of the guy before and he’s now building a little bit of confidence … he knows that he’s good enough and he’s getting closer and closer to being ready for the NBA level,” Tolzman said. “He’s still playing catch-up but the strides he made are so large from what it would have been had we not had this opportunity for him.”

Atlantic Notes: Afflalo, Durant, Powell, Early

Executives around the league believed Arron Afflalo was likely to turn down his $8MM player option for next season with the Knicks even before the shooting guard and interim coach Kurt Rambis began publicly disagreeing about whether they discussed Afflalo’s benching, reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Afflalo’s choice is key since the team would have the cap flexibility necessary to chase middle-tier max free agents if he opts out, Begley notes. Afflalo and teammate Derrick Williams must decide on their player options no later than June 22nd, the day before the draft.

See more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Former Providence College head coach Tim Welsh said in an appearance on “Toucher & Rich” on WBZ-FM that his conversations with NBA types of late indicate that the Celtics will be on the list of teams Kevin Durant‘s will at least look at in free agency this summer, in large measure because of the allure of coach Brad Stevens (video link via Comcast Sports Net Northeast).
  • DeMarre Carroll‘s injury has given Raptors 2015 second-round pick Norman Powell more of a chance at the NBA level that first-rounder Delon Wright has had, and Powell is playing a much different role in Toronto than he did early this season on assignment with the team’s D-League affiliate, notes Eric Koreen of Sportsnet. Still, Raptors D-League coach Jesse Mermuys sees Powell’s time with Raptors 905 reflected in his play of late. “All he saw was the rim, no matter how many bodies were there,” Mermuys said of Powell’s D-League performance. “We really wanted to try to develop when he got to the paint and got to the rim and there was a crowd, [that he would be] able to make the right play and the simple play, which he dramatically improved in his time. The more time he played and worked at it, it was a pretty rapid improvement, which was a huge sign for him. His ability to improve at that rate is why he is in the position he’s in now.”
  • The Knicks have recalled Cleanthony Early from the D-League, the team announced (Twitter link). Early has made only one 19-second appearance at the NBA level since he was injured in a December shooting.

Knicks Notes: Anthony, Grant, Rambis, Jackson

Carmelo Anthony and two other Knicks starters have volunteered to give up some minutes in favor of younger players, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday. Anthony convinced point guard Jose Calderon and center Robin Lopez to join him in the effort, and interim coach Kurt Rambis agreed it’s a good idea. Beneficiaries should include rookie Jerian Grant and second-year player Langston Galloway, along with veteran reserves Derrick Williams, Kevin Seraphin and Kyle O’Quinn. “I still would like to be out there playing and competing,” Anthony said, “but at this point if we can build guys like Jerian and Langston and [Williams] and [O’Quinn], and just give those guys that opportunity they wouldn’t have had or haven’t had in the past, I think it’s good for them. I think it’s good for the morale of the team, I think it’s good for their confidence.”

There’s more tonight from New York:

  • Rambis offered encouraging words for Grant, a first-round pick who is largely considered a disappointment, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Grant has averaged 4.8 points and 2.2 assists in 70 games, all as a backup. “He’s getting better,’’ Rambis said. “He has tremendous speed. We’re encouraging him to use speed and quickness at point guard, [but he] still has to be concerned with organizing of the offense. That’s where he falls short.”
  • The players’ confidence in Rambis and overall team morale are on the decline, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The displeasure in the locker room bubbled over this week when Arron Afflalo went public with complaints about being demoted to a reserve role. Bondy said the ill feelings stem from team president Phil Jackson’s decision to fire Derek Fisher in the middle of the season and replace him with an interim coach who needs to win right away to keep his job.
  • Jackson set a poor example this week by taking a vacation to Woodstock so close to the end of the season, charges Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. Isola also warns of an upcoming showdown over the coaching situation, with Jackson wanting to keep Rambis and owner James Dolan preferring an outsider such as Tom Thibodeau, David Blatt, Mark Jackson or Scott Brooks. The columnist suggests Dolan should require that Jackson commit to two more seasons in New York before letting him hire Rambis.

Eastern Notes: Afflalo, Powell, Zeller

The Knicks‘ decision to switch him to a reserve role isn’t sitting well with Arron Afflalo, who now appears all but assured to opt out of his deal for 2016/17 and become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Afflalo took to his personal Instagram account to voice his displeasure, writing, “Two years of just control what you can control right?… while making years of growth appears as if it has just stopped. Yeah, OK. 10th year coming up and this time around that [expletive] won’t be forgotten.’’

When asked by reporters to explain the Instagram post, Afflalo said, “It didn’t mean much, to be honest. Just a statement to myself. That’s about it. I plan on growing next year. Frustration ain’t the word,’’ Afflalo added. “It is what it is. People can have their opinion of what they feel you bring to a team. That’s their opinion. My opinion may be different. For now it’s about the team, being professional and doing your job. ‘’

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Afflalo refutes Knicks interim coach Kurt Rambis‘ account that the two had a discussion about the benching, emphatically stating that there was no miscommunication between the pair and that no conversation occurred, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “There’s no breakdown in communication,” Afflalo said. “We never had the communication. …I don’t know why he would say there was a conversation.
  • Power forward Josh Powell, whom the Bucks waived this preseason, has signed with Indios de Mayaguez of Puerto Rico, the team announced (translation via Orazio Cauchi of Sportando). Powell spent the earlier part of this season with San Lorenzo in Argentina.
  • One of the positives that came out of Al Jefferson missing six weeks due to a knee injury this season was that it proved to the Hornets that Cody Zeller is a legitimate NBA center, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. The 23-year-old is averaging 9.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game and could provide Charlotte with a fallback if Jefferson were to depart as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Atlantic Notes: Carroll, Afflalo, Stevens

DeMarre Carroll may not return to action this season from right knee surgery, which underwent in early January, but Raptors coach Dwane Casey still maintains that no final decision has been made regarding the swingman, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca relays in a series of tweets. “I expect him [to return]; I’ve heard nothing else other than that,” Casey told reporters when asked if Carroll would play again this season. Kyle Lowry‘s balky right elbow is also a worry for Toronto, but Casey said the point guard’s injury merely involves a bursa sac and added that there’s no reason to shut him down for that sort of malady, Lewenberg writes. Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun noted previously that Lowry’s elbow issues were affecting his shot and the team was seriously concerned as the season winds down.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks shooting guard Arron Afflalo isn’t thrilled with interim coach Kurt Rambis‘ decision to bring him off the bench and indicated that his role will influence his decision-making process this offseason, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. Afflalo has a player option worth $8MM for the 2016/17 campaign. “It’s different, but all I can do is get out there and try my best,’’ Afflalo said. “With seven games to go, I’ll be able to assess what’s best for me as a player. Right now I got to do what the team asks me and play the minutes and role they ask me. Hopefully I’ll have more good games than bad.’’ The veteran also added that he doesn’t expect his role to change before the season ends, Berman notes. “I doubt it. It doesn’t matter to me at this point,” Afflalo said. “If things go well, I have intentions of it going well, [but] if not, I will move on to the next.’’
  • Boston was initially upset when Doc Rivers departed for the Clippers, but Brad Stevens remains the perfect coach to guide the Celtics through their rebuilding process, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. “I would have been into it if I kept the job, obviously, but I just think it worked out the way it was going to work out,” Rivers said. “It’s a great situation for them, but I think it would have worked either way, honestly. But Brad comes in with great energy, with youth. Having had to rebuild twice, this would have been my third, and that’s hard to do. People don’t appreciate that. I mean, talk to Brad. He’ll tell you how hard it is — and in nine years he won’t want to do it again either.” Bulpett notes that Stevens is far better equipped to develop and relate to the franchise’s younger players, having joined the Celtics directly from the college ranks.

Knicks Notes: Afflalo, Calderon, Thibodeau

The Knicks’ decision to shift shooting guard Arron Afflalo to a reserve role was not a punitive one, according to interim coach Kurt Rambis, Marc Berman of The New York Post relays. “This is not a punishment,” Rambis said of Afflalo’s demotion. “It’s more his natural position. All players want to start — I get that. I’m sure he’d rather be starting.” The team could be sending the veteran a message that if he chooses to exercise his player option for 2016/17, he will continue to come off the bench, Berman notes. The scribe also speculates that the team could be trying to reduce Afflalo’s market value as a free agent, thus making it easier to re-sign him.

Here’s more from New York:

  • The Knicks are thinking about using the stretch provision to part ways with Jose Calderon this summer, and the chances of that occurring would be greatly increased if Tony Wroten shows promise in summer league play as he makes his way back from ACL surgery, Berman notes in the same piece. Waiving Calderon would allow the team to open approximately $5MM in extra cap space for this summer.
  • Rookie Jerian Grant has replaced Langston Galloway as the first playmaker off the bench and has been working hard in practice to improve upon his woeful 19.7% shooting from three-point range, Berman adds. “[Grant] has been working on the shot all year,” Rambis said. “He knew it was something he had to work on to keep defenses honest. Hand placement. His balance. Just for younger players to learn to shoot from the NBA 3-point line. It’s different than college. He’s working hard on it. He knows it’s part of the game he has to get better.” The Post scribe also relays that the Knicks now view Galloway strictly as a shooting guard and believe that their efforts to convert him into a point guard have failed.
  • A number of Tom Thibodeau‘s former players on the Bulls have noted the coach’s affinity for New York, and while they stopped short of saying the Knicks are his preferred destination, their comments seem to indicate that he would jump at the chance to coach the team, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News writes. “That’s all we talked about is the New York atmosphere and how he’s had tough-minded New York teams,” Taj Gibson told Bondy. “And that’s something we talked about all the time and that’s what we tried to incorporate the last couple of years. All-around, he’s a good guy. Almost every day we talked about his time in New York. We talked about them battles the Knicks used to have. Just talk about Knicks stuff in general. He loves New York. He always had high praise talking about the Knicks.

Knicks Notes: Afflalo, Rondo, Point Guards

Arron Afflalo is looking for at least one more big contract in the league, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. Afflalo has a player option worth $8MM for next season and after playing well for the Knicks this season, he will likely command a higher annual salary on the open market should he opt out, Bondy speculates. The 30-year-old said he hasn’t thought much about his looming decision, but added that his priorities are “team opportunity and finances.”

Here’s more from New York:

  • Rajon Rondo has been critical of Phil Jackson‘s triangle offense, but it appears the point guard is willing to accept the Knicks‘ offense, Ryan Lazo of the New York Post writes. “I had a [negative] comment earlier about [the offense], but if I put my mind at it, I think I can be good at anything,” Rondo told Lazo.
  • It’s no secret that Carmelo Anthony would like to play with Rondo, Lazo adds in the same piece. “We have a lot of respect for each other,” Rondo said of Anthony. “He competes every night and plays extremely hard and I think I do the same.” Rondo will be a free agent at the end of the season and Knicks coach Kurt Rambis recently said he believes the point guard would be a good fit for the team.
  • The Knicks‘ struggles this season have highlighted the need for a top point guard, Tommy Beer of Basketball Insiders opines.

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