Cleveland Cavaliers

Central Notes: Blatt, Rose, Butler, McMillan

Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt plans to be on someone’s bench next season, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. After taking Cleveland to the NBA Finals last season, Blatt was fired in January with a 30-11 record. It’s a rare break for the 57-year-old, who has held coaching jobs around the world since 1993. “I’m going to coach next year,” Blatt said. “I’m not going to sit out. It’s not in my nature. I want to work. I’ll be back somewhere. Could be anywhere.” He added that he prefers a head coaching position overseas to working as an assistant in the NBA.

There’s more news from the Central Division:

  • It’s time for the Bulls to break up the Derrick RoseJimmy Butler backcourt, argues K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Johnson says their relationship has become “untenable” because both players consider themselves to be the team leader, both need the ball in their hands to be most effective and neither has the 3-point shooting skills to complement the other. Johnson believes Rose’s injury history would make him difficult to deal, even though he only has one season left on his contract at $21.3MM. Butler would probably bring a greater return, but it would signify a rebuilding process that Chicago may not be ready for. If they’re both back next season, Johnson suggests drafting a shooting guard, possibly Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine, and moving Butler to small forward.
  • New Pacers coach Nate McMillan has to change his style to succeed in the modern NBA, former All-Star Gary Payton tells Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star. Payton, who played for McMillan in Seattle, says the coach will need to drop his disciplinarian image. “[McMillan] can’t be that militant coach,” Payton said. “You see what happened with George Karl up in Sacramento. When you’ve got players and it happens like that, you’re going to be the odd man out. I don’t think ownership these days are taking the side of a coach unless you’re a [Gregg] Popovich or something like that, over these $15MM-$20MM players.”
  • The Bucks are weighing their options with the 36th and 38th picks in next month’s draft, writes Charles F. Gardner of The Journal-Sentinel. Milwaukee concentrated on forwards on its first workout this week, which included Weber State’s Joel Bolomboy and Louisiana-Lafayette’s Shawn Long. Trading the picks to move into the first round is also an option. “Could we ever bundle those picks and move up?” said GM John Hammond. “Once again, not easy to do. Do we stay with both picks? Do we look at making one of those picks for a current roster spot and maybe another one with potentially an international player that could stay and continue to develop? We’ll see as it moves forward.”

Former Cavs Coach Reaches Out To Lue

  • Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt reached out to Tyronn Lue, the man who replaced him in Cleveland, to offer his support and praise for the team’s postseason play, Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group relays. “He’s just a good person,” Lue told Haynes. “Always encouraging, always supportive. He just said how proud he was of me and what we’re doing, and that means a lot coming from him. His friendship is something I truly appreciate and value.

Hiring Of Lue Turned Around Season

  • The hiring of Tyronn Lue as coach and his willingness to confront LeBron James and regain control of the team turned around the Cavaliers‘ season and made Cleveland a true threat to win the NBA crown, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com writes.

And-Ones: Dunn, Sanders, Calipari, Blatt

Representatives for Providence’s Kris Dunn don’t want him to go to a team with a young point guard already in place and may refuse to release his medical records to the Celtics and Suns, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Speaking on a draft lottery special, Wojnarowski said Dunn’s agents did not submit him for a physical at last week’s draft combine, which would have made his records accessible to everyone. Dunn has undergone two surgical procedures on his right shoulder, and teams may be reluctant to draft him if they are unsure of his current physical status. Dunn has been projected as a possible No. 3 pick, but his camp apparently doesn’t want him to compete for playing time with Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart in Boston or Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight in Phoenix. The Celtics own the third selection in next month’s draft, while the Suns pick fourth.

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • Rutgers freshman point guard Corey Sanders will withdraw from the draft and return to school, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. There’s little chance that Sanders would have been drafted, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress has him ranked 73rd among NCAA freshmen and ESPN’s Chad Ford doesn’t have him listed among his top 100 prospects.
  • Kentucky coach John Calipari, whose name has been floated for several NBA openings, plans to stay with the Wildcats for the rest of his career, he said in a message on his website. Calipari was considered a candidate for the Nets job after they fired Lionel Hollins in January, and the Kings reportedly spoke to him about taking over for George Karl last summer.
  • Spanish power FC Barcelona is interested in former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, according to El Mundo Deportivo (hat tip to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Blatt recently talked with the Rockets, Kings, Knicks and Lakers about their coaching jobs.
  • Twenty-four teams will compete in the Las Vegas Summer League July 8th-18th, the NBA announced today in a press release. The Spurs, coached by Becky Hammon, are the defending champions.

Southwest Notes: Grizzlies, Anderson, Terry

The Grizzlies spoke with at least two candidates today as their search for a new coach heats up. Heat assistant David Fizdale came to Memphis for an interview, tweets Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com., as did Portland assistant Nate Tibbetts, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal (Twitter link). Both had been previously named as candidates for the job.

Spurs assistant James Borrego impressed Grizzlies officials during his interview earlier this week, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Memphis has also held interviews with Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, Hornets assistant Patrick Ewing and recently fired Pacers coach Frank Vogel (Twitter link). The Grizzlies have significant interest in Vogel, according to ESPN, but so does Orlando (Twitter link).

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans free agent Ryan Anderson says he was nearly traded to Cleveland at the deadline, relays Brett Dawson of The Advocate. Appearing on “The Vertical Podcast,” Anderson contends the Cavaliers were trying to work out a deal for him before they picked up Channing Frye from Orlando. “There was a very last-minute phone call that I could have gone to Cleveland,” Anderson said. “I would be playing for the Cavs right now.” Anderson said he didn’t ask the Pelicans to trade him because he wants to have the option in free agency of staying in New Orleans. Anderson’s last experience as a free agent came in 2012 when he was restricted and Orlando swung a deal to send him to the Pelicans. This time, he likes the feeling of being in complete control. “I want to enjoy this process and see where New Orleans is at this summer,” Anderson said. “I want to see where, I don’t know, Houston is at or Sacramento or Washington.”
  • The Spurs could be interested in power forward Thomas Robinson if he opts out of his deal with the Nets, according to Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. Robinson would give up a little more than $980K by opting out, but he stands to make much more on the open market with the expected jump in the salary cap. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has talked about the need to rebuild the bench with younger players, and the 25-year-old Robinson, a former teammate of LaMarcus Aldridge in Portland, could be a possibility.
  • Rockets point guard Jason Terry thinks Dwight Howard would be a “great fit” with the Mavericks, but only if he adapts to coach Rick Carlisle, according to The Dallas Morning News“Whatever [Howard’s] role is, he would have to be the one to buy in first, and then you go from there,” Terry said on ESPN Radio’s Cowlishaw and Mosley show. “But he and Dirk [Nowitzki] together? That’s a powerful combination.” The 38-year-old Terry adds that he hopes to play one more season before retiring.

Kaleb Tarczewski, Rasheed Sulaimon Work Out For Cavs

  • Before he works out for Indiana on Wednesday, Tarczewski participated in a workout for the Cavaliers today, tweets Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops. Cleveland also took a look at Maryland’s Rasheed Sulaimon in that workout, says Scotto.

Cavaliers To Work Out Melvin Johnson

  • Two more players who worked out for the Sixers today – Louisiana-Lafayette forward Shawn Long and VCU guard Melvin Johnson – are getting looks from a handful of other teams too. Per Camerato (Twitter links), Long has the Bucks on Wednesday, the Nuggets on Saturday, and the Rockets and Mavericks next week. Johnson, meanwhile, will work out for the Cavaliers, Nets, and Celtics this week after having worked out for the Spurs and Rockets as well.

Draft Combine Update: Friday Morning

Skal Labissiere‘s impressive private workout on Wednesday didn’t quite measure up to the hype, contends Chad Ford of ESPN.com in an Insider-only piece, who pegs the draft range for the Kentucky big man as No. 9 to No. 20. The Suns and Kings are among the teams Labissiere has interviewed with at the combine, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv, echoing previous reports about interviews with Philadelphia and New Orleans. Ford’s sources remain solidly in the camp of Ben Simmons over Brandon Ingram for the top overall pick, while it appears it’s a battle between Jamal Murray and Kris Dunn for the No. 3 pick, Ford hears. Still, no one had a more impressive combine showing Thursday than Cheick Diallo, a high second-round prospect, according to Ford. Both his strengths and weaknesses were on display, as Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of DraftExpress detail. The Kansas center/forward says he’ll probably remain in the draft, as Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv details, adding the Warriors, Mavericks, Nets, Sixers, Knicks and Raptors to the list of teams he’s interviewing with at the combine.

See more updates as the combine continues:

  • The Lakers interviewed Ingram, notes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
  • The Bulls, Hawks, Kings, Spurs and Rockets are among the teams interviewing Cal swingman Jaylen Brown, as he told reporters and as Basketball Insiders relays in a video. Also on the list are Boston and Minnesota, as we passed along earlier.
  • UNLV shooting guard Patrick McCaw listed the Raptors, Bucks, Hornets, Cavaliers and Heat, as well as a previously reported meeting with Boston, among his interviews, as Basketball Insiders relays in another video.
  • Wisconsin power forward Nigel Hayes will work out for the Suns, Celtics and Knicks, reports Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link). Ford heard some negativity surrounding his performance Thursday.
  • The Pelicans, Knicks, Mavericks, Hornets and Lakers are the previously unreported teams on the interview list for Maryland point guard Melo Trimble, as J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic relays. Ford heard from NBA types down on Trimble’s showing Thursday.
  • Former Iona combo guard A.J. English met with the Pelicans and will do so with the Wizards and Nets, Zagoria tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.
  • The Spurs, Warriors, Nuggets and Grizzlies are the previously unreported teams interviewing Seton Hall shooting guard Isaiah Whitehead, Zagoria relays (Twitter link). He’ll work out for the Sixers on Monday, the Pacers on Wednesday, the Celtics on May 20th and the Bulls on May 23rd, a source tells Zach Braziller of the New York Post (Twitter links). Boston, Indiana and Chicago are particularly interested in him, Braziller hears.

Draft Combine Updates: Thursday Afternoon

The NBA draft combine began Wednesday and kicks into high gear today. The players have been measured, with the the NBA releasing the results on its website, and drills and five-on-five action will take place for willing participants. The general rule is this: The more highly regarded the prospect, the fewer combine events in which he takes part. Cameron Payne was the only eventual 2015 lottery pick who did any basketball activity at last year’s combine, notes Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress (Twitter link). Top-pick contender Ben Simmons is among those who are skipping the combine altogether, while lottery prospects Kris Dunn and Deyonta Davis will be limited participants, Givony and Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com report (Twitter links). Interviews with teams are a key part of the combine, as The Vertical’s Bobby Marks details, but teams don’t directly select the players they interview, as Marks explains.

Here’s more news on the draft:

  • Givony, writing for The Vertical, said the private workout Skal Labissiere had Wednesday was one of the best he’s ever seen. The big man from Kentucky also interviewed with the Sixers on Wednesday, a source told Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly (Twitter link).
  • Top-10 prospects Brandon Ingram, Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray are among those interviewing with the Celtics, reports Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald (Twitter link).
  • First-round prospect DeAndre’ Bembry will work out for the Sixers on Monday, reports Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). The small forward from St. Joseph’s met with the Nets on Wednesday, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link), and Bembry also interviewed with the Thunder, Wizards, Spurs, Pelicans and Knicks, Pompey adds (via Twitter).
  • St. Joseph’s power forward Isaiah Miles worked out for the Celtics this week and will do so for the Nets on May 19th, Pompey also reports. The Mavericks, Spurs, Rockets, Bucks and Knicks will also work him out, according to Pompey, who adds that he’ll interview with the Pacers and Wizards at the combine and previously interviewed with the Mavs, Spurs, Magic and Grizzlies at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a showcase for seniors.
  • The Nets are among the teams working out Kentucky combo guard Isaiah Briscoe, sources tell Evan Daniels of Scout.com (Twitter link), who also echoes previous reports of his workouts with three other teams.
  • Oklahoma senior shooting guard Isaiah Cousins will work out Tuesday for the Pacers, Zagoria tweets.
  • Oakland University point guard Kay Felder met Wednesday with the Suns, Pelicans, Jazz, Nuggets, Cavaliers, Celtics and Nets, reports Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).
  • Evansville center Egidijus Mockevicius will work out for the Nets, Bulls and Pacers, reports Daniel Allar of the Courier & Press (Twitter links). The Nuggets, Cavaliers and Magic are also interested in scheduling workouts with him, Allar adds.

Love Credits Lue Speech For Turning Around Cavs' Season

  • With the Cavs struggling down the stretch of the regular season, Kevin Love credits a talk coach Tyronn Lue gave to the team for sparking the recent hot streak Cleveland has been on, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com writes.

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