Here's the latest news on coaching and GM vacancies courtesy of CBSSports.com's Ken Berger..
- It's too early to identify a front-runner in the Sixers search, but things sound promising for Warriors assistant Mike Malone. Philly execs have contacted the Warriors multiple times about Malone, including several conversations with consultant Jerry West. In fact, the Sixers are consulting players who've played under both Malone and Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer to get a feel for how the two candidates differ, according to one source.
- To the surprise of some rival executives, the Sixers' coaching search is being led by GM Tony DiLeo, whose contract expires this summer. With team president Rod Thorn moving into a smaller role and DiLeo's contract expiring, rival execs expect the Sixers seek out a new decision maker as well. In fact, that process has already begun through back-channel conversations, one person contacted on the Sixers' behalf told Berger.
- Nets star Deron Williams has been vocal in his support of Jerry Sloan for the job but also has a strong relationship with Jeff Hornacek. In addition to the Sixers, the former Jazz sharpshooter has attracted interest from the Bobcats, Suns, and Bucks, sources told Berger.
- The Suns are in the advanced stages of their GM search and the latest word is that Celtics assistant GM Ryan McDonough's is gaining momentum. Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman has been viewed as the favorite in some circles, however, and the Suns also have interviewed Spurs exec (and former Knicks GM) Scott Layden.
- The Clippers are expected to can Vinny Del Negro and Hawks are expected to let Larry Drew go, league sources said. The Clippers are said to be "exploring all options," while the Hawks' decision on Drew's future is expected "sooner than later," sources said. It is widely believed that GM Danny Ferry prefers to install his own head coach in Atlanta.
The Nets wasted no time making their decision on interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, announcing his ouster about 14 hours after the team was eliminated from the playoffs last night. GM Billy King says he won't rush to name a replacement, but King was quick to name Phil Jackson as a candidate. There's dispute over whether Jeff Van Gundy is in the running for the job as well. Here's what we know as the story continues to develop:
- Deron Williams told reporters, including Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (via Twitter), that he'd "love" to play for Jerry Sloan again. According to many observers, Williams and Sloan clashed quite a bit in Utah and there was speculation that their friction is what led the longtime coach to walk away.
- TNT's David Aldridge puts Jeff Van Gundy and brother Stan Van Gundy on a shortlist of "obvious" candidates, along with Larry Brown. Jackson doesn't want to coach the team, and would prefer a player personnel role similar to Pat Riley's team presidency with the Heat, Aldridge adds (Twitter link).
- King told reporters he has no idea about the level of interest Jackson may have in the job, as Newsday's Roderick Boone notes, via Twitter.
- Despite the splashy names already linked to the team, King said the Nets aren't prioritizing a marquee hire, citing the success that Chicago's Tom Thibodeau has had in his first job as a head coach, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
- Marc Stein of ESPN.com nonetheless believes the team will go after a big name coach, arguing that it would be easier to bring one of them aboard than to fix the team's roster. Owner Mikhail Prokhorov has always coveted Jackson, Stein tweets.
- Stein also points out the relationship between Brown, currently coaching at SMU, and King (Twitter link).
- Current Nets assistants will have a chance to meet with whoever takes over as head coach before the team decides whether to retain them, Bondy tweets.
With the Knicks set to face the Clippers during what has been a dreary road trip and the Nets hosting the Hawks in Brooklyn, both teams could find itself in a virtual tie for first place in the Atlantic Division tomorrow if Los Angeles wins and Atlanta loses. While Manhattan deals with the uncertainty of Carmelo Anthony's knee, Brooklyn finds Deron Williams in the middle of what appears to be his second wind, as Newsday's Roderick Boone observes that the point guard looks to be past the ankle pains that limited him early on this season. Here's more out of New York tonight:
- Tyson Chandler, who joins Anthony in recovering from an injury, views this as an opportunity for both of them to get enough rest to prepare them for a last season push, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday. In addition to calling it a "blessing in disguise," Chandler also told reporters: "I feel like (Carmelo) will fully heal and be back over the next couple of games...I know I will be back in the next couple of games. So we won with this lineup at the beginning of this year. That's when we went on our tear, and there's no reason why we can't get right back to that."
- In reading a Wall-Street Journal piece about Carmelo, Marc Berman of the New York Post points out the impact that the Knicks star had on J.R. Smith, who credits Anthony for reigning in his focus this year (Sulia link).
- Despite the two teams being finished with their regular season meetings, Howard Beck of the New York Times breaks down the remaining challenges that the cross-town rivals face in the race for the Atlantic Division.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his weekly appearance on WEEI radio in Boston to talk about what transpired during the trade deadline as well as his thoughts on the team moving forward. Greg Payne of ESPN Boston has the highlights, including Ainge's thoughts on why Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce weren't dealt, the CBA having a significant impact on the trade deadline, the long-standing interest in Jordan Crawford, and whether or not he would have been able to convince Garnett to waive his no-trade clause. Here's more out of the Atlantic Division tonight:
It's been quite an evening in the NBA, as a third of the nine games on the docket went to overtime. It was also a rare night when both the Wizards and Bobcats recorded wins. As we wait to find out more about trade candidates and the Suns coaching situation tomorrow, here's the rest of the news from around the Association.
- A day after the release of a report detailing abuses of power by players union executive director Billy Hunter, Nets star Deron Williams called for changes from "top to bottom" in the organization, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
- HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler says the Magic aren't interested in Rudy Gay, but wouldn't be surprised to see the team get involved in a trade that sends Gay elsewhere. Orlando's $17.8MM trade exception allows Orlando to get involved as a middleman, as Kyler points out (All Twitter links).
- In a piece that looks back on the Magic's in-season trades from years past, Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel argues that Nikola Vucevic has become the team's No. 1 trade chip and urges the front office to hold on to him.
- David West won't let his impending free agency distract him from his work with the Pacers, as HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy documents via Sulia.
- Wolves coach Rick Adelman won't be returning to the team anytime soon as he continues to tend to his ailing wife, GM David Kahn told reporters, including Ray Richardson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Assistant coach Terry Porter will continue to lead the team in Adelman's stead.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports has a new interview with Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, in which the 2011 NBA Finals MVP discusses his career, his future with the Mavericks, various free agents that have been linked to Dallas, and more.
On the possibility that he may be traded:
“That is a tough question. You have to ask that to [owner] Mark [Cuban] and [general manager] Donnie [Nelson] if that's something they would consider. As far as I'm concerned, I think I am going to finish my career in Dallas. I really only have this year and next year left on my contract for big money and then we will see what happens."
On his hopes for the Mavericks' rebuilding efforts:
The good thing is we have [salary] cap space for the first time in my career. We've always been over the cap. We've never been able to sign someone flat-out. We always had to do different deals to get somebody in.
“The good thing with cap space is you can turn your situation around pretty quick. It might look a little ugly at times this year, but you can take chances on a contract and be a player in free agency this year.”
On his relationship with Deron Williams, who considered signing in Dallas before ultimately returning to Brooklyn:
“I talked to him actually. We partied at one of the All-Star Games a long time ago. I've had his number. We've been talking. He's from Dallas, I know that. But he made the decision that was best for him and for his family. I wasn't mad at that. It is what it is. I have to move on.
On the possibility that the Mavs will pursue Chris Paul or Dwight Howard this summer:
“We're not that close. It's going to be tough. Dwight is in L.A. Obviously, CP3 [Chris Paul] is with the Clippers and they're both in great situations. So, we will have to wait and see what the summer brings. Maybe we can still do something at the trade deadline. We still got a couple weeks to get better and you know Mark and Donnie are always working something to make the franchise better.”
On the Mavs' decision not to bring back Tyson Chandler and Jose Barea following the team's 2011 title:
“Great question. What Mark didn't want to do, especially now with the new CBA, was lock himself in where he has a bunch of older guys with big deals. And then when we get too old, you're basically locked in for another two to three years and you can't do any moves. As I understood the CBA more, how the taxes are going to be, I understood his point of view on it.
“But us as players, we would have loved to have kept Tyson, Caron [Butler], J.J., all those guys who really would have had another shot last year. But it is what it is and you have to make tough decisions in this league, and Cuban thought it would be better to have the [salary] cap space for the future.”
With tipoff at the Garden for Spurs-Knicks scheduled for 7:30ET, Mike Woodson
announced a shake up in the starting lineup, plugging Marcus Camby
into the power forward spot previously held by Kurt Thomas
(via Ian Begley on Twitter
). Here is all the other news coming out of the Atlantic on Thurday:
- In an Insider-only piece, Chris Broussard of ESPN tackles the Amare Stoudemire conundrum in New York by asking five NBA minds - three assistant coaches and two longtime scouts - what the Knicks should do now that their enigmatic power forward is back. The consensus is that Stoudemire should come off the bench initially, but as he gets healthier the opinions vary as to whether his game and mindset are up for becoming a complimentary piece on a title contender.
- For those into NBA metrics, Henry Abbott at ESPN offers an interesting take on how it could be that the Knicks Steve Novak could have the same defensive rating as dominant defensive center Tyson Chandler, and most important, what it means with regard to statistics.
- Kirk Goldsberry of Grantland analyzes what it is to be an "attack guard" in today's NBA, and in turn reveals what has been a key factor in the decline of Nets point guard Deron Williams. Goldsberry writes that Williams has not all of a sudden become a worse shooter, but is instead more often settling for longer shots. Williams has never been a great shooter and with his ability to attack the rim declining, it has put more emphasis on his mediocre stroke.
- Despite their 14-17 start, Danny Ainge remains optimistic that the Celtics will come around as currently constructed, writes Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston. Ainge is looking forward to the return of Avery Bradley and says the new faces have not been the sole reason for their slow start. Jimmy Toscano of CSN New England offers a few additional quotes from Ainge that imply that the right talent and coach are in place - it is merely up to the players now. It is worth mentioning that last year, the Celtics sat at 15-17 after a 5-game losing streak, only to finish the season on a 24-10 tear and capture the Atlantic division title.
Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW.com answered some questions from readers on Wednesday in a live chat, and touched on a number of Mavericks topics including the team's free agency plans and possible trades. Here are the highlights:
The Atlantic Division was expected to be the strongest in the Eastern Conference, and perhaps even in the NBA, this season. So far though, only the 21-10 Knicks have exceeded expectations. The Nets, Sixers, Celtics, and Raptors are a combined 56-68, putting the division one game below .500 as a whole. Here's the latest out of the underachieving Atlantic:
- As we've heard before, the Nets are targeting Phil Jackson for their head coach opening, and are expected to launch their pursuit of Jackson soon. However, if they can't persuade the Zen Master to come to Brooklyn, the Nets may wait until the offseason to find a permanent solution for the position, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein (Twitter links).
- Current Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo doesn't want to see struggling point guard Deron Williams put so much pressure on himself, as he tells Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News: "I think a lot of it is the reality of what has happened to our franchise
this year. It would be hard to overstate how dramatically different the
franchise, the team, the expectations, the focus, everything is this
year compared to last year. And he’s in the middle of the whole thing.
So it’s been a big challenge. I think it’s important for me to not let
him think it all revolves around him."
- Asked whether there had been any progress in Andrew Bynum's recovery, Sixers GM Tony DiLeo told reporters, including Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News, that there was no news at the moment. Cooney expects an update from the team next week.
- Lang Greene's NBA AM piece at HoopsWorld is particularly Atlantic-heavy, focusing on Avery Bradley's return to the Celtics, Amare Stoudemire's 2012/13 debut for the Knicks, and Jrue Holiday's All-Star chances.
- Ken Berger of CBSSports.com also takes a look at Stoudemire's first game back with the Knicks, including Carmelo Anthony's assertion that he and Stoudemire have to focus on "not listening to what everybody has to say" about the duo's ability to play together.
The Nets are looking to win their third straight game under P.J. Carlesimo tonight in San Antonio, and whether or not they can pull it out, the team appears to be in no rush to begin searching for a replacement for Carlesimo. Chris Broussard of ESPN.com echoes what we've heard over the last couple days, writing that the interim head coach will get a "legit shot" to finish the 2012/13 season. Phil Jackson remains Brooklyn's "dream hire," but the club recognizes that it's difficult to hire an established coach to take over mid-season (all Twitter links). As the Nets and Spurs play one of the final games of 2012, we'll take a look at a few Monday evening odds and ends:
- According to Chris Bernucca of Sheridan Hoops, Deron Williams is "a Ferrari with engine problems" at the moment, which is particularly troublesome after the Nets signed Williams to a five-year, maximum-salary contract over the summer. D-Will says Avery Johnson's dismissal was a big wake-up call for the team as a sign of "what happens when you lose" (Twitter link via Rod Boone of Newsday), so we'll see if the point guard's performance improves in the coming weeks.
- Asked about the possibility of the Heat signing Kenyon Martin, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel suggests it's hard to argue that he wouldn't be an upgrade.
- Despite being in a potential contract year, Andre Iguodala hasn't had to think about trade rumors this season, which has been a relief, as he tells Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld.
- The Celtics still have plenty of time to turn things around, and the impending return of Avery Bradley should provide a boost, writes Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com.