We've already mentioned the "draft and stash" philosophy earlier in the night, and that's what Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News thinks the Mavericks might do if they don't trade their 13th pick in this year's draft. He says they're eyeing German point guard Dennis Schroeder if they choose to keep the pick, which has been considered unlikely as they go for broke at another title with Dirk Nowitzki not getting any younger.
Nowitzki would help fellow German Schroeder mesh with the team, and the Mavs are looking for point guard help after Darren Collison failed to inspire a lot of confidence last season when the team missed the playoffs for the first time since the 1999/00 campaign. Schroeder can also be stashed if the Mavs don't feel he's ready to come in and play heavy minutes in the rotation.
Here's what else is happening around the Western Conference on the first Saturday night since the 2012/13 NBA season concluded.
- Former Spurs forward Fabricio Oberto may have hinted at a possible return to the NBA as a part of the Spurs' coaching staff in an interview with Argentinian journalist Julian Mozo, reports Dan McCarney of the Express-News.
- Bob Young of the Arizona Republic says the Suns will wear long-sleeved jerseys, like the Warriors did last season, in an effort to improve faltering merchandise sales.
- Lakers executive and owner, Jeanie Buss, spoke with the Los Angeles Times' Eric Pincus about her confidence in the team despite Dwight Howard's uncertain future as an unrestricted free agent, and their luxury tax issues after the CBA.
- Pincus also offers his thoughts on the Clippers' head coaching candidates after they failed to reach an agreement with the Celtics to let Doc Rivers out of his contract (Sulia link). As reported earlier today, the Clippers have started preliminary contract discussions with Brian Shaw and Byron Scott.
- Speaking of coaching searches, with all their interviews completed, the Grizzlies now only need to select a coach, writes Ronald Tillery in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
- Jerry Sloan spoke with Mike Sorenson of the Deseret News about his decision to accept an advisory role with the Jazz.
- Joe Freeman at the Oregonian looks at draft prospect Peyton Siva as the Trail Blazers' possible 10th pick this Thurday.
- Star-Tribune reporter Jerry Zgoda goes through five possible draft selections with Minnesota connections, and details Flip Saunders' first draft with the Timberwolves as head of basketball operations after replacing David Kahn earlier this summer. Saunders was the coach for the Wolves under then-general manager Kevin McHale from 1995-2006.
A well-deserved congratulations to the Heat for winning the NBA Championship as well as the Spurs for putting up a hard fought series. As we wrap up one of the more memorable Finals matchups in recent history, here are some of tonight's news and notes out of the Western Conference:
- Paul Coro of AZ Central says that Suns GM Ryan McDonough could use one of his three draft picks on an international player under contract and keep him overseas for more seasoning before bringing him over. Coro adds that if Phoenix doesn't select a center with their fifth overall pick, it could certainly be a targeted position with their 30th.
- Given their draft history, Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW thinks that the Mavericks will either trade this year's pick or draft an international player with the intent of keeping him overseas as to not take up any of this summer's salary cap space. If they do keep the pick, Sefko thinks that they'll look at either Michael Carter-Williams or Dennis Schroeder. In a separate piece, Sefko boldly predicts that the Mavs will wind up with Dwight Howard this offseason.
- Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin is excited to have Jerry Sloan involved with the franchise again, writes Bill Oram of The Salt Lake Tribune.
- Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times thinks that the Clippers going after Doc Rivers at the expense of a first round pick is a no-brainer.
The Jazz announced on Wednesday evening that they have hired Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan in an official capacity as a Senior Basketball Advisor. Sloan's role will entail player evaluation at workouts, summer league and camps, as well as limited pro and regional college scouting and occasional practice observation. The news was initially revealed by Jazz CEO Greg Miller via Twitter.
In a statement, via the team's website, Sloan said, “In my new role with the Jazz franchise, I hope to help the basketball operations staff and [head coach Tyrone Corbin] in any way that I can to achieve their goals. I would like to thank the Miller family for the opportunity to be part of the organization again.”
A batch of notes regarding the league's never-ending coaching carousel:
- Former Suns head coach Alvin Gentry will interview with the Grizzlies for the second time on Thursday for their open head coaching position, tweets Yahoo! NBA reporter Marc J. Spears.
- Warriors head coach Mark Jackson is not expecting a contract extension to come this summer, despite the team's immense playoff success in his second year on the job, writes MercuryNews.com's Tim Kawakami. Jackson also said that with the departure of top assistant Mike Malone to become head coach of the Kings, last year's assistants Pete Myers and Darren Erman will simply move up the depth chart, and no hiring will take place to replace Malone.
- According to Shams Charania from RealGM.com, Jerry Sloan will continue to consult with the Jazz in an unofficial capacity for the time being. Several of the coaching vacancies that opened up this summer intrigued Sloan, but none were good enough of a fit to bring him out of retirement.
The Jazz aren't one of the NBA teams still searching for a head coach, but they have talked to former coach Jerry Sloan about a potential return to the organization, reports Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. According to Genessy, the Jazz and Sloan have had preliminary discussions about the 71-year-old joining the team in an unspecified role, to help the franchise and coach Tyrone Corbin.
"That's up to (them)," Sloan said. "That's a situation that's strictly up to Ty or somebody in the Jazz organization. If they want me around, fine. If they don't, (fine). They'd talked to me a little bit about it a little bit earlier."
Sloan has been linked to a number of head coaching openings during the last couple summers, but it appears he has yet to find an ideal fit. The longtime Utah head coach joined the team's contingent at the NBA's Chicago predraft combine last month, at which point team president Randy Rigby indicated the Jazz would welcome Sloan back in a consulting role.
According to Genessy, Sloan is open to returning to the organization in some way, though it's not clear if he is interested in acting as a consultant, a coach, or an executive. Sloan stressed that he wouldn't want to be a distraction for Corbin and the rest of the coaching staff.
The Jazz have already reunited with one franchise icon this offseason, having brought Karl Malone aboard to work with the club's big men.
Although there are still a handful of NBA head coaching jobs available, the openings in Brooklyn and Los Angeles stand out, based on the regular-season success the Nets and Clippers had this past season. Neither team appears to have made significant progress in its search so far, but that could change soon. Here's the latest on the Nets' and Clippers' respective searches:
- The Clippers have reached out to Brian Shaw and Jeff Van Gundy, who are reportedly atop the team's wish list, and both men appear to have interest in the job, reports Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
- According to Turner, Alvin Gentry has also been in touch with the Clippers and expressed interest in the job. Jerry Sloan's representatives called the Clips as well, but he has since "backed away" from pursuing the opening, says Turner.
- All the Clippers' discussions so far have been preliminary, with no formal interviews set up yet, writes Turner.
- Neither the Clippers or Nets seem to be making any headway with Lionel Hollins. Turner reports that L.A. has yet to speak to the Grizzlies coach, while Fred Kerber of the New York Post says Hollins isn't necessarily the odds-on favorite for Brooklyn.
- The Nets aren't among the teams who have called the Pacers about Shaw, according to Kerber, who hears from a source that Brooklyn may be inclined to favor a candidate with previous head coaching experience. "I think they have high regard for [Shaw]," the source said. "But with that roster and owner, my gut says they would want an established guy."
A source tells Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group that first- and second-round draft picks will likely be available around the time of the draft in exchange for little more than cash. I'd be surprised if any team gave up a first-rounder for such paltry return, however, even considering the purported weakness of this year's crop of prospects. No first-round picks changed hands at the trade deadline, when teams were reluctant to give them up. The Warriors don't have a pick in this year's draft and co-owner Joe Lacob has shown the willingness to spend to acquire a selection in the past, as Kawakami points out, so perhaps they'll net a second-rounder this year.
There's more on the Warriors and their Western Conference rivals, as we detail here:
- Kawakami also hears talk about a hypothetical trade scenario involving David Lee and Pau Gasol, though he strongly cautions that Gasol's name was brought up merely as an example of the kind of player the Warriors might pursue in a trade for Lee. A Gasol deal won't happen, Kawakami writes, but he's the sort of highly paid, versatile big man the team could seek.
- Jerry Sloan attended this week's predraft camp with Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, and team president Randy Rigby would welcome Sloan if he wants to come back to the Jazz as a consultant, reports Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune. Tribune columnist Gordon Monson predicts Sloan will take the team up on that offer.
- Thunder GM Sam Presti hinted that the team might expand its already liberal use of its D-League affililate, notes Nick Gallo of Thunder.com. "We’re going to have to continue to find ways to use it, because the elite organizations in sports, they assimilate younger players into their team," Presti said. "That’s part of their ability to sustain as they experience turnover or the unforeseen circumstance. It’s what you do before the storm hits, often."
Although he played well in this year's NCAA tournament, Vander Blue was one of the more surprising names on 2013's early entrant list, considering he's widely viewed as a second-round pick at best. But Blue told reporters at this week's draft combine in Chicago that he's confident in his decision, and expects to surprise anyone who doesn't think he'll produce in the NBA.
"Nobody expected [former Marquette teammate] Jimmy [Butler] to be who he is today with the Bulls," said Blue, according to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times. "Nobody probably expects me to do any good in the NBA. But I know how to go about my business. I’m more than confident."
After discussing Blue's decision to declare for the draft and passing along a few of his quotes, Woelfel's latest column explores a few other topics of note. Here are the highlights:
- Woelfel reiterates that Jerry Sloan still has a desire to return to coaching, but not with the Bucks, as we heard last night.
- In addition to the interviews we heard about yesterday, the Bucks also met with Jamaal Franklin and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, says Woelfel.
- Woelfel hears from NBA officials that Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman may have had a verbal agreement in place with Suns president Lon Babby to become the team's GM, but that owner Robert Sarver nixed the deal. Phoenix ultimately ended up hiring Ryan McDonough.
- According to Woelfel, there's a "growing sentiment" that J.J. Redick will sign with a team besides the Bucks this summer.
- Nerlens Noel, the favorite to be the No. 1 pick next month, still hasn't decided on an agent, says Woelfel. One report last month suggested Noel may become Jay-Z's first basketball client.
According to TNT's David Aldridge, Hall of Famer and former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan decided that he wasn't interested in the Bucks' head coaching vacancy. We made note that Sloan met with Milwaukee on Monday and that he had garnered "serious consideration." This likely won't mean the end of his name being generated on the rumor mill in the near future, as we heard last week that the 71-year-old coach had been fielding exploratory talks with other teams as well.
Sloan's 26-year NBA coaching career includes three seasons in Chicago and 23 in Utah. Should he find himself back next season at the helm of an NBA bench, the native Illinoisan would become the longest tenured active coach in the NBA. The Nuggets' George Karl is currently the most seasoned active coach in the league, having just finished his 25th season this year.
The Bucks aren't wasting any time exploring their head coaching options, having already interviewed Kelvin Sampson, Nate McMillan, J.B. Bickerstaff, and Steve Clifford. According to Sam Amick of USA Today, Milwaukee also has a higher-profile name on its radar. Amick reports that the Bucks have met with Jerry Sloan, who is being "seriously considered" by the team.
Milwaukee has reportedly been seeking a coach who will command respect in the team's locker room, following a postseason incident between Larry Sanders and Monta Ellis. As Amick notes, the Bucks' position is somewhat similar to the position Sloan held in Utah for more than two decades.
Sloan revealed last week that he had been contacted by a couple NBA teams, though he characterized the talks as "exploratory" rather than anything serious, and said no offers had been made. He also shot down rumors of a potential reunion with Deron Williams, confirming that he hadn't been in touch with the Nets at all.