A number of outlets have relayed the TMZ report last night that 33-year-old free agent forward Lamar Odom has been battling a "hardcore" drug addiction for the past two years. Odom hasn't failed an NBA-mandated drug test since 2001, but the report claims he entered a drug treatment facility in San Diego last summer and was clean during the 2012/13 season with the Clippers before beginning to use again this summer.
Odom averaged a career low 4.0 PPG and 1.7 APG in 19.7 MPG while appearing in all 82 games with the Clippers last season. Here's what else is happening around the league during a quiet, late-August Saturday night:
- Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer spent the day with new Sixers coach Brett Brown's family in Portland, Maine.
- Adam Zongoria of Zagsblog.com describes how SMU coach Larry Brown landed the top class of 2014 high school point guard, Emmanuel Mudiay, who announced his decision at halftime of Brooklyn's Elite 24 game tonight. Zongoria opines that Mudiay will be a one-and-done player and a likely lottery pick in the 2015 draft.
- The Trail Blazers made a lot of moves to improve their league-worst bench from last season. One of those additions, Dorell Wright, is profiled by the Oregonian's John Canzano.
- HoopsWorld's senior NBA writer Bill Ingram tweets that the rumors Dwight Howard issued an ultimatum that Mike D'Antoni be fired and Kobe Bryant amnestied in order to re-sign with the Lakers "seem silly" since Howard chose the Rockets early on. Ingram also wonders, via Twitter, what it says about Howard (assuming the reports are accurate) for him to think he has anything on Bryant.
- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban answered questions on the new "Fox Sports Live" program last night, as transcribed by The Dallas Morning News. He discusses flip-flopping on wanting Dwight Howard in free agency this summer, whether the Mavs are rebuilding this coming year, and the health of 35-year-old franchise star Dirk Nowitzki.
- The Mavs are also one of the eight teams wearing the new GPS tracking devices, reports The Dallas Morning News.
- ESPNNewYork.com's Jared Zwerling tweets that former St. John's star Justin Burrell, who has played overseas since graduating in 2011, will play for Italy's Montepaschi Siena this coming season.
As I noted yesterday when examining the longest-tenured coaches in the NBA, four teams – the Pistons, 76ers, Nets, and Clippers – are still in the market for a new head coach, while a couple other positions could open up later in the offseason. In addition to those head coaching openings, plenty of assistants are being hired, or moving from one NBA team to another. Here are today's rumors on those head coaching searches and the assistant coaching carousel:
- Although the Clippers have asked and received permission to speak to Lionel Hollins, the Nets' initial request to speak to Hollins was turned down, according to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter links). Tillery adds that Brooklyn has yet to make another request since being denied on the day after the Grizzlies' season ended.
- No teams have requested permission yet to speak to Grizzlies assistant Dave Joerger, but the Sixers are believed to have interest, tweets Tillery.
- A report yesterday indicated that the Nets and Sixers were among the teams that have contacted Larry Brown about their head coaching openings. Brown threw cold water on that report today though, according to John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer, saying he's happy at SMU. CSNPhilly.com, meanwhile, reports that Brown would likely have interest in returning to the NBA if it meant running a franchise. I'd be surprised if anything came of this.
- Less than 24 hours after ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Chris Broussard reported that Brian Shaw was a "serious target" for the Nets, Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that Shaw also appears to be the Clippers' top choice at this point. Since no official interviews have been conducted yet, the situation remains fluid, but the Clippers are intrigued by Shaw's youth, championship experience, and developmental skills, according to Shelburne.
- Talks between Jeff Van Gundy and the Clippers have cooled, and the team has yet to ask permission to speak to Nuggets coach George Karl, though he remains a possible target. Lionel Hollins, Byron Scott, and Alvin Gentry also remain under consideration for Los Angeles, says Shelburne.
- Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times provides the same list of contenders for the Clippers' job, though he's even more bearish on the likelihood of the team hiring Van Gundy, writing that he's essentially "out of the running." Shaw, meanwhile is gaining momentum for the position, according to Turner.
- Although the Pistons' search appears to have been narrowed down to Nate McMillan and Maurice Cheeks, there's no guarantee a decision happens this week, sources tell David Mayo of MLive.com.
- Following up on a report from Frank Isola of the New York Daily News last week which suggested Patrick Ewing could be hired as an assistant in Charlotte, Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com says Ewing is interviewing for the Bobcats' lead assistant job today. The former Knicks big man has also received interest from the Kings, writes Haynes.
- Newly-hired Kings head coach Michael Malone is also talking to Ohio State assistant Chris Jent about joining his staff in Sacramento, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
- Yet another Lakers assistant coach appears to be on his way out of L.A., as Darvin Ham will talk to the Bobcats and Hawks about a spot on their respective staffs, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
The Nets, Sixers and a third team have all contacted Larry Brown about their coaching vacancies, reports Adam Zagoria of SNY, citing a source close to Brown. Reports of interest in Brown, currently the head coach at SMU, is nothing new this offseason, but this is the first we've heard that he has actually been contacted. The Clippers are the only other team, outside of Brooklyn, Philly and the Pistons, to still have an opening, but it is unclear if they are the third team. Brown has coached all four franchises.
“If one of those teams offered him I think he would [take it] but I don’t think they’re going to offer him,” the source said. Brown has been constantly linked to the Nets and has a good relationship with general manager Billy King from their days in Philly, but their top choice seems to be Brian Shaw. Meanwhile, the Sixers hire of GM Sam Hinkie was supposed to eliminate any chances of Brown's return to Philly, so the source close to Brown is probably right that his return to the NBA is a long shot.
Brian Shaw will interview to be the new head coach of the Pistons, according to a report by WXYZ-TV passed along by Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News. The former player is in the midst of a playoff run as an assistant coach with the Pacers, but once their season ends, Shaw will interview for the head coach position. Pacers president Donnie Walsh has asked that his assistants not interview for other jobs until after the team's playoff run.
In a recent article for HoopsHype, longtime Phil Jackson confidant Charley Rosen said that he wouldn't be surprised if Jackson's former player was offered the Pistons job. The Zen Master, of course, is currently serving as a hiring consultant for Detroit.
Shaw is also in the running for the Nets' head coaching position, with Larry Brown and Jackson himself on Brooklyn's list of candidates, though Jackson isn't interested in the Nets' opening. Shaw is also up for the Sixers open slot as head coach, as we learned earlier this month.
The move isn't official yet, but the talk surrounding the Sixers this weekend has been about the impending appointment of Rockets executive Sam Hinkie as the new GM in Philadelphia. It will be the first of several key moves for the Sixers this summer, as the franchise must fill its coaching vacancy and decide on the future of free agent Andrew Bynum. There's been plenty of reaction to Friday's news about the change in the team's front office, as we share here:
- Evan Turner is eligible for an extension this summer heading into the final year of his rookie deal, and outgoing GM Tony DiLeo wanted to keep Turner around, a source tells John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Mitchell wonders whether Hinkie feels the same way about the former No. 2 overall pick.
- Hinkie's arrival puts to bed any notion that Larry Brown might return to coach the team, according to Mitchell, who hopes the move also spells the end for Bynum in Philly.
- In a separate piece, Mitchell outlines a to-do list for Hinkie and profiles the executive who's willing to supplement advanced statistics with the old-fashioned legwork of scouting.
- Tom Moore of PhillyBurbs.com suggests Hinkie ought to launch a full-fledged rebuild in Philadelphia, rather than just "tweaking" the roster.
- The Inquirer's Michael Kaskey-Blomain Inquirer wouldn't be surprised to see the Sixers hire a first-time head coach, and he picks through the field of assistants in line to take over a team this summer.
Luke Adams contributed to this post.
After a night without NBA action, the headlines are a little scarce on this Friday morning. But there are still a handful of notable links to round up, particularly out of the Atlantic Division….
- It's not clear what's holding up MLSE's decision on whether or not to pick up Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo's 2013/14 option, says Eric Koreen of the National Post. As ownership weighs the Colangelo decision, it's possible that his potential replacements are being courted by other teams, according to Koreen.
- The Nets may not be able to bring back all of their productive bench players, with Andray Blatche and C.J. Watson potentially heading for free agency. However, as Michael Scotto of RealGM.com writes, Brooklyn's starting lineup is under contract for multiple years, so the team should get a chance to continue developing chemistry and consistency next season.
- Former 76ers coach Larry Brown is coaching college ball at SMU, but tells Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News that he still lives in Philadelphia and that "I'd love to be a resource [for the Sixers] any way I can." The Sixers are currently seeking a new head coach, and could also be exploring hiring a new general manager.
- The Celtics' ability to contend over the next several seasons will hinge on Kevin Garnett's future, writes Justin Barrasso of WEEI.com.
TUESDAY, 10:51pm: A source tells ESPN that Jackson is still open to coaching if he has a say on the roster, tweets ESPN L.A.'s Ramona Shelburne. Shelburne says that the legendary coach would prefer a front office gig, but would be willing to coach if he had power within the franchise. Jackson is a in "listen mode," not "look mode," Shelburne tweets, adding that it would have to be a perfect fit, a la Pat Riley in Miami (Twitter links here).
5:18pm: Jackson is not interested in a return to coaching and therefore will not become the next coach of the Nets, reports Tim Bontemps of the New York post, citing a league source. Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski confirms the Post report, also tweeting that Jackson's inclination remains to make his NBA return in a "broader management role."
MONDAY, 8:30pm: The Nets have contacted Phil Jackson about the possibility of becoming their next coach, a source told Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. After Jackson, the source says the list of current Nets' candidates consists of Larry Brown and Brian Shaw.
Nate McMillan, Jeff Van Gundy, and Stan Van Gundy aren't on the list, the source said, but that could change if the Nets strike out on their aforementioned top three choices. Celtics coach Doc Rivers would interest the Nets though if the Celtics agree to let him out of his current contract, the source said.
Jerry Sloan is a long-shot candidate for the gig, even though Deron Williams recently endorsed him. Nets GM Billy King understands that Jackson is not likely to come to Brooklyn to coach, but he is open to bringing Jackson into the front-office, according to the source. Jackson would perhaps join the Nets as the team's president while also getting a slice of stake in the club's ownership.
Shaw would be a likely coaching candidate if Jackson joined the Nets front office thanks to the prior ties between the two.
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.
The Nets have Phil Jackson atop their list of potential replacements for Avery Johnson and will make a hard push for him, sources told Marc Stein and Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. Jackson's longtime rep Todd Musberger says that his client has "no interest" in the job at this time, but a source says that Jackson would indeed entertain an approach from Brooklyn.
That same source said that Jackson's flirtation with the Lakers after Mike Brown's dismissal got him "thinking about coaching again." The 67-year-old Jackson appeared close to returning for a third stint in November before L.A. unexpectedly gave the job to Mike D'Antoni.
Meanwhile, Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops (on Twitter) reports that the Nets have already made contact with Jackson through back channels. However, sources say that the reaching out hasn't been from CEO Brett Yormark or General Manager Billy King. We know that Nets brass isn't terribly patient when it comes to reaching out to their desired targets from their dealings with Dwight Howard. King and owner Mikhail Prokhorov reportedly met face-to-face with Howard in Miami one year ago when he was still a member of the Magic.
One coaching source told Stein and Broussard that an approach for Southern Methodist University's Larry Brown could not be ruled out because of Brown's close relationship with Nets general manager Billy King. Brown is in his first season at SMU, but he hasn't had any difficulty in moving from job-to-job over the course of his career. That would include Brown's stint as Nets coach in the early 1980s, which ended when he took the head coaching gig at the University of Kansas rather than guide his playoff-bound NBA team.
Earlier tonight, Nets star Deron Williams denied playing a role in Johnson's firing. We also heard that Stan Van Gundy isn't interested in the position and Nate McMillan isn't presently on the radar.
With the first of Saturday evening's eight games already underway, let's catch up on the latest news and happenings from around the league.
- Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times checks in with four different scouts to get a better picture of how the top-10 picks of the NBA draft will unfold come June. While all four agreed Kentucky's Anthony Davis was the sure-fire top pick in the draft, the group was split between Davis' former teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kansas forward Thomas Robinson as the player most likely to be selected second. Among the surprise names listed as a potential top-10 pick included Duke freshman guard Austin Rivers, who is projected by most experts to hear his name called in the mid-teens.
- Newly-minted SMU head coach Larry Brown recently offered some unsolicited advice to Bobcats owner Michael Jordan about the way he runs his franchise in an interview with NBA.com. Brown said that while he enjoyed working for Jordan thanks to the former Bulls star having high expectations for his team, he was not happy with how Jordan surrounded himself with people too afraid to challenge him. The Bobcats have currently lost 19 consecutive games and need to win one more to avoid having the lowest winning percentage in NBA history.
- Tom Reed of The Plain Dealer ponders how the city of Cleveland will handle the Cavaliers struggling yet again next season if the team continues to follow the Oklahoma City model of rebuilding a roster through top-five selections in the draft.
- The Celtics and Bulls were reportedly among a group of playoff-bound teams who inquired about the availability of Mehmet Okur in hopes of strengthening their frontcourt, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Okur, 32, started the season with the Nets before being dealt at the trade deadline to the Blazers along with Shawne Williams and a 2012 first-round draft pick (top-three protected) in exchange for swingman Gerald Wallace. The Blazers released Okur on March 21 due to the fact that the Turkish big man's back trouble would seemingly keep him out of action through June.