Lindsey Hunter Rumors
May 9 at 10:13pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Not long after being officially introduced as the Suns' new general manager, Ryan McDonough addressed the topic of his head coaching search, saying that several people on his list of ideal candidates for the job have matched up with the list that had been in place before he was hired, adding that Lindsey Hunter still remains as "one of the top guys" (Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic via USA Today). McDonough also underscored the draft as a franchise's "lifeblood" for "sustainable success" and was complimentary of some of the current players on the roster. Here's more out of the Western Conference tonight:
- Both Kevin Sherrington and David Moore of SportsDayDFW put themselves in Mark Cuban's shoes and give their theoretical free agent pitches to Chris Paul. Sherrington points to the differences in the Clippers' and Mavericks' ownership, while Moore emphasizes the opportunity to play with a shooter like Dirk Nowitzki and for a proven coach in Rick Carlisle.
- Tim Cowlishaw of SportsDayDFW has his doubts about the Mavericks keeping Brandan Wright, noting that coach Rick Carlisle had issues with Wright's rebounding and inconsistency. With only six players under contract for next season as of right now, Cowlishaw expects the makeup of the team to be drastically different.
- Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News makes the argument that the Warriors are a much more dangerous team now than they would have been with a healthy David Lee.
- Lee told CSN Bay Area's Ric Bucher that he plans to return to action again this postseason and hasn't ruled out the possibility of getting surgery to repair his torn right hip flexor once the season is over (Sulia link).
- Aaron J. Lopez of Nuggets.com describes Masai Ujiri's journey toward becoming one of the league's top executives after humble beginnings ten years ago.
April 30 at 3:21pm CST By Luke Adams
3:21pm: The Bobcats have also requested permission to interview Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Sampson's Rockets remain active in the postseason, though the team is one loss away from elimination.
2:19pm: According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link), Pistons GM Joe Dumars met with McMillan last week. Ownership is expected to be involved in today's formal interview, says Wojnarowski.
1:02pm: While the Cavaliers struck quickly to fill their head coaching opening, two other Eastern Conference lottery teams appear to be moving at a more deliberate pace. The Pistons have begun to interview candidates, according to Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News, who tweets that Lindsey Hunter interviewed with the team yesterday, while Nate McMillan will do so today.
McMillan and Hunter appear to be the early favorites for the Pistons' coaching job, but they're unlikely to be the only candidates interviewed by the club. With 14 teams still alive in the postseason, teams searching for a new head coach may have to wait until later in the spring to seek permission to interview assistants on those playoff clubs.
Meanwhile, the Bobcats have asked for the Cavaliers' permission to talk to assistant coach Nate Tibbetts, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link). If that story sounds familiar, it may be because the Bobcats interviewed the Cavs assistant a year ago, before eventually hiring Mike Dunlap.
The Bobcats seem to be revisiting a number of past candidates, having also been linked this month to Pacers assistant Brian Shaw and former Lakers assistant Quin Snyder, both of whom were interviewed by Charlotte last spring.
April 25 at 5:16pm CST By Chuck Myron
THURSDAY, 5:16pm: Paul Coro of AZ Central confirms that Hunter will be interviewed by the Pistons for their head coaching job, though there remains a possibility that he could return to the Phoenix.
As per Suns president of basketball of operations Lon Babby, Coro writes that Hunter is still seen as a strong candidate to keep his position despite the recent departure of Lance Blanks, the former GM who appointed Hunter as the interim coach this past season.
“From talking to (Babby), I do feel that way...I think he still feels I’m a strong candidate. Although Lance and I were really close, I felt like I was equally respected in the organization by all parts. I was hurt for my friend but I wasn’t concerned about anything.”
WEDNESDAY, 6:45pm: The Suns are likely to grant interim coach Lindsey Hunter his request for permission to interview for the Pistons coaching vacancy, reports Matt Dery of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit (Twitter link). Hunter appears on shaky footing in Phoenix following the departure of GM Lance Blanks. Suns also recently made a pitch to Mike Brown, who wound up returning to coach the Cavaliers, so Hunter may simply be trying to get out ahead of an impending dismissal.
Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press suggested two days ago that Hunter could become a candidate in Detroit, noting his ties to the organization that include a close relationship with president of basketball operations Joe Dumars, a former teammate of Hunter's during their playing days. Hunter spent the majority of his career as a player with the Pistons, who drafted him 10th overall in 1993. He was a member of their 2004 NBA championship team.
A report surfaced earlier this week naming Nate McMillan the front-runner for the Pistons opening, but McMillan later said he hasn't had contact with any team. Dumars is in charge of the search, but it doesn't sound like he's in any rush to make a decision.
April 22 at 6:40pm CST By Chuck Myron
For most of the 2000s, the Pistons were playoff regulars, but in the 2010s, the only way the team has drawn headlines at this time of year is through the draft lottery or with a coaching change. That's the case again in 2013, as we detail in the latest dispatches from the Palace.
- If the Suns let go of Lindsey Hunter, a move that seems increasingly likely, he could become a candidate for the Pistons coaching vacancy, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press suggests. Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and former Sixers and Blazers head coach Maurice Cheeks, who's believed to want another head coaching job, could also emerge as candidates, Ellis believes.
- Two coaches who apparently won't have a shot at the Pistons job are Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson and Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, according to Ellis.
- Zeljko Obradovic, who spent 13 seasons coaching Panathinaikos in Greece, tells El Juego de Naismith that he would consider taking a coaching job in the NBA this summer if a team with a chance to make the playoffs reaches out to him, (translation via Sportando). Obradovic pointed to his relationship with the Pistons, who invited him to observe training camp last fall and attend the team's game against the Knicks in London this past season. Still, Obradovic's agent, Alexander Raskovic, tweets that they won't negotiate any deal until after the season. It's unclear if Raskovic means the end of the NBA's postseason or the end of European play.
- Pistons assistant GM George David is excited about having won a pair of draft-order tiebreakers, particularly the one that gave the Pistons the No. 7 overall position heading into next month's lottery, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. "The difference between having six or seven, or seven or eight, or five or six, becomes – as Pistons fans, I’m sure, recognize – extremely valuable to our team over the last three or four drafts," the executive said. "If we were one slot lower than where we were in Andre (Drummond)’s draft, Brandon (Knight)’s draft or Greg (Monroe)’s draft, there’s a very, very high probability that none of those guys are on our roster. When you’re picking that high, the difference between one slot is really, really big."
April 22 at 4:16pm CST By Chuck Myron
The Suns have announced they're parting ways with general manager Lance Blanks. The move puts the future of interim coach Lindsey Hunter in doubt, since Blanks has been Hunter's primary ally in Phoenix, notes Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). USA Today's Sam Amick tweets the same, adding that Blanks had a year left on his contract.
"Lance has been a trusted friend and colleague," said Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby, in a statement released by the team. "I thank him personally and professionally for his hard work on behalf of the Suns. We will continue to prepare for the offseason even as we look for his replacement."
Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News wrote in January that Blanks could be on shaky footing, along with Babby, who wound up getting a new two-year deal with the team earlier this month. It was in January that the Suns parted ways with coach Alvin Gentry, and around that time, Amick noticed Blanks seemed unsure about his future (Twitter link). Still, the timing of today's move comes as something of a surprise, since outgoing GMs often remain with their teams through the draft, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer points out, via Twitter.
Both Blanks and Babby came aboard in the summer of 2010. Without Amare Stoudemire, who left for the Knicks that offseason, the Suns went from a Western Conference finalist in 2010 to a mediocre team the next two seasons. Last summer, Phoenix sent Steve Nash to the Lakers in a sign-and-trade, and the Suns finished 25-57 this year, their worst winning percentage since their inaugural season of 1968/69.
The Suns vacancy is the first front-office position to come open so far this offseason. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports volunteers the name of Mark Warkentien, a Knicks executive and former Nuggets vice president of basketball operations, as a possible candidate (Twitter link).
April 19 at 9:21pm CST By Chuck Myron
Three Pacific Division teams are preparing for the playoffs this weekend, while the other two have May 21st, the date of the draft lottery, circled on their calendars. By the end of that night, the Kings will know which pick they'll have in the first round, and apparently which city they'll be playing in next year, too, according to comments David Stern made today. We've been keeping close tabs on Kings developments, and there's news involving the other four teams in the division as well.
- A source close to Chris Paul tells HoopsWorld's Bill Ingram that there's no way CP3 will leave the Clippers (Twitter link). That's in keeping with the signals Paul's camp has been putting out all season.
- Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports unveils his final power rankings of the 2012/13 season, and in so doing passes along news that the Suns are thinking about keeping interim coach Lindsey Hunter, according to a source.
- Steve Nash has endured a season of injuries and dished out his fewest assists per game since 1999/00, but he's giving no thought to retirement, notes Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Sulia link).
- From conversations with general managers, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports gleans the names of four assistant coaches who appear to be top candidates to wind up as head coaches (Twitter link). Three have Pacific Division ties: Michael Malone of the Warriors, Steve Clifford of the Lakers, and former Lakers assistant Quin Snyder, who's now an assistant in Russia with CSKA Moscow. The other name on Wojnarowski's list is Kelvin Sampson, who temporarily took over head coaching duties for the Rockets this season while Kevin McHale tended to his ailing daughter.
April 18 at 11:10am CST By Luke Adams
Two teams have already made coaching changes today, as the Cavaliers parted ways with Byron Scott and the Sixers announced that Doug Collins won't be returning as head coach. There could be a few more spins on the coaching carousel before the day is done, so let's round up the latest....
- ESPN.com's Marc Stein gets the sense that the Suns will take their time to make a decision on the future of coach Lindsey Hunter, who is not assured of returning (Twitter link). According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, Hunter didn't fare well in his end-of-season player evaluations -- "players don't want him back," one source tells Berger.
- It sounds as if Lawrence Frank is on the way out in Detroit, but he won't officially learn his fate until he meets with Pistons owner Tom Gores today, tweets Stein. Berger hears that one reason Frank wants his fourth-year option picked up if the team brings him back for a third year is that his wife has been ill, so he's reluctant to make a commitment to Detroit if the club isn't committed long-term to him.
- The situation with Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman figures to take a couple weeks to be resolved, according to Berger.
- Berger adds that Dwane Casey's job with the Raptors appears to be safe for now.
- Although he acknowledges that the Sixers could replace Collins internally, John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer expects the team to interview several coaching candidates, including perhaps Mike Brown, Nate McMillan, Stan Van Gundy, Brian Shaw, and Michael Malone.
- Tom Sorenson of the Charlotte Observer is at a loss in trying to determine whether or not the Bobcats should bring back head coach Mike Dunlap for next season.
- According to GM Chris Grant, the Cavaliers' search for a new coach will begin immediately (Twitter link via Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio).
April 6 at 12:26pm CST By Zach Links
In his Weekend Dime column, ESPN.com's Marc Stein takes us on a ride around the NBA coaching carousel. You must be this tall to check out the highlights..
- According to sources, Stan Van Gundy's availability already has the Clippers highly intrigued. That doesn't bode well for coach Vinny Del Negro, who might not even be able to save his job with a deep playoff run.
- No team in coaching circles is rated as more likely to make a change than the Pistons. Sources consistently say that Lawrence Frank is going to be ousted when the season is over based on the lack of responsiveness from his players. It would be a big surprise at this stage if the Pistons aren't soon in the market for a coach and they make target a former player.
- One coaching source says that it is "very likely" that Lionel Hollins will get a new deal from the Grizzlies after the playoffs. Word is that they'll still probably keep him in the event of a first round exit.
- More than one source says that Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap is a coach in potential jeopardy, which undoubtedly stems from Michael Jordan's recent promise to season-ticket holders that major offseason changes are on the way. Stein doesn't think that the criticism for Dunlap is fair considering the group that he has to work with.
- Sources continue to link Kelvin Sampson to the Bucks' opening, but interim coach Jim Boylan could get the full-time gig still.
- One source with knowledge of the Suns said this week that Lindsey Hunter has a "good shot" to become the permanent head coach at season's end.
- Byron Scott is believed to have the support of the front office, but there is a growing sense in Cleveland that owner Dan Gilbert will make a change regardless. The coach had had to deal with the absences of Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao, and Dion Waiters throughout the year.
- Wizards coach Randy Wittman appears to be safe and he should have less to worry about that the aforementioned coaches on the hot seat.
March 21 at 11:06pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Here are a few more odds and ends to round up the latest on the Association tonight:
- Scott Bordow of AZ Central writes that the interim tag on Lindsey Hunter as the Suns head coach will remain for the rest of the season. GM Lon Babby says that the team will wait until the summer to determine Hunter's future.
- Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State suffered a sprain in his right wrist during the team's exit from the NCAA tournament today, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo. Though Smart struggled during the game, one scout maintained that the 6'4" guard is a top 5 prospect and would be "crazy" to not declare for the draft this year (Twitter link). ESPN's Chad Ford tweeted that Smart is still not a lock to leave and is contemplating a return to school next year.
- In an ESPN Insider article, Ford says that University of Miami guard Shane Larkin will not make a decision about his future until after the team's season is officially over.
- Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston talks about how rookie center Fab Melo has "come back to earth" a bit after posting up monster numbers in the D-League earlier this year. Though still raw, there is hope that the Celtics' center can use his time in the NBDL to improve his footwork and rebounding.
- There are lingering questions about Richard Hamilton being able to return to action for the Bulls this season, notes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. With regard to the veteran shooting guard's back problems, coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters: "It’s not clearing up right now, so we have to wait.’’
- As for Derrick Rose, Sam Smith of Bulls.com says that the waiting game continues as the superstar point guard continues to fuel speculation about his return.
- Former Suns front office GM Steve Kerr says that while a return to management is unlikely, he would consider returning to basketball as a college coach (Michael Hiestand of USA Today reports).
March 6 at 10:26pm CST By Chuck Myron
The Lakers moved with a game and a half of the final playoff spot tonight with a stunning 25-point comeback on the road against the Hornets, putting pressure on the Warriors, Rockets and Jazz. The Rockets added Aaron Brooks in the past few days to help their postseason cause, and Golden State may be the next team to bolster its roster, as we note here:
- It seemed as recently as two days ago the Warriors were in no rush to add to their 13-man roster, but co-owner Joe Lacob tells Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group that the team will probably make a signing soon. Lacob confirms the team has enough room under the luxury tax threshold to add someone for the minimum, and Kawakami believes the W's would find a fit in Dominic McGuire, who spent time with the team last season and would likely welcome a return.
- Suns coach Lindsey Hunter still has the "interim" tag attached to his title, but the team's front office saw him as the long-term solution when they promoted him, writes HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy, who would be surprised if Phoenix doesn't retain Hunter this summer.
- Dwight Howard's characterization of his former Magic teammates as "people nobody wanted" drew a pithy response from Jameer Nelson earlier today, and Rashard Lewis followed suit, as Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel details.
- The soon-to-be free agent's reputation is also taking a beating from front office types, as a Western Conference said he "wouldn't touch Howard with a 10-foot pole," Kennedy tweets.