Lionel Hollins Rumors
May 24 at 7:31pm CST By Chuck Myron
The Eastern Conference Finals resume tonight after a stirring overtime contest in Game One. The Pacers will have to find a way to come up with a win in Miami after squandering a chance in the opener. If they don't, it will soon be open season for teams going after Indiana GM Kevin Pritchard and assistant coach Brian Shaw. While we wait to see how the postseason turns out, here's the latest on what will happen for a few Eastern teams and players in the future:
- In an interview with Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com, Pablo Prigioni expounds on his desire to return to the Knicks while acknowledging that there could be other options for him this summer. The point guard hints that his wife's desire to return to Europe wasn't as much of a factor in his decision as had been reported. "The most important things for me to decide where I want to play is I feel that I can play and help the team, to feel that the team really wants me," Prigioni said. "On this professional level, the place where you go is always nice, and the people always take care of you and your family."
- Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com looks to the summer ahead for the Bulls, as well as what could be a key negotiation in 2014 with former first-round pick Nikola Mirotic. The power forward from Montenegro appears to have the most leverage, Friedell writes, making it uncertain whether the Bulls will be able to sign him anytime soon.
- While the Nets appear to have interest in Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, they have yet to ask Memphis for permission to speak with him, USA Today's Sam Amick reports via Twitter.
- Tyler Tynes of the Philadelphia Inquirer tries his hand at a mock draft, predicting that the Sixers will come away with Cody Zeller at No. 11. Tynes adds that he wouldn't be surprised to see the team trade down instead.
May 23 at 6:26pm CST By Ryan Raroque
In an article he released yesterday, Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram cited that two point guards who interest the Mavericks include Jarrett Jack and the Grizzlies' Jerryd Bayless. The source also said that after the Clippers released Vinny Del Negro, the feeling in Mavs camp is that Chris Paul would likely stay in Los Angeles considering he'd be given significant control over the next coaching hire. With that being said, Dwight Howard continues to be the team's top priority. Here are few more miscellaneous notes from around the league:
- Though the future of Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins still remains uncertain, the impending free agent coach says that he's not worried about an extension or heading elsewhere and is currently focused on the playoffs, "I have a job...I'm happy with where we are and excited about what we're doing. That's my only concern. Everything else is irrelevant" (Teresa M. Walker of NBA.com).
- Erik Spoelstra was pleased about James Jones' decision to not opt out at the end of this year and thus return to the Heat next season, says Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida (Sulia link). Spoelstra: "It's great news...J.J. is a Miami Heat guy. (He and Udonis Haslem), they're special. All of our guys are special in this organization, but they're Miami-bred guys. They're Miami true and blue."
- Ken Berger of CBS Sports tweeted that Jeff Hornacek interviewed with the Bobcats today and that Steve Clifford is headed for his next interview with the Suns, respectively.
- If there's any coach that isn't confident about his team making significant improvements next season, it's definitely not Wizards head coach Randy Wittman, who told CSN Washington: "It doesn't matter with the No. 3 pick. If we could stay healthy and come together as we did last year, have a full season right from the start, we should put ourselves in that (playoff) position...It doesn't matter if we pick eighth, third or 30th" (J. Michael of CSN Washington).
- Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside sheds some light on Mike Singletary (not to be confused with the current NFL assistant coach), who has been making waves for his standout play overseas. The 6'6 swingman, who recently won the NBDL title with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, has been playing for Barako Bull Energy Cola - a PBA team currently participating in a tournament in Dubai. With his solid production in the D-League (10.1 PPG and 4.9 RPG along with 41% shooting from long range in 49 games) and his experience with competitive international play, Schlosser thinks that the next step would involve an NBA summer league invite and is curious to see what kind of opportunities Singletary could find heading up to the start of NBA training camp in the fall.
May 22 at 11:33am CST By Luke Adams
The Clippers officially announced yesterday that they wouldn't be bringing back Vinny Del Negro to coach the team next season, and that the search for a new head coach will begin immediately. Considering the Clips are coming off a 56-win season and a division title, and expect to keep their core intact, barring a surprising Chris Paul decision, there will be no shortage of coaching candidates interested in the position. Here are the early rumblings on L.A.'s search:
- Nate McMillan is also among the candidates for the Clippers' head coaching opening, reports Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. According to Turner's source, McMillan is one of about five candidates being seriously considered by the Clippers.
- Del Negro and owner Donald Sterling never actually met in person last weekend, but had an extended phone conversation that a source described to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com as "positive."
- According to Shelburne's source, Sterling told Del Negro he was optimistic the team would bring him back, but that there "were some issues with the players" to sort through. "Obviously they couldn't work through those issues with the players, or, player," the source said, referring to Paul.
- After letting him go, the Clippers told Del Negro they'd do whatever they could to help him find another job, writes Shelburne.
- The Clippers intend to move quickly in their search, says Shelburne, identifying Brian Shaw, Byron Scott, Michael Malone, and Alvin Gentry as likely candidates.
- Although Gentry has worked for the Clippers in the past, he left on "great terms" and is still friendly with Sterling and Clips president Andy Roeser, tweets Shelburne.
- Phil Jackson won't be considered for the Clippers' position, according to Shelburne, who hears from a source that the team feels it would be "too creepy" to pursue a coach engaged to the owner of the Clippers' crosstown rival.
- While Paul is expected to have some sway in the Clippers' decision, Shelburne hears that he's currently more interested in watching how the team handles the situation rather than asserting his own opinions.
- Hall of Fame writer Mark Heisler tweets that Lionel Hollins sits atop the Clippers' wish list, though Sterling denied to T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times that he was in San Antonio on the weekend to scout the Grizzlies coach.
May 22 at 9:03am CST By Luke Adams
A day after an Eastern Conference team (the Cavs) won the 2013 draft lottery, the Eastern Finals will finally get underway tonight in Miami, as the Pacers look to upset the defending-champion Heat. While we look forward to that game, let's check in on a few updates from around the East....
- Within his piece on the Bulls' free agent options, Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com reports that the Cavaliers and Pistons may be among the teams with some interest in trading for Luol Deng.
- In exploring why the Bucks' coaching search might be moving slowly, Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times notes that some NBA officials believe Milwaukee is waiting to talk to Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins. Although Hollins will draw interest from teams with stronger rosters, NBA insiders claim he could still be interested in the Bucks job, since he enjoyed his previous stint in Milwaukee and formed a good rapport with team management, says Woelfel.
- The Raptors expect to hear back from the Nuggets today on whether or not they'll receive permision to speak with Denver GM Masai Ujiri, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
- Wojnarowski adds in a second tweet that Celtics assistant Tyronn Lue and Rio Grande Valley Vipers head coach Nick Nurse are candidates for an assistant coaching role with the Raptors.
- Pistons GM Joe Dumars told reporters, including David Mayo of MLive.com, that he's happy with the eighth pick in the draft and won't rule out selecting a big man, even though a perimeter player may be more likely.
- Expect the Celtics to draft the best player available if they keep their 16th overall pick, rather than focusing on a specific area of need, writes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
May 21 at 3:23pm CST By Luke Adams
We received word earlier this afternoon that head coach Vinny Del Negro will not be retained by the Clippers, and Ken Berger of CBSSports.com says (via Twitter) that one of the primary reasons for the decision was the fact that Chris Paul wasn't a fan of Del Negro. According to Berger (via Twitter), the star point guard didn't back the coach to management at season's end.
Here are a few more afternoon rumblings out of the Western Conference:
- Another Los Angeles free-agent-to-be, Dwight Howard, apparently isn't a fan of his head coach either -- Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that Howard voiced some displeasure and frustration with Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni in a meeting with GM Mitch Kupchak at season's end. However, McMenamin notes that the relationship between D12 and D'Antoni isn't irreparable, and former Howard coach Stan Van Gundy told David Baumann of Sports Talk Florida (Twitter link) today that he wasn't giving much credence to the story.
- A source tells Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune (Twitter link) that there's "no merit" to trade rumors involving Eric Gordon.
- No teams have contacted the Grizzlies to ask permission to speak to head coach Lionel Hollins yet, tweets Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.
- According to Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (Sulia link), the fact that the Sacramento arena plan involves a significant public subsidy wasn't insignificant when the league voted on the Kings' relocation bid.
May 21 at 10:19am CST By Luke Adams
ESPN.com's Marc Stein passes along a few notable tidbits in his latest piece for TrueHoop, including word of a potential Clippers target, a Phil Jackson update, and some items on the coaching front. Let's dive in and check out the highlights....
- "Whispers are already swirling" that the Clippers intend to make a hard run at free-agent-to-be David West, says Stein. West and the Pacers seem to be mutually interested in a reunion, and Indiana will have the ability to offer West much more than the Clippers could, barring a sign-and-trade. But Stein points out that if West's old teammate Chris Paul re-signs in Los Angeles, the Pacers forward figures to be interested in at least listening to a Clippers pitch.
- The Nuggets remain confident that they'll be able to hang on to Masai Ujiri, despite rumblings that the Raptors may offer him an annual salary of $2MM+. Ujiri had reportedly been making about $500K with the Nuggets, according to Stein, so he appears in line for a raise no matter which team he ends up running.
- According to Stein, some league observers "remain convinced" that Phil Jackson's flirtations with various teams are designed to convinced Jim Buss to cede his organizational power with the Lakers to Jeanie Buss, which could allow Jeanie to bring Jackson aboard to run the team's basketball operations.
- Part of the reason the Nets' coaching search has been moving slowly so far is that two of the team's top potential targets remain active in the playoffs -- Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins and Pacers assistant Brian Shaw. Stein adds that Ettore Messina, who is rumored to be a candidate for the Hawks, isn't on the Nets' list.
- While the Nets and perhaps the Clippers appear to have interest in Hollins, the Grizzlies appear determined to lock him up to a new contract once their season ends, says Stein.
May 19 at 6:49pm CST By Michael Pina
A few random notes from around the league.
- According to a string of tweets from ESPN.com's Marc Stein, Clippers owner Donald Sterling attended Game 1 between the Spurs and Grizzlies in an effort to scout Lionel Hollins for the possible head coaching job opening up with his team. (Hollins and Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro are both on the final years of their respective contracts.) Stein also tweets that the Clippers have not asked to speak with Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer.
- Newsday's Al Iannazzone goes in depth on the Knicks offseason plans, zoning in on what type of players the team should target in free agency.
- The Suns enter the lottery with the probability of landing a high first round pick, but not number one, according to AZCentral.com's Paul Coro. He projects they target height if they land with a pick between four and seven.
May 19 at 8:48am CST By Chuck Myron
Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times begins his look around the NBA with a profile on first-round prospect Glen Rice Jr., who could become the most highly drafted player to come out of the D-League. The Journal Times scribe also touches on offseason rumblings from around the league, and we'll round up the highlights here:
- Woelfel hears the Nets are "honing in on Lionel Hollins" for their coaching vacancy. That would appear to be an exercise in futility, since Hollins says there's mutual interest in his return to the Grizzlies, the team he's guided to the Western Conference Finals. Woelfel also mentions Scott Skiles as a candidate, echoing a report by Sam Amick of USA Today earlier this month.
- Soon-to-be free agent Mike Dunleavy has piqued the interest of several teams around the league. I examined Dunleavy's free agent stock last month, figuring he could fit in as a role player with a title contender.
- Woelfel passes along a few draft rumors, noting that Kelly Olynyk and Michael Carter-Williams will work out for the Bucks, while the Magic, Nets and Knicks have shown interest in Phil Pressey. The Nuggets interviewed Otto Porter.
- Bucks interim coach Jim Boylan is gone, but his assistant coaches remain. Their contracts are up at the end of June, along with a couple members of the team's front office staff, but it remains to be seen whether any of them will return.
May 10 at 5:27pm CST By Chuck Myron
Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins was confident heading into the playoffs that the team would bring him back for next season. Ironically, he became even more sure of keeping his job after the team went down 0-2 to the Clippers in the first round. That's when Hollins says Grizzlies management told him that they wanted him back as coach, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
"The only conversations we've had is they said they wanted me back," Hollins said. "After we lost the first two games to the Clippers, we had a friendly conversation about the series and how they just wanted me personally to know that regardless of what's being said out there, this is how they felt."
Hollins is in the final year of his contract, and could be one of the most sought-after coaching free agents this summer. The Sixers have reportedly been keeping an eye on his status in Memphis, and he's been linked to the Nets as well. Hollins nonetheless says "there's no question" he'd prefer to remain with the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies won the next four games to oust the Clippers after Hollins and the front office brass spoke, and as Memphis sits tied 1-1 with the Thunder in the second round, I'd be surprised to see Hollins go no matter what happens in the rest of the playoffs. The coach criticized the Rudy Gay trade soon after it occurred, but softened his stance later, calling his comments an emotional reaction to the swap.
May 9 at 10:54pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski looks back to June 2011, when Warriors' GM Bob Myers had worries about not being able to select Klay Thompson knowing that either the Spurs could possibly trade up in the draft to get him or that the Bucks were planning to select him with the 10th overall pick. As it would turn out, San Antonio would wind up trading for the 15th pick (Kawhi Leonard) and the Kings landed the 10th pick to select Jimmer Fredette, leaving the sharpshooting Washington State forward right into the hands of Golden State. Here are a few more miscellaneous notes to share along this evening:
- AJ Mitnick of Sheridan Hoops fills us in on the "best of the bunch" in terms of international prospects in this year's draft.
- The 76ers aren't expected to hold most of their interviews for their head coaching search until after the Chicago Pre-Draft Camp, writes Tom Moore of phillyBurbs.com, although there is a possibility that the team could conduct some during camp.
- According to this report by the Detroit Free Press, the Pistons are widely known to be seeking perimeter help heading into the draft but could look to add more to their frontcourt.
- Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reports that the Lakers have granted the Cavaliers permission to interview Phil Handy about joining Mike Brown's coaching staff in Cleveland.
- When asked about the trade that sent Monta Ellis to Milwaukee for Andrew Bogut, Warriors head coach Mark Jackson told reporters that letting Ellis go helped change the culture of the team, writes Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com (Sulia link).
- ESPN's Chris Broussard tweets that Lionel Hollins will be highly coveted if the Grizzlies opt to not re-sign him this summer, adding that the Nets would figure to be among the interested teams.
- Heat owner Mickey Arison engaged in some civil discourse with a fan on Twitter regarding the possibility that Seattle loses out on their bid for the Kings (credit goes to SportsRadioKJR.com). Arison made it clear that he believes that the city of Sacramento has done enough to warrant keeping the team, and refuted the notion that Seattle had put forth the same effort in 2008 before the Sonics franchise ultimately moved to Oklahoma City.
- John Denton of NBA.com writes that Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu understands the current youth movement of the franchise and that his time in Orlando could be over within the next coming months.
- Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter) reports that Lakers big man Pau Gasol will be held out of basketball activities for the next three months after undergoing an operation on his knee today.