Memphis Grizzlies Rumors
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 20 at 6:34pm CST By Zach Links
Here's a look at the latest out of the Southwest Division as the Spurs look to go up 2-0 on the Grizzlies tonight..
- Chandler Parsons of the Rockets has switched from agent Mark Bartelstein to Dan Fegan, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Parsons says that he made the change in an effort to "maximize his brand".
- Former Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace took a lot of flack for trading Pau Gasol to the Lakers five years ago, but no one is complaining now, writes Peter May of Sheridan Hoops. Wallace was widely roasted for making what appeared to be a very one-sided deal, but the emergence of Pau's brother, Marc Gasol, has vindicated him.
- Tracy McGrady isn't a key player for the Spurs, but the veteran says that he is "living the dream" as he tries to help them advance beyond the conference finals in a limited role, writes NBA.com's Fran Blinebury. McGrady spent the bulk of the year in China but hooked on with San Antonio at the end of the season.
May 19 at 4:03pm CST By Chuck Myron
For a third consecutive year, there aren't any Pacific Division teams in the Western Conference Finals, a dry spell that's never happened before. The Lakers are mostly responsible for that history of success, but the Suns have had their moments, too. For most of the city's time with an NBA team, Seattle was a part of the Pacific Division, and the SuperSonics were no stranger to playing for a berth in the Finals. With the league reportedly having approved the sale of the Kings to a Sacramento-based group, it looks like Seattle won't be an NBA destination for at least a while longer.
Here's a check on each of the five current Pacific Division teams as they try to climb their way back into contention:
- Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who's attending today's opener of the Western Conference Finals, has yet to meet with Vinny Del Negro as planned this weekend, but resolution on the coach's future should come within the week, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group points out the similarities between the construction of the Warriors roster and the way the Grizzlies were built.
- Ryan Lillis, Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak of The Sacramento Bee profile new Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive, who plans to take a hands-on approach.
- Of all the people involved in keeping the Kings in Sacramento, none were as influential as David Stern, who demonstrated that he still has control of the league even as his tenure as commissioner comes to a close, The Bee's Ailene Voisin writes.
- Suns scouts have been high on Maryland center Alex Len since before this past season began, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, who runs down some of the players the team will likely target with its lottery pick.
- Greg Somogyi impressed Mike Brown when the two were together in Lakers camp last fall, and Brown has invited the 7'3" center to a Cavaliers mini-camp this summer, reports Sportando contributor David Pick (Twitter link).
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 16 at 9:03pm CST By Luke Adams
9:03pm: We'll post any remaining evening updates from Chicago here:
- Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy tweets that international prospect Mouhammadou Jaiteh will forego Eurocamp and will work out for NBA teams instead, possibly as early as a group workout with Minnesota.
- The Oregonian's Jason Quick reports that the Trail Blazers met with James Southerland yesterday.
2:47pm: More afternoon combine updates from Chicago:
- Ben McLemore has already interviewed with the Cavaliers, Timberwolves, and Pelicans, according to SI.com's Chris Mannix (via Twitter). McLemore expects to meet with the Bobcats, Magic, and Pistons tonight, according to various reports (all Twitter links).
- Victor Oladipo will also meet with the Pistons tonight, tweets Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.
- Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (via Twitter) adds Otto Porter to the list of prospects interviewed by the Timberwolves, but says the T-Wolves won't get a chance to meet with Oladipo, who was on the team's wish list.
- Jamaal Franklin tells Jason Quick of the Oregonian that when he met with the Trail Blazers yesterday, the whole meeting consisted of a psychological test (Twitter link).
- Andre Roberson met with the Magic yesterday, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (via Twitter).
- Shams Charania of RealGM.com has a list of the 12 prospects the Bulls plan to work out on Monday (Twitter link).
- Jeff Withey is "extremely excited" to be meeting with the Sixers, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
1:35pm: We covered the Thursday morning updates from Chicago's predraft camp earlier today, but with so many tidbits surfacing throughout the day, we're starting an afternoon post to round up the latest notes:
- ESPN.com's Chad Ford hears that two international prospects have received first-round guarantees: Dennis Schroeder and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Twitter link).
- Michael Carter-Williams has met with several teams, including the Trail Blazers, Bobcats, Pistons, Timberwolves, and Thunder, according to various reports (all links go to Twitter). Carter-Williams is hearing he could be drafted anywhere between third and 15th overall, tweets Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com.
- We heard this morning that the Celtics had spoken to Cody Zeller and Glen Rice Jr. Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe adds a few more names to the list of Boston interviewees (via Twitter): Mason Plumlee, Rudy Gobert, and Victor Oladipo.
- C.J. McCollum won't meet with the Trail Blazers this week, according to Jason Quick of the Oregonian (Twitter link). However, he will meet with the Pistons tomorrow, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com (via Twitter), and has already interviewed with the Magic, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (via Twitter). SI.com's Chris Mannix (Twitter link) adds the Thunder, Nuggets, and Cavaliers to the list of teams who have spoekn to McCollum, who has 15 total interviews scheduled.
- Robbins notes in a separate tweet that the Magic also met with Myck Kabongo.
- Isaiah Canaan will meet with the Wizards on Friday, tweets J. Michael of CSNWashington.com.
- Canaan, Andre Roberson, and Grant Jerrett all met with the Pistons last night, tweets Langlois.
- Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (via Twitter) that the Bucks met with Shane Larkin yesterday and will work him out later this month.
- Erik Murphy has interviews lined up with the Grizzlies, Clippers, and possibly the Pacers, tweets Robbins.
- Seth Curry will meet today with the Lakers, Rockets, and Knicks, tweets Bonnell.
May 14 at 11:58am CST By Luke Adams
With Mike Conley playing a significant role in leading the Grizzlies to within one game of the Western Conference Finals, Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com looks back at Conley's history in Memphis. As Shelburne writes, Conley was almost dealt to the Bucks for Ramon Sessions before Lionel Hollins took over as the Grizzlies' coach and gave Conley a vote of confidence.
"It was more than a rumor," Conley said. "My dad's also my agent and he
called me to say I wasn't playing this one game. When they tell you
that, you know it's pretty serious."
Conley's place in Memphis is certainly safe these days, and after last night's win, his team has a 3-1 lead on the defending conference champs. As we look forward to seeing whether the Grizzlies can eliminate the Thunder, let's check in on a few other items from around the West....
- Aaron Bruski of NBCSports.com and Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com (Sulia link) each provide updates on the Kings saga, with Bruski writing that the aggressive approach employed by the Seattle group in recent weeks isn't going over well with the league. Howard-Cooper, meanwhile, says Vivek Ranadive's influence in India isn't as big a factor in the NBA's decision as has been portrayed.
- New Timberwolves president Flip Saunders tells Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link) he's still confident that Rick Adelman will return to coach the team next season.
- Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic examines the Suns' search for a head coach, which will likely be completed within the next two weeks.
- Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com attempts to debunk the myth that top free agents aren't interested in signing with the Mavericks
May 11 at 2:45pm CST By Chuck Myron
Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News doesn't hide his distaste for advanced metrics in his latest dispatch, and he thinks the Nets should wait to hire a new coach until the Grizzlies make their decision on Lionel Hollins official. If Memphis management determines Hollins, whose contract is up at season's end, doesn't fit with the team's new emphasis on statistics, the Nets should pounce on the coaching free agent, Lawrence writes. Given that Hollins said yesterday that the Grizzlies want him back, however, I'd be surprised if he's changing addresses this summer. Here's more from Lawrence on the Grizzlies and the rest of the NBA:
- Chris Paul prefers to re-sign with the Clippers this summer, but he wants them to hire an African American as coach, Lawrence hears, suggesting Nate McMillan for the job that Vinny Del Negro still holds.
- If Rick Adelman steps down as Timberwolves coach, newly installed president of basketball operations Flip Saunders would come down to the bench to replace him.
- Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer probably won't be taking another team's head coaching job this summer because San Antonio has already anointed him as Gregg Popovich's successor, according to Lawrence. When Tim Duncan retires, Popovich will, too, leaving the coaching duties to Budenholzer.
- There are members of the Grizzlies organization who still aren't sold on the Rudy Gay deal, and they believe the team would have more easily overcome the Clippers in the first round if Gay were still in Memphis.
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 7 at 2:49pm CST By Luke Adams
There are plenty of names being thrown into the mix for the Nets' head coaching opening and seemingly just as many being taken out of the equation. Sam Amick of USA Today is the latest to chime in on the subject, reporting that Scott Skiles is among Brooklyn's candidates, but that the chatter about a Jerry Sloan/Deron Williams reunion probably shouldn't be taken seriously. Here are a few more Tuesday odds and ends from around the NBA:
- As he tells Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Celtics president Danny Ainge hasn't sat down with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Doc Rivers yet to talk about their respective futures. "I don’t really pay much attention to what anybody says in the first week after the season," said Ainge, referring to comments made by the Celtics leaders immediately after last week's elimination.
- Likely lottery pick Anthony Bennett will undergo rotator cuff surgery on his left shoulder tomorrow, agent Jeff Schwartz tells ESPN.com's Chad Ford. Bennett, who will miss about four months, becomes the third top prospect that will miss the summer with an injury, along with Nerlens Noel and Alex Len. However, two GMs who spoke to Ford don't think the procedure will affect Bennett's draft stock.
- Pacers president Donnie Walsh told Marc Berman of the New York Post that he's unsure whether he'll remain in his current role next season. According to Berman, Walsh still believes there's a chance Larry Bird will unretire and assume his old position for the Pacers.
- Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com examines the ways in which the Mavericks could add a maximum-salary free agent without breaking up their veteran core.
- With the Thunder and Grizzlies squaring off in the Western Conference Semifinals, Shaun Powell of Sports on Earth wonders if either team will end up regretting its blockbuster trade -- James Harden for the Thunder and Rudy Gay for the Grizz.