Phoenix Suns Rumors
May 15 at 8:56pm CST By Michael Pina
A few notes from around the NBA's Western Conference.
- NBA.com's Jeff Caplan writes about Grizzlies guard Tony Allen—who's an unrestricted free agent this summer—and the path it took for him to sign with Memphis as a free agent in 2010.
- The Suns prepare for the NBA draft lottery at the end of May, writes NBA.com's Aaron Seidlitz. It could be a huge day for them, especially as they go forward with a new, young general manager.
- Also related to the Suns, the team's new general manager Ryan McDonough interviewed Lindsey Hunter in Chicago today for the team's head coach position, according to Yahoo! NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski. The Suns are also looking at several other candidates, including Quin Snyder and Jeff Hornacek.
- Carl Steward of MercuryNews.com writes that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson need to find their stroke in Game 6 against the Spurs or they'll most likely be eliminated. The article also touches on Jarrett Jack, who's stepped up when those two haven't played well, and enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
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 10 at 6:21pm CST By Luke Adams
6:21pm: Stan Van Gundy is also in Milwaukee to interview with the Bucks, tweets Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal-Times.
2:08pm: Yesterday, we heard that ex-Blazers head coach Nate McMillan and current Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson were the first two candidates to interview for the Bucks' head coach opening. Today, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports adds another name to the list of interviewees, reporting that J.B. Bickerstaff, Sampson's fellow assistant in Houston, is meeting with the Bucks today.
Although we hadn't heard much buzz about Bickerstaff before this month, the Rockets assistant appears to be drawing plenty of interest lately. Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities reported a week ago that Bickerstaff would receive consideration if Flip Saunders eventually decided to bring in his own coach in Minnesota, but it seem as if another team could beat the Timberwolves to him. Bickerstaff also interviewed for the Pistons' head coach position this week, and Wojnarowski reports that he's likely to be among the Suns' candidates as well.
The Bucks, who are reportedly prioritizing "strong-willed" candidates who can control a locker room, are also expected to interview Lakers assistant Steve Clifford in the near future, says Wojnarowski.
May 9 at 4:55pm CST By Luke Adams
The Suns formally introduced new general manager Ryan McDonough at a press conference today, and McDonough addressed a few topics related to the job and the next steps for a Phoenix team coming off a 57-loss season. Here are some of the highlights, courtesy of Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic (all Twitter links):
- McDonough, who was previously working for the Celtics as an assistant GM, indicated that he didn't plan on leaving Boston unless there was a "spectacular opportunity" elsewhere.
- The Suns have a few good young pieces on their roster and are positioned well for "sustainable success," according to McDonough.
- McDonough and owner Robert Sarver have a few of the same candidates in mind for the team's head coaching position. The front office will be targeting someone who can command the team's respect and maximize its talent.
- In constructing the roster and choosing a head coach, McDonough will aim for a balance of offense and defense, rather than prioritizing one over the other.
- Prior to McDonough's press conference, Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic (link via USA Today) published a piece on the new GM and the Suns' owner. According to Sarver, the Suns are "absolutely not for sale at any price," despite some recent rumblings to the contrary.
May 7 at 12:45pm CST By Luke Adams
The Suns officially have a new general manager, having hired Celtics assistant GM Ryan McDonough to replace Lance Blanks, the team announced today in a press release. The team will formally introduce McDonough at a press conference this Thursday.
"Ryan distinguished himself among an impressive group of candidates for
our GM position," said Suns president Lon
Babby in a statement. "His natural leadership and communication skills will serve the
Suns well. And, his prodigious work ethic and ability to identify talent
will enable us to take full advantage of the 10 draft choices,
including six in the first round, that we have over the next three
years. We welcome his championship pedigree to our organization."
McDonough had been considered one of the frontrunners for the Suns' GM opening along with Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman. Various reports, including one earlier today, suggested that Phoenix was also interested in hiring Grant Hill for the position. McDonough's hiring seems to indicate that either the Suns weren't seriously interested in Hill or that the veteran intends to continue his playing career.
McDonough joined the Celtics' front office in 2003, as a 23-year-old special assistant to basketball operations. After working in the team's scouting department and as Boston's director of player personnel, he has served as an assistant GM to Danny Ainge for the last three seasons. McDonough is expected to work with Babby to make a decision on the Suns' head coach.
May 7 at 8:40am CST By Luke Adams
Coming into the 2012/13 season, the Lakers and Clippers were receiving most of the attention out west, but with four Western Conference teams still alive, the only Pacific team still standing is Golden State. Stephen Curry and the Warriors played in perhaps the best game of the 2013 postseason last night in San Antonio, but ultimately couldn't hold off the Spurs, who escaped with a 129-127 victory. As we hold out hope that the rest of the series lives up to the standard set by Game One, let's check out some other notes from around the Pacific....
- ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports (via Twitter) that "rumblings persist" about the Suns holding off on their decision on a new general manager because they're hoping to land Grant Hill for the job. Stein adds in a second tweet that if Hill can't be persuaded to return to Phoenix, the Suns figure to decide between Celtics assistant GM Ryan McDonough and Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman. Charles Barkley didn't receive an interview for the position, says Stein (via Twitter).
- Even if the Lakers could save a bit of money by declining Jodie Meeks' 2013/14 option and replacing him with a minimum-salary player, Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Sulia link) expects the team to bring back Meeks, who could be L.A.'s starting shooting guard on opening night.
- Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times examines the futures of Chris Paul and Vinny Del Negro in L.A., noting that the Clippers and Del Negro discussed an extension a couple times early in the season, but ultimately elected to wait until season's end.
May 6 at 5:46pm CST By Zach Links
Here's the latest news on coaching and GM vacancies courtesy of CBSSports.com's Ken Berger..
- It's too early to identify a front-runner in the Sixers search, but things sound promising for Warriors assistant Mike Malone. Philly execs have contacted the Warriors multiple times about Malone, including several conversations with consultant Jerry West. In fact, the Sixers are consulting players who've played under both Malone and Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer to get a feel for how the two candidates differ, according to one source.
- To the surprise of some rival executives, the Sixers' coaching search is being led by GM Tony DiLeo, whose contract expires this summer. With team president Rod Thorn moving into a smaller role and DiLeo's contract expiring, rival execs expect the Sixers seek out a new decision maker as well. In fact, that process has already begun through back-channel conversations, one person contacted on the Sixers' behalf told Berger.
- Nets star Deron Williams has been vocal in his support of Jerry Sloan for the job but also has a strong relationship with Jeff Hornacek. In addition to the Sixers, the former Jazz sharpshooter has attracted interest from the Bobcats, Suns, and Bucks, sources told Berger.
- The Suns are in the advanced stages of their GM search and the latest word is that Celtics assistant GM Ryan McDonough's is gaining momentum. Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman has been viewed as the favorite in some circles, however, and the Suns also have interviewed Spurs exec (and former Knicks GM) Scott Layden.
- The Clippers are expected to can Vinny Del Negro and Hawks are expected to let Larry Drew go, league sources said. The Clippers are said to be "exploring all options," while the Hawks' decision on Drew's future is expected "sooner than later," sources said. It is widely believed that GM Danny Ferry prefers to install his own head coach in Atlanta.
May 5 at 6:34pm CST By Zach Links
With the two Los Angeles teams bounced from the first round of the playoffs, the Pacific has one lone representative left in the Warriors. While Golden State figures out how to handle the Spurs, let's take a look at the rest of the division..
- Suns team president Lon Babby now has to hire a GM and a coach for his club after parting ways with GM Lance Blanks. It remains to be seen what they'll do in the front office but according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, former Sun "Thunder" Dan Majerle is interested in the coaching job as well as ex-Suns assistant Elston Turner, who is interviewing for the Bobcats opening.
- The Clippers may take more time in deciding Vinny Del Negro's future, but will "explore all options," a source tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- Chris Paul's uncertain future is leaving things murky for the Clippers franchise, writes Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News. As he approaches his 28th birthday, Paul has more to think about than ever in the wake of his club's first round ouster from the playoffs.
May 3 at 11:10pm CST By Chuck Myron
The Celtics made quite an attempt at a comeback, both in the series and in tonight's Game Six, but ultimately the Knicks polished off Boston this evening to set up a second-round date with the Pacers. The loss left some in Boston's locker room wondering about their futures as they spoke with reporters. Coach Doc Rivers isn't entirely sure he'll want to come back for next season, but he anticipates he'll opt to return to the bench when he makes up his mind this summer. Rivers isn't certain Kevin Garnett will come back, either, though that decision is up to KG. For his part, Garnett says he's not ready to make up his mind, but suggests the team's decision on whether to keep Paul Pierce will have heavy influence.
Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com rounds up more comments from the C's as they begin their offseason, and as they ponder their next moves, here's what's happening elsewhere across the NBA:
May 3 at 10:30pm CST By Chuck Myron
The Clippers are fighting for their playoff lives tonight against the Grizzlies, but their division rivals aren't far from the spotlight. The playoff triumph of the Warriors, the future of the Kings, an offseason of uncertainty for the Lakers, and a possible coaching vacancy for the Suns are all making headlines out of the Pacific tonight:
- Andrew Bogut's performance as the Warriors' sealed their upset of the Nuggets last night provided vindication for Golden State co-owner Joe Lacob, who signed off on the unpopular swap of Monta Ellis for Bogut last year, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports examines.
- The Sacramento bidders for the Kings, led by Vivek Ranadive, have placed half of the purchase price for the team into escrow, tweets Dale Kasler of The Sacramento Bee.
- A group of Sacramento arena opponents have filed suit claiming the city withheld documents that show secret "sweeteners" in the deal with investors that enhance the public contribution to the project, as Kasler and fellow Bee scribe Tony Bizjak write. In a separate piece, Bizjak, Kasler and Ryan Lillis explain the dispute. Aaron Bruski of NBCSports.com hears an attorney involved in the suit has already received the sought-after documents (Twitter link).
- In his NBA PM piece, HoopsWorld's Bill Ingram outlines the reasons why he thinks the idea that the Lakers would amnesty Kobe Bryant is "ludicrous." I don't think the team will do it, either, though I'm not certain the Lakers are as unwilling to save money as Ingram suggests.
- Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune notes Jazz assistant Jeff Hornacek's candidacy for coaching jobs with the Bobcats and Sixers, and speculates that the former Suns player could draw interest from Phoenix if the new GM there decides to change coaches.