- The Celtics, Kings, Bucks, and Jazz appear to be the lottery teams most likely to trade their picks, tweets Ford.
- Dave Joerger is attempting to put together his staff for his first year as the Kings‘ head coach, and Stein tweets that the ex-Grizzlies head coach is targeting Elston Turner and Bryan Gates. Turner, who was mentioned as a candidate early in Sacramento’s coaching search, was a part of Joerger’s staff in Memphis, while Gates spent the 2015/16 season as a Timberwolves assistant.
- The Kings will work out Venky Jois, Nick Faust, Mamadou Ndiaye, Mike Tobey, Codi Miller-McIntyre and Anthony Beene on Tuesday, reports James Ham of Comcast SportsNet (Twitter link).
Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt plans to be on someone’s bench next season, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. After taking Cleveland to the NBA Finals last season, Blatt was fired in January with a 30-11 record. It’s a rare break for the 57-year-old, who has held coaching jobs around the world since 1993. “I’m going to coach next year,” Blatt said. “I’m not going to sit out. It’s not in my nature. I want to work. I’ll be back somewhere. Could be anywhere.” He added that he prefers a head coaching position overseas to working as an assistant in the NBA.
There’s more news from the Central Division:
- It’s time for the Bulls to break up the Derrick Rose–Jimmy Butler backcourt, argues K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Johnson says their relationship has become “untenable” because both players consider themselves to be the team leader, both need the ball in their hands to be most effective and neither has the 3-point shooting skills to complement the other. Johnson believes Rose’s injury history would make him difficult to deal, even though he only has one season left on his contract at $21.3MM. Butler would probably bring a greater return, but it would signify a rebuilding process that Chicago may not be ready for. If they’re both back next season, Johnson suggests drafting a shooting guard, possibly Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine, and moving Butler to small forward.
- New Pacers coach Nate McMillan has to change his style to succeed in the modern NBA, former All-Star Gary Payton tells Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star. Payton, who played for McMillan in Seattle, says the coach will need to drop his disciplinarian image. “[McMillan] can’t be that militant coach,” Payton said. “You see what happened with George Karl up in Sacramento. When you’ve got players and it happens like that, you’re going to be the odd man out. I don’t think ownership these days are taking the side of a coach unless you’re a [Gregg] Popovich or something like that, over these $15MM-$20MM players.”
- The Bucks are weighing their options with the 36th and 38th picks in next month’s draft, writes Charles F. Gardner of The Journal-Sentinel. Milwaukee concentrated on forwards on its first workout this week, which included Weber State’s Joel Bolomboy and Louisiana-Lafayette’s Shawn Long. Trading the picks to move into the first round is also an option. “Could we ever bundle those picks and move up?” said GM John Hammond. “Once again, not easy to do. Do we stay with both picks? Do we look at making one of those picks for a current roster spot and maybe another one with potentially an international player that could stay and continue to develop? We’ll see as it moves forward.”
Dragan Bender’s buyout with Maccabi Tel Aviv is just $1.3MM, which shouldn’t be an obstacle for the team that drafts him, reports Jonathan Givony of The Vertical. Bender, who is projected as a top 10 pick, signed a seven-year contract with the team in 2014 that included a clause requiring a buyout that is twice the amount that NBA teams are permitted to offer. That means whoever drafts Bender will pay $650K to Maccabi Tel Aviv, and Bender will contribute the rest out of his rookie contract. Givony called the buyout figure “relatively small” for a player who is expected to be drafted so high.
There’s more news from around the basketball world:
- Kings swingman James Anderson wants to leave the NBA and play in Europe, tweets international journalist David Pick. He mentions Barcelona, Real Madrid and Fenerbahce as possible destinations for Anderson, who opted out of his contract with Sacramento on Wednesday.
- Maryland point guard Melo Trimble is getting close to a decision on whether to stay in the draft or return to school, writes Charles F. Gardner of The Journal Sentinel. Trimble, whose draft stock fell as his production slipped during the latter part of his sophomore season, said he has benefited from the NBA’s new rule allowing underclassmen to pull out of the draft by May 25th if they don’t hire agents. After working out for the Bucks on Wednesday, Trimble said he is “leaning toward” his final decision. “At this workout I really found my confidence, just out there playing, being myself,” he said. “And to see [Bucks coach] Jason Kidd on the sideline was just a morale booster. You want to show what you can do best.”
- The Nets stand to save some money if Lionel Hollins becomes an assistant coach with the Rockets, according to NetsDaily (Twitter link). Hollins is being considered as an assistant if the Rockets hire Stephen Silas as their head coach, and whatever Houston pays Hollins would lessen the amount that Brooklyn still owes him.
- Nando De Colo, who played two seasons with the Spurs and Raptors, is free to return to the NBA next season, writes Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops. The French star, who led CSKA Moscow to the Euroleague Final, will become a free agent this summer. “We will talk with Nando de Colo after the end of the season,” said team president Andrey Vatutin. “He knows how much we want to keep him in Europe and in Moscow and we will do what we must. Beyond that the point is 100% what he thinks and what feels more like a challenge. The answer to this question belongs to the player.”
The Grizzlies have interviewed Jeff Bzdelik for their head coaching position, Marc. J Spears of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). Spears adds that Bzdelik recently turned down an assistant coaching position on the Kings’ staff for personal reasons (Twitter link).
Bzdelik interviewed with the Rockets today in Cleveland and Spears indicates that the interview with Memphis happened before that meeting. The 63-year-old coach has been an assistant coach with Memphis since the 2014/15 season.
Bzdelik was the head coach of the Nuggets for three seasons, starting in the 2002/03 campaign and compiled a record of 73-119 with the team. He also spent 11 years as a head coach in the college ranks with stops at UMBC, Air Force, Colorado and Wake Forest. He only made the NCAA Tournament once.
While the Kings would like to have Rajon Rondo return next season, the team is prepared to move on from the point guard rather quickly if the bidding for his services escalates, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com writes. The scribe doesn’t cite a specific dollar figure that would be the cut off point for Sacramento, but does note that it is lower than many might think. Rondo earned $9.5MM this season and is likely to command more than that in unrestricted free agency this summer given the amount of teams in need of help at the point guard position, though that is merely my speculation. The 30-year-old made 72 appearances in 2015/16, averaging 11.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 11.7 assists in 35.2 minutes per outing.
- Working out for the Kings today will be Josh Hagins (Arkansas Little Rock), Gabe York (Arizona), Brannen Greene (Kansas), Max Hooper (Oakland), Mike Bryson (UC Santa Barbara) and Jordan Loveridge (Utah), the team relayed.
Seth Curry and James Anderson have both opted out of their contracts with the Kings for next season, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. The action means both players will become restricted free agents this summer.
Curry, a third-year point guard, could have made $1,015,696 next season after signing a two-year deal last July. He appeared in 44 games for the Kings, making nine starts, while averaging 6.8 points per night and shooting 45% from 3-point range.
Anderson, a sixth-year swingman, would have received $1,139,123 next season on a minimum-salary deal. He started 15 of the 51 games he played, averaging 3.5 points per contest.
Representatives for Providence’s Kris Dunn don’t want him to go to a team with a young point guard already in place and may refuse to release his medical records to the Celtics and Suns, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Speaking on a draft lottery special, Wojnarowski said Dunn’s agents did not submit him for a physical at last week’s draft combine, which would have made his records accessible to everyone. Dunn has undergone two surgical procedures on his right shoulder, and teams may be reluctant to draft him if they are unsure of his current physical status. Dunn has been projected as a possible No. 3 pick, but his camp apparently doesn’t want him to compete for playing time with Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart in Boston or Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight in Phoenix. The Celtics own the third selection in next month’s draft, while the Suns pick fourth.
There’s more news from around the basketball world:
- Rutgers freshman point guard Corey Sanders will withdraw from the draft and return to school, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. There’s little chance that Sanders would have been drafted, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress has him ranked 73rd among NCAA freshmen and ESPN’s Chad Ford doesn’t have him listed among his top 100 prospects.
- Kentucky coach John Calipari, whose name has been floated for several NBA openings, plans to stay with the Wildcats for the rest of his career, he said in a message on his website. Calipari was considered a candidate for the Nets job after they fired Lionel Hollins in January, and the Kings reportedly spoke to him about taking over for George Karl last summer.
- Spanish power FC Barcelona is interested in former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, according to El Mundo Deportivo (hat tip to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Blatt recently talked with the Rockets, Kings, Knicks and Lakers about their coaching jobs.
- Twenty-four teams will compete in the Las Vegas Summer League July 8th-18th, the NBA announced today in a press release. The Spurs, coached by Becky Hammon, are the defending champions.
The Grizzlies spoke with at least two candidates today as their search for a new coach heats up. Heat assistant David Fizdale came to Memphis for an interview, tweets Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com., as did Portland assistant Nate Tibbetts, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal (Twitter link). Both had been previously named as candidates for the job.
Spurs assistant James Borrego impressed Grizzlies officials during his interview earlier this week, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Memphis has also held interviews with Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, Hornets assistant Patrick Ewing and recently fired Pacers coach Frank Vogel (Twitter link). The Grizzlies have significant interest in Vogel, according to ESPN, but so does Orlando (Twitter link).
There’s more out of the Southwest Division:
- Pelicans free agent Ryan Anderson says he was nearly traded to Cleveland at the deadline, relays Brett Dawson of The Advocate. Appearing on “The Vertical Podcast,” Anderson contends the Cavaliers were trying to work out a deal for him before they picked up Channing Frye from Orlando. “There was a very last-minute phone call that I could have gone to Cleveland,” Anderson said. “I would be playing for the Cavs right now.” Anderson said he didn’t ask the Pelicans to trade him because he wants to have the option in free agency of staying in New Orleans. Anderson’s last experience as a free agent came in 2012 when he was restricted and Orlando swung a deal to send him to the Pelicans. This time, he likes the feeling of being in complete control. “I want to enjoy this process and see where New Orleans is at this summer,” Anderson said. “I want to see where, I don’t know, Houston is at or Sacramento or Washington.”
- The Spurs could be interested in power forward Thomas Robinson if he opts out of his deal with the Nets, according to Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. Robinson would give up a little more than $980K by opting out, but he stands to make much more on the open market with the expected jump in the salary cap. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has talked about the need to rebuild the bench with younger players, and the 25-year-old Robinson, a former teammate of LaMarcus Aldridge in Portland, could be a possibility.
- Rockets point guard Jason Terry thinks Dwight Howard would be a “great fit” with the Mavericks, but only if he adapts to coach Rick Carlisle, according to The Dallas Morning News. “Whatever [Howard’s] role is, he would have to be the one to buy in first, and then you go from there,” Terry said on ESPN Radio’s Cowlishaw and Mosley show. “But he and Dirk [Nowitzki] together? That’s a powerful combination.” The 38-year-old Terry adds that he hopes to play one more season before retiring.