Toronto Raptors Rumors
June 19 at 1:37pm CST By Luke Adams
While there was some uncertainty about whether or not new Raptors head of basketball operations Masai Ujiri would bring back head coach Dwane Casey for the final year of his contract, the team ended the suspense today, announcing in a press release that Casey will coach the club in 2013/14.
"I’m excited about moving forward and growing this team with Coach Casey," Ujiri said in a statement. The '13/14 season represents the last year of Casey's current contract, so his long-term future with the club could depend in large part on the Raptors' performance next season.
In his two seasons so far in Toronto, Casey has led the club to a 57-91 (.385) record. Expectations for Casey and the Raps will be higher heading into next season, however, with Rudy Gay on board for a full season, along with a likely core of Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas, DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, and Amir Johnson.
An announcement regarding the team's assistant coaches will be made at a later date, according to the release. However, the Raptors did make another announcement today, revealing in a press release that longtime NBA cap expert Bobby Webster would be joining the front office as the VP of basketball management and strategy. While he worked for the league office, Webster advised executives from all 30 teams on CBA and cap issues, so he figures to take the lead on managing the Raptors' cap going forward.
June 17 at 1:04pm CST By Luke Adams
With the deadline for international prospects to withdraw from the draft coming up in a matter of hours, Mouhammadou Jaiteh remains undecided on whether or not he'll keep his name in, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. As fellow HoopsWorld scribe Steve Kyler writes, Jaiteh is seeking a first-round guarantee, so if he exits the draft, he was probably unable to secure that promise. You can check out today's full list of draft decisions by international prospects right here.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:
- Assuming Doc Rivers parts ways with the Celtics, former Nets head coach and Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank may emerge as a candidate for the Boston job, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.
- Kevin McHale, on the other hand, wouldn't be a candidate for the Celtics' position, since the Rockets wouldn't let him leave, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter).
- Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel spoke to Ray Allen and James Jones about their player options for 2013/14, which they'll have to decide on within the next couple weeks. Allen was noncommital on his decision, but Jones told Winderman he expects to exercise his, which is no surprise. Jones played only 221 minutes for the Heat in 2012/13, so he's not about to turn down a $1.5MM salary.
- The Bucks have added Nick Van Exel and Bob Bender to Larry Drew's staff as assistant coaches, according to the team (Twitter link). Drew worked with both Van Exel and Bender in Atlanta as well.
- New MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke has fired longtime Raptors employee Alvin Williams, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, who thinks the decision to fire a fan favorite who wanted to spend his career with the franchise sends a bad message.
- Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports has inquired with the NBA about the procedure for getting individuals certified as NBA agents, tweets Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal.
June 16 at 12:59pm CST By Chuck Myron
The Magic appear to have heavy interest in acquiring Eric Bledsoe in return for Arron Afflalo, according to Joe Kotoch of SheridanHoops.com, who delivers his latest mock draft. That jibes with the notion that the Clippers are holding out for an additional asset in the rumored trade proposal, which would also send Caron Butler to Orlando. Kotoch adds that Cavs executive Zydrunas Ilgauskas is pushing Cleveland to take Alex Len first overall. Here's more from around the NBA:
- The Nuggets plan for most of their interviews for a new GM to occur once the team hires a coach, reports Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. Wednesday's scheduled meeting with Lionel Hollins will be the first formal interview the team will conduct for the coaching job, and it's unclear when any other candidates will be interviewed, Dempsey notes.
- Nuggets president Josh Kroenke tells Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post that he wouldn't have allowed a team other than the Raptors to have permission to speak with former GM Masai Ujiri. Kroenke admits he put himself in a difficult position because of his friendship with Ujiri, who had a soft spot for the Raptors organization for which he worked once before.
- The Rockets have paid the luxury tax just once in the 15 seasons its been in existence, but owner Leslie Alexander tells Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that he'd be "thrilled to pay a tax if we have a championship-caliber team."
- Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News glances at the personnel decisions facing the Spurs this summer once the Finals are over.
- Tyson Chandler tells Marc Berman of the New York Post that he tried all season long to convince former teammate and new Nets head coach Jason Kidd not to end his playing career. Chandler doesn't believe Kidd's 10-game scoreless streak in the postseason influenced his decision.
- Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com checks in with free agent center Jerome Jordan, who'll be playing in summer leagues for both the Knicks and Pacers and will also take part in mini-camps with the Spurs and Mavericks.
- Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun figures the Raptors may carry only 13 players next season, given their proximity to tax territory (Twitter links).
June 16 at 10:59am CST By Chuck Myron
Bob Finnan of The News-Herald rounds up the latest NBA rumors in his weekly column, and though he usually focuses on the Cavs, his latest dispatch is heavy on Pistons news. We'll hit the highlights here:
- Re-signing Jose Calderon remains a priority for the Pistons, but Joe Dumars and company "don't want to break the bank" to do so, Finnan writes. It's unclear exactly what breaking the bank would constitute, but I'd say the Pistons would balk at any deal approaching $10MM per year, based on previous estimates that peg his worth at between $6MM and $8MM.
- The Pistons aren't high on Trey Burke, and they probably hope he's off the board by the time they draft eighth overall, since there's pressure from fans to draft the University of Michigan star.
- Detroit is instead enamored with Cody Zeller, though most observers believe they'll draft a guard, according to Finnan.
- The Cavs, like the Pistons, have drawn mention as a likely suitor for Andre Iguodala, but Finnan isn't so sure Cleveland is willing to shell out a lucrative deal for him. The News-Herald scribe figures another team will overpay the soon-to-be free agent.
- The Pistons and Raptors were certain the Cavs were going to draft Jonas Valanciunas with the fourth pick in 2011, and had a deal in place based on that contingency. Detroit would have sent Ben Gordon and the No. 8 pick to Toronto for Calderon and the No. 5 pick. The Pistons would have drafted Tristan Thompson, whom the Cavs wound up taking at No. 4 that year, while the Raptors would have picked Brandon Knight.
- Finnan unveils his latest mock draft as part of a separate piece. He has the Cavs taking Nerlens Noel first overall, despite rumors the team will pass him up. Finnan predicts the Pistons will take shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
June 9 at 11:04am CST By Zach Links
Mitch Lawrence of the Daily News has tons of interesting bits in his latest column and we have the highlights..
- There has been talk about the Nets looking for a “fresh face" rather than going with an established coach and Italian coach Ettore Messina would fit the bill, along with Pacers assisstant Brian Shaw. A group of Russian Nets executives who report to Mikhail Prokhorov is quite familiar with Messina, which could help his candidacy. Communication also won't be an issue for Messina as he speaks English fluently. “Players will find that Ettore has the technical mind to do the job, he can do the X’s and O’s, so strategically, it would not be hard for him at all,’’ said Spurs GM R.C. Buford.
- The Pacers know they need outside shooting help and would love to add Kyle Korver or J.J. Redick. Both players, of course, will be free agents on July 1. The club's other free agents, Tyler Hansbrough and D.J. Augustin, are expendable, which can give them some extra breathing space this offseason.
- David Stern plans to step down from the competition committee - which has the power to make rules changes - once he's done being commissioner. Lawrence's bet, however, is that he’ll still be used by the committee as a consultant.
- Lionel Hollins wants to paint Grizzlies assistant Dave Joerger like the bad guy if he doesn’t get a new deal in Memphis, but people in the NBA feel that he hasn’t done anything to bounce Hollins and get the job for himself. The Memphis front office doesn’t want Hollins back unless it’s on the cheap and he starts buying into the club's statistical analysis.
- New Raptors GM Masai Ujiri wants to hire Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman to be his top assistant. Weltman and former Knick president Scott Layden were up for the Suns gig that went to Ryan McDonough.
June 7 at 1:15pm CST By Luke Adams
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, Lionel Hollins and the Grizzlies spoke yesterday, and the door hasn't closed entirely on the possibility of the head coach remaining in Memphis. However, Hollins has begun to explore his other options, talking by phone to a pair of Clippers executives yesterday and planning to fly to Los Angeles early next week, according to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal (via Twitter). Here's the latest on the Grizzlies, the Clippers, and plenty of other teams in the market for a coach or GM:
- While a reunion with Hollins or a promotion of assistant David Joerger remain possibilities for the Grizzlies, Memphis has emerged as the early frontrunner for George Karl, says Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
- The Clippers have interest in both Hollins and Karl, but are prioritizing championship experience, a source tells Berger. Brian Shaw fits that bill, as both a player and an assistant coach, and is expected to formally interview with the Clippers on Monday, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
- The Kings continue to pursue Larry Bird, although it would be a surprise if he was hired, a source tells Berger. If the Kings were able to land a big name like Bird - or perhaps Mike Dunleavy or Chris Mullin - it would be as team president, with the authority to hire a GM.
- David Morway is interviewing today for the Kings' GM job, says Berger. It doesn't appear Sacramento will receive permission to speak to Nuggets assistant GM Pete D'Alessandro though, since Denver would like him to continue helping owner Josh Kroenke with the team's coaching search.
- D'Alessandro also appears to be the favorite for the Nuggets' open GM job, with a source telling Berger that Denver may not even interview outside candidates.
- Earlier today, Kroenke told reporters, including Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post (Twitter links), that Masai Ujiri would almost certainly have left Denver to accept the Raptors job even if the Nuggets had matched Toronto's offer.
June 6 at 12:15pm CST By Luke Adams
In a surprising turn of events, the Nuggets informed George Karl earlier today that they wouldn't be retaining him for the final year of his contract, parting ways with the reigning Coach of the Year and beginning a search for a new head coach. While we've already heard that Lionel Hollins and Brian Shaw are among Denver's likely targets to replace Karl, there are also a number of reports surfacing on Karl's ouster from Denver and what his future might hold. Let's round them up....
- Don't expect the Nets to be an aggressive suitor for Karl, according to Tim Bontemps of the New York Post, who hears from a source that Brooklyn doesn't have much interest.
- Karl also appears unlikely to follow Masai Ujiri to Toronto. Grantland's Zach Lowe tweets that Karl isn't a candidate to replace Dwane Casey this summer, and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports adds (via Twitter) that even if the Raptors' job opens up next summer, Karl isn't expected to be a candidate.
- The Pistons also won't pursue Karl, since they're already close to making a hire, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.
- As we heard earlier today, the Grizzlies have some interest in Karl. According to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal (via Twitter), if the Grizz can't work out a new deal with Lionel Hollins, they'll shift their focus to Karl, Dave Joerger, and Alvin Gentry.
- We've heard the Clippers mentioned as a suitor for Karl multiple times, and L.A. does indeed have "strong interest" in him, says Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (via Twitter).
- Mannix estimates that, based on his last couple contracts, Karl's price tag figures to be about $4-5MM annually for three or four years, with the potential to climb higher if there's a bidding war (Twitter links).
- Karl's desire for an extension and the Nuggets' unwillingness to give him one was cited as the primary reason the two sides parted ways, but Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida hears there were a few other differences in opinion as well. Among them, according to Tomasson: Management placed the blame on Karl for losing the Golden State series; management wanted JaVale McGee to play more after he received a big four-year contract; and management would have liked to see young players such as Evan Fournier played more often and veterans like Andre Miller played less, even if it cost the team a few of its 57 regular-season wins (all four Twitter links).
June 5 at 10:41pm CST By Chuck Myron
Game One of the NBA Finals will be ending about 24 hours from now, and while the Spurs will provide more evidence for the rest-versus-rust debate, many expect them to find their rhythm before long. The majority of Hoops Rumors readers who voted in today's poll say San Antonio will beat the Heat. While we wait to see if they're right, here's more from around the NBA:
- The Grizzlies rebuffed the Nets when they asked for permission to interview Lionel Hollins the day after the Western Conference Finals ended, but Memphis would likely grant that permission now if Brooklyn inquired again, TNT's David Aldridge hears (Twitter link).
- Ray Allen feels his return to the Finals with the Heat provides a measure of vindication for his decision to sign with Miami last summer, observes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
- Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun looks at what Tim Leiweke and Masai Ujiri have done and said since arriving in town and concludes that the Raptors will soon be rebuilding.
- Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star, writing for USA Today, details five key questions the Pacers must answer this summer.
- The shakeup continues for the Kings, as Jerry Reynolds will step down as the team's director of player development, he tells Chris Riva of KCRA-TV.
- The Knicks worked out Deshaun Thomas today and will get another look at him Friday, reports Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio (Twitter link), who also notes that Cody Zeller will work out Thursday for the Suns. Thomas will also work out later this month for the Timberwolves, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, apparently clearing up earlier confusion involving Adonis Thomas.
- The Sixers auditioned Steven Adams, Colton Iverson, Alex Oriakhi, Mouhammadou Jaiteh and Jamelle Hagins today, tweets Jake L. Fischer of SLAM Online.
- Ray McCallum, who will work out sometime this month for the Pistons, has also worked out with the Spurs, Rockets and Pacers, notes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
June 5 at 3:34pm CST By Luke Adams
You could make a convincing argument that no head coaching candidate has a higher stock than Brian Shaw right now. The Pacers assistant has been linked in one way or another to all four teams currently without a head coach, and his agent Jerome Stanley tells Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link) that several teams have contacted Indiana about interviewing his client. While no interviews have been formally scheduled yet, Shaw intends to explore all the opportunities available to him, according to his agent (Twitter links).
Let's round up a few more odds and ends from around the Association....
- According to veteran NBA reporter Peter Vecsey (via Twitter), Larry Bird is meeting with Kings ownership today. Bird has been mentioned as a possible Sacramento target for the position of head of basketball operations.
- Stephen Curry tells Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer that he can't picture himself playing for any team besides the Warriors.
- New Raptors head of basketball operations Masai Ujiri is making a "hard push" to bring Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman to Toronto as part of his team in the front office, reports ESPN.com's Marc Stein (via Twitter).
- Ray Allen remains undecided on his $3.23MM player option for next season, but will address it after the Finals, tweets Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
- Manu Ginobili hopes to see fellow Argentine Pablo Prigioni continue to play in the NBA next season, rather than returning overseas, as he tells Marc Berman of the New York Post. "I think the last time he talked to the media (on Argentine radio) he was
intending to get back in the (NBA)," Ginobili said. "If he wants to, he’ll be here."
June 4 at 9:47pm CST By Alex Lee
Here is what is going on in the Atlantic Division on Tuesday night:
- With Masai Ujiri introduced in Toronto this morning, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun reports that the one thing made clear was that Ujiri is the main man in charge of basketball decisions for the Raptors right now.
- Meanwhile, Mike Ganter, also from the Sun, writes that landing the NBA's Executive of the Year is a coup for the Raptors, and a sign that their ownership group is intent on shedding their mediocre label.
- Ian Begley of ESPN New York provides a primer to the free agency of J.R. Smith, who earlier today we heard will decline his player option with the Knicks, but will likely re-sign with the team. Begley points out that Smith will have plenty of suitors, and spells out the ramifications of whether or not Smith re-ups in New York.
- The Sixers will work out Kentucky's Archie Goodwin, Louisville's Peyton Siva and Temple's Scootie Randall, writes Nick Menta of CSN Philly. Since the Sixers pick No. 11, they could only be looking at this trio via trade in the first or with one of their two second round selections (No. 35 and No. 42).