TUESDAY, 6:59am: Colangelo and Rosas are still in the race for the GM job, Wojnarowski clarifies (on Twitter).
MONDAY, 11:24am: Andrea Bargnani is among the players almost certain to work a buyout with their respective teams if they’re not traded by Thursday’s 2pm Central deadline, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. It’s not surprising to see David Lee and J.J. Hickson as the other names on Wojnarowski’s short list of buyout candidates, since Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck reported earlier this month that the Celtics intended to either trade Lee or do a buyout, while the Nuggets have apparently been shopping Hickson. Bargnani is in the first season of a two-year deal for the minimum salary that includes a player option for next season and is averaging only 13.8 minutes per game, by far the fewest of his 10-year NBA career.
Still, it’s difficult to gauge just what the Nets will do with their personnel, since they’re in the midst of hiring a new GM. Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas and Spurs assistant GM Sean Marks continue to talk with the team as it moves toward second interviews this week, league sources told Wojnarowski. The general consensus around the NBA as of Friday held that former Raptors and Suns GM Bryan Colangelo would ultimately emerge with the gig, as Beck reported then, though Colangelo and Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas aren’t necessarily out of the running, Wojnarowski indicates. Chris Broussard of ESPN on Thursday identified Colangelo, Karnisovas and Marks as the front-runners for the job that’s been vacant since the Nets removed Billy King from the position last month.
Regardless of whom the Nets choose as GM, he’ll be only one part of a committee that will hire the team’s next coach, Wojnarowski also writes. Various reports have indicated that some combination of team chairman Dmitry Razumov, board member Sergey Kushchenko, CEO Brett Yormark and owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s holding company president Irina Pavlova comprise the committee in charge of the GM search. The new GM will join that group in its efforts to find a coach, according to Wojnarowski. The Nets hope to draw from a pool of coaching candidates that includes NBA head coaching veterans Jeff Van Gundy and Tom Thibodeau and Spurs assistant Ettore Messina. Mike Mazzeo and Marc Stein reported last month that Brooklyn had strong interest in Thibodeau, and Stein later identified Messina as a candidate, but this appears to be the first legitimate link between the Nets and Van Gundy.
Whomever ends up coaching the Nets likely won’t have Bargnani, unless the team speeds through the process. March 1st represents the de facto buyout deadline, since it’s the last day any player can hit waivers and still be eligible to play for another NBA team in the postseason.