Month: August 2019

And-Ones: Wizards, Thompson, Parsons, Grizzlies

The Wizards are conducting several interviews for their head of basketball operations opening this week. Former Hawks GM Danny Ferry met with the team on Tuesday and current Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas is also in town for his meeting, as we relayed earlier today.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link) reports that Thunder VP of basketball operations Troy Weaver was in D.C. as well to interview for the position. Interim GM Tommy Sheppard is also under consideration.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Marc Stein of the New York Times believes Klay Thompson is “100 percent staying put with the Warriors and will not consider external suitors,” as he writes in his latest newsletter. Thompson will be a free agent at the end of the season.
  • Chandler Parsons had some encouraging stretches for the Grizzlies and he hopes to build on that progress, as David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal passes along. “I’m going to continue to do all the right things this summer and put myself in the best situation to play a lot of games next year,” Parsons said. “Where that will be, I don’t know. You’ve got to ask the guys upstairs. But I’m fully committed to the team and coming back, if that’s what it’s going to be.”
  • Parsons has one year left on his four-year, $94MM deal and Cobb (same piece) wonders if the team will be able to trade the forward. The scribe believes the Grizzlies would have to attach an asset to Parsons in order to extract any value from a trade despite Parsons showing progress this season.

Raptors Notes: Adjustments, Anunoby, Leonard

The Raptors came out flat in Game 2 of their series with the Sixers, though Toronto nearly crept back into the contest during the second half. Still, changes could be coming for the team up north.

“We’re going to probably look at many different things and try to attack them on every front,” Danny Green said (Gregory Strong of The Canadian Press). “But the biggest key for us is to do what we do — our identity — and that’s play fast-paced basketball.”

It’s possible that either Jeremy Lin or Patrick McCaw may take Jodie Meeks‘ playing time going forward, Strong adds. Meeks, who inked a deal after the trade deadline, hasn’t played much all that much in the playoffs, totaling just 38 minutes of action over the team’s seven games.

Lin, who signed with Toronto after the franchise traded away some of its depth in the Marc Gasol acquisition, saw three minutes of garbage time action during the Raptors’ Game 1 win over the Sixers. McCaw, who signed with Toronto earlier this season after a standoff with the Warriors and an extremely short stint with the Cavaliers, saw the same amount of time during the contest.

Here’s more out of Toronto:

  • Raptors coach Nick Nurse indicated that OG Anunoby is still a long ways away from returning to the court after his emergency appendectomy. “I don’t think there’s anything close at all,” Nurse said via Blake Murphy of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Toronto’s “load management” strategy appears to be paying off for Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors, Eric Koreen of the Athletic writes. Leonard, who previously praised the franchise for how it has handled his injury risk this season, has scored 80 points over the first two games in the team’s series with the Raptors.
  • Green, who played with Leonard in San Antonio, said he understood the need for the Raptors to manage Leonard’s risk throughout the season, as Koreen passes along in the same piece. “We’ve said the bigger picture is April, May and June from the start,” said Green. “We need him at his highest level and healthiest right now. Hopefully, he’s that. He’s showing it, anyway.”

Jared Dudley Would Be “Shocked” If Nets Don’t Get FA Meetings With Durant, Irving

Jared Dudley, who will be a free agent this summer, said it’s “possible” that he returns to the Nets next season, as he tells Marc Stein of The New York Times (via the scribe’s latest newsletter).

“I do think if it was up to (head coach) Kenny (Atkinson) and even (GM) Sean Marks, I think they would like me back,” Dudley said. “But they’ve got a Plan A, a Plan B and a Plan C — as they should. That doesn’t mean I can’t fit into that. But they’re close…

“It’s just set up for one All-Star player to come in and take this team from a six seed to a two seed within one year. They have the infrastructure — good owner, good GM, good coach. The practice facility is one of the best in the league. The arena is one of the best in the league. You’ve got draft picks, cap space, you’re in New York City. And the young talent — when it comes to 25 and under, if it’s not the best talent in the league it’s second or third.”

Brooklyn has just $32MM in guaranteed contracts on the books for next season against a $109MM projected salary cap. That figure does not include Allen Crabbe‘s $18.5MM player option, which he’s likely to invoke.

Dudley added that he believes the top free agents will consider the Nets, telling Stein that Brooklyn should be placed in the conversation among the marquee destinations in the NBA.

“The Clippers can do two max slots. So can Brooklyn,” Dudley said. “I didn’t promote every team I’ve ever been on…I’m not here just to toot Brooklyn’s horn. I’ve sold Brooklyn to other players just because you’d want the same thing. Players want to know the good organizations from the bad.”

The Knicks are also expected to open up two max contract slots. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are rumored to be their top targets, but Dudley believes the Knicks won’t be the only team in town to get a meeting with each player.

“I would be shocked if the Nets don’t get a sit-down,” Dudley said.

Southwest Notes: Nene, Pelicans, Gay, Guards

Nene didn’t play in the Rockets first four playoff games but he saw action in the team’s closeout win over the Jazz and Game 1 loss to the Warriors, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes.

“It’s a man’s game and he’s a man,” coach Mike D’Antoni said of Nene’s play. “He’s effective for limited minutes. We have to be careful with him because we like for him to last the whole time. But he was good.”

Nene only suited up in 42 games for the Rockets this season. He’s made all six of his attempts over the past two playoff games, giving Houston 22 minutes of solid play.

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans have poached athletic trainer Aaron Nelson from the Suns, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports (Twitter link). Vice president of basketball operations David Griffin worked with Nelson while the two were in Phoenix together.
  • Rudy Gay is the only free agent of “significance” in San Antonio, Sean Deveney of Sporting News writes in his Spurs offseason preview, adding that Gay would like to stay with the Spurs on a “team-friendly” deal. The combo forward made slightly over $10MM this past season.
  • The Spurs could look to trade either Bryn Forbes of Marco Belinelli, Deveney contends in the same piece. The team has a logjam at their guard spots and both Dejounte Murray and Derrick White have too much upside for Spurs to think about moving either of them. Deveney also adds that coach Gregg Popovich, who’s expected to sign a new deal with San Antonio, values Patty Mills as a leader, making his departure unlikely.

Mavericks To Target Khris Middleton, Kemba Walker In Free Agency

The Mavericks plan on pursuing Khris Middleton and Kemba Walker this offseason with the hope of landing one of the All-Stars, as Marc Stein of the New York Times details in the latest edition of his newsletter.

Stein cautions that Dallas is still laying out its free agency plans. The franchise is prioritizing shooting, athleticism, and veteran presence as it looks to surround Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis with an improved squad.

The Mavs have slightly under $46MM in guaranteed salary on the books next season against a projected $109MM salary cap. That figure doesn’t include Dwight Powell‘s $10.3MM player option nor does it include any of the team’s cap holds. Realistically, the team’s available space could be capped around $30MM, as I previously detailed.

However, should Dallas find themselves with the need for additional cap space, the organization could carve out room by using the stretch provision on Courtney Lee, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors explains. Other options included agreeing to a long-term deal with Powell that lowers his annual cap hit or trading away Tim Hardaway Jr., something that would likely mean attaching an asset to him.

There’s no indication yet about whether Dallas will be able to land a top player in free agency. Stein adds the Mavs may not get near players like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, or Kyrie Irving, and also writes that Nikola Vucevic – who has previously been mentioned as a Mavs target – isn’t high on their free-agent wish list.

Wizards Interviewing Ferry, Rosas For Front Office Job

Former Pelicans interim GM Danny Ferry and current Rockets executive vice president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas will be the first candidate to meet with the Wizards about the team’s top front office job. According to Fred Katz of The Athletic, Rosas is currently in Washington to interview with the club, while Candace Buckner of The Washington Post tweets that Ferry met with the Wizards today.

Rosas has been a popular target in recent years for teams with openings at the top of their basketball operations departments, having already been linked to the Pelicans’ and Timberwolves’ jobs this spring. New Orleans went with David Griffin, but a source tells Katz that Rosas is still very much in the mix for Minnesota’s president of basketball operations position.

A longtime member of one of the NBA’s most analytically driven front offices, Rosas could be a good fit for the Wizards. As Katz points out, owner Ted Leonsis has indicated that he’d prefer Ernie Grunfeld‘s replacement to place an emphasis on data and analytics.

As for Ferry, he has previous experience running a front office in Cleveland and Atlanta, and re-assumed that role in New Orleans after Dell Demps‘ ouster during the 2018/19 season.

According to Katz, Mike Forde, an outside consultant, is helping the Wizards with their search after previously assisting the Pelicans. Rosas and Perry were both part of the Pelicans’ process, and other executives that showed up on New Orleans’ list – such as Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon and Warriors assistant GM Larry Harris – could also be of interest to the Wizards.

Grizzlies Interview Alex Jensen For Head Coaching Job

After a front office shakeup that saw top decision-maker Chris Wallace re-assigned to the scouting department, the Grizzlies have taken their time addressing their head coaching vacancy. However, we can now add at least one name to their list of candidates.

Jazz assistant Alex Jensen was in Memphis today to interview for the Grizzlies’ head coaching position, league sources tell Tony Jones and Omari Sankofa II of The Athletic (Twitter link). Jensen becomes the first known candidate to replace J.B. Bickerstaff, who was dismissed by Memphis nearly three weeks ago.

Jensen, who has been on the coaching staff in Utah since 2013, has also been identified this month as a candidate for the Cavaliers‘ head coaching job. Joe Vardon of The Athletic reported today (via Twitter) that Jensen’s interview with the Cavs will take place later this week.

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Prior to joining the Jazz, Jensen served as the head coach of the G League’s Canton Charge from 2011-13. He has also worked with the German national team in recent years, serving as an assistant coach for the squad since 2015.

Gerald Henderson Announces Retirement

Veteran NBA shooting guard Gerald Henderson has ended his comeback effort and is officially calling it a career. He announced his retirement in an article at CloseUp360.com (written by Magdalena Munao), explaining that health issues are contributing in his large part to his decision to retire at age 31.

“This was not my original plan. My dad played in the NBA for 13 years. I thought that I would do that or more,” Henderson said. “But you find out in life that your plan is not the plan. For me, it’s all what God sets in your plan. So, I’m secure in that because at the end of the day, it’s already written.”

The 12th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Henderson spent the first six years of his career in Charlotte before playing one year for the Trail Blazers and one more year with the Sixers. He last played in the NBA in 2016/17, appearing in 72 games (41 starts) for Philadelphia.

As recently as the 2018 offseason, Henderson was attempting to make it back to the NBA after undergoing a third surgical procedure on his hip. According to Henderson, he was working out for teams in September 2018, but tore his Achilles tendon during a pickup game in Golden State.

“With a torn Achilles, I could have tried to come back and still play,” Henderson said. “But immediately, I was just was, like, ‘I’ve had enough,’ because the process of surgery, which a lot of athletes know, it’s painstaking.

“It takes time and you go through a lot of pain. You go through a lot of stress and mental pain and frustration—all that stuff. And I’ve been through a good amount of it with the amount of surgeries that I’ve had, especially coming back and the way that I did from the hip surgery. It was a big hit for me. So it’s not that I didn’t feel like I could come back, but it just wasn’t worth it to me.”

Over the course of his eight-year NBA career, Henderson averaged 11.2 PPG on .440/.327/.793 shooting in 535 regular season games. The former Duke standout also played in four postseason contests for Charlotte and was a key rotation player for the 2016 Blazers team that fell to the Warriors in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Henderson joined the Hornets’ broadcast team at FOX Sports Southeast in January for the second half of the 2018/19 season.

Spurs, Popovich Expected To Complete Three-Year Deal

Once head coach Gregg Popovich officially commits to returning to the Spurs‘ bench for next season, he and the team are expected to finalize a three-year contract that will ensure he remains the NBA’s highest-paid coach, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Despite some speculation that Popovich may elect to retire after the 2018/19 season, all recent signs have pointed toward him continuing his coaching career. A report over the weekend suggested as much, and Popovich himself dropped plenty of hints that he’d return during his end-of-season session with reporters on Monday.

According to Wojnarowski, Popovich’s new deal won’t change the fact that he’ll continue to evaluate his future on a year-to-year basis. Spurs ownership feels that the sport’s longest-tenured coach is entitled to manage his future however he wants, sources tell Woj.

In addition to remaining on the sidelines for the Spurs, Popovich will be the head coach for Team USA at the 2019 World Cup in China and at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. As Wojnarowski notes, the idea of Popovich retiring after next year’s Olympics has also been a popular theory, but there’s no indication at this point that the 70-year-old is leaning in that direction.

Although Popovich’s Spurs couldn’t get by the Nuggets in the first round of this year’s playoffs, it was another impressive season for the veteran head coach, who led San Antonio to the postseason for the 22nd straight year.

Vince Carter: “I’m Coming Back” For 22nd Season

Speaking to co-hosts Kent Bazemore and Annie Finberg in the latest episode of his “Winging It” podcast, Vince Carter confirmed that he intends to continue his playing career into the 2019/20 season (hat tip to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

“Yeah, I’m coming back,” Carter said during a discussion about Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki, who each called it a career at the end of the 2018/19 season.

Asked by Finberg if he’ll return to the Hawks, Carter said, “I would like to. We’ll see what happens.”

Assuming Carter re-signs with Atlanta or catches on with a new team and appears in at least one game next season, he’ll become the first player in NBA history to play for 22 seasons, breaking the record that he and Nowitzki tied this season. Robert Parish, Kevin Willis, and Kevin Garnett also had 21-year NBA careers.

Despite turning 42 in January, Carter continued to be a productive rotation player in Atlanta this season, averaging 7.4 PPG and 2.6 RPG with a .419/.389/.712 shooting line in 76 games (17.5 MPG) for the Hawks. Head coach Lloyd Pierce also praised the veteran swingman for helping to create a “different atmosphere” in the Hawks’ locker room.

Carter will be an unrestricted free agent in July.