Heat assistant coach Dan Craig is leaving Miami to take a job as an assistant on Tyronn Lue‘s Clippers staff, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald confirms (via Twitter). According to Jackson, the Clippers offered more money than the Heat, and Craig hopes the role will help him eventually become an NBA head coach.
Mike Robinson of The Ball Out first reported today that Craig and former Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson would be joining the Clippers as assistants.
Marc Stein of The New York Times, who revealed last week that Craig and Atkinson were drawing interest as potential additions to Lue’s staff, tweeted today that Chauncey Billups has also interviewed for an assistant coach position with the Clippers. The expectation in coaching circles is that Craig, Atkinson, and Billups will all formally finalize deals to join the Clips, Stein adds (via Twitter).
Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported back on October 15 when Lue was promoted by the Clippers that Billups would join him in Los Angeles. Billups was still a candidate in the Pacers’ head coaching search at that time. Now that Indiana has gone in another direction, hiring Nate Bjorkgren, it appears Billups is on track to complete an agreement with L.A.
Craig, who reportedly received head coaching interest from the Bulls and Pacers this year, has been with the Heat for the better part of two decades after initially being hired as a video intern in 2003. He has been an assistant on Erik Spoelstra‘s staff since 2012, spending one year during that time (2015/16) as the head coach of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League affiliate.
Like Craig, Atkinson generated some head coaching interest around the NBA this summer, having been linked to the Knicks, Rockets, Bulls, and Pelicans jobs. The former Knicks and Hawks assistant was hired by the Nets as their head coach of the Nets in 2016 and held that role until he was let go by the organization in March of this year. He compiled a 118-190 (.383) record in Brooklyn as he led the franchise through a challenging rebuild.
As for Billups, he’s a former NBA Finals MVP who expressed interest this year in becoming a head coach. Since his retirement as a player, Billups had reportedly “toyed with the idea” of getting into coaching, and it appears he’ll do so alongside Lue, a longtime friend with whom he shares an agent. A report in August suggested that Billups thought working on Lue’s staff might help him eventually land a head coaching job — he apparently has that in common with Craig.
Assuming the Clippers officially lock up Craig, Atkinson, and Billups, they’ll have gone a long way toward putting together Lue’s staff for 2020/21. Former NBA head coach Larry Drew is also expected to be hired by the Clippers as an assistant coach.