Craig, Atkinson, Billups Expected To Join Lue’s Clippers Staff

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.

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13 thoughts on “Craig, Atkinson, Billups Expected To Join Lue’s Clippers Staff

        • JamesT

          C’mon man Red is dead. But Tommy Heinsohn probably could be tempted from the broadcast booth to provide head coaching experience on Nash’s staff. Lenny Wilkens may be persuaded as well for tidy sum.

  1. omar jimenez

    I like Atkinson and Chauncey added to the staff. I don’t know much about Dan Craig outside the obvious, but I would bet a Heat assistant is quality based on the Heat culture. I think the staff behind Lue looks strong.

  2. Noel1982

    Credit to Steve ballmer for sparing no expense to not win a title any time soon unlike his counterpart Tillman who does the opposite to not win one

  3. Simmons>Russ

    Any chance there’s no much cooks in the kitchen?
    I mean you’ve just had a loaded roster up 3-1 lose to a young Nuggets team and your plan is to lose a veteran head coach and get a bunch of decent coaches and assistants.

    I really like Kenny Atkinson and think he’s a lot better than what he’s settled for which is being 1 assistant of many on a loaded team.

    • I’m surprised that Kenny Atkinson did not get a job as well. I thought he was one of the Prime candidates for one of the open positions. In the NBA there really is never a worry about too many cooks in the kitchen. These guys are all assistants at one time or another and they know how to act and not overstepped their bounds. They’re expected to be experts in the roles given which is either the offense, the defense, plus scouting the next five Games Etc. There’s plenty to do without stepping on the head coach’s toes.

      As an assistant you never want to burn a bridge with your head coach because GM’s will come calling and asking for opinions. About the only time I’ve heard of a little Rift was in Oakland with Mark Jackson and ALL his assistants LOL and Lawrence Frank Jason Kidd in New Jersey I think. Other than that these guys know what to do.

  4. mike.honcho

    Ballmer must have sent the brink’s truck to Dan Craig’s house ……. besides, LA’s state tax, this might not even be a lateral move for him – Atkinson is the likely lead assistant under Lue.

    I believe some teams distinguish between a lead assistant and a regular assistant.

    Seems like Lue has got his assistant coaches right.

    • specialfriedrice

      Or the assistant coaches are positioning themselves in prime position and just waiting for that head to roll ready to swoop…time will tell

  5. WSnotAstros2017

    Waiting to see who takes the Rockets and OKC now. Not ray at moment with Tillman Fertitta with Houston. But what is hold up. Who will be left even for assistants with these 2 teams. If Rockets go with JVG, Lucas or Silas or pull a surprise and none of these for Rockets. Neither team is jumping at moment. Will Mike D go to 76ers as assistant The slowness really has me wondering.

    • specialfriedrice

      It’s really all pointing towards a complete rebuild for Houston…new coach, a new culture…new players…while your assets still have value, if they ride Harden and Westbrook to another fail season…then best of luck trying to recoup what Houston might value them at as opposed to the rest of the league.

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