Stein’s Latest: Brown, Van Gundy, Coaching Carousel, More

The Raptors are still determining how they plan to move forward with Bruce Brown‘s $23MM team option for 2024/25, NBA insider Marc Stein relays in his latest around-the-league notebook. The Pacers originally signed Brown to the two-year, $45MM deal last summer in a successful effort to poach him from Denver, then traded him as part of a package to acquire Pascal Siakam.

According to Stein, numerous teams expect the Raptors to pick up that option to help facilitate a trade further down the road.

Brown played in 67 games (44 starts) between the Pacers and Raptors last season, averaging 10.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists contest one year after helping Denver win the championship.

We have more from Stein:

  • Before joining Tyronn Lue‘s staff in Los Angeles as an assistant, Jeff Van Gundy was pursued by the New Zealand Breakers of Australia’s National Basketball League to be their head coach, Stein reports. The Breakers formally requested permission from the Celtics to interview Van Gundy, who spent the year as a special adviser in Boston’s basketball operations room, but were told he had another coaching opportunity lined up already (with the Clippers).
  • J.J. Redick is the overwhelming favorite to be hired as the Lakers‘ head coach, while James Borrego is still considered the frontrunner to get the Cavaliers‘ job, according to Stein. Though he cautions that anything can happen, as of Wednesday Stein expects those two positions to be filled by those candidates soon.
  • Jayson Tatum and Derrick White‘s contract extensions with the Celtics are viewed as inevitable, Stein writes. Tatum is eligible for a five-year, $315MM deal that would make him the highest-paid player in NBA history.
  • Klay Thompson is in Houston training with Team Bahamas ahead of Olympic qualifiers, but likely would never have been able to participate in the tournament due to the timing of the event (July 2-7). An unrestricted free agent with an injury history, Thompson — like other free agents — can’t officially sign a new contract until July 6, making any play before then an unnecessary risk. Even if he were willing to make that risk, Thompson likely wouldn’t have received clearance from USA Basketball anyways after the organization was criticized last year for allowing Eric Gordon to join the Bahamas, which won a pre-qualifying tournament, Stein writes.
  • Stein confirms reports that Atlanta has been unable to secure an in-person workout with Alexandre Sarr, increasing rumblings that the Hawks may select Zaccharie Risacher first overall.
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