Adam Simon

Heat’s Adam Simon Won’t Pursue Kings’ Basketball Operations Vacancy

Heat assistant general manager Adam Simon has decided not to pursue the vacant Kings head of basketball operations position, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Simon joins current Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon in removing their names from consideration, with the Kings now narrowing their candidates down to Timberwolves executive VP of basketball operations Sachin Gupta, Nuggets GM Calvin Booth, former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox, and Rockets assistant GM Monte McNair, according to NBC Sports’ James Ham. The franchise could also opt to expand the search and add more candidates.

Simon has worked with the Heat for 25 years in a variety of positions, playing an integral role in drafting Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson. He’s considered to be an essential part of the organization and currently assists team president Pat Riley and GM Andy Elisburg in several aspects related to player personnel.

The Kings’ search began after veteran executive Vlade Divac stepped down as general manager, with Joe Dumars now serving as the team’s executive VP of basketball operations. Sacramento has two promising building blocks in De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III, but the team accrued just a 31-41 record this season. From a long-term standpoint, the franchise hasn’t reached 40 wins since the 2005/06 season.

Interviews for the vacant position are formally expected to begin next week, according to a previous report from The Athletic.

Western Notes: Kings, Atkinson, Pelicans, Thunder

Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon reportedly informed the Kings on Wednesday that he will not be involved in their search for a new head of basketball operations.

With Langdon pulling his name out of the Kings’ search, that leaves Sachin Gupta, Adam Simon, Calvin Booth, Monte McNair, and Wes Wilcox as potential replacements for Vlade Divac. Jason Jones of The Athletic looks at each candidate’s resume, exploring why they would make sense for Sacramento.

As Jones points out, the Kings head into the offseason with four picks in the 2020 NBA draft, including the 12th overall selection, but do not have a lot of cap space. Therefore, whoever Sacramento chooses will have a tall task ahead of them to break the team’s 14-year playoff drought.

Here’s more from across the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans are one of the many teams looking for a brand new head coach after firing Alvin Gentry. One potential candidate who could be of interest to New Orleans is former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, according to William Guillory of The Athletic, who evaluates Atkinson’s fit in New Orleans. As Guillory details, Atkinson has a relationship with Langdon, who was the Nets’ assistant general manager, and could help further the development of New Orleans’ young roster like he did with Brooklyn.
  • After just missing out on the playoffs, the Pelicans hold the 13th overall selection in the 2020 NBA draft. But unlike the other teams in the lottery, New Orleans does not necessarily need its first-round pick and could use it to acquire veteran players. William Guillory of The Athletic draws up three trades that the Pelicans could execute to upgrade their roster. One trade Guillory created has the Nets giving up Taurean Prince and their 2020 first-rounder for Darius Miller, Nicolo Melli, and the No. 13 pick.
  • The Thunder will be looking for a new head coach after parting ways with Billy Donovan on Tuesday. Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman takes a deep dive into potential replacements, listing 50 possible candidates for OKC’s vacancy. Outside of the known options, Mussatto mentions multiple internal candidates, including Maurice Cheeks and Mark Daigneault.

Kings Set To Begin Interviews In GM Search

Having parted ways with longtime general manager Vlade Divac last month, the Kings have now formally launched their search for a new head of basketball operations, according to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic. Sources tell The Athletic duo that Sacramento is expected to begin interviews as soon as this week.

The Kings have requested permission to speak to Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth, Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon, Timberwolves executive VP Sachin Gupta, Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, and Rockets assistant GM Monte McNair, according to Charania and Amick, who report that the club will also talk to former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox.

It’s not clear if all those teams have granted Sacramento permission to talk to their executives, but none of the candidates identified by The Athletic are heads of basketball operations for their current clubs. If the Kings truly offering decision-making power in their front office, that would represent a promotion for everyone on their list, so I wouldn’t expect any teams to stand in the way.

As we noted on Monday when we previewed the Kings’ offseason, the organization’s plan for its front office has been a little hard to follow. Multiple reports suggested that Divac’s ouster occurred as a result of team owner Vivek Ranadive asking him to surrender control of basketball decisions to Dumars, and Dumars has since been named Sacramento’s interim executive VP of basketball operations.

However, a subsequent report suggested that Dumars won’t be a candidate for the Kings’ permanent general manager job. That report indicated that Dumars would be involved in the hiring process and would interview candidates along with Ranadive. However, it sounds like the plan is for the newly-hired GM to gain full control of roster moves and report directly to Ranadive.

At the time of Divac’s dismissal, there were reports that the Kings’ search for a new GM could take a while, perhaps extending beyond the draft and free agency and into next season. With interviews set to begin soon, perhaps the franchise has decided to accelerate the process.

The Kings have some major roster decisions to make this offseason, including potentially re-signing Bogdan Bogdanovic, extending De’Aaron Fox, making a lottery pick, and considering the possibility of trading Buddy Hield. Any GM candidate seriously considering taking the reins in Sacramento’s front office would likely want to have a voice in those decisions and may also seek clarity on Dumars’ role going forward.

Latest On Kings’ GM Search

The Kings appear likely to hire an executive search firm to help them find a new permanent general manager following Vlade Divac‘s departure, league sources tell Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. However, according to Anderson, several names have already been connected to the position as possible targets for Saramento.

Anderson identifies Spurs VP of basketball operations Brent Barry, Raptors general manager Bobby Webster, Knicks GM Scott Perry, Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren, Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, and Clippers assistant GM Trent Redden as executives who may be on the Kings’ preliminary list of candidates.

Sean Cunningham of ABC10, who singled out many of those same execs as ones to watch, mentioned veteran agent Bill Duffy as another possibility (Twitter link). However, Duffy indicated today that he currently has no plans to follow in the footsteps of Bob Myers, Leon Rose, and other agents who have made the move to a team’s front office.

“There’s no truth to me joining an NBA organization,” Duffy told Jason Jones and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). “I’m fully committed to my clients and their success.”

Joe Dumars, who is the Kings’ interim head of basketball operations, will be involved in the search for a new GM, though team owner Vivek Ranadive and COO Matina Kolokotronis are “viewed as the ultimate decision makers,” Anderson writes.

Anderson also notes that it will be interesting to see what sort of role Dumars ultimately retains in the front office, since Divac’s departure stemmed from Ranadive’s desire to have the former Pistons GM take on a larger role and to have the final say on the roster. Sources tell Anderson that some qualified candidates may be reluctant to fill Sacramento’s GM opening if it doesn’t come with full control over the roster.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Nunn, Riley, Leonard, Future

The Heat held their first team practice since March 10 on Friday, though veteran guard Goran Dragic revealed in a conference call this week that two players were missing: Bam Adebayo and Kendrick Nunn, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Miami, as Jackson writes, currently has two unidentified players recovering from COVID-19. Head coach Erik Spoelstra declined to comment on how many players attended Friday’s practice, only adding that the team had a “full gym” for the session.

“Hopefully Bam can come and K-Nunn and we can be a whole team and make some damage,” Dragic said. “Some guys are not here. We are eager, expecting them to come, hopefully to be healthy and we can all start practicing together.”

Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr., who tested positive for coronavirus toward the end of June, has fully recovered and is with the team in Orlando, Jackson notes. Miami will look to build on its high-energy practice as it shifts its focus toward a July 22 scrimmage against Sacramento.

“We had a good workout, looked like a Miami Heat practice, had a bunch of extra energy to get out,” Spoelstra said. “Guys enjoyed being around each other. You could feel the genuine enthusiasm.”

There’s more out of Miami today:

  • Meyers Leonard appears to have fully recovered from an ankle injury sustained in early February, Jackson notes in the same story. Spoelstra mentioned that Leonard is a full go, is ready for contact, and is moving great. He’s averaged 6.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 20.1 minutes per game this year, shooting 43% from 3-point range.
  • Heat president Pat Riley and general manager Andy Elisburg will remain in south Florida during the NBA’s resumed season, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Vice president of basketball operations Adam Simon traveled with the team to Disney, as league rules mandate that each team has at least one senior basketball executive on site.
  • Winderman examines in a separate story whether the team has enough assets to put together an attractive trade package instead of waiting for free agency in 2021. Miami has long been linked to stars such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Victor Oladipo, both of whom are set to become free agents at the end of next season.

Adam Simon To Remain With Heat Despite Bulls’ Interest

A Heat spokesperson said on Monday that assistant general manager Adam Simon – who also serves as the team’s VP, basketball operations – will be remaining with the franchise, according to reports from Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald and Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link).

Simon was one of a handful of executives rumored to be drawing interest from the Bulls, who are looking to hire a new head of basketball operations. Chicago has reportedly been keeping a close eye on Miami’s office structure and had Simon high on its wish list, but the team won’t get a chance to interview with the veteran Heat executive.

In some cases, when a team wants to keep an executive who is drawing interest from a rival club, that exec receives a promotion and/or a raise. It’s not clear yet if that will be the case for Simon, who grew up in South Florida and is highly regarded by the Heat for his scouting and draft work, according to Jackson.

The Bulls’ initial list of front office targets was said to include Simon, Pacers GM Chad Buchanan, Raptors GM Bobby Webster, and Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas. Like Simon, Buchanan will be remaining with his current team, and there’s a belief that Webster will do the same. However, Chicago has reportedly received permission to interview Karnisovas and Jazz GM Justin Zanik.

Latest On Bulls’ Front Office Search

The Bulls have received permission to interview Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas, sources tell K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

Karnisovas was one of four men said to be on Chicago’s initial wish list for a top front office executive who will have full authority on basketball decisions. It’s not clear if the Bulls will get a chance to talk to any of those four potential candidates besides Karnisovas.

Pacers GM Chad Buchanan reportedly rebuffed the Bulls’ interest, opting to remain in Indiana. And there’s plenty of speculation around the NBA that the Heat will make an effort to retain assistant GM Adam Simon, according to Johnson (Twitter link).

As for the fourth candidate, Toronto’s Bobby Webster, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca writes that the Raptors may not grant the Bulls permission to speak to their general manager, who is under contract through 2021. With president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri and head coach Nick Nurse also set to have their contracts expire after next season, and many of their players coming off the books in the coming months, the Raptors face some long-term uncertainty and might not want to risk losing a rising young executive. There’s a sense they’ll tell Chicago that “this is not a good time,” according to Grange.

Even if they’re only able to speak to one of their initial four targets, the Bulls have a longer list of candidates, per Johnson (Twitter link), who names Clippers GM Michael Winger, Clippers assistant GM Trent Redden, Magic assistant GM Matt Lloyd, and Jazz GM Justin Zanik as possibilities.

Chicago has received permission to talk to Zanik, Johnson reports, so the Utah GM will join Karnisovas in taking part in the first round of Bulls interviews.

The Bulls will conduct those meetings electronically due to the coronavirus pandemic and reportedly want to make a hire prior to the draft and free agency.

Chad Buchanan To Stay With Pacers, Turns Down Interview With Bulls

Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan is declining an opportunity to interview for the Bulls‘ top front office position, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Buchanan decided to remain in his current job, saying he and his family have been treated well by the organization.

Toronto’s Bobby Webster, Miami’s Adam Simon and Denver’s Arturas Karnisovas are the most prominent remaining candidates for the position, Charania adds, but Chicago will continue to research other possibilities (Twitter link).

Buchanan, who is in his third year as Indiana’s GM, also worked with president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard in Portland before they both came to Indiana. His comfort level with that partnership played a strong role in the decision to stay, a source tells K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

The Bulls are seeking permission to interview Webster, Simon and Karnisovas, according to Johnson, who adds that team president Michael Reinsdorf hopes to fill the position before the NBA hiatus is over. Whoever is ultimately hired to run the organization may make more hires and will launch an overhaul of the scouting department.

Executive vice president John Paxson is expected to be retained in an advisory role, but the fate of former GM Gar Forman, who is now working mainly in scouting, may be determined by the new regime. Reinsdorf is still a strong supporter of coach Jim Boylen, Johnson notes, but the fate of all the coaches will be decided by the new team president.

Assistant GM Steve Weinman is believed to be safe, Johnson writes. He has built a strong reputation for his expertise with salary cap issues and the collective bargaining agreement.

Bulls To Seek Interviews With Karnisovas, Webster, Others

1:24pm: Pacers GM Chad Buchanan will  join Karnisovas and Webster on the Bulls’ list of first-wave interview targets, per K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). Sources tell Darnell Mayberry and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) that Heat assistant GM Adam Simon will be part of that group as well.

According to Mayberry (Twitter link), the Bulls won’t pursue Ujiri or Thunder head of basketball operations Sam Presti and won’t go the player-agent route like New York and other teams have.

12:41pm: The Bulls have formally launched their search for a new top front office executive who will have full authority on basketball decisions, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. We had previously heard in a series of February reports that the team was laying the groundwork for front office changes.

Those February reports suggested that executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson would retain a “valuable seat at the table” amidst the front office upheaval and that general manager Gar Forman would have his responsibilities cut back.

Wojnarowski confirms that Paxson is expected to continue in an advisory role and says that the club will have more conversations with Forman about his future. Previous reports indicated Forman would likely be re-assigned to a scouting position.

According to Wojnarowski, Chicago plans to seek permission to interview Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas and Raptors GM Bobby Webster, among others. The club’s goal is to complete its planned front office changes “well before” the NBA resumes play, per Woj, who hears that interviews will begin next week and will be conducted virtually rather than in person due to the coronavirus.

Neither Karnisovas nor Webster is the head of basketball operations for his respective team — Tim Connelly serves as Denver’s president of basketball operations, while Masai Ujiri holds that position in Toronto. However, the two GMs have risen through their respective organizations in recent years and have played important roles in building the Nuggets’ and Raptors’ talented rosters.

According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, who identified Karnisovas and Webster as two possible targets for the Bulls in a March mailbag, Pacers GM Chad Buchanan, Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, Jazz GM Justin Zanik, and Clippers GM Michael Winger are among the other executives on Bulls president/COO Michael Reinsdorf‘s list of potential candidates (Twitter link).

Many of those executives are under contract beyond the 2019/20 season, but likely wouldn’t be held back by their respective teams if the Bulls’ job is viewed as a promotion from their current roles. Based on Woj’s description, it should be.

The timing of Chicago’s search is interesting. Ujiri spoke earlier this week about putting business like contract extensions for himself and Nick Nurse on hold during the NBA’s stoppage, and we heard on Thursday that the Knicks aren’t pursuing front office changes or a new head coach during the hiatus. Nets GM Sean Marks also said this week that his team isn’t moving forward with its head coach search at this time.

However, no official hiring or firing freeze has been instituted by the NBA, and the Bulls’ situation is a little different from that of those other teams — a new top front office executive would lead the team’s decisions in the draft and free agency, making that search a more pressing matter than a head coaching hire, lower-level front office changes, or extensions for current execs and coaches.

Southeast Notes: Adebayo, Heat, Miles, Kulboka

Heat center Bam Adebayo has accepted an invitation to Team USA’s training camp in preparation for the FIBA World Cup tournament in China, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. USA Basketball is scrambling for replacements after nine members of the original 20-man roster decided not to participate this summer, a list that includes Paul MillsapKevin LoveBradley BealAnthony DavisEric GordonJames HardenTobias HarrisDamian Lillard, and CJ McCollum. A 12-man team will represent Team USA in China.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat have named Eric Glass head coach of the G League Sioux Falls Skyforce, according to a team press release. Glass has been in the organization nine seasons and served as a video coordinator and player development coach the last two seasons. Additionally, Adam Simon has been named VP of basketball operations and assistant GM, while Eric Amsler has been promoted to director of scouting and director of player personnel.
  • C.J. Miles is eager to show he can still be an effective player for the Wizards once he returns from foot surgery, he told Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Miles split time with the Raptors and Grizzlies last season and was traded to Washington this summer in exchange for Dwight Howard. “Last year I just felt like I never really got in a groove after the work I put in to really help my team,” he said. “It just didn’t fit. It’s not personal, it was new coach and a trade happened.” Miles underwent surgery on Thursday to repair a stress fracture in his left foot and will be re-evaluated in six weeks.
  • Hornets draft-and-stash prospect Arnoldas Kulboka will remain overseas and play in Spain during the upcoming season, Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas tweets. The 6’9” Kulboka, 21, was a late second-round pick last year.