Andy Greer

Knicks’ Coaching Job Considered Thibodeau’s To Lose?

After a report last week suggested that Tom Thibodeau topped the Knicks‘ wish list in their head coaching search, multiple updates since then have reiterated that Thibodeau looks like the frontrunner for the job.

Sources tell Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that Thibodeau is the “heavy favorite” to become the Knicks’ next head coach. Bondy cautions that other candidates – including Mike Miller, Kenny Atkinson, and perhaps even John Calipari – are in play, but says there’s a belief that the position is Thibodeau’s to lose. A source tells The Daily News that Thibodeau is confident enough about his chances that he has already made calls about assembling a staff.

Citing Thibodeau’s longstanding relationship with new Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose, Marc Berman of The New York Post also says there’s an “excellent chance” that the team will zero in on Thibodeau when its head coaching search officially gets underway.

Additionally, Berman hears from sources that members of Thibodeau’s past Bulls and Timberwolves staffs will likely be interested in joining him in New York if he’s hired by the Knicks. Berman specifically cites Andy Greer, Larry Greer, and Dice Yoshimoto as coaches Thibodeau might look to bring with him if given the opportunity.

The Knicks’ search hasn’t begun in earnest yet, but as Berman points out, there’s a good chance that the club won’t part of a resumed NBA season — reports last week indicated that the league favors a 20-team or 22-team restart. If the NBA officially moves forward with a plan that excludes the Knicks, there would be little reason for the franchise to delay its head coaching search until after the resumption of the season.

Timberwolves Notes: Sichting, Covington, Wiggins

The Timberwolves are finalizing a deal with veteran assistant coach Jerry Sichting, who is poised to join Ryan Saunders‘ coaching staff, according to Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). This will be Sichting’s third stint with the Wolves — his first came from 1995-2005, when he was part of Flip Saunders‘ coaching staff in Minnesota for a decade.

As Krawczynski notes (via Twitter), there’s a lot of familiarity between Sichting and Ryan Saunders, making it a logical hire for the Timberwolves. Sichting will fill the hole on the staff created by Andy Greer’s departure, Krawczynski adds. Greer was dismissed earlier this month along with Tom Thibodeau, given his close association with Thibs.

Here are a few more notes from out of Minnesota:

  • Timberwolves forward Robert Covington, who is on the shelf with a bone bruise, said today that there’s no timetable for his return to the court, tweets Krawczynski. “I haven’t pressed the issue just yet,” said Covington, who hasn’t done any substantial on-court activities.
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explores whether the Timberwolves might be able to find a realistic – and favorable – trade involving Andrew Wiggins, whose maximum-salary contract runs through 2022/23.
  • With Jimmy Butler poised to face the Timberwolves for the first time since the club traded him to Philadelphia, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer previews the showdown and relays some comments Butler made to Kevin Garnett during a recent appearance on TNT’s KG Area 21. Butler’s response when asked if his issues in Minnesota were more with management or his fellow players: “Maybe a little bit of both.”

Western Notes: Payne, Suns, Barnes, Wolves Coaches

Second-year Thunder guard Cameron Payne has shown encouraging signs in his recovery from the Jones fracture surgery he had in July, writes Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. Payne has gone through full contact during Oklahoma City’s first two days of practice and is expected to participate in a scrimmage on Tuesday. Coach Billy Donovan said Payne has been working to recapture his timing, but the medical staff hasn’t recommended any limitations on his playing time. “He probably feels like the more he can play, the more comfortable he’ll get back into a routine,” Donovan said. “He’s obviously been in practice. He’s been active. Cam’s got a really, really instinctive game. He’s got a good feel for the game. I think getting his timing back playing, because he hasn’t done a lot of 5-on-5 will take him a little bit of time. But he looks good; he’s moving well.”

There’s more news from the Western Conference:

  • The four players the Suns added to their training camp roster today will probably end up in the D-League, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Phoenix reached agreements with undrafted rookies Gracin Bakumanya, Shaquille Harrison and Derrick Jones, along with returning D-League player Derek Cooke. Teams can assign up to four waived players to the D-League as long as they aren’t claimed by other organizations.
  • As he gets ready for his first training camp with the Kings, one of Matt Barnes‘ objectives will be to improve team chemistry, relays Andy Furillo of The Sacramento Bee. The 36-year-old Barnes agreed to a two-year, $12MM contract this summer to come to Sacramento. He joins an organization that was beset by internal problems last season, especially between star big man DeMarcus Cousins and former coach George Karl. “I’ve never been a star player, so to speak,” Barnes said, “but I’ve been one of the leaders, one of the voices of reason, and I have, I think, an uncanny ability to be able to get through to everybody, and not so much by talking. I lead by example, so that when I do talk, people listen, and I’m respected.”
  • The Timberwolves finalized their coaching staff today, the team announced on its website. Minnesota named Andy Greer and Rick Brunson as assistant coaches, Peter Patton as shooting coach and Daisuke Yoshimoto as special assistant to the president of basketball operations. In addition, Vince Legarza was promoted to player development coach.

Western Notes: Bogdanovic, Lacob, Greer

Suns 2014 first-round pick Bogdan Bogdanovic won’t be joining the NBA next season, electing instead to remain overseas with the Turkish club Fenerbahce, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic relays. Remaining overseas for one more season makes fiscal sense for the swingman. Bogdanovic would have been required to sign a rookie contract that would give him a salary of about $5.7MM over four years. By waiting until 2017 to make the jump to the NBA, Bogdanovic is now free to negotiate any amount, starting with his draft year’s rookie salary scale.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Warriors owner Joe Lacob acknowledged the franchise’s role in popularizing a small-ball approach around the NBA, but says now that numerous teams are attempting to copy their style of play it is time to evolve once again, Jennifer Elias of The Silicon Valley Business Journal writes. “We drove this idea of small ball, and it’s a different style of play,” Lacob said. “Having said that, I think it’s important to know that whenever everyone else starts doing things, it’s time to start doing what’s next. We’re on to the next idea — How can we iterate to evolve to get an advantage? I can assure you we’re very forward thinking in that regard.
  • Raptors assistant coach assistant Andy Greer is leaving Toronto to join Tom Thibodeau‘s staff with the Timberwolves as lead assistant, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports (via Twitter).
  • George Hill is thrilled with Wednesday’s trade that saw him shipped to the Jazz, his agent, Bill Neff, told Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. “This is a good fit for George,” Neff said. “One, George likes it in Utah. Two, George has a close relationship with Gordon Hayward [both are Indianapolis natives]. Three, [GM] Dennis Lindsey was largely responsible for bringing George to San Antonio. George has worked with [Jazz coach] Quin Snyder. This is one of the teams George has always wanted to play for.
  • The Suns made an attempt to pry Hayward from the Jazz, offering Eric Bledsoe and a lottery pick in exchange, Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets. There is a growing sense around the league that Phoenix will move either Bledsoe or Brandon Knight prior to the start of next season, Stein adds (Twitter link).

Atlantic Rumors: Simmons, Sixers, Knicks, Raptors

The fact that Ben Simmons isn’t working out for the Sixers shouldn’t be viewed as a decision that reflects poorly on the franchise or one that will have a huge impact on Philadelphia’s choice at No. 1, writes Derek Bodner of PhillyMag.com. As Bodner points out, it appears that Simmons won’t be working out for any teams, so his decision is likely more about playing it safe and not hurting his stock, rather than trying to manipulate his landing spot.

Bodner also examines Bryan Colangelo‘s recent assertion that the Sixers’ decision regarding the first overall pick “changes every day,” suggesting that the GM’s statement sounded somewhat flippant, and probably shouldn’t be taken literally. For what it’s worth, multiple league sources continue to tell Bodner that Simmons is the “prohibitive favorite” to be Philadelphia’s pick to kick off the draft next Thursday.

Let’s round up a few more items from out of the Atlantic….

  • The Knicks don’t have a pick in this year’s draft, but they plan to acquire one, and continue to bring in prospects for pre-draft workouts. According to a pair of reports from Ian Begley of ESPN.com, New York worked out Shawn Long (Louisiana-Lafayette), Cat Barber (N.C. State), and Chris Fowler (Central Michigan) on Wednesday.
  • New Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek is eyeing Raptors assistant Andy Greer as a potential addition to his staff in New York, says ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter links). According to Stein, Toronto is making a strong effort to hang onto Greer, who has also drawn interest from the Timberwolves.
  • Doug Smith of The Toronto Star doesn’t expect the Raptors to make a trade to clear the cap room necessary to re-sign Bismack Biyombo, and he doesn’t expect the free-agent-to-be to take 50 cents on the dollar to remain in Toronto. In Smith’s view, the Raptors and their fans to accept that they’ll bidding adieu to Biyombo soon.
  • A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com presents five reasons why the Celtics may not be inclined to make a trade push for Kevin Love this summer.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, 76ers, Raptors

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has put together an interesting roster and it’s now up to head coach Brad Stevens to figure out who fits where, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe writes.  At this point, Washburn writes that a starting five could be comprised of Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, and David Lee, though that leaves Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, and Isaiah Thomas on the outside, not to mention the likes of Evan Turner, Jonas Jerebko, and Tyler Zeller.  While Stevens attempts to figure out that puzzle, here’s a look at more items out of the Atlantic Division..

  • All signs continue to point to No. 58 overall pick J.P. Tokoto remaining unsigned this season, according to Jake Fischer of SI Now (Twitter link). Tokoto let the Sixers know he was open to playing in the D-League or overseas before Philadelphia drafted him, as Fischer previously reported. Fischer added at that point that Tokoto would have a chance to impress the team during summer league and claim a roster spot anyway, but with summer league in the books, the chances of that happening are apparently slim.
  • Former Nets exec Bobby Marks (Twitter links) wouldn’t be surprised if Richaun Holmes‘ contract with the Sixers is similar to what Jerami Grant received last year.  Grant inked a four-year deal with Philly in which the first two years were guaranteed and the last two were non-guaranteed.  Marks gives the Sixers credit for controlling the process for second-round picks and he says that the player is somewhat at the mercy of the team in these situations.
  • The Raptors announced that they have hired Jerry Stackhouse, Rex Kalamian, and Andy Greer as assistant coaches.  The hiring of the trio completes head coach Dwane Casey‘s staff.  Stackhouse, who played 18 years in the league, is coaching for the first time in the NBA.
  • Earlier today we rounded up more news out of the Atlantic.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

And-Ones: Cavs, Raptors, Pistons

Cavs GM David Griffin told reporters, including Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group, that he is interested in re-signing unrestricted free agent J.R. Smith and restricted free agent Matthew Dellavedova. “In Delly’s case, the restricted free agency is a totally different process,” Griffin said. “With J.R., I wouldn’t want to characterize the discussion or anything, but he’s a player I’d like to have back. We just have to find a way to make it work.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The Raptors have hired Andy Greer as an assistant coach, reports Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski (on Twitter). Greer, who previously was an assistant with the Bulls under former Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau, will run the Raptors’ defense.
  • The Raptors let a leftover sliver of the Steve Novak trade exception expire Friday. It was initially a $3,445,947 exception created when Toronto sent Novak to Utah on July 10th, 2014. The lion’s share of it went toward the acquisition of Luke Ridnour last month, a move that failed to be of much efficacy for the Raptors, who simply waived Ridnour this past Thursday.
  • The Pistons plan to proceed with finalizing Reggie Jackson‘s five-year, $80 million contract later this week or early next week, Detroit coach/executive Stan Van Gundy told reporters including David Mayo of MLive.com. At around the same time, Gundy plans to address the topic of Andre Drummond‘s contract extension, Mayo adds. The Pistons expect to lock Drummond into a long-term extension, Mayo writes, though they would have about another $15MM in cap flexibility in 2016/17 if the 21-year-old center agrees to wait until 2016 to sign rather than inking an extension this summer.
  • Free agent guard A.J. Price, who was formerly with the Suns, is mulling a move overseas and might land with Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade, a source told David Pick of Eurobasket.com (on Twitter).
  • Anthony Randolph has decided to return to Russia and the former NBA forward re-signed with Kuban, Pick also tweets.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Fallout From Tom Thibodeau Firing

Bulls GM Gar Forman and executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson didn’t say as much in their press conference today, but the now-vacant Bulls coaching job is Fred Hoiberg‘s to lose, tweets K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. There has been some doubt about whether Hoiberg, coming off heart surgery last month, would head to the Bulls this year, but sources close to the Iowa State coach tell Randy Peterson of The Des Moines Register that they believe Hoiberg would accept if, or when, offered. Indeed, several close to Hoiberg are confident that he’s ready for the challenge of the NBA, Johnson hears (Twitter link). There’s much more on Hoiberg, the fired Tom Thibodeau, and the Bulls, as we relay:

  • There’s no way Hoiberg would turn down the Bulls job, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press, and the coach was ready to jump to the NBA if the Warriors had offered him their job last season, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (on Twitter). However, the Warriors got the sense then that Hoiberg wasn’t quite ready, notes Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter). Still, Hoiberg last month told recruiting target Cheick Diallo that he couldn’t guarantee that he’d remain the school’s coach for 2015/16, sources told Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune (hat tip to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv).
  • The Bulls have also fired assistant coach Andy Greer, Forman confirmed at the press conference today, as Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com notes (on Twitter).
  • Forman also said that Bulls management got the sense they needed to make a change after meeting with players and other team personnel, Friedell tweets. That would jibe with Johnson’s report that some players conveyed in their exit meetings this month that they didn’t endorse Thibodeau’s return.
  • The GM denied that the Bulls viewed Thibodeau as an asset they could use to extract compensation from other teams and confirmed that no team had called to ask permission to interview the coach this year, Friedell passes along (on Twitter).
  • Paxson suggested that the Bulls would have kept Thibs if they’d won the title this year, advancing the idea that the team’s inability to get past the Cavs in the playoffs further lowered Thibodeau in the eyes of management. “We wouldn’t be sitting here if we won a championship,” Paxson said, according to Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com (Twitter link). “I feel like we had a real chance.” 

And-Ones: Aldridge, Assistants, Cavs

Clippers players told reporters, including Dan Woike of The Orange County Register, that they’re unsure what they would do if Donald Sterling isn’t removed from ownership by next season. Still, they expressed hope that the issue will be resolved sooner rather than later. “It appears that this will be a long process. Things will be in flux for a while,” J.J. Redick said. “I can’t imagine a scenario where we start the season next year and he’s the owner and all is kosher.” Here’s more from around the league:

  • The players union won’t demand a timetable on Sterling’s ouster as long as the league is acting “in good faith” on its promise to remove the Clippers owner, acting union executive director Ron Klempner told reporters, including Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal (Twitter link).
  • Extending LaMarcus Aldridge is the Blazers’ first priority moving forward, as Portland GM Neil Olshey tells Erik Gundersen of The Columbian (Twitter link).
  • Bobcats assistant coach Bob Beyer is a strong candidate to become Stan Van Gundy‘s top assistant on the Pistons bench, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter).
  • Andy Greer and Nick Nurse are possibilities to become Steve Kerr‘s assistant coaches with the Warriors, per another Wojnarowski tweet. Greer and Nurse are currently on staff as assistants with the Bulls and Raptors, respectively.
  • Mark Jackson won’t be a serious candidate for the Cavs head coaching job, Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com hears.
  • James Posey could be an assistant coaching candidate for the Cavs, Pluto writes. Posey has been an assistant with Cleveland’s D-League affiliate, and GM David Griffin holds him in high regard.
  • Pluto adds that Griffin would love to find a shooter in the draft, and mentions Doug McDermott, Nik Stauskas, and Rodney Hood as intriguing prospects where the Cavs will be drafting.
  • In a series of tweets, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News casts doubt on an earlier report that Phil Jackson had “low balled” Kerr. Isola insinuates that if the Knicks played “hardball” with Jackson’s only coaching target, it would have been a result of ownership’s influence, not Jackson’s.
  • In another tweet, Isola relays an accusation from a person involved in the Kerr talks that Knicks owner James Dolan “sabotaged” the negotiations.
  • Chris Mannix of SI.com weighed in with a tweet of his own, agreeing with Isola that a tough negotiation strategy would have come from Knicks ownership, not Jackson.

Coaching Rumors: Jazz, Knicks

The Jazz do not currently have a timeline set for finding their new head coach, writes Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. Genessy adds that GM Dennis Lindsey is entering uncharted territory, as the only time he had been involved in a head coaching search was in 2003 with the Rockets, when he assisted then-GM Carroll Dawson as vice president of basketball operations. Despite his inexperience, Lindsey insisted that the search will be conducted with the “right professional decorum” and later added:

“…we’ll meet quickly, internally…We’ll set some criteria. We’ll look at some objective measures. We’ll look at some subjective measures about coaches and who’s going to be the new leader of the Utah Jazz and define some timelines about who we’re going to interview.”

According to Genessy, the new coaching hire will be decided on as a group that includes Lindsey, Jazz owner Gail Miller, CEO Greg Miller, Miller Sports Properties president Steve Miller, team president Randy Rigby, executive VP of basketball operations Kevin O’Connor, and CFO Bob Hyde.

You can read more coaching-related links below:

  • Genessy mentions that in addition to Jazz assistant Brad Jones, Lindsey has close ties with Jeff Van Gundy (who the Rockets ultimately hired to succeed Rudy Tomjanovich in 2003), Suns assistant Mike Longabardi, and Bulls assistant Andy Greer. Along with Jones, Genessy lists Jim Boylen and Ettore Messina as possible candidates, just as we had noted from Mike Monroe of the San Antonio-Express News and ESPN’s Marc Stein earlier today.
  • Former Bulls player Bill Wennington tells Newsday’s Al Iannazzone that Steve Kerr and Phil Jackson would fit together well in New York: “Their history together and just the way they work together and have worked together in the past with the offense and everything is a good combination…To me it’s a no-brainer.” Though Wennington admits that he has an interest in coaching, he tells Iannazzone that he hasn’t spoken to Jackson about possibly joining the Knicks.
  • Iannazzone lists Frank Hamblen, Jim Cleamons, Bill Cartwright, Scottie Pippen, Kurt Rambis, and Derek Fisher as a few names who could join the Knicks in some capacity at some point. As Marc Berman of the New York Post mentioned earlier, Ron Harper could surface on the team’s radar as well.