Beno Udrih

Pelicans Hire Beyer, Hill, Walters For Van Gundy’s Staff

The Pelicans announced on Monday they have hired Bob Beyer, Casey Hill, and Rex Walters to join Stan Van Gundy’s staff, according to a team press release.

The addition of Beyer was previously reported and comes as no surprise. Beyer has a long history with Van Gundy, serving as an assistant in Orlando and Detroit for a combined nine seasons. He was on the Kings’ staff last season.

Hill was an assistant with the Clippers the past two seasons. Walters had a stint on Van Gundy’s staff in Detroit and served as an assistant at Wake Forest last season.

In another significant development, Van Gundy has promoted former WNBA great Teresa Weatherspoon to the staff. She was a two-way player development coach last season in New Orleans.

Longtime NBA players Corey Brewer and Beno Udrih have been hired as player development coaches. Fred Vinson has been retained as an assistant, while Darnell Lazare will remain as a player development coach.

Knicks Notes: Branding, Oakley, Dotson, Udrih

The Knicks need more than a brand agency to help improve their image with fans, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. On Thursday, Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg broke the news that the team will be partnering with Steve Stoute’s Translation agency, which helped create a positive image for the Nets. Stoute will serve as a special adviser to the Knicks and will use data and analytics to develop public relations campaigns.

“We have a ways to go,” Stoute told Soshnick. “People can say what they want, but the world knows when you get it right — when the New York team is winning — basketball is better. When the New York Knicks are right, the NBA is a better place. That is the opportunity.”

Popper contends there’s little the franchise can do to improve its image as long as it’s putting a losing product on the court. He adds that the basketball side of the Knicks brand is “poison” because of a “culture of fear and backstabbing” that has executives and coaches afraid to speak out about the problems that are holding back the organization.

There’s more out of New York:

  • The new marketing effort could result in the return of Knicks legend Charles Oakley to Madison Square Garden, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. A source tells Berman that Oakley and Stoute are friends, and the power forward tweeted a congratulatory message this morning. Oakley has been a vocal critic of team owner James Dolan, particularly since being evicted from the Garden in 2017. Oakley claims the incident has caused some players to decide they don’t want to play for the Knicks.
  • Damyean Dotson‘s improved play has helped make up for the loss of RJ Barrett, who is sidelined with a sprained ankle, observes Greg Joyce of The New York Post. Dotson made seven of 10 shots and scored 21 points Friday night. “We find the minutes for the guys that need to be playing,” interim coach Mike Miller said. “As they’re out they’re playing, Dot’s playing well, so he played the whole fourth quarter.”
  • Beno Udrih has joined the coaching staff for the Knicks’ G League affiliate in Westchester, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Udrih spent 13 years in the NBA, including a brief stop in New York.

Beno Udrih Signs With Lithuanian Team

Veteran point guard Beno Udrih, who was waived by the Pistons in October, has signed to play in Lithuania, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Udrih will join Zalgiris Kaunas, one of the oldest and most decorated teams in the EuroLeague.

Udrih, 35, played for eight teams during a 13-year NBA career after being drafted by the Spurs with the 28th pick in 2004. His best seasons came in Sacramento, where he was a double-digit scorer for four straight years from 2007/08 to 2010/11.

He was involved in a controversy in February of 2016 when he agreed to a buyout with the Heat that gave Miami enough cap room to sign Joe Johnson after his buyout from the Nets. Udrih was sidelined because of foot surgery at the time and had no chance to catch on with another team. Miami re-signed him in August of that year, but he failed to earn a roster spot.

The Pistons claimed him off waivers and he spent a full season in Detroit, averaging 5.8 points and 3.4 assists in 39 games. The team opted to part with him in mid-October, even though it was already down to the roster limit of 15.

“It was still hard for me because I love the guy, and so does everybody out here,” coach/executive Stan Van Gundy told Ansar Khan of MLive at the time. “Good guy, knows how to play, really has a good way about him of helping the young guys and talking to them and teaching them. I’ve seen a lot of veterans who try to help young guys, but they come across as condescending a little bit, like, ‘I know more than you.’ Beno never came across like that. He was able to talk to guys.”

Central Notes: Pistons, Udrih, LaVine, Cavs

After waiving veteran point guard Beno Udrih on Saturday, the Pistons are down to 14 players on their NBA roster to open the season, and head coach Stan Van Gundy doesn’t anticipate filling that final opening right away, per Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.

“Is there going to be anyone out there right now?” said Van Gundy, who also serves as the Pistons’ president of basketball operations. “I don’t know that. I’m not saying there won’t be, but that’s not really the plan, but as you get going on and you assess needs or get an injury, that 15th spot can give you some flexibility.”

As for Udrih, the 35-year-old has aspirations of getting into coaching once his playing career is over, but he’s not ready to retire as a player quite yet, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News.

“I’m not there yet; I know I can still play, especially in a system that people know what I can do,” Udrih told Beard. “I’m a pick-and-roll player and I’ll make the right play and try to find open shots for my teammates or take the mid-range shot. … I still can play and I still want to play. If it doesn’t happen here, maybe somewhere else, and we’ll go from there.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Although the Bulls and Zach LaVine‘s representatives remained in communication, the two sides never really got close to working out a contract extension for LaVine before Monday’s deadline, says Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. However, Goodwill reiterates what we’ve heard from other reporters, suggesting that the club has no intention of letting LaVine get away in restricted free agency next summer.
  • With so many new players to incorporate, the Cavaliers are anticipating “somewhat of a bumpy ride” early in the season, writes Terry Pluto of The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  • One of those new arrivals is veteran guard Dwyane Wade, and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com takes an in-depth look at how the Cavaliers are accommodating the future Hall-of-Famer during his first season with the club.

Pistons Waive Beno Udrih

The Pistons have waived veteran point guard Beno Udrih, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Detroit had already trimmed its roster to 15 players plus a pair of two-way deals, so the decision to waive Udrih could pave the way for another move.

The 35-year-old spent one season with the Pistons after being claimed off waivers last October. Udrih appeared in 39 games in Detroit, averaging 5.8 points and 3.4 assists in 14.4 minutes per night. He will go back on waivers, putting him in a situation similar to last year, when the Heat released him just before the start of the season.

Udrih was a first-round pick by San Antonio in 2004. He has also played for the Kings, Bucks, Magic, Knicks and Grizzlies.

Pistons Re-Sign Beno Udrih, Finalize Camp Roster

The Pistons have formally announced their training camp roster, confirming that 19 players will start the preseason with the club. In addition to the 16 players who were already officially under contract with the club, Detroit has announced the signings of point guard Beno Udrih, forward Derek Willis, and center Landry Nnoko.

The Pistons’ agreements with Willis and Nnoko were reported all the way back in July, so those moves have long been anticipated. However, the team’s deal with Udrih is new.

Udrih, 35, was a Piston last season, spending the year with the franchise after being claimed off waivers in the fall. The Slovenian guard provided some depth at the point, appearing in 39 games for Detroit and averaging 5.8 PPG to go along with 3.4 APG. As Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press tweets, Udrih has spent the offseason working out in Detroit, hoping to catch on with an NBA team.

Details of Udrih’s contract haven’t been reported, but I’d expect a non-guaranteed pact. If that’s the case, the Pistons would head into camp with 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, and Udrih, Willis, Nnoko, and Eric Moreland also vying for roster spots.

FA Rumors: Muhammad, Farmar, Mbah a Moute, Allen

The Hawks, Nets, Bucks, Knicks and Magic have all expressed interest in swingman Shabazz Muhammad, according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The Bulls are on that list as well, tweets Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype. Muhammad became an unrestricted free agent last week when Minnesota pulled his qualifying offer to create enough cap room to sign Taj Gibson. He has been with the Wolves for all four of his NBA seasons and averaged 9.9 points in 78 games last year.

There’s more tonight on the free agent front:

  • Jordan Farmar is hoping to return to the NBA and spoke to Lakers coach Luke Walton today about a possible opportunity, Kennedy relays (Twitter link). The 30-year-old point guard played two games for the Kings in November of last season.
  • The Raptors have talked about making a play for former Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute, reports Michael Grange of Rogers Sportsnet (Twitter link).
  • The Clippers and Timberwolves are both considering Tony Allen, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Coaches Doc Rivers in L.A. and Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota have connections with Allen from their time with the Celtics.
  • Veteran point guard Beno Udrih is talking to several teams in Las Vegas, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Now 35, Udrih believes he can play for several more years. He got into 39 games with the Pistons last season.
  • Former Baylor standout Royce O’Neale is considering several NBA offers, according to Kyler (Twitter link). The 24-year-old forward went undrafted in 2015 and has been playing in Lithuania, but he has an NBA opt-out in his contract through July 20th.

Central Notes: Pistons, Pacers, Stephenson

After a disappointing 2016/17 campaign, the Pistons will look to shore up their three-point shooting. So says head coach Stan Van Gundy, at least. Aaron McMann of MLive wrote about Detroit’s goal heading into the offseason.

We’ve got to shoot the ball better, there’s no question about that,” Van  Gundy told the media following his exit interviews with Pistons players.

Not long after, he’d go on to complain about the team’s regression throughout the season, as has become somewhat of a custom for the Pistons bench boss.

We just talked about that with our team. I think a lot of that can be internal development. [The Pistons] had virtually an entire roster that took a step back in that area this year.

There’s more from the Central Division:

Central Notes: George, Udrih, The Palace

If Paul George doesn’t get named to an All-NBA team, he “probably” won’t remain with the Pacers, Steven Ruiz of USA Today writes. Ruiz makes the bold claim while describing how the new collective bargaining agreement ties max contract compensation to personal accolades determined by the media.

Should George be named to an All-NBA team, he’ll be eligible to earn about $70MM more with the Pacers than he would with any other franchise. Such is the case with the new designated player exception. With or without the designated player exception, George will be eligible to sign for a longer term with Indiana than with any other squad.

George got off to a slow start with the Pacers this season but has spent much of the past two months demonstrating why he had previously been heralded as a franchise cornerstone. On the season he’s posted 23.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game but in March he ramped those averages up to 25.3 points and 6.9 rebounds.

There’s no shortage of competent competition with which the Pacers star will be in contention for the award but it’s certainly plausible he gets named to an All-NBA team for the fourth time in five season. Expect him to be held in contrast with players like Draymond Green, Gordon Hayward and Jimmy Butler with the two forward positions on the Third Team up for grabs.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The recovery time for Pistons guard Beno Udrih‘s knee injury is six to eight weeks, Rod Beard of the Detroit News tweets. Udrih will be a free agent this summer.
  • As of today, C.J. Miles 2017/18 deal with the Pacers becomes guaranteed at $4.7MM, tweets The Vertical’s Bobby Marks. The veteran guard also holds a player option, however.
  • The silver lining of a disappointing Pistons season is that April has given the team a chance to get a good look at Boban Marjanovic and Henry Ellenson. According to Rod Beard of the Detroit News, head coach Stan Van Gundy has given them favorable reviews.
  • Michigan has said goodbye to two major facilities in two days and David Mayo of MLive considers what the finales of both the Palace of Auburn Hills and Joe Louis Arena mean to the region. The Pistons will join the NHL’s Red Wings in the Little Caesars Arena next season. With the Palace out of the picture, Madison Square Garden serves as the only NBA venue without a corporately sponsored name.

Pistons Unable To Waive Beno Udrih, Sign Lorenzo Brown

11:45am: The Pistons won’t be waiving Udrih and signing Brown after all, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical. According to Charania, league rules dictate that Sunday was the deadline for Detroit to cut Udrih and have him pass through waivers, so the Pistons were unable to complete the pair of transactions, despite the fact that Brown had been set to join the team.

As Bobby Marks of The Vertical explains (via Twitter), multiple teams finish their regular season on Tuesday, so not every team would have the opportunity to claim Udrih if he were to clear waivers on Wednesday.

10:05am: A source tells Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link) that the Pistons signing Brown and cutting Udrih is “possible, but complicated,” so we’ll wait to see whether the team is able to make it official today.

9:46am: The Pistons will make a change at point guard with just two games left in the season, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that the team will cut Beno Udrih and sign Lorenzo Brown.

Udrih suffered a right knee injury on Sunday, and hadn’t been expected to be available for the Pistons’ last couple games this week, so the move is designed to get a healthy body in to back up Ish Smith at the point guard position. Udrih had been on a one-year, guaranteed deal, so being waived now won’t affect his salary or his summer outlook. For the season, Udrih recorded 5.8 PPG and 3.4 APG in 39 games (14.4 MPG) for Detroit.

As for Brown, he returns to the Pistons after a 2016/17 season that saw him make a number of stops. After failing to earn a spot on Detroit’s regular season roster out of camp, Brown played in Russia and China. He eventually returned stateside and joined the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons’ D-League affiliate, with whom he averaged 23.6 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 4.0 APG in 11 games down the stretch this season.

With Udrih out, the Pistons could have inserted Reggie Jackson back into their rotation for the final two games of the season. However, head coach Stan Van Gundy suggested last night that Jackson likely wouldn’t be an option, since the team had already committed to shutting him down for the season, as Rod Beard of The Detroit News details.