Bob Bender

David Fizdale Notes: Assistants, Reactions, More

With David Fizdale and the Knicks in agreement on a four-year contract that will make the former Grizzlies coach the new head man in New York, Fizdale will now be tasked with filling out his coaching staff.

Michael Wallace of recently suggested that Fizdale could recruit some of his old Grizzlies assistants to join him elsewhere, and Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News agrees with that assessment, tweeting that a list of potential Knicks assistants should start with Bob Bender, Keith Smart, and Nick Van Exel.

Meanwhile, Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype attempts to identify a few more candidates to join the Knicks as assistants, including Juwan Howard, who spent plenty of time with Fizdale in Miami.

Here are a few more items related to the Knicks’ decision to hire Fizdale:

  • An NBA source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post that the Knicks are prepared to open cap room this summer in the event that LeBron James shows any interest in heading to New York. While Fizdale has a good relationship with James and it may technically be possible for the Knicks to create cap space, that scenario is an extreme long shot. As Mitch Lawrence of Forbes writes, the Knicks hope Fizdale’s popularity among NBA players with help them in free agency, but they’re probably looking ahead at least to the 2019 market.
  • Before he accepted a four-year offer from the Knicks, Fizdale turned down a four-year offer from the Suns to become their new head coach, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic.
  • There has been no shortage of praise for the Knicks’ decision to go with Fizdale. As Marc Berman of The New York Post relays, ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups referred to Fizdale as the “best coach on the market,” while Jalen Rose called him the “right fit” for the Knicks. Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post agrees that Fizdale is the right man for the job, and Enes Kanter told Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic that he likes the ex-Grizzlies coach “a lot.”
  • Still, not everyone is bullish on the Knicks’ hire. Dan Feldman of NBC Sports believes the optimism on Fizdale is misplaced, arguing that there are still too many issues within the Knicks’ organization to expect success from any new head coach.
  • Ian Begley of takes a look at the next steps for Fizdale and the Knicks as they attempt to turn the page on years of dysfunction.

Western Notes: Parker, Ginobili, Henry, Karl

Longtime Spurs stars Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili both wrapped up their international careers with Olympic losses today in Rio de Janeiro. Parker confirmed that this afternoon’s defeat to Spain was his “last game” for the French team, tweets Marc Stein of The 34-year-old Parker, whose playing time was limited during this Olympics, added that he’s “not gonna change his mind like that.”

Ginobili, 39, also acknowledged his retirement from international basketball after his Argentinian team was soundly defeated by the United States. He got more of a sendoff than he was expecting, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News“It was emotional,” Ginobili said. “I didn’t want it to be. I was hoping to sneak out and go to the locker room and do what I had to do there, but everybody conspired against it. The coach put me back in to play together one last time, somebody gave me the ball and brought me back in, somebody threw me a shirt. Then my teammates — it got emotional.” Ginobili has already signed with the Spurs for next season, and Parker is under contract until 2017/18.

There’s more news tonight from the Western Conference:

  • Former Laker Xavier Henry is optimistic as he continues the long road back from a ruptured left Achilles tendon, writes Joey Ramirez of Henry, who was one of several NBA veterans at L.A.’s mini-camp today, spent last season with the D-League’s Santa Cruz Warriors and credits their coaching and training staffs for helping with his comeback. “I’ve been doing a lot of workouts this summer with a lot of different teams and getting feedback and seeing how I feel,” Henry said. “I’ve been feeling really good. I’m feeling blessed that I can even play basketball again.”
  • The Lakers will hire Coby Karl, son of former NBA coach George Karl, to be head coach of their D-League affiliate, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical. Karl was an assistant with the D-League’s Westchester Knicks last season.
  • The Grizzlies have made the final two additions to new head coach David Fizdale’s staff, the team announced today. Bob Bender, who worked as a scout for the Nets last season, was hired as an assistant coach, and former Clippers and Nets shooting coach Bob Thate will fill that role in Memphis.

Grizzlies Hire Bob Bender As Assistant Coach

Bob Bender has joined the Grizzlies’ coaching staff, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. The move completes the staff of new head coach David Fizdale, who was hired in May, Wojnarowski notes.

Bender served as a scout with the Nets last season after working as an assistant with the Bucks in 2013/14. He had spent the previous nine seasons as an assistant with the Hawks after joining the team in 2004. He broke into the NBA as an assistant with the Sixers during the 2002-03 season.

Prior to that, Bender was an accomplished college coach, working for nine seasons at Washington and four years at Illinois State and earning Pac 10 Coach of the Year honors in 1996. Bender played for Indiana’s national championship team in 1976 and later played at Duke.

Atlantic Notes: Green, D-League, Ross

Spurs shooting guard Danny Green acknowledged that the Knicks had reached out to him over the summer, but said that he couldn’t gauge their sincerity and he instead agreed to re-sign with San Antonio when the free agent signing period began back in July, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “I was very much leaning towards [the Spurs] than anywhere else,’’ Green said. “New York reached out, but I don’t think they were as interested as I thought they’d be. My deal was done pretty quick.’’

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics have assigned power forward Jordan Mickey and swingman James Young to the Maine Red Claws, their D-League affiliate, the team announced (via Twitter). This marks the first assignment of the 2015/16 season for each player. The Red Claws don’t officially open their season until November 12th, so this is likely a move designed to get the duo more practice time, though that is merely my speculation.
  • Terrence Ross, who signed a three-year contract extension with the Raptors on Monday, will earn $10MM in 2016/17, and $10.5MM per year for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 campaigns, Brian Windhorst of tweets.
  • The Nets have officially added Randy Ayers and Bob Bender to their player personnel scouting staff, the team announced. Ayers was named to the position of college scout, while Bender was named pro scout, according to the press release.
  • Jared Sullinger, who failed to reach an agreement with the Celtics on an extension prior to Monday’s deadline, said that he’ll be playing the rest of the season with a chip on his shoulder, and added that even some of his own family members have doubted his abilities, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe relays (via Twitter).

Odds & Ends: Jaiteh, Celtics, Heat, Bucks

With the deadline for international prospects to withdraw from the draft coming up in a matter of hours, Mouhammadou Jaiteh remains undecided on whether or not he'll keep his name in, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. As fellow HoopsWorld scribe Steve Kyler writes, Jaiteh is seeking a first-round guarantee, so if he exits the draft, he was probably unable to secure that promise. You can check out today's full list of draft decisions by international prospects right here.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • Assuming Doc Rivers parts ways with the Celtics, former Nets head coach and Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank may emerge as a candidate for the Boston job, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of
  • Kevin McHale, on the other hand, wouldn't be a candidate for the Celtics' position, since the Rockets wouldn't let him leave, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter).
  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel spoke to Ray Allen and James Jones about their player options for 2013/14, which they'll have to decide on within the next couple weeks. Allen was noncommital on his decision, but Jones told Winderman he expects to exercise his, which is no surprise. Jones played only 221 minutes for the Heat in 2012/13, so he's not about to turn down a $1.5MM salary.
  • The Bucks have added Nick Van Exel and Bob Bender to Larry Drew's staff as assistant coaches, according to the team (Twitter link). Drew worked with both Van Exel and Bender in Atlanta as well.
  • New MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke has fired longtime Raptors employee Alvin Williams, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, who thinks the decision to fire a fan favorite who wanted to spend his career with the franchise sends a bad message.
  • Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports has inquired with the NBA about the procedure for getting individuals certified as NBA agents, tweets Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal.