Bob Myers

Stein’s Latest: Lakers, Sixers, Myers

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka appears to be gaining more power inside of the team’s front office, Marc Stein of the New York Times writes in his weekly newsletter. The former agent is reportedly running Los Angeles’ search for a new head coach.

It’s curious that the team is searching for a coach before settling on an official head of basketball operations. Many organizations set up their front office structures prior to hiring a coach.

Stein provides more on the situation and passes along some additional nuggets in this week’s edition of the newsletter. Here are the highlights from his piece:

  • There’s chatter within league circles that Sixers assistant coach Monty Williams’ candidacy for the Lakers‘ gig is as strong in part because some within the front office fear giving the job to Tyronn Lue would hand too much control to LeBron James. Williams met with Pelinka to discuss the position earlier today. Lue and Juwan Howard are among the other candidates rumored to be in contention for the position.
  • The Sixers attempted to pry Warriors team president Bob Myers away from Golden State last offseason before deciding to promote Elton Brand to the role, Stein reports. Philadelphia also attempted to bring Rockets GM Daryl Morey to its front office.
  • Morey’s recent contract extension from the Rockets is estimated to pay the executive in the neighborhood of $8MM annually, Stein hears. Magic Johnson‘s salary as the Lakers’ team president was estimated to be $10MM per year and Stein argues that Los Angeles could feasibly offer a candidate double that salary if they wanted to lure a prized rival executive.
  • Stein writes that there is both “shock and relief” within the league that the Lakers haven’t attempted to poach a decorated rival executive, such as Myers, Spurs GM R.C. Buford, or Thunder GM Sam Presti.

Warriors Notes: Green, Kobe, Cousins, Myers

A preseason encounter with Kobe Bryant helped Draymond Green prepare for the end of the Warriors‘ dynasty whenever it occurs, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Green had expected Bryant to be missing the game when they talked, but the former Lakers star was at peace with retirement and has moved on to the next chapter of his life.

“[Kobe is] not sitting in retirement like, ‘Man, I wish I can go be out there.’ No, he’s on to the next thing because [he] gave that one thing everything [he] had,” Green recounted. “And I think it will be very similar with this team. Whenever that point comes, we’re going to know that we gave it everything we got and you move on. But you feel good about moving on. You’re not sick about moving on.”

Golden State has faced more challenges than usual on its way to the top seed in the West. An early-season altercation between Green and Kevin Durant led to speculation that the Warriors would splinter apart, and the upcoming free agency for Durant, Klay Thompson and others threatens to break up a successful core.

“Whether it ends while we’re all together, whether it ends when everyone separates, it’s going to end at some point,” Green said. “That’s the nature of the game we play. The fact of the matter is whenever it ends, I think we maximized. Like, we’re going to have a feeling of we maximized what we could do.”

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Golden State’s five-year run of success can be traced back to a playoff loss to the Clippers in 2014, notes Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. After that series, the Warriors decided to fire Mark Jackson and replace him with Steve Kerr. Their young stars learned what it takes to succeed in the postseason, and former All-Star Andre Iguodala agreed to accept a role off the bench.
  • While his two former teams are making significant changes, DeMarcus Cousins is enjoying the first playoff series, Medina observes in a separate story. After 7 1/2 years of dysfunction in Sacramento and a poorly timed injury in New Orleans, Cousins is savoring the postseason experience, even though he hasn’t fully recovered from last year’s Achilles injury. “I’m not in tip-top shape where I’ve been at in my career. But I’m definitely headed in the right direction,” Cousins said. “I’m confident in my body. I’m confident with my movements. Obviously it’s not as crisp as I would like it to be. But everything is on the right path.”
  • Warriors president and GM Bob Myers laughs off rumors that he might be headed to L.A. to take over the Lakers, relays Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Lakers Notes: Pelinka, Walton, Nunez, Magic

The Lakers reportedly plan to retain general manager Rob Pelinka following Magic Johnson‘s shocking resignation, but the consensus from general managers and agents around the NBA is that Pelinka is part of the problem in L.A., according to Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Pelinka, who didn’t make a ton of friends around the league during his days an agent representing Kobe Bryant and others, received plenty of criticism from the sources who spoke to Turner.

“I just don’t see how they do anything going forward with Rob in place,” one agent said. “No one trusts him.”

“Honestly, they need to hire an experienced general manager with credibility and let him fire Rob,” another agent said. “Let that president that come in, let him have the authority to hire his staff and to hire their head coach if he doesn’t want Luke Walton.”

Agents who may have had an adversarial relationship with Pelinka during his own days as an agent might be a little biased about his performance as a front office executive. But even rival GMs didn’t have a ton of praise for the Lakers’ GM, as Turner details. One general manager told Turner that front office people don’t have a good relationship with Pelinka from his days representing Kobe and other high-profile players.

“To tell you the truth, they should go out and get a top executive in the league to run everything,” one GM said. “That’s what they need to do. Go get a guy that can get this done. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t get done. Go get an executive that’s done it or who has built something.

“Go get Bob Myers (Warriors) if you can. Go after Sam Presti (Thunder). Those guys know how to build a team. If they have the tools that the Lakers have — cap space and a big city, appeal, you got LeBron James on your roster — you got to be able to attract one of these guys to work in their front office.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Three NBA head coaches have been let go today, but Luke Walton wasn’t one of them. According to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times, a coaching change doesn’t appear to be imminent for the Lakers, though people familiar with the club’s thinking believe Walton may be asked to make some changes to his coaching staff if he returns.
  • During their end-of-season conversations with reporters, a handful of Lakers spoke candidly about the impact that Anthony Davis trade rumors had on the team prior to the deadline, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com relays. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said that “everybody kind of lost themselves” around the deadline, while Josh Hart said social media – and the constant rumors swirling around the team – “made it annoying.”
  • According to McMenamin (via Twitter), the Lakers fired head athletic training Marco Nunez on Wednesday after a season in which nearly all of the Lakers’ top players missed time due to injuries.
  • Of all the reasons Magic Johnson had to step down as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, money wasn’t one of them — according to Sam Amick of The Athletic (via RealGM.com), Johnson was earning approximately $10MM per year in the role.

Western Notes: Davis, Warriors, Durant, Jordan, Bluiett

Amid all the trade talk, Anthony Davis has been on the sidelines due to a finger injury. That could change in the near future, whether or not he’s dealt by the Pelicans. Davis has been cleared to practice, ESPN’s Michael C. Wright reports. Davis has missed the last seven games with a sprained left index finger. However, it’s uncertain when Davis will return to action as coach Alvin Gentry was evasive on that topic.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors will take a hard look at the buyout market after the trade deadline but won’t necessarily add another piece, ESPN’s Nick Friedell reports. GM Bob Myers feels comfortable with his roster at the moment. “We’ll see who’s bought out, first of all,” Myers said. “And then if it’s a player we think makes sense that can help us win a championship, then we’ll look at it. … We’re still probably a week or so away from those things happening.”
  • Speculation over Kevin Durant‘s future hasn’t impacted Golden State’s locker room, Myers claimed in the same report. “I don’t necessarily feel that in the locker room personally,” Myers said. “I don’t feel like it’s become part of our fabric.”
  • DeAndre Jordan is unlikely to return to the Mavericks as a free agent this summer, Matt Mosley of the Dallas Morning News speculates. Jordan was included in the blockbuster deal with the Knicks that brought Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas. The only way Jordan would consider re-signing with Dallas for the second straight summer is if he fails to land a multi-year deal elsewhere. The Mavericks wouldn’t view Jordan as part of their long-term plan, Mosley adds.
  • Pelicans two-way guard Trevon Bluiett underwent surgery last week to repair an ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb, according to a team press release. No timetable for his return has been announced. Bluiett has appeared in 24 G League games with the Salt Lake City Stars but has yet to make his NBA debut.

Warriors Believed Team Chemistry Was At Stake After Draymond Green Altercation

The Warriors winning their third straight title seems much less likely now than it did prior to the season. Golden State’s appears mortal on the court and off the court, there’s plenty to be concerned about even if Kevin Durant claims the tiff with Draymond Green won’t impact his long-term decision making.

The team suspended Green for the altercation and according to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, both coach Steve Kerr and GM Bob Myers believed that the chemistry of the entire team was at stake. They wanted to make sure the situation didn’t develop into a series of “personal grievances and lingering resentments,” Kawakami writes. The suspension was handed down to prevent Green from dictating the mood and terms for the remainder of the season into the offseason.

Team management was upset that the move was viewed as the organization picking Durant over Green. While it’s easy to look at it that way, the decision to suspend Green had more to do with making sure the chemistry of the team would remain repairable.

If Durant leaves, the Warriors want it to be because it was his own choice and not because another player was barking at him.

Atlantic Rumors: Korkmaz, Kanter, Marks, Wallace

The Sixers are still mulling whether to pick up swingman Furkan Korkmaz‘s option for next season, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Philadelphia has a Wednesday deadline to make a decision. His option for the 2019/20 season is slightly over $2MM. If the Sixers decline, Korkmaz will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. The 6’7” Korkmaz has made four brief appearances this season after seeing action in 14 games last season.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks center Enes Kanter isn’t thrilled about being demoted to the second unit, Howie Kussoy of the New York Post reports. Kanter came off the bench against Golden State on Friday even though he’s the team’s second-leading scorer and top rebounder.  Coach David Fizdale is determined to develop his younger players.  “We all understand where our team is at and what we’re trying to accomplish right now,” Fizdale said. “One way or another we do have to bring our puppies along.” Kanter’s $18,622,514 salary comes off the books at the end of the season and the Knicks are expected to pursue higher-level free agents.
  • Warriors GM Bob Myers believes Nets GM Sean Marks has a blueprint for future success, as he told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Brooklyn has hoarded cap space to be a major player on the free agent market next summer. “I think they’re on their way,” Myers said. “They play in a great city, and Sean is smart. They’re in a position now with their picks and cap space where they’ll be able to make some change, and it’ll probably be positive.”
  • Rasheed Wallace, who won a championship with Detroit in 2004, was invited to Knicks practice on Sunday to instruct the big men, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reports. Wallace, who was invited by GM Scott Perry, gave rookie Mitchell Robinson plenty of food for thought. “He pushed me to talk more on defense. I have a tendency to be a little quiet. And him, he brings it,” Robinson told Bondy. Fizdale plans to invite another ex-Piston, Chauncey Billups, to deliver tips to his young guards.

Pacific Rumors: Ellis, Clippers Arena, Cousins, Lakers

The Kings have officially hired Ty Ellis as head coach of their G League affiliate, the Stockton Kings, according to a team press release.  Ellis was head coach of the Suns’ G League team in 2016 before being elevated to an assistant coaching position with Phoenix last season. Ellis replaces Darrick Martin, Sacramento’s G League coach the last two seasons.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • A new lawsuit targeting the proposed Clippers arena in Inglewood alleges that two city-linked boards violated state laws governing open meetings, Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times reports. The suit also claims those boards also violated the environmental impact of construction projects in June when they approved the disposal of land to clear space for the arena, Fenno continues. The Clippers signed an exclusive negotiating agreement with Inglewood last year for a new arena but the team’s lease at Staples Center runs through 2024, Fenno adds.
  • The Warriors were expecting to use their mid-level exception on a wing player until they got a call from DeMarcus Cousins agent during the second day of free agency, Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area relays. GM Bob Myers revealed his summer plan during a 95.7 The Game interview. “We had been preserving our taxpayer mid-level exception for somebody that might fall through the cracks and not get paid in a very tight free agency market,” Myers said. “But mostly we were thinking wings. I figured if something like that were to happen it would happen July 8th, 9th, 10th.”
  • The Lakers won’t make the postseason, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports predicts. Mannix made the comment during a NBC Sports Boston podcast, believing that the players around LeBron James won’t mesh well. “You have to assume it’s 48 wins to get into the playoffs in the Western Conference,” Mannix said. “I don’t see that team making up that difference.”

Warriors Interested In Jordan, Mavs Remain Favorites

The Warriors intend to make a run at Clippers center DeAndre Jordan in free agency despite their salary-cap restrictions, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

Jordan would have to accept their $5.3MM taxpayer mid-level exception, a huge drop from the $24.1MM he left on the table when he decided to opt out on Friday. While Jordan’s salary would be modest, such a move would wind up costing the Warriors closer to $27MM due to luxury taxes, Stein notes (Twitter link). Jordan is close friends with Kevin Durant and a former client of Golden State GM Bob Myers.

Dropping Jordan, one of the league’s premier rebounders, into the Warriors’ starting five would complete a star-studded lineup and ensure they’d be championship favorites once again no matter where LeBron James winds up.

Jordan would have to sacrifice a boatload of money for the opportunity to chase a ring. The Mavericks have made Jordan their top priority and have approximately $28MM to offer him. That makes Dallas a strong favorite to land him, Stein adds (Twitter link).

The chances of Jordan returning to the Clippers, as he did during his last free agent foray in 2015, seem remote. The team even tweeted a ‘Thank You, DeAndre!’ after his opt-out decision. They acquired veteran center Marcin Gortat from the Wizards earlier this week.

Pacific Notes: Ball, Warriors, Cook, Kings, Suns

The Lakers hosted LiAngelo Ball, the younger brother of their point guard, Lonzo Ball, for a pre-draft workout earlier this week. However, it appears that the Lakers’ association with the younger Ball will not go beyond the workout, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports.

Stein noted that there is “pessimism in the extreme” that the Lakers have any interest in LiAngelo, whether it be as an NBA or G League player. Before his workout with the Lakers, LiAngelo indicated that signing with the team and playing with his brother was his main focus.

“The Lakers are my priority, for sure,” LiAngelo said during a recent appearance on the Marcellus and Travis show on ESPNLA radio. “I want to play with my brother. Ever since I played with Zo, we went undefeated. When we get older, we will get stronger, faster and a better feel for the game. I’m willing to play for other teams, but my priority is to play with my brother.”

LiAngelo returned to the United States recently after completing his first professional season overseas with Vytautas Prienu of the Lithuanian league. He averaged 12.6 PPG during his stint. The brothers’ outspoken father, LaVar Ball, had said his goal was to have all three of his sons play together for the Lakers. At this time, that appears unlikely at best.

Check out more Pacific Division notes below:

  • The Warriors accomplished something unprecedented by building an elite, all-time roster as the organization pursues its third championship in four years, In an insightful piece, Mark Medina of the Mercury News writes that Warriors general manager Bob Myers understands that Golden State’s window of dominance will not last forever. “No team should last forever. It’s not good for anybody,” Myers said. “I’m fully aware. I don’t need a reminder from Houston to know how fragile this whole thing is. That’s a part of it. That’s why you have to appreciate it.”
  • Kevin Durant has reiterated his desire to remain with the Warriors as he heads for unrestricted free agency this summer. However, after a close call in the Western Conference Finals, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic (subscription required) wonders whether or not the Warriors’ future is more fragile than expected.
  • Before Quinn Cook became a crucial part of the Warriors‘ roster, he was a promising G League prospect within the Cavaliers organization. Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue viewed Cook as a solid player. In turn, Cook said he took one major lesson from his tenure with Cleveland, Mark Medina of the Mercury News writes. “I took what I learned from there and took some things with me that I still use today,” Cook said. “The biggest thing was being a sponge.”
  • The Suns‘ selection with the first overall pick has been the main focus, but the team also has the 16th overall pick in their possession. Scott Bordow and Jay Dieffenbach of Arizona Central Sports gave their input on who Phoenix may target with the 16th pick.
  • The popular consensus is that international superstar Luka Doncic will be the Kings‘ selection with the second overall pick. Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes that the Kings are exploring multiple options with the pick beyond Doncic.

Warriors GM Talks Draymond Green, Steve Kerr, Jerry West

The Warriors are set to face the Cavaliers in Game 2 of the NBA Finals tomorrow night, which could be the team’s 14th straight postseason game without head coach Steve Kerr. Kerr has not been able to be on the sidelines due to chronic back pain stemming from 2015 surgery. To this point, Kerr’s empty seat has been filled admirably by assistant coach Mike Brown, who has led Golden State throughout the postseason.

Warriors general manager Bob Myers spoke to reporters, including San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami, to discuss several topics, Kerr included. Myers indicated there’s no pressure on Kerr to return this postseason.

“No, it’s kind of been, ‘I’ll tell you when I feel like I’m there.’ But it’s not… I’ve been very respectful… People have asked, ‘Are you guys pressuring…?’ There’s no pressure here,” Myers said about Kerr’s return. “When that day comes, and he says I’m ready, I think we’ll say go coach.” It has been reported that Kerr could be good to go for Game 2 but the team, and Kerr, are taking it on a game-by game basis. “The way we’re choosing to do it is, give him as much time as he needs. If he gets to that point in time, we’ll deal with it then,” he added.

Aside from Kerr, another person with the Warriors who has received attention is NBA legend and Warriors executive Jerry West, who has received interest from the Clippers for a front office position. Myers confirmed that West has permission to speak with other teams and that Golden State will not stand in his way. Yeah. Jerry does what Jerry wants to do. Who are we to deny Jerry permission?” Meyers said.

Finally, Draymond Green — despite a subpar Game 1 — will be a vital part for the team if the Warriors hope to secure their second title in three years. Green was suspended for Game 5 of last year’s finals, allowing the Cavaliers to win the final two games and the series. Myers does not want Green — who is notorious for racking up technical fouls — to change his game but he smart with his decision.

“He hasn’t lost any of the intensity and he hasn’t lost his edge,” Myers said. “That’s the hardest challenge, when you have that type of emotion, is to channel it. And he’s really been able to do it.”