Celtics Rumors

Coaching/Front Office Notes: Watson, Raptors, Kokoskov, Mavs, More

Former Suns head coach Earl Watson appears set to return to the sidelines for an NBA team, as Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports (via Twitter) that Watson is finalizing a deal to join the Raptors. Watson – who was pursued by multiple teams, according to Haynes – would be an assistant on Nick Nurse‘s staff. Watson hasn’t coached in the NBA since 2017, but Devin Booker has credited the former Phoenix coach for his accelerated development at the NBA level, Haynes notes.

Here are a few more notes on coaching and front office hires from around the NBA:

  • Veteran assistant Popeye Jones, who spent over a decade in the NBA as a player, will leave the Sixers to take a job on Michael Malone‘s staff with the Nuggets, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). Marc Stein first reported (via Twitter) that Jones – a former Nuggets player – was emerging as a strong candidate to be hired by Denver.
  • Turkish club Fenerbahce officially announced today that head coach Igor Kokoskov won’t return to the team next season. As previously rumored, the former Suns coach is on track to take a job on Jason Kidd‘s staff with the Mavericks, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. In Dallas, Kokoskov will get the opportunity to reunite with Luka Doncic, whom he coached on the Slovenian national team in 2017.
  • Speaking of the Mavericks, they’ve hired Nets salary cap strategist Andrew Baker for a senior role in their front office under new president of basketball operations Nico Harrison, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
  • Fischer also identifies Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson and Pelicans assistant GM Bryson Graham as two potential targets for the Celtics as they seek a general manager under new president of basketball operations Brad Stevens.

Latest On Bradley Beal

Despite a pair of weekend reports suggesting that Wizards guard Bradley Beal is contemplating his future with the franchise, he has not yet requested a trade, according to multiple reports.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (video link) said on the Woj & Lowe special on ESPN on Sunday that Beal hasn’t asked the Wizards to be dealt; Fred Katz of The Athletic says there hasn’t been a demand, a request, or even a “timid suggestion” for a trade; and Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes that the All-NBA guard has remained in contact with the Wizards’ front office and has given the team no signs that he’s unhappy.

Previous reports from Bleacher Report and The Athletic suggested that Beal might make a decision on whether he wants to remain in D.C. before Thursday’s draft. A trade would be easier to put together before that draft, since it would allow potential suitors to offer 2021 picks and give the Wizards the opportunity to select the players they want with those picks.

However, Hughes cites one source who pushed back on the idea that Washington needs to decide its course within the next four days, pointing out that Beal is under contract next season and not every trade offer would center around 2021 draft picks.

One team whose offer would be heavy on 2021 picks is Golden State, and Wojnarowski (video link) views Beal as the primary target for the Warriors, who don’t seem inclined to get too involved in the Ben Simmons sweepstakes. If Beal isn’t made available via trade, Wojnarowski expects the Warriors to use their picks at No. 7 and No. 14 this Thursday.

Of course, even if Beal is available, there will be other teams in the mix besides Golden State, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe observes (video link). Lowe believes the Wizards would seek more than Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, and the Nos. 7 and 14 picks from Golden State in any Beal deal, suggesting that Washington would likely also ask for the Warriors’ 2026 first-rounder and a pick swap or two.

Here’s more on Beal:

  • Beal has always looked for reasons to stay in D.C. rather than to leave, according to Wojnarowski. “He loves that organization,” Woj said. “He loves that city.”
  • While the Wizards said Beal would have a say in the team’s head coaching search this offseason, the star guard was a little frustrated that his top pick for the job – Sixers assistant Sam Cassell – didn’t get a second interview, sources tell Katz. It’s unclear, however, if that will be a major factor in Beal’s decision on his future.
  • If Beal does request a trade, the Sixers, Heat, and Hawks are among the teams that could join the Warriors in the bidding, sources tell Katz. Hughes, meanwhile, suggests that the Warriors, Heat, Celtics, Trail Blazers, Lakers, and Mavericks are some of the clubs that would likely intrigue Beal.
  • The Thunder have made it known around the NBA that they’d be interested in participating in a Beal trade as a third team, according to Hughes.
  • The Wizards haven’t received any indication that their other star guard – Russell Westbrook – wants out of Washington, a team source tells Hughes.

Community Shootaround: Best Team For Bradley Beal

High-scoring Wizards star Bradley Beal hasn’t issued a trade request yet, but a report this morning that he’s considering it has the rest of the league ready to pounce. Washington is in a precarious position with Beal, who can decline his $36.4MM player option next summer and become an unrestricted free agent.

Beal is said to be considering that the Wizards may start a rebuilding process if they decide to move him, which is no doubt why the report was leaked on the weekend before the draft. Beal would like to join a contender, and sources identified the Warriors, Celtics, Heat and Sixers as possible trade destinations.

Golden State is in the best position if Washington wants draft picks in return. The Warriors hold the No. 7 and No. 14 selections in this year’s lottery and may be willing to part with last year’s No. 2 pick, center James Wiseman, to get their hands on Beal, who is reportedly at the top of their wish list. Andrew Wiggins would likely have to be included to match salary.

In Boston, Beal would be able to unite with his close friend and fellow St. Louis native Jayson Tatum. Washington may ask for Jaylen Brown in return, but the Celtics would be reluctant to part with Brown when they can open enough cap space to sign Beal in 2022. Al Horford‘s $27MM salary would go a long way toward matching purposes, and he is only guaranteed $14.5MM for 2022/23 if he is released before the start of that season. Boston could load its offer with future picks and possibly arrange a sign-and-trade involving free agent guard Evan Fournier, who plays the same position as Beal.

The Heat are at a disadvantage when it comes to draft assets, not holding any picks this year and having future first-rounders tied up as a result of trading a protected 2023 pick. Miami has team options on Goran Dragic ($19.44MM) and Andre Iguodala ($15MM), who can both help with salary matching, but young assets such as Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn may not be enough to interest the Wizards.

The Sixers would almost certainly have to move Ben Simmons in a trade for Beal, either to Washington or to someone else in a multi-team deal. Philadelphia is also low on draft assets, but throwing in young players such as Matisse Thybulle or Tyrese Maxey could appeal to Washington.

We want to get your input. Do you believe Beal will be moved this summer and where do you think he should go? Please leave your responses in the comments section.

Draft Notes: Cooper, Bezhanishvili, Williams, Johnson

Potential late lottery pick Sharife Cooper has been making the rounds. He’s worked out for the Thunder, Rockets, Warriors, Lakers, Clippers and Celtics, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. As previously noted, Cooper has worked out for the Hornets and has also visited the Pacers. The Auburn point guard is currently ranked No. 17 overall on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more draft-related intel:

  • Giorgi Bezhanishvili has recently worked out for the Spurs, Hornets and Bulls, Zagoria reports in another tweet. The junior forward who played for Illinois is a potential second-round selection.
  • Ziaire Williams was brought in for a second workout with the Magic, draft expert Chad Ford tweets. The Stanford freshman wing is ranked No. 24 by ESPN, but Ford views Williams as a potential lottery selection. Orlando owns the No. 5 and 8 picks.
  • Jalen Johnson left Duke in mid-February after losing playing time but he brushes aside questions about his character, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee writes. “Those really aren’t red flags,” Johnson said. “People say a lot of things about me, but they say those things without knowing me. … I don’t like seeing that stuff and I know my parents see that stuff, and I know it hurts them, because at the end of the day these people are making judgments without knowing me, without speaking to me, without saying a word to me.” Johnson is still expected to go in the lottery.

Bradley Beal Pondering Trade Request Before Draft

Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal is considering whether to request a trade prior to the draft, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

Sources close to Beal say he’s mindful that the Wizards could get a better package of picks as well as players if a deal is done by Thursday night. After that, the Wizards would have to settle for future picks with uncertainty over what kind of prospects they’ll eventually draft. Plenty of front office personnel around the league still believe Beal will decide to stay put, but a source close to the league’s second-leading scorer this past season admits the situation is fluid.

If Beal informs the front office he prefers to go elsewhere, he’d want to land in a place that already has, as Fischer describes it, an established winning environment.

Beal doesn’t have a known list of preferred destinations, though sources told Fischer that teams such as the Warriors, Celtics, Heat and Sixers would likely be among that group. Golden State’s veterans have pushed management to pursue a Beal trade but virtually every team in the league would have some level of interest in bringing in the high-scoring wing.

Beal’s potential change of heart about staying in Washington is somewhat tied to the uncertainty surrounding Russell Westbrook, who is reportedly among the players the Lakers might pursue in a trade. Westbrook and Beal hold options on their contracts after next season, which could also impact what the Wizards might do.

Celtics, Sixers, Lakers Interested In Reggie Bullock

Two Atlantic Division rivals are among the teams that may try to lure free agent swingman Reggie Bullock away from the Knicks, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.

A source tells Berman that the Celtics and Sixers have expressed interest in Bullock, and the Lakers may also get involved. Bullock played alongside LeBron James in L.A. during the 2018/19 season.

Bullock prefers to stay in New York, Berman adds, but he’s hoping for a three-year contract worth in the neighborhood of the full mid-level exception ($9MM+). The Knicks have Early Bird rights on Bullock, so they can go above the cap to re-sign him after using their space. They’ll likely be able to offer up to about $10.3MM for the first year, according to Berman.

Bullock became a dependable contributor during his second year with the team, starting 64 of the 65 games he played and averaging 10.9 PPG per night while shooting 41% from three-point range. However, a disappointing playoff performance may have dragged down his value.

The Knicks have other options if they don’t re-sign Bullock, although they may be much more expensive, Berman adds. Coach Tom Thibodeau is a fan of Trail Blazers guard Norman Powell, who opted out of his contract Tuesday, and New York has also expressed interest in Warriors forward Kelly Oubre.

Berman suggests the Knicks might be willing to match a minimal offer to restricted free agent Frank Ntilikina if they lose Bullock. Ntilikina didn’t play much in Thibodeau’s first season with the team, but a source tells Berman that the Knicks haven’t ruled out a possible return.

Celtics To Work Out Nigel Hayes, Zach Auguste

  • EuroLeague players Nigel Hayes and Zach Auguste will work out for the Celtics this week, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (Twitter link). Hayes, a 6’8″ power forward, holds nine games of NBA experience and last played in Lithuania. As for Auguste, a 6’10” big man, he’s spent most of his career overseas and most recently played in Greece.

Barton's Free Agency Could Help Celtics Keep Fournier

  • Now that Nuggets shooting guard Will Barton will opt out of the final season of his contract this summer, the free agent market for swingmen has gotten that much more competitive. Brian Robb of MassLive suggests that this could help the Celtics retain free agent wing Evan Fournier. Robb notes that no more than five-to-10 clubs will have the salary cap space to add players for more than the full $9.7MM mid-level exception, and thus Barton’s availability could mean one fewer team is in the mix to lure Fournier away with a big-money offer.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Miles, Madar, Sixers, Raptors

The Celtics are set to hire former guard Aaron Miles to their coaching staff, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link).

Miles’ NBA career was brief – he appeared in just 19 games with Golden State back in 2005 – but he spent nearly a decade playing in international leagues before transitioning to coaching in 2015. He was the head coach of the Santa Cruz Warriors from 2017-19 and has spent the last two seasons as a player development coach in Golden State.

New Celtics head coach Ime Udoka is putting together an interesting group of assistants in Boston. His staff will also reportedly include former Spurs assistant Will Hardy and another former NBA guard, Damon Stoudamire.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Israeli guard Yam Madar, who will play for the Celtics‘ Summer League team after being selected in the second round of the 2020 draft, is determined to show Boston he deserves a spot on the club’s regular season roster, as he tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Madar technically remains under contract with Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel for another season, so he and the Celtics would have to work out a buyout if he’s going to come stateside for 2021/22.
  • Rich Hofmann and Derek Bodner of The Athletic take a closer look at the Sixers‘ roster, determining which players are likely to stay and which may be gone by opening night in the fall. Hofmann and Bodner believe the odds of a Ben Simmons offseason trade are higher than 50/50.
  • In another story for The Athletic, John Hollinger and Eric Koreen discuss the Raptors‘ offseason, exploring the team’s options with the No. 4 pick, whether it makes sense to trade Pascal Siakam, and what free agency will look like for Kyle Lowry and Gary Trent Jr. While Hollinger would have no issue with Toronto drafting Jalen Suggs at No. 4, he suggests the team should look hard at Scottie Barnes and Alperen Sengun and consider the possibility of trading down.