Bryan Gates

Northwest Notes: Whiteside, Grant, Gilgeous-Alexander, Jazz

Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard believes he can bring out the best of Hassan Whiteside, the enigmatic center acquired from the Heat as part of the multi-team Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade. Lillard has a good friendship with Whiteside and that should help prevent Whiteside from getting over-emotional, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic.

“I said, ‘So this is what this is going to come down to: If in the middle of the game, you are not getting the ball and you mad, and you felt like somebody should have done something, you come and say something to me,” Lillard said. “And if (Trail Blazers) Coach (Terry Stotts) is getting on you, or Coach takes you out and you get mad at Coach, me and you have to be able to communicate. Even if we argue, that’s fine. But we have to be able to get through to each other.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone is thrilled with the acquisition of forward Jerami Grant from the Thunder, as he told Alex Labidou of the team’s website. He believes Grant will mesh well with franchise player Nikola Jokic and significantly improve the team’s defense. “Watching film, he’s guarded Damian Lillard, James Harden, Anthony Davis, the guy can guard anybody,” Malone said. “I think that versatility is exciting.”
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gives the Thunder a long-term answer at point guard who may have a better future than Paul George, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes. Gilgeous-Alexander is nine years younger than George, Tramel notes, and he displayed better defensive and shooting skills than Russell Westbrook did in his rookie year.
  • Jazz center Rudy Gobert shrugs off the Clippers’ acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and George, confident that the Jazz have done enough this offseason to become serious contenders. “We don’t want to pay too much attention into what the other teams are doing,” Gobert told Tony Jones of The Athletic. “We want to keep working hard, and we want to stay hungry. We know what we have to do. Whenever we step out onto the court, the goal is to win. We know that we have a chance to do some good things this year. But we want to take things one step at a time.”
  • The Timberwolves have brought back Bryan Gates as an assistant coach under Ryan Saunders, according to an Associated Press report. Gates has been on the Kings’ staff the last three seasons but spent the 2015/16 season with Minnesota.

Wolves Rumors: Draft, Wiggins, McConnell, Harris

The Timberwolves had five players in their top tier for Thursday’s draft, and knew they had no shot at Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, or R.J. Barrett, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Darius Garland and Jarrett Culver were the other players in that group, according to Krawczynski, who says that Minnesota may have preferred Garland to Culver, but didn’t hesitate to nab the Texas Tech wing at No. 6 over Coby White and others.

According to Krawczynski, the Timberwolves might have had an opportunity to move up to No. 4 before the Pelicans made a deal with the Hawks, but Minnesota was seeking the No. 11 pick and Robert Covington and would’ve wanted to dump Solomon Hill‘s unwanted contract on the Wolves.

Even after moving up to select Culver at No. 6, the Timberwolves stayed active, according to Darren Wolfson and Danny Cunningham of Skor North, who report (via Twitter) that the team had discussions about the No. 12 pick with the Hornets. Those talks didn’t seem to get far, per Wolfson, adding that Sekou Doumbouya was the presumed target at that spot for Minnesota.

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • The Timberwolves have been actively exploring options to move off Andrew Wiggins‘ contract, league sources tell Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link). It’s not clear if Minnesota is just gauging the market or if the club will continue to pursue a Wiggins deal as the offseason progresses.
  • Wolfson (Twitter link) hears that Sixers veteran T.J. McConnell is among the free agent point guards on Minnesota’s radar.
  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) has heard that free-agent-to-be Tobias Harris has interest in the Timberwolves. That looks like a very unlikely pairing though, since Minnesota has no path to cap room and the Sixers won’t be eager to accommodate a sign-and-trade.
  • Bryan Gates is the latest coach expected to join Ryan Saunders‘ staff as an assistant, tweets Krawczynski. Gates, who had a previous stint in Minnesota, has served as an assistant in Sacramento for the past few seasons.

Western Notes: Capela, Brunson, Kings, Roberson

Clint Capela‘s thumb injury could cost him a $2MM bonus, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes. The Rockets center has a 2,000-minute criteria tied into the team reaching the Western Conference Finals and for a defensive rebounding percentage above 30%. He has another bonus for attempting 150 or more free throws and a free throw percentage above 65%. He is currently shooting 62.6% from the line. Through 42 games, Capela has played 1,436 minutes. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Mavericks rookie Jalen Brunson and veteran Devin Harris will pick up the minutes vacated by backup point guard J.J. Barea, who suffered a torn Achilles on Friday, according to Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. Brunson played 30 minutes against the Warriors on Sunday but Harris will see his role expand as well. “He’s going to be ready and he’s going to be there for us,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Harris.
  • Kings assistant coaches under Dave Joerger are having their options for next season picked up by the front office, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets. That group includes Bryan Gates, Elston Turner, Bob Thornton, Jason March, Duane Ticknor, Larry Lewis, Bobby Jackson, Phil Ricci and Dan Hartfield. It’s a way of aligning the contracts of the staff with Joerger’s deal. The surprising Kings are currently a game above .500.
  • Kings GM Vlade Divac warned members of the executive board to stop meddling in the team’s affairs, Sam Amick of USA Today reports. Divac made the pronouncement during a conference call with 13 members of the  executive board, along with lead owner Vivek Ranadive. Divac has been frustrated by internal complaints and used the forum to demand respect, Amick adds.
  • Thunder shooting guard Andre Roberson remains sidelined indefinitely, coach Billy Donovan told Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman and other media members. “He’s worked hard, he’s doing all he needs to do but he’s still in the rehab process.”  Roberson suffered a season-ending left knee injury last January and suffered a setback in late November when an MRI revealed an avulsion fracture in the knee.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Collison, Suns, Clippers

We heard last week that new Kings head coach Dave Joerger was targeting Bryan Gates as a potential assistant. Now, James Ham of CSN California hears from a source that Gates – a former Sacramento assistant who worked for Minnesota last year and the Pelicans before that – is indeed to set to come aboard Joerger’s staff. Last week’s report indicated that Joerger and the Kings were also pursuing Elston Turner, but there are no official updates yet on that front.

Here’s more from around the Pacific, including a couple more items out of Sacramento:

  • Kings point guard Darren Collison was arrested on a domestic violence charge earlier this week, but his lawyer, Bill Portanova, called it a “misunderstanding” that he’s “working to straighten out,” writes Andy Furillo of The Sacramento Bee. As Furillo observes, it makes sense to wait to see how the case plays out before predicting what it might mean for Collison or the Kings.
  • Emmanuel Malou, who was set to transfer to Iowa State before deciding to remain in the 2016 draft, recently worked out for the Kings, per The Sacramento Bee.
  • The Suns worked out a six-player group of prospects today that included Ryan Anderson (Arizona), Zach Auguste (Notre Dame), Ron Curry (James Madison), Cheick Diallo (Kansas), Lester Medford (Baylor), and Codi Miller-McIntyre (Wake Forest). Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer tweets that Diamond Stone (Maryland) is also heading to Phoenix for his next workout, while Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic tweets that Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis has a solo workout with the team today.
  • The Clippers‘ pre-draft workout group on Wednesday featured Daniel Hamilton (UConn), DeAndre’ Bembry (St. Joseph’s), Guerschon Yabusele (France), Cat Barber (N.C. State), Tyrone Wallace (California), and Zach Auguste (Notre Dame), according to the team.
  • In other Los Angeles workout news, Alex Poythress (Kentucky) has workouts lined up with both the Lakers and Clippers (Twitter link via Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com), Rosco Allen (Stanford) is set to work out for the Lakers tomorrow (Twitter link via Camerato), and Czech power forward Adam Pechacek will also participate in that Lakers workout on Friday (Twitter link via Orazio Cauchi of Sportando). Finally, veteran D-League forward Joel Wright is attending a Clippers mini-camp, a league source tells Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor (Twitter link).

Coach Rumors: Rockets, Borrego, Pacers, Kings

As the Rockets continue to scour the market for their next head coach, Spurs assistant James Borrego appears to have emerged as a serious candidate for the job. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein (via Twitter), Borrego, who interviewed with Houston on Monday, will have a second meeting with the team later this week. That second interview will include owner Les Alexander, Stein reports.

Borrego’s second meeting with the Rockets doesn’t come with any guarantees, as Houston is also believed to be considering Magic assistant coach Adrian Griffin, Sixers assistant Mike D’Antoni, and Hornets assistant Stephen Silas for its head coaching opening. Still, Borrego remains in the mix for now.

Let’s check in on a few more coaching updates from around the NBA, courtesy of Stein…

  • After promoting Nate McMillan from an assistant coach job to replace Frank Vogel as head coach, the Pacers will have at least one opening on their bench, and the team is in pursuit of Bill Bayno, says Stein (Twitter link). A longtime coach at a variety of levels, Bayno most recently served as an assistant for the Trail Blazers, Timberwolves, and Raptors.
  • Bayno isn’t the only potential assistant being targeted by Indiana. Sources tell Stein (Twitter link) that the Pacers have also expressed interest in hiring Nick Van Exel. The former NBA guard, who coached the D-League’s Texas Legends this past season, is believed to be drawing interest from teams besides Indiana, Stein adds (via Twitter).
  • Dave Joerger is attempting to put together his staff for his first year as the Kings‘ head coach, and Stein tweets that the ex-Grizzlies head coach is targeting Elston Turner and Bryan Gates. Turner, who was mentioned as a candidate early in Sacramento’s coaching search, was a part of Joerger’s staff in Memphis, while Gates spent the 2015/16 season as a Timberwolves assistant.

Northwest Notes: Bennett, Waiters, Leonard

The Timberwolves shopped Anthony Bennett all around the league, even offering him in exchange for a top-55 protected second-round pick that would be unlikely ever to end up in Minnesota, but nobody had interest, several league sources tell Grantland’s Zach Lowe. A trade would have put a team on the hook for his entire salary of nearly $5.804MM for this season, and the same would be true if a team claims him off waivers. However, if the former No. 1 overall pick hits free agency, he would be a worthwhile investment on the minimum salary, Lowe argues. See more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Royce Young of Daily Thunder transcribes several key comments that Thunder GM Sam Presti made Wednesday, including a hint that he sees Steven Adams as a long-term core player and his thoughts on extension candidate Dion Waiters“This is a guy that at 23 years old has some tools that are not easily found,” Presti said of Waiters. “That is one of the reasons that we went to acquire him. At the same time, he has got work to do and he will be the first to tell you that. Some slight adjustments with this guy’s game could lead to some pretty significant impact. I think he has the tools to be an impact player.”
  • Meyers Leonard, another extension-eligible player, is in line for a starting spot with the Blazers, or at least a significant rotation role of the sort he’s yet to have since he became the 11th overall pick in 2012, as The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman examines. His rookie scale contract is set to expire at season’s end.
  • The Wolves officially hired Bryan Gates as an assistant coach and promoted Calvin Booth, who had been a scout and director of player programs, to player personnel director, the team announced along with other staff moves. Shooting coach Mike Penberthy, whom Flip Saunders had said would continue with the team, instead decided to leave, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link), though he’ll still work with Ricky Rubio, with whom he was close, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

Western Notes: Bryant, Gates, Malone

With Kobe Bryant entering the final year of his current deal, the Lakers were hampered by the Mamba’s $25MM salary when trying to rebuild their roster this offseason, and as a result this season will be more of a farewell tour for the superstar than a run at a final title, Shaun Powell of NBA.com writes in his season preview of the club. Powell also notes that while Bryant has a reputation as someone willing to do anything to win a championship, if that was indeed the case he would have pushed to join a contender for what could end up being his final NBA campaign. So instead, Powell opines that Bryant is willing to win, but only on his terms.

Here’s more out of the West:

  • Former Pelicans assistant coach Bryan Gates, who wasn’t retained when Monty Williams was fired, has been added to Flip Saunders‘ staff with the Timberwolves, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports (Twitter link).
  • New Nuggets coach Michael Malone acknowledged that he was consulted by the team’s front office prior to troubled point guard Ty Lawson being traded to the Rockets, Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post writes. “We’re a team. There’s no separation between church and state,” Malone said of his relationship with Denver’s front office. “We’re together, we’re one, we communicate, and I think that’s so important. But at the end of the day, Tim’s [Connelly] job as GM is to make those decisions, obviously with the blessing of [team president] Josh Kroenke. They asked my opinion, I gave it, I tell him what I feel and believe in, and then whatever decision they make I roll with it.
  • The Trail Blazers will have to take a committee approach to try and replace the rim protection that was lost when Robin Lopez departed for the Knicks in free agency this Summer, Mike Richman of The Oregonian writes.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Williams, Nash, Payne

Five second-round picks will give Sixers GM Sam Hinkie a lot of flexibility on draft night, writes Tom Moore of Calkins Media. In addition to the third pick overall, Philadelphia owns picks number 35, 37, 47, 58 and 60. Hinkie also had five second-rounders entering last year’s draft and came out of it with K.J. McDaniels, Jerami Grant, Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic, Jordan McRae, the rights to guard Pierre Jackson and cash considerations. Moore expects the Sixers to be dealing on draft night, possibly trading two of the second-round choices for a late first-rounder. Or they could deal some of them for future picks and a chance to control the second round again next year.

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • Reports that the Raptors were trying to lure former Pelicans coach Monty Williams to their staff as an assistant were incorrect, tweets Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. He adds that Williams just called the team to recommend another coach, and although nobody is saying who it was, Wolstat notes that former Williams assistant Bryan Gates has a long player development background and coaching success in the D-League (Twitter link). Wolstat also reports that the Celtics refused to allow lead assistant Darren Erman to go to a division rival (Twitter link).
  • Celtics guard Marcus Smart is helping former Oklahoma State teammate Le’Bryan Nash prepare for the draft, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. Nash worked out for Boston earlier this week, and Smart paid a visit to his hotel the night before to help Nash prepare. “I just try to take advice from him, asking him so many questions — how are practices, how are road games — so many questions I think he got tired of me asking him so many questions,” Nash said.
  • Murray State point guard Cameron Payne has a scheduled workout with the Knicks, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. He will also work out for the Lakers.

Nuggets Likely To Target D’Antoni, Gentry, Others

3:38pm: Denver is expected to make former Bulls and Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro a candidate for the job, and according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, who also hears mention of ex-Kings coach Michael Malone. Berger hints that’s true of Pelicans assistant Bryan Gates, Pacers assistant Nate McMillan and Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga, too, though that’s not entirely clear. In any case, the Nuggets will likely give Gentry “heavy consideration,” Berger writes.

1:10pm: The Nuggets have yet to any consider long-term candidates, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

1:01pm: Former Warriors coach Mark Jackson, current Warriors assistant coach Alvin Gentry and Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin are believed to be likely candidates to replace the fired Brian Shaw as Nuggets head coach, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick. One-time Mavs and Nets coach Avery Johnson and former Nuggets, Suns, Knicks and Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni are other likely candidates, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com, and a source who knows D’Antoni’s thinking told Amick that he would certainly be interested in the job. Still, the Nuggets indicated when they announced Shaw’s firing that Melvin Hunt would remain as interim coach through season’s end and that they would begin a search for a more permanent replacement after that. Sources confirm to Stein that the Nuggets will take a “long-term view” on their search (Twitter link).

D’Antoni recently suggested in a radio appearance with Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck and Ethan Skolnick that he had interest in returning to coach in the NBA (Twitlonger link; Twitter link). That was before Shaw’s firing, Beck cautions (on Twitter). D’Antoni resigned as Lakers coach last spring, and he got his start as an NBA coach with the 1999 Nuggets.

Jackson also coached as recently as last season, though his three-year Warriors stint is his only head coaching experience. Still, his name was linked to both the Magic and Kings openings earlier this season. Gentry has spent parts of 12 seasons as an NBA head coach, the last coming in 2012/13 with the Suns. That was Johnson’s last year of coaching, too, though he was only in charge of the Nets for the first 28 games that season. Johnson had more success in Dallas, where he took the team to the 2006 NBA Finals and won 67 games in 2006/07. Griffin has so far only served as an assistant coach with the Bucks and Bulls since the 2008/09 season, but Chicago promoted him before this season to lead assistant.