Charles Lee

Pelicans Notes: Van Gundy, Udoka, Lee, Redick

The hiring of Stan Van Gundy shows the sense of urgency within the Pelicans organization, William Guillory of The Athletic opines. Anything less than immediate playoff contention on a roster headed by Zion Williamson will be viewed as a failure, Guillory notes. Van Gundy would not have left his TV job for a rebuilding project and Pelicans executives will expect immediate results from their big-name hire, Guillory adds.

We have more on the Pelicans:

  • Ime Udoka and Charles Lee are potential additions to the Pelicans’ coaching staff, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports. Udoka was an assistant under Brett Brown with the Sixers last season after a seven-year stint with the Spurs. Lee has worked under Mike Budenholzer since the 2014/15 season, first with the Hawks and then with the Bucks.
  • The fact that Van Gundy can concentrate on coaching rather than wearing two hats fosters the belief he’ll be a success in New Orleans, according to Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Times Picayune. Van Gundy was a flop in Detroit largely due to his personnel decisions. Van Gundy’s gregarious personality was a key factor in the hire, as Pelicans executive David Griffin feels Van Gundy will be able to connect with a young roster and make players accountable.
  • J.J. Redick is unlikely to be traded with Van Gundy on the bench, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (hat tip to Sportando). Redick, who has one year and $13MM remaining on his contract, played for Van Gundy in Orlando.
  • If you didn’t get all the details on Van Gundy taking the coaching reins in New Orleans, we have them here.

Thunder Notes: Weaver, Gallinari, Coaching Search

The Thunder‘s head coaching search now includes former Sixers and Nets assistant Will Weaver, sources tell Mitch Lawrence of SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter link). Weaver, who coached the Long Island Nets in 2018/19, currently serves as the head coach of the Sydney Kings in Australia’s National Basketball League.

In an episode of his Hoop Collective podcast earlier this month, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst linked Weaver to the Pelicans‘ head coaching search, noting that the veteran coach has a working relationship with New Orleans’ general manager Trajan Langdon. As Windhorst explains, the Pelicans’ decision to send 2019 second-round pick Didi Louzada to Sydney was related to Weaver’s presence there.

Relaying Windhorst’s comments last week, Matt Logue of The Australian wrote that “it is understood” that Weaver will interview for the Thunder’s open head coaching job.

While we wait to see if anything more concrete materializes between Weaver and two of the teams still seeking head coaches, here are a few more Thunder-related items:

  • An unrestricted free agent this fall, Danilo Gallinari published a tweet on Tuesday asking, “Where to next?” There’s still a chance Gallinari could return to the Thunder for the 2020/21 season, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman writes. However, Oklahoma City is believed to be mulling a rebuild and Gallinari’s Tuesday tweet suggests he’s preparing to play elsewhere next season.
  • Elsewhere at The Oklahoman, Mussatto continues to profile coaches who he believes could become candidates for the Thunder’s head coaching vacancy. In recent days, he has taken a closer look at Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts, Bucks assistant Charles Lee, Sixers assistant Ime Udoka, and Dayton head coach Anthony Grant.
  • In case you missed it last week, we previewed the Thunder’s major upcoming offseason decisions, including the possibility of a Chris Paul trade.

Pacers Identify 14 Head Coaching Candidates

The Pacers are set to begin a wide-ranging search for a head coach that will include more than a dozen candidates, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. As Wojnarowski details, Indiana is looking to interview the following candidates as the team seeks a replacement for Nate McMillan:

  • Former Kings and Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger
  • Timberwolves associate head coach David Vanterpool
  • Nets associate head coach Jacque Vaughn
  • Trail Blazers associate head coach Nate Tibbetts
  • Spurs assistants Becky Hammon and Will Hardy
  • Heat assistants Dan Craig and Chris Quinn
  • Mavericks assistants Jamahl Mosley and Stephen Silas
  • Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee
  • Sixers assistant Ime Udoka
  • Magic assistant Pat Delany

It remains to be seen whether the Pacers will be granted permission to speak with all of their potential targets. If they do, the team’s first round of virtual meetings would feature at least 14 interviews.

Many of the Pacers’ coaching candidates identified by Wojnarowski have been linked to other vacancies around the league. Vanterpool, Craig, Mosley, Silas, Ham, and Udoka, for example, are all believed to be interviewing for the Bulls’ job. Udoka and Ham have also been mentioned as potential 76ers candidates, as has Joerger. Vaughn was seriously considered for the Nets job before the team hired Steve Nash, while Hardy and Delany interviewed with the Knicks before they hired Tom Thibodeau.

[RELATED: 2020 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Others on Indiana’s list, such as Tibbetts and Hammon, have interviewed in past years for various NBA head coaching openings. Only a couple candidates – Quinn and Lee – haven’t received head coaching consideration in the past, as far as I can tell. Meanwhile, Joerger and Vaughn are the only names on the list with previous head coaching experience.

Mike D’Antoni has also been mentioned as a potential target for the Pacers, but he remains active in the postseason with the Rockets and there’s no guarantee he’ll leave Houston when his contract expires.

Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard has spoken about wanting to hire a head coach who takes a “modern approach” to the game and has the ability to connect with younger players. McMillan’s old-school approach to offense was believed to be one reason why Indiana made a change.

Central Notes: Pacers, Budenholzer, Bulls, Tate

The Pacers will host their first pre-draft workout tomorrow morning and it too will consist of six participants, per an official release from the team. The highest rated players are UNLV big man Brandon McCoy and Wichita State guard Landry Shamet.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has Shamet coming off the board at No. 50 in the second round to the Pacers, so it makes sense that he’d be one of the first prospects they brought in. The Pacers also have the No. 23 overall selection. Meanwhile, McCoy is rated as the No. 70 overall prospect by Givony.

In addition to Shamet and McCoy, the Pacers will also host Jaylen Adams (St. Bonaventure), Marcus Foster (Creighton), Nick King (Middle Tennessee State), and Yante Maten (Georgia).

There is more tonight from the Central Division:

Central Notes: Irving, Bamba, Lee, Brown, Pistons

In a series of tweets before the Cavaliers went down 0-1 in their series against the Warriors, owner Dan Gilbert voiced his thoughts about Cleveland’s’ journey, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. The Cavs are back in the NBA Finals for a fourth straight season and team owner Gilbert said that trading Kyrie Irving was a crucial part of that.

Gilbert said that general manager Koby Altman‘s decision to deal Irving, and then restructure the roster at the deadline was critical in getting the team to this point.

“W/o either of these 2 bold moves orchestrated by Koby & the @Cavs front office, we would not be here w/ a good chance to bring another one home to CLE,” Gilbert wrote in one tweet. Gilbert also praised LeBron James, writing that “his impact is magical,” and also lauded the play of his support cast.

Much was made of the Cavaliers’ decision to part with Irving last summer as the point guard helped lead the team to an NBA title two seasons ago. James himself admitted to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he doubted the Cavaliers’ ability to compete after the team dealt Irving.

“Even if you start back to the summertime where I felt like it was just bad for our franchise just to be able to trade away our superstar point guard,” James said. “A guy that I had been in so many battles with over the last three years, and obviously I wasn’t a part of the communications and know exactly what went on between the two sides. But I just felt like it was bad timing for our team.”

Check out more Central Division notes down below:

  • Former Hawks assistant coach Charles Lee has signed a contract with the Bucks to join the staff of new head coach Mike Budenholzer, tweets Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • During a press conference before Game 1, NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the January police video that showed Bucks player Sterling Brown being arrested. Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports writes that Silver called the footage “horrific” and that he has been in contact with Brown.
  • After working out and interviewing with the Bulls, Texas big man Mohamed Bamba has made a compelling case to be drafted by the Bulls as the seventh overall pick, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes.
  • With the departure of GM Jeff Bower, assistant GM Pat Garrity is likely a strong candidate to land a key role in the Pistons’ front office, tweets Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Keith Langlois of NBA.com looks at the Pistons‘ search for a head coach and a general manager. With Ed Stefanski hired to oversee the hiring process, Langlois writes that Detroit should prioritize a head coach.

And-Ones: Hawks, Young, International Play

The Hawks have added Charles Lee and Ben Sullivan to Mike Budenholzer‘s staff as assistants, the team announced. The Hawks also announced that Jim Thomas will leave his assistant coaching role to become a scout in Atlanta’s front office. Here’s more from around the league:

  • Tom Moore of Calkins Media suggests that the Sixers could still swap Thaddeus Young for other Wolves players and/or a first-round pick if they are unable to land Anthony Bennett as the third team in a Kevin Love deal, although it’s unclear if Moore is reporting on the team’s plans or is merely hypothesizing.
  • Commisioner Adam Silver acknowledged to reporters including Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com that international play is “a big risk without enormous financial reward” for NBA players, but still views it as a legitimate endeavor for willing stars. “Ultimately they have to make that very personal decision as to whether they want to play in the summer: whether it makes sense for their bodies, whether it makes sense for their families,” said Silver.
  • Silver does expect the issue of international play to be debated by the league soon. “I do anticipate it will be a hot topic at the competition meeting and the Board of Governors meeting just because it always has been,” Silver said. “We are always evaluating and re-evaluating everything we do; it is a part of running any business.”
  • Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post spoke with Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr., who are both vying to become the Wizards primary small forward off the bench, about their development heading into next season.