Hornets Rumors

Hornets Should Take Long-Term View In Draft

  • The Hornets should be taking a long-term view in the upcoming draft and high-upside prospects like Kevin Knox or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander make sense at No. 11, Woo contends in the same piece. The scribe adds that if Charlotte selects a point guard in the first round, it could signal the end of the Kemba Walker era.

Draft Updates: Musa, Knox, Williams, Sixers

The Nets may be willing to package their picks to move up for Bosnia’s Dzanan Musa, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The 19-year-old small forward has spent the past week visiting teams that might be willing to use a first-round selection on him. The Nets hold the 29th pick, but may have to give up their second-rounders at 40 and 45 to get into Musa’s range.

Musa has two years remaining on his contract with KK Cedevita in the EuroLeague, but he plans to come to the NBA next season.

“I want to compete at the highest level and to compete with the best players in the world,” Musa said in an interview with CBS Sports affiliate 1430-AM in Indianapolis. “[My strength is] scoring: shooting, midrange floaters, to the rim. … I just want to get picked by the team who sees me as a project. But I think I’m a lottery pick for sure.”

There’s more draft-related news to pass along:

Draft Updates: Green Room, Sexton, Gilgeous-Alexander, Shamet

The names of several green room invitees for Thursday night’s draft have been leaked, relays Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Only college players will be in the room this year, as Luka Doncic is still involved with his season for Real Madrid.

The projected top picks will be well represented with Arizona’s Deandre Ayton, Duke’s Marvin Bagley III, Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr., Texas’ Mo Bamba, Alabama’s Collin Sexton, Oklahoma’s Trae Young, Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr., Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr., Villanova’s Mikal Bridges, Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Michigan State’s Miles Bridges all on hand.

Joining them will be Kentucky’s Kevin Knox, Texas A&M’s Robert Williams, Miami’s Lonnie Walker, Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo, Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith, Boston College’s Jerome Robinson, Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison and UCLA’s Aaron Holiday.

There’s more pre-draft news to pass along:

  • Sexton doesn’t have any more workouts on his schedule after completing today’s session with the Magic, tweets Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Sexton has been limiting his workouts to teams in his projected range, as the only others were for the Cavaliers (No. 8 pick), Knicks (No. 9) and Hornets (No. 11).
  • Gilgeous-Alexander is a rare mid-level prospect who hasn’t conducted a single publicized workout, notes Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype. Although a team or two may have brought him in for a secret session, there are also organizations that tried to work him out but were denied. Kalbrosky speculates Gilgeous-Alexander’s representatives may be trying to steer him to a large-market team like the Clippers, who hold the 12th and 13th picks.
  • The Sixers will work out Wichita State’s Landry Shamet on Tuesday, Kalbroksy tweets, adding that Philadelphia may consider him at No. 26.
  • The Suns held a workout today with Texas Tech’s Smith as the biggest name in the group. Also participating, according to a tweet from the team, were Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie, Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson, Wake Forest’s Bryant Crawford, Oregon State’s Drew Eubanks and Bosnia’s Markus Loncar. This is the Suns’ final scheduled session before the draft, tweets Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic.

And-Ones: Brown, Motiejunas, Broekhoff, USA Basketball

Longtime NBA coach Larry Brown will sign his contract to become the head coach of the Euroleague’s Fiat Torino on Sunday, according to a Sportando report. Brown’s agent, Massimo Rizzo, said his client has already signed a letter of intent to coach the club but won’t ink the official contract until his press conference this weekend, the report adds. The 77-year-old will be taking his first head coaching position since resigning from Southern Methodist two years ago.

We have more international and domestic basketball news:

  • Forward Donatas Motiejunas will remain in China next season, Sportando relays. He re-signed with Shandong for approximately $3MM, the report adds. Motiejunas played 34 games with the Pelicans in 2016/17 after beginning his career with the Rockets, but long-terms concerns over the soundness of his back sidetracked his NBA career.
  • Australian swingman Ryan Broekhoff has visited several teams this week hoping to land an NBA contract, HoopsHype tweets. Broekhoff, who went undrafted out of Valparaiso in 2013, was scheduled to visit and work out for the Wizards, Timberwolves, Bucks and Nets, HoopsHype adds.
  • Reggie Hearn, Jonathan Holmes, Amile Jefferson, David Stockton and Xavier Munford are among the 14 players who will be on the training camp roster for the USA World Cup Qualifying Team, according a USA Basketball press release. Training camp begins on Wednesday and the final roster will be pared to 12 players.  In the FIBA World Cup Qualifying games, the U.S. will face Mexico on June 28th in Mexico City and Cuba on July 1st in Havana.
  • The Hornets and Raptors are interested in adding Sergio Scariolo, who is currently the head coach of the Spanish national team, to their staffs, according to another Sportando post.

Kevin Knox Visiting Hornets

The Hornets will become the latest team to meet with Kentucky prospect Kevin Knox, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who tweets that Knox is flying from Philadelphia to Charlotte to visit the club. Pompey notes that Knox will interview with the Hornets on Saturday, while Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link) expects a workout to happen Sunday.

There’s no shortage of potential options for the Hornets, and Knox figures to be among that group. However, in his latest mock draft, Bonnell has another former Kentucky standout – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – going to Charlotte at No. 11.

Draft Notes: Bagley, DiVincenzo, Sexton, Brunson, Gabriel, Bates-Diop

Duke University product Marvin Bagley III is expected to sign an endorsement deal with Puma, tweets JonKrawczynski of The Athletic. The deal is over five years and is expected to be the largest shoe deal signed by a rookie since Kevin Durant inked a seven-year, $60MM deal with Nike, Krawczynski adds.

The deal is historic as Puma has not represented an NBA player in nearly two decades. The last time Puma signed an NBA player was Vince Carter in 1998, per Yahoo! Sports. Bagley is widely expected to one of the top five picks in the draft.

Puma has also expressed interest in Oklahoma point guard Trae Young, another likely top-10 pick, per ESPN’s Nick DePaula.

Check out more draft notes below:

  • Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo is in Phoenix to interview with the Suns, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. DiVincenzo has already worked out for the Timberwolves, Bulls, Pacers, and several other clubs.
  • Fellow Villanova guard Jalen Brunson completed a previously-reported workout with the Pacers on Thursday, tweets Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports. Brunson now has scheduled visits with the Spurs and Celtics.
  • Alabama point guard Collin Sexton, who has been selective with the teams he works out for, is scheduled to meet with the Magic on Saturday, tweets Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
  • Possible first-round pick Keita Bates-Diop will work out for the Hawks soon, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The Ohio State forward worked out for the Wizards on Thursday.
  • After working out for the Raptors on Thursday, Wenyen Gabriel has scheduled visits with the Sixers, Pistons, and Hornets on tap, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com.
  • The Hornets will work out six players on Friday, the team announced in a press release. The scheduled participants include Xavier’s Trevon BluiettMississipi’s Markel Crawford, Oregon State’s Drew Eubanks, Nebraska’s Anton Gill, Virginia’s Nigel Johnson, and Wichita State’s Shaquille Morris.

Heat Notes: Richardson, James, Wade, Ellington

Heat forward Josh Richardson is confident that Miami can put a contending team around LeBron James if he decides to come there in free agency, relays Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. Richardson, who is working out in Santa Barbara, California, and trying to add bulk to his 205-pound body, believes James could be the “transformational player” that team president Pat Riley has talked about acquiring.

“I think we have great pieces to offer to play around him,” Richardson said. “We play with a lot of intensity. We’ve got a lot of dog in us. You need that in the trenches. That’s all I can really say about it.”

The dilemma for Richardson is that trading him might be James’ only path back to Miami. The Heat have 11 players under contract next season totaling about $120MM, putting them close to the projected $123MM tax line. Their only realistic hope to acquire James through a trade, and Richardson would be among their most desirable assets in any deal.

There’s more today from Miami:

  • Richardson, who has quickly developed a reputation as one of the league’s best defenders, was angry about being overlooked for this year’s All-Defensive team. He thought he earned the recognition after recording a career-best 121 steals during the season. “I still think I’m one of the best defenders in the NBA, but I can’t sit around and sulk about it,” Richardson said. “I’m not too bent out of shape about it anymore. But it’s definitely one of my goals to make those teams.”
  • Dwyane Wade, who is one of James’ closest friends and a former teammate in both Miami and Cleveland, said he can’t provide any insight into the thought process of the Cavaliers star. “Let’s let the record show … I don’t have any inside information whatsoever about his decision!” Wade tweeted this week.
  • Shooting specialist Wayne Ellington, who set an NBA record for most 3-pointers by a reserve in a single season, may be too expensive for the Heat to re-sign given their cap situation. Frank Urbina of HoopsHype looks at potential destinations for Ellington, naming the Hornets, Pistons and Warriors as possibilities if he leaves Miami.

Collin Sexton, Others Working Out For Hornets

Alabama point guard Collin Sexton will headline the Hornets‘ pre-draft workouts on Thursday, according to a press release from the team. Sexton’s stock is high enough that he’s a decent bet to come off the board within the first 10 picks of next week’s draft, but if he slips to No. 11, Charlotte would face an interesting decision — drafting Sexton would almost certainly increase the trade buzz surrounding the team’s current standout point guard Kemba Walker.

In addition to Sexton and previously-reported participant Zhaire Smith, Josh Newkirk (Indiana), Matt Mobley (St. Bonaventure), Deng Adel (Louisville), Gary Clark (Cincinnati), and Devon Hall (Virginia) will also get a look from the Hornets on Thursday.

  • Billy Preston, who last played in Bosnia, has workouts on tap with the Trail Blazers, Bucks, Hornets, and Nets, he said today (Twitter link via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington). Preston is one of 91 early entrants hoping to be drafted this year.

Draft Notes: Sixers, Z. Smith, Pacers, Suns, Wolves

The Sixerspreviously-reported workout with Villanova wing Mikal Bridges is taking place today, but Bridges isn’t the only prospect in town to get a look from the club. According to a press release, the 76ers also hosted a group workout today, with Marcus Derrickson (Georgetown), Marcus Foster (Creighton), Donte Ingram (Loyola Chicago), Nick King (Middle Tennessee State), MiKyle McIntosh), and Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech) taking part.

Speaking of Smith, his busy workout schedule will continue, with an audition for the Hornets still on tap, as Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia tweets. We previously heard that Smith also has a workout lined up with Phoenix.

Let’s round up a few more draft-related notes…

2018 NBA Head Coaching Carousel Recap

After a 2017 offseason in which no NBA team made a head coaching change, the coaching carousel started spinning again once the 2017/18 regular season got underway. The Suns fired Earl Watson just four games into the season, and the Bucks and Grizzlies followed suit with in-season changes of their own.

At the end of the 2017/18 campaign, six more teams made coaching changes, meaning nearly one-third of the league’s 30 clubs will enter next season with head coaches who have been on the job for less than a year.

Here’s a recap of which teams have made head coaching changes during the ’17/18 NBA league year:

Atlanta Hawks

  • Hired: Lloyd Pierce (story)
  • Replaced: Mike Budenholzer (story)
  • Contract details: Four-year deal; fourth-year team option (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Nate Tibbetts, Stephen Silas, Jay Larranaga, Jarron Collins, Darvin Ham, David Fizdale

Pierce has an extensive résumé as an NBA assistant, having worked for the Cavaliers (2007-10), Warriors (2010-11), Grizzlies (2011-13), and Sixers (2013-18). His time in Golden State overlapped with Travis Schlenk‘s tenure in the Warriors’ front office. This will be Pierce’s first NBA head coaching job.

Charlotte Hornets

  • Hired: James Borrego (story)
  • Replaced: Steve Clifford (story)
  • Contract details: Four-year deal (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Jay Larranaga, Jerry Stackhouse, Ettore Messina, David Fizdale, Ime Udoka, David Vanterpool, Jim Boylen, Nick Nurse

Although he earned a little experience as an interim head coach in Orlando in 2015, Borrego has primarily served as an NBA assistant throughout his coaching career. He was previously an assistant for the Spurs (2003-10; 2015-18), Hornets (2010-12), and Magic (2012-15). This will be Borrego’s first permanent NBA head coaching job.

Detroit Pistons

  • Hired: Dwane Casey (story)
  • Replaced: Stan Van Gundy (story)
  • Contract details: Five-year deal, $35MM+ (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Kenny Smith, Juwan Howard, Ime Udoka, John Beilein, Jason Kidd, Nick Nurse
    • Note: The Pistons reportedly wanted to interview Mike Budenholzer before he was hired by the Bucks.

The 2018 recipient of the National Coaches Basketball Association’s Coach of the Year award, Casey is coming off a successful seven-year run as the Raptors’ head coach. A former assistant for the SuperSonics (1994-2005) and Mavericks (2008-11), Casey also had a head coaching stint with the Timberwolves (2005-07). This will be his third NBA head coaching job.

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Hired: J.B. Bickerstaff (story)
  • Replaced: David Fizdale (in-season change)
  • Contract details: Three-year deal; third-year team option (link)

Of the nine teams who named new permanent head coaches this spring, Memphis was the only one not to conduct a full-fledged search. The Grizzlies opted to remove Bickerstaff’s interim tag, despite his 15-48 record last season. Bickerstaff was the Rockets’ interim head coach in 2015/16, but this will be his first role as a permanent head coach.

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Hired: Mike Budenholzer (story)
  • Replaced: Jason Kidd (in-season change); Joe Prunty (interim coach)
  • Contract details: Four-year deal (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Joe Prunty, Ettore Messina, Steve Clifford, Monty Williams, David Blatt, Becky Hammon, Jay Larranaga, Jim Cleamons
    • Note: The Bucks reportedly wanted to interview James Borrego before he was hired by the Horents.

Budenholzer began interviewing for other head coaching positions while still under contract with the Hawks, but eventually he and Atlanta formally parted ways. The Milwaukee job will give Budenholzer the chance to avoid going through the rebuild in Atlanta. A longtime Spurs assistant (1996-2013), Budenholzer led the Hawks for five seasons. This will be his second NBA head coaching job.

New York Knicks

  • Hired: David Fizdale (story)
  • Replaced: Jeff Hornacek (story)
  • Contract details: Four-year deal (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Jerry Stackhouse, Mark Jackson, Mike Woodson, Kenny Smith, Mike Budenholzer, David Blatt, James Borrego, Jay Larranaga, Juwan Howard (story), Mike Brown

Fizdale, a veteran assistant with the Warriors (2003-04), Hawks (2004-08), and Heat (2008-16), received his first shot as an NBA head coach in Memphis in 2016. He was fired just 19 games into his second season with the Grizzlies, but was a popular candidate for teams with coaching openings this spring. This will be Fizdale’s second NBA head coaching job.

Orlando Magic

  • Hired: Steve Clifford (story)
  • Replaced: Frank Vogel (story)
  • Contract details: Four-year deal (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: David Vanterpool, Ime Udoka, Kelvin Sampson, David Fizdale

The Magic conducted the longest-lasting head coaching search of any team and ultimately landed on Clifford, who is coming off a five-year stint as the head coach in Charlotte. Prior to joining the Hornets, Clifford worked as an assistant for the Knicks (2001-03), Rockets (2003-07), Magic (2007-12), and Lakers (2012-13). This will be his second NBA head coaching job.

Phoenix Suns

  • Hired: Igor Kokoskov (story)
  • Replaced: Earl Watson (in-season change); Jay Triano (interim coach)
  • Contract details: Three-year deal (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: David Fizdale, Frank Vogel, Steve Clifford, Vinny Del Negro, James Borrego, Nick Nurse, Chris Finch, Jason Kidd, Mike Budenholzer

Kokoskov has been an assistant coach for several NBA teams, including the Clippers (2000-03), Pistons (2003-08), Suns (2008-13), Cavaliers (2013-14), Magic (2015), and Jazz (2015-18). He also has some international head coaching experience, having coached the Serbian, Georgian, and Slovenian national teams. This will be Kokoskov’s first NBA head coaching job, and he also becomes the league’s first European-born head coach.

Toronto Raptors

  • Hired: Nick Nurse (story)
  • Replaced: Dwane Casey (story)
  • Contract details: Three-year deal, $10MM (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Rex Kalamian, Jerry Stackhouse, Ettore Messina, Ime Udoka, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Mike Budenholzer

Nurse coached outside of the NBA for much of his career, spending more than a decade in the British Basketball League and six seasons in the G League. He arrived in Toronto as an assistant in 2013 and has spent the last five years on the Raptors’ bench. This will be his first NBA head coaching job.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.