Chauncey Billups

Pistons Notes: Summer League, Billups, GM Search, Roster, Grades

As one of the eight teams that won’t head to Orlando to resume the season, the Pistons have made proposals to the league for a revised summer league and earlier training camp, Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press reports.

The Pistons would like to hold a “mini-summer league” in July featuring structured workouts and games against other lottery-bound teams for their younger players. They also requested to hold a team training camp in mid-September for all players under contract for next season, Sankofa adds. That wouldn’t include free agent signings and draft picks, since that would occur in October. The start of the 2020/21 season has been pushed to December.

We have more Pistons-related news:

  • In the same story, Sankofa indicated that Chauncey Billups is a front office candidate but not for the position he covets. The Pistons are seeking a GM and assistant GM. Billups is only interested in the GM job but the front office would rather bring him in as assistant GM and groom their 2004 NBA Finals MVP for a higher-level executive position.
  • The GM search signals that senior adviser Ed Stefanski will eventually move into a background role, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic notes. The franchise prefers an experienced candidate for the GM job who can make an immediate impact and oversee player evaluations and the draft, Edwards continues. It’s also possible that the Pistons will hire multiple assistant GMs and leave the GM spot vacant for next season, he adds.
  • Blake Griffin, Sekou Doumbouya and Bruce Brown are the players under contract most likely to remain on the roster entering next season, Keith Langlois of the team’s website opines. Derrick Rose will also likely be back, though he’d be a prime trade candidate in his walk year if the team fortifies the point guard spot, Langlois adds.
  • A couple of players earned A-minuses from Detroit News beat writer Rod Beard. See all his evaluations and final grades here.

Pistons Notes: GM Search, Kennard, Bone

The Pistons will focus on external candidates in their search for a new general manager, according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. The new GM will work alongside senior advisor Ed Stefanski to chart a course for the future of the franchise, while Malik Rose and Pat Garrity will be retained as assistant GMs.

Edwards identifies several potential candidates for the position: Pelicans assistant GM Bryson Graham, former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox, Jazz GM Justin Zanik, Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes, who was considered for the GM job in Chicago, and Thunder VP of basketball operations Troy Weaver. Edwards also suggests that University of Memphis assistant coach Mike Miller, who had Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem as an agent during his playing career, could be brought in as another assistant GM.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Rod Beard of The Detroit News agrees on Hughes and Weaver and offers a few other candidates who might be in play. Shane Battier grew up in the Detroit area and serves as VP of basketball development and analytics with the Heat, but Beard believes it would be difficult to talk him into leaving Miami. Chauncey Billups is a Pistons hero from his playing days and has been considered for other front office openings. Tayshaun Prince, who teamed with Billups on the 2004 championship team, became VP of basketball operations for the Grizzlies last year. Celtics assistant GM Michael Zarren has spent 14 years with the organization and has turned down other opportunities, but Beard believes the Pistons should contact him.
  • Working Luke Kennard back into the rotation would have been a priority if the season had continued, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Kennard, who had been battling tendinitis in both knees since December, was set to return in the Pistons’ next game when the hiatus was imposed. With Kennard about to enter the final year of his rookie contract, Detroit will have to decide soon whether to make a long-term commitment or try to trade him, and Langlois sees his shooting skills as an important element for a rebuilding team.
  • The Pistons may have other priorities at point guard that will prevent Jordan Bone from earning a roster spot next season, Langlois adds in the same piece. Derrick Rose has another year on his contract, and Langlois expects the team to find a veteran to complement him. Also, there will also be plenty of opportunity to fill the position in a draft that’s heavy on point guards. Bone saw limited time in 10 NBA games as a two-way player this season, but averaged 19.9 points per 36 minutes and shot 38% from 3-point range in the G League.

NBA, ESPN Announce Details Of H-O-R-S-E Competition

As expected, Thunder guard Chris PaulHawks guard Trae Young, and Bulls guard Zach LaVine are among the players who will participate in the H-O-R-S-E competition being organized by the NBA, NBPA, and ESPN, per a press release.

According to the announcement, Jazz guard Mike Conley, former NBA stars Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce, newly-elected Hall-of-Famer Tamika Catchings, and three-time WNBA All-Star Allie Quigley will fill out the eight-person field for the event.

The four quarterfinal matchups will air on Sunday evening (April 12), with Young facing Billups and Catchings facing Conley in group one, while LaVine goes up against Pierce and Paul squares off against Quigley in group two. The group one winners will face one another in the first semifinal next Thursday (April 16), with the group two winners competing in the second semifinal. The final will take place on the same night.

A coin toss will determine which player starts each matchup. Each player will be required to describe his or her shot attempt beforehand and dunking won’t be permitted. ESPN’s Mark Jones will serve as the event’s host, with each player attempting shots from his or her own home gym.

The event will raise more than $200K in support of coronavirus relief efforts.

Knicks Notes: Fizdale, M. Jackson, Ujiri, DSJ

Asked today about his reaction to an ESPN report that suggested team president Steve Mills is laying the groundwork to eventually fire him, head coach David Fizdale told reporters that he talks every day with Mills and GM Scott Perry, and that they’ve been supportive of him (Twitter links via Ian Begley of SNY.tv). However, it doesn’t sound as if Fizdale hasn’t received any specific assurances about his job security.

I got a two-and-a-half year contract,” Fizdale said, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic (Twitter link). “That’s my assurance. That’s our business. The assurance is that I have a contract.”

According to Begley (video link), Knicks ownership isn’t expected to have a “heavy hand” in the team’s head coaching decision. Any move involving Fizdale would be made solely by Mills, says Begley.

As we wait to see what’s next for Fizdale and the Knicks, here are a few more notes on the team:

  • Chris Mannix of SI.com tweets that Mark Jackson is a name to watch if the Knicks make a head coaching change, since Jackson is a Perry favorite who was a candidate before the team hired Fizdale in 2018. Sean Deveney of Heavy.com identifies Kenny Smith, Chauncey Billups, Mike Woodson, and Tom Thibodeau as others who could emerge as candidates in that scenario, while Newsday’s Steve Popper (Twitter link) mentions Jason Kidd.
  • In response to a report that the Knicks may pursue Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri again next year, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca tweets that he doesn’t believe Ujiri would ever want to work for Knicks owner James Dolan under any circumstance.
  • While the Knicks have been criticized for their return in last season’s Kristaps Porzingis trade, the club remains hopeful about Dennis Smith Jr.‘s long-term prospects and those two first-round picks coming their way, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. “We don’t know what Dennis Smith is going to be,” Fizdale said. “He’s 21 years old. We’ve still got two first-round picks out of that. Who knows who that’s going to be? We won’t know exactly what comes out of that for a year or two.”

Central Notes: Holiday, Billups, Pistons, LaVine

New Pacers guard Justin Holiday was drawn to Indiana as a free agent due to the team’s winning culture and mentality, according to David Woods of the Indianapolis Star.

Holiday, whose brother Aaron Holiday currently plays for the Pacers, agreed to a one-year, $4.8MM deal with Indiana after evaluating interest on the open market. He has mostly played for non-playoff teams in recent seasons, making stops with Philadelphia, Golden State, Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Memphis across his six-year career.

“It had nothing to do with finances at all,” Holiday said, as relayed by Woods. “I literally came here because of the culture of the team, coaching staff, the people in the front office. And my brother – that helps as well.

“This team wins every year. That’s something I want to do, is to be able to win. And also help the team get to the next level because I believe can do that.”

Holiday is expected to provide depth in the backcourt for the Pacers, a franchise that finished with a solid record (48-34) last year despite losing All-Star guard Victor Oladipo to injury. Indiana will be seeking its fifth straight playoff appearance and ninth in the last 10 years this upcoming season.

There’s more from the Central Division tonight:

  • Former Pistons star Chauncey Billups hopes to see the team reach the playoffs again next spring, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press writes. “Continuity can be a good thing, just add some pieces here and there,” Billups said. “I need to see how it all works together, but we’ll see because teams got a lot better. I can’t tell you the Pistons are one of those teams that got a lot better — maybe a little better. Obviously, I’m hoping that the Pistons will jump out there and kick a lot of butt because I’m tired of people talking stuff to me about my Pistons.”
  • New players could allow the Pistons to mix up rotations and try different lineups this season, Rod Beard writes for The Detroit News. The Pistons signed Derrick Rose, Markieff Morris and Tim Frazier to contracts in free agency, also acquiring forward Tony Snell from Milwaukee, claiming Christian Wood off waivers and selecting Sekou Doumbouya at No. 15 in June’s NBA Draft.
  • Former Bulls forward Bobby Portis tweeted his support on Saturday to get Zach LaVine on Team USA for the FIBA World Cup. Portis and LaVine were teammates in Chicago for part of last season and during the 2017/18 season.

Timberwolves Nearing End Of Front Office Search?

The Timberwolves‘ interview with Chauncey Billups for their president of basketball operations position will take place on Monday, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

According to Wojnarowski, the meeting with Billups will be Minnesota’s final interview. So far, the club has met with Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon, Nuggets assistant GM Calvin Booth, and Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas about the job. The Wolves also wanted to interview Clippers GM Michael Winger, but he opted to remain in his position with Los Angeles.

While there was speculation that the Timberwolves could further expand their list of candidates to replace Tom Thibodeau atop the front office, Wojnarowski’s reference to Billups being the “final” interview suggests that the club will ultimately offer the job to one of the four current candidates.

There’s been little indication of which direction the Wolves may be leaning, but Billups’ and Booth’s names came up most frequently throughout the season in the wake of Thibodeau’s dismissal. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders recently suggested (via Twitter) that Booth may be the frontrunner.

Besides preparing for the Timberwolves’ upcoming offseason roster decisions, the club’s new president of basketball operations will have to make decisions on GM Scott Layden and head coach Ryan Saunders. As Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic explained last week, both Layden and Saunders appear to be in good position to return, but the new head of basketball operations will have the opportunity to consult with owner Glen Taylor on their respective futures.

GM Michael Winger To Stay With Clippers

Clippers GM Michael Winger has taken his name out of the running for a front office position in Minnesota, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

Winger had been a candidate to fill the president of basketball operations role with the Timberwolves, but sources tell Krawczynski that he has elected to stay in L.A. and continue the work he started there. He was reluctant to leave an already competitive team that will have the cap room to offer at least one max contract this summer (Twitter link).

Winger has served as GM of the Clippers since 2017 and previously worked as an assistant GM to Sam Presti in Oklahoma City. The Wolves haven’t started formal interviews yet, so Winger didn’t have more than preliminary contact with them (Twitter link).

With one candidate off the list, Minnesota still appears to have a strong group to choose from, with ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups, Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon, Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas and Nuggets assistant GM Calvin Booth as the other reported candidates.

Wolves, Chauncey Billups To Discuss Front Office Role

The Timberwolves will meet with Chauncey Billups sometime in the near future to discuss their open president of basketball operations position, sources tell Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link).

A longtime NBA guard who spent two seasons of his playing career in Minnesota, Billups has long been rumored to be a potential target for the Timberwolves, even before Tom Thibodeau was dismissed from his president of basketball operations role by the team.

Billups lacks front office experience, but Minnesota isn’t the only team that views him as a potential decision-maker for an NBA franchise — he previously interviewed for top jobs with the Cavaliers and Hawks.

Recently, Marc Stein of The New York Times wrote that there was some skepticism about owner Glen Taylor‘s ability to make Billups an offer attractive enough to lure him away from his analyst job at ESPN. However, it appears the two sides will at least meet to discuss the idea.

Billups is hardly the only candidate being considered by the Timberwolves as they seek out a new head of basketball operations. Reports earlier this week indicated that Minnesota is also in the process of securing interviews with Clippers GM Michael Winger, Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, and Nuggets assistant GM Calvin Booth.

According to Charania and Krawczynski (via Twitter), the Wolves have been finalizing interview dates with those candidates.

Northwest Notes: McCollum, Layden, Wolves, Craig

The Trail Blazers may have injured guard C.J. McCollum back in their lineup tomorrow, tweets Jason Quick of The Athletic. McCollum is listed as probable for a second straight division showdown with the Nuggets. He hasn’t played since suffering a left knee strain on March 16.

The return of McCollum, who is second on the team in scoring at 21.3 PPG, comes at an opportune time for Portland, which is trying to hold onto home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. After last night’s loss to Denver, the Blazers stand at 50-29, just one game ahead of the fifth-place Jazz.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves will decide the fate of GM Scott Layden after the season ends, with ESPN broadcaster Chauncey Billups and Nuggets assistant GM Calvin Booth among the top candidates if Minnesota decides to make a change, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Wolves owner Glen Taylor was reportedly unhappy with Layden and former coach/executive Tom Thibodeau over the way they handled Jimmy Butler‘s trade request. Thibodeau was dismissed in early January.
  • A $9.2MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception will provide the Timberwolves with their best chance to improve this summer, writes Danny Leroux of The Athletic. All five starters will be under contract if Jeff Teague opts in to his $19MM salary, so Minnesota can use the MLE to try to fortify its reserves. Leroux suggests Marcus Morris, Tyreke Evans, Jeremy Lamb, Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington and Terrence Ross as possible targets.
  • Torrey Craig has become the Nuggets‘ most disruptive force on defense, observes Kyle Fredrickson of The Denver Post. The second-year forward has increased his stats across the board this season and is a valuable part of the rotation heading into the playoffs. “I hate to see guys comfortable, just dribbling easy getting to their spots,” Craig said. “So I make sure they try to feel me all the time no matter what, coming off screens or bringing the ball down court. I just want to be a physical presence on them the whole time.”

Latest On Wolves’ Coaching, GM Positions

Ryan Saunders, who replaced Tom Thibodeau as Minnesota’s coach in early January, appears likely to return to the position next season.

Marc Stein of The New York Times (via newsletter, which you can subscribe to here) writes that “all signs” point to the Timberwolves retaining the 33-year-old first-time head coach, citing the strong bond between Saunders and Karl-Anthony Towns.

Towns’ co-sign and improved performance may overshadow the fact that Saunders underperformed from a win-loss perspective during his limited time in the role. The team has gone 14-19 since he took over duties.

Stein adds that there is uncertainty around general manager Scott Layden‘s future. Owner Glen Taylor is fond of Chauncey Billups and has interest in hiring the ESPN analyst for the GM role. However, there’s pessimism within league circles about Taylor being able to put an attractive enough offer together for it to make sense for both sides.

Billups has previously expressed a desire to lead a front office. He’s interviewed with the Hawks and Cavaliers in recent years.

Nuggets executive Calvin Booth should be considered a strong candidate for the position if Taylor dismisses Layden, Stein adds. Booth previously played in the NBA and he worked in Minnesota’s front office before moving on to Denver.