Chris Fleming

Eastern Notes: Lawson, Bulls, Collison, Sirvydis, Magic

The Celtics announced three additions to their coaching staff today, including the official hiring of Kara Lawson as their first-ever female assistant. A 13-year WNBA veteran and Olympic gold medal winner, she spent the past two seasons as the primary television analyst for the Wizards and covered games for ESPN Radio.

“This was a good fit,” Lawson said to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “I wanted to go somewhere where I’d be challenged, I wanted to go somewhere where I’d be allowed to coach, and I wanted to go to an organization that was going to be playing in big games to be able to get a sense of that last frontier of coaching, which is being able to do it in pressure situations in the regular season and the playoffs.”

Also added to coach Brad Stevens’ staff were Brandon Bailey, who served as coach of the Celtics’ G League affiliate in Maine the past two seasons, and Joe Mazzulla, a former assistant with the Red Claws.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • It got lost in the shuffle of this week’s free agency frenzy, but according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link), there was a belief in league circles that the Bulls were the frontrunners to sign Darren Collison before the free agent point guard unexpectedly announced his retirement.
  • The Bulls have added two new assistants to head coach Jim Boylen’s staff, according to a press release from the team. Chris Fleming announced in May that he was leaving the Nets to come to Chicago, and Roy Rogers, who recently parted ways with the Rockets, officially joined the team Wednesday. In addition, Karen Stack has been elevated to assistant coach, Paul Miller was named assistant to the head coach and former intern Chris Kent is the new video coordinator.
  • Deividas Sirvydis, who was selected by the Pistons with the 37th pick in the draft, will likely spend the upcoming season in Europe, tweets international basketball writer Donatas Urbonas. Rytas Vilnius GM Rolandas Jarutis expects to have the 6’8″ shooting guard back next season unless he has an outstanding performance with Detroit’s Summer League team. Sirvydis, 19, was MVP of the EuroLeague Basketball Next Generation Tournament in 2018.
  • The Magic have probably given up on Fran Vazquez ever coming to the NBA, but there was news this week on their 2005 draft pick, whose draft rights they still retain, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. The 36-year-old re-signed with his Zaragoza team in Spain, so his cap hold will be removed from Orlando’s books for another season.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Nets Face Management Makeover

Trajan Langdon’s decision to become the new GM in New Orleans represents the third major off-court loss for Brooklyn since the season ended, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Langdon, the Nets’ former assistant GM and the reigning G League Executive of the Year, has been a popular candidate to move up the management ranks. He recently interviewed for jobs with the Timberwolves and Wizards, as well as the Pelicans.

The time Langdon spent as a player in Europe only adds to his value, Lewis notes. He has wide-ranging contacts throughout the continent and speaks five languages. He also has a scouting background with the Spurs and was responsible for assembling the Nets’ draft board.

Lewis sees Gianluca Pascucci, who serves as the Nets’ director of global scouting, as the leading choice to step into Langdon’s role. However, he is also reportedly a candidate to become GM at Olimpia Milano in the EuroLeague.

Brooklyn’s other offseason losses were  G League coach Will Weaver, who left for a job with Sydney in the Australian League after leading Long Island to the championship game, and Chris Fleming, who left the Nets’ coaching staff to become the lead assistant to Jim Boylen in Chicago.

Lewis mentions ex-Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek as a possibility to replace Fleming. Hornacek joined the Nets for training camp, practices and some road trips and may be interested in taking an official position with the team.

Chris Fleming Leaving Nets For Bulls

Nets assistant coach Chris Fleming will join the Bulls as the top assistant to Jim Boylen, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

A former coach of the German national team, Fleming joined Brooklyn’s staff in 2016 when Kenny Atkinson took over the team. Fleming also served as an assistant with the Nuggets during the 2015/16 season.

Boylen is reshaping his staff after signing a contract extension last week. Terms weren’t announced, but it is believed to be a multi-year deal.

Nets Notes: Atkinson, Assistants, Free Agency

Kenny Atkinson’s obsessive focus on individual player development led to his contract extension, Michael Scotto of The Athletic reports. ESPN reported on Monday that the Nets head coach would receive an extension, which Scotto confirms. Brooklyn is in playoff contention after winning 20 and 28 games the last two seasons.

“He has done arguably as good of a job as any coach in the league when you look at his improvement each year,” swingman Joe Harris said. “Obviously, I’m again biased just because I’m around him day in and day out and I see his approach and his competitiveness, his toughness, what he’s preached to us has trickled down to each one of the guys. He embodies what we are as an organization. We’re obviously not getting to this point without a leader like that.”

We have more on the Nets:

  • Members of Atkinson’s staff received two-year extensions, Scotto tweets. Atkinson’s staff include Bret Brielmaier, Chris Fleming, Jordan Ott, Pablo Prigioni, Jacque Vaughn, Adam Harrington and Travon Bryant.
  • The Nets will be an attractive free agent destination even if their playoff bid comes up short, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Kyrie Irving will give them consideration, a source told Lewis. There’s also a general feeling that free agents respect what Brooklyn has built and the culture around the franchise. “We’ve competed and won enough games this year that they know that all we need is another All-Star, another dynamic player to take the franchise over the top,” forward Ed Davis told Lewis. “I think that’s what those top-tier free agents that’s what goes through their minds. That’s how they think.”
  • Allen Crabbe underwent knee surgery on Thursday, likely ending his disappointing season.

Atlantic Notes: Colangelo, Smith, Ibeh, Hartenstein

Sixers advisor Jerry Colangelo believes the team has a sharper plan for the future than it did under former GM Sam Hinkie, relays Andrew Porter of CBS Philly. In an interview on The Carlin & Reese Show, Colangelo gave Hinkie credit for thinking “outside the box” and building the team using analytics, but he believes the organization is in better hands now that his son Bryan is in charge. “Since the change in management there’s much more of a defined game plan, in terms of going forward, and that’s very positive in my opinion for the franchise,” he said. “Sam left some good stuff in place, no question about that. Along the line there was a lot of pain in terms of incredible losing and that could only be sustained for a period of time. And I think in Philly’s case, I think he probably ran out of time.”

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • Point guard Dennis Smith Jr. of North Carolina State has a workout set for the Celtics on Wednesday, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Boston owns the No. 1 pick, so the team is probably just doing its homework in case it receives an attractive offer to trade down. Smith has already worked out for the Magic, who own the sixth pick, and has tentative sessions set up with the Lakers and Knicks.
  • The Nets continue to have interest in former Texas center Prince Ibeh, according to NetsDaily. The 23-year-old has been practicing with the team this summer and may have a future in Brooklyn. The Nets signed him to a D-League contract in February, promising him a 10-day deal later in the season. They weren’t able to fit him on the roster, but late in the season they gave him a 10-day contract before releasing him the next day. That move gives Ibeh a year of NBA service, which will qualify him as a second-year player rather than a rookie when he signs his next contract.
  • Brooklyn’s front office is looking closely at German power forward Isaiah Hartenstein, NetsDaily notes in the same piece. There’s already a strong connection, as Nets assistant Chris Fleming serves as coach of the German national team. The 7’1″ Hartenstein is projected as a late first-rounder, and Brooklyn holds picks No. 22 and 27. The Nets have also scouted center Anzejus Pasecniks and small forward Rodions Kurucs, both of Latvia, power forward Mathias Lessort of the French West Indies and center Viny Okuou of the Congo. International prospects younger than 21 have a June 12th deadline to withdraw from the draft.

Coaching Notes: Wizards, Nets, Grizzlies

The Wizards announced today that the team has named Tony Brown, Sidney Lowe, Chad Iske, Mike Terpstra and Maz Trakh as assistants on head coach Scott Brooks’ staff. Eric Sebastian, director of coaching operations, and Kamran Sufi, advance scout, were also named by the team while David Adkins will stay on as the team’s director of player development, according to the press release.

The staff we have put together here in Washington is an impressive group of basketball minds with extensive coaching experience and knowledge of the game,” said Brooks. “I look forward to working alongside this versatile group every day in our quest to bring the best out of our players.

Here’s more of the latest from the NBA’s coaching ranks:

  • The Grizzlies announced via press release that the organization has hired Keith Smart and Adam Mazarei as assistant coaches on head coach David Fizdale’s staff. Smart spent the last two seasons working with Fizdale as an assistant coach for the Heat, while Mazarei was a player development assistant for Memphis the past three years.
  • The Nets officially announced their coaching staff for the 2016/17 season. Joining new head coach Kenny Atkinson’s staff as assistant coaches are Jacque Vaughn, Chris Fleming and Bret Brielmaier, Adam Harrington as assistant coach and director of player development, Jordan Ott as assistant coach and manager of advance scouting and Mike Batiste as player development assistant.
  • The Timberwolves are bringing in Brian Pauga to serve as player personnel director, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets. Pauga previously worked with GM Scott Layden when both were members of the Spurs organization, Wojnarowski adds.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Nets, Celtics, Sixers

After the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, some Raptors fans may have turned an eye toward the offseason, with many difficult decisions awaiting the franchise this summer. However, two games later, the possibility of Toronto sneaking past the Cavaliers and into the NBA Finals is suddenly more viable, postponing those summer plans for now.

Still, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders observes (via Twitter), Bismack Biyombo‘s terrific postseason performance could create some problems for next year’s Raptors squad, since the team only holds the big man’s Non-Bird rights. The Raps would need to pay Biyombo with cap room, but wouldn’t have that cap room on hand if DeMar DeRozan returns on a lucrative new deal. Meanwhile, the Raptors are the only team remaining in the playoffs that has a top-10 draft pick, and GM Masai Ujiri will have plenty of options as he weighs whether to use or trade the ninth and 27th overall selections in this year’s draft, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star.

As we wait to see how Toronto’s season – and offseason – plays out, let’s check in on a few more items related to the club’s division rivals…

  • Nuggets assistant coach Chris Fleming will be heading to the Nets, joining Kenny Atkinson‘s staff in Brooklyn, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link).
  • A group of veteran free agents will work out for the Nets at a mini-camp this week, and former first overall pick Anthony Bennett is expected to be among the players in attendance, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops (Twitter link) adds Joel Wright to the list of participants for the Nets’ mini-camp, while Nets Daily provides several more names.
  • Appearing on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final on Sunday night, Celtics GM Danny Ainge said he wants to improve his team this summer “without selling out,” per Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com. In other words, Boston isn’t about to surrender a ton of draft assets to improve right away — the focus will be on improving the Celtics’ current roster while continuing to build a team capable of sustained success. Determining the best way to carry out that plan will be similar to putting together a jigsaw puzzle for Ainge and the C’s, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald.
  • The 76ers, an Atlantic team that has been focused exclusively on the future for several years, are ready to start “thinking about winning” rather than “prolonging the building process,” new executive Bryan Colangelo said on Bleacher Report Radio this weekend (Twitter link via Howard Beck of Bleacher Report). In the view of Derek Bodner of PhillyMag.com, the Sixers need to kick off the offseason by using the No. 1 overall pick on the best player available, rather than the one who would fit the best.

And-Ones: Drummond, Farmar, Mekel

The Pistons could reap greater cap flexibility for next summer if they wait until then to sign Andre Drummond as a restricted free agent instead of giving him an extension this summer, but the team will leave that choice to the Jeff Schwartz client, writes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. Drummond reportedly wants an extension, so it would seem it’s a strong bet he’ll end up with one before the October 31st rookie scale extension deadline. Here’s more from around the NBA and related circles:

  • Jordan Farmar has signed with Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv, the team announced (hat tip to David Pick of Eurobasket.com). Agent Tony Dutt searched for NBA deals for the point guard who spent part of last season with the Clippers, but found nothing, as Pick hears (Twitter link).
  • Maccabi Tel Aviv management pushed for the deal with Farmar, while the coaches were higher on former Mavs and Pelicans point guard Gal Mekel, according to Pick, who earlier reported that Mekel and the team had a verbal agreement on a three-year deal with NBA out clauses (Twitter links). However, fellow Israeli club Hapoel Jerusalem is still pursuing Mekel, who remains in talks with teams from the NBA and Europe, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss clarified in a radio appearance on KPCC-FM last week that this past year was the first on brother Jim Buss‘ three-year window to guide the team to at least the Western Conference Finals, as Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com details. Jim Buss would resign his job as executive VP of basketball operations if the Lakers aren’t back to that point by the end of the 2016/17 season, his sister said.
  • The Lakers, Heat, Knicks, Suns and Pelicans have expressed interest in Justin Hamilton, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). The Timberwolves elected not to retain the right to match offers for him when they decided against making a qualifying offer.
  • Serge Ibaka failed to meet an incentive worth $100K this past season, so his cap hit for the Thunder for this coming season shrinks by that amount, to $12.25MM, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter). That’s unlikely to matter for the Thunder, who are expected to be well above the cap and exceed the tax line. Ibaka’s salary for tax purposes will be determined based on the bonuses that he either triggers or doesn’t trigger this coming season, whereas last season’s figures only affect his cap number.
  • The Nuggets are hiring German national team coach Chris Fleming, former Magic assistant Wes Unseld Jr., and Kings assistants Ryan Bowen and Micah Nori as assistants to new head coach Michael Malone, reports Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. They’ll join Bulls assistant Ed Pinckney, who’s also reportedly joining the Denver coaching staff.