Darvin Ham

Central Notes: Pistons, Adams, Cavaliers, Ham

Per Keith Langlois of Pistons.com, the Pistons should disregard any positional need with the No. 15 overall selection in this year’s draft and simply pick the player whom the team feels with have the biggest impact during his rookie contract.

Langlois provides examples of teams who have had success employing the same strategy, noting the Spurs in 2011 (traded George Hill for Kawhi Leonard when they had Richard Jefferson) and the Bucks in 2013 (shocked the world by drafting Giannis Antetokounmpo while already having John Henson and Ersan Ilyasovsa on the roster) as ideas for the Pistons to emulate.

One would think that the Pistons should look to upgrade their backcourt to complement both Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, but as Langlois notes, Drummond can opt out of his contract after next season and Griffin is versatile enough to play alongside another power forward.

So who should the Pistons take? For now, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has Detroit taking Indiana swingman Romeo Langford, his 11th ranked prospect and the top-ranked player left on the board when the Pistons make their selection.

There’s more from the Central Division tonight:

  • In addition to adding Chris Fleming to his staff, Bulls’ head coach Jim Boylen is trying to add one more assistant, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. The top candidate appears to be Texas Tech assistant coach Mark Adams.
  • The Cavaliers were left without an identity for the first time in nearly two decades when homegrown superstar LeBron James left for Los Angeles, but as Ben Golliver of The Washington Post writes, new head coach John Beilein should be able to create a new identity and culture for the franchise.
  • As we relayed yesterday afternoon, Bucks’ assistant coach Darvin Ham has been identified by the Timberwolves as another head coaching candidate under Gersson Rosas and the team’s new front office.

Timberwolves To Interview Bucks’ Darvin Ham

The Timberwolves have added another name to the list of interviewees for their head coaching job, according to Jon Krawcznyski of The Athletic (Twitter link), who identifies Bucks assistant Darvin Ham as a candidate for the position.

Krawczynski doesn’t specify whether the Wolves have already requested and been granted permission to meet with Ham, but it sounds like he’s expected to interview with the club. Ham, who spent time with six NBA teams during his playing career, served as an assistant for the Lakers and Hawks before joining Mike Budenholzer‘s staff in Milwaukee.

Led by new president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, Minnesota is embarking on a search for a head coach, though the club hasn’t ruled out the possibility of retaining Ryan Saunders, who is still a “prominent” candidate.

In addition to Saunders and Ham, the Wolves are considering a list of contenders that includes Heat assistant Juwan Howard, Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool, and Pelicans assistant Chris Finch.

It remains to be seen how much further Minnesota’s search will expand, or what sort of timeline the team expects for its coaching hire. A report last Friday night indicated that the Wolves would make a decision on their head coach within 7-10 days, but that could have referred to the decision to open up the search beyond Saunders, rather than a final decision on a hire.

Knicks Notes: Kanter, Dotson, Hardaway, Mudiay

Knicks center Enes Kanter sounded off on his reduced playing time following a miserable night in Utah, relays Marc Berman of the New York Post. Kanter was pulled from the starting lineup earlier this season to give a more prominent to rookie Mitchell Robinson. With Robinson injured, Kanter remains a reserve as the team tries out little-used Luke Kornet.

The frustration overflowed last night following an 0-for-6 performance in which Kanter didn’t enter the game until nine minutes had elapsed and the Knicks were already trailing by 14 points.

“I understand we want the young guys to get better, but it’s very painful to watch it out there,’’ Kanter said. “I’m essentially positive and try to help the young guys get better. It’s too early in the season to shut me down. My goal this year was to go out and be an All-Star, but now look at the situation.’’

Kanter stopped short of asking for a trade, but he fears his minutes will be cut even further once Robinson returns. After opting in last summer, Kanter has an $18.6MM expiring contract that could be attractive to a contender.

There’s more this morning out of New York:

  • In addition to the on-court frustration, Kanter learned Saturday that the NBA won’t be taking action against Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham for his role in a fracas this week, Berman adds. Kanter had called on the league to fine Ham for allegedly pushing him from behind during an altercation with Giannis Antetokounmpo. An NBA source told Berman that Ham “acted as a peacemaker to separate the players.”
  • The Knicks envision Damyean Dotson as part of their future, Berman writes in a separate story. The team has until July 15 to guarantee his $1.6MM contract for next season and seems likely to do so. New York has received calls about him from other teams, including Detroit and Brooklyn, notes Berman, who speculates that having young wings like Dotson and Allonzo Trier could make the Knicks more willing to deal Tim Hardaway Jr. to help open cap space for a run at Kevin Durant.
  • As Emmanuel Mudiay prepares for Monday’s return to Denver, he tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that things got so bad late in his tenure there that he stopped talking to the media. Mudiay never developed into the player Nuggets hoped when they took him with the seventh pick in 2015, and he was benched prior to the February trade that brought him to New York. “It was just the best decision at the time for both of us,” Mudiay said of the deal. “So it’s not like, I want to prove y’all wrong or blah, blah, blah. It’s just certain things had to happen and it worked out best for both sides.”

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:

Hawks To Interview Nate Tibbetts, Jarron Collins

The Hawks have interviews set today with a pair of Western Conference assistants, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Nate Tibbetts of the Trail Blazers and Jarron Collins of the Warriors will both interview for Atlanta’s head coaching spot, which was opened when the organization parted ways with Mike Budenholzer this week.

The Hawks’ interest in Tibbetts has been known since Friday when Portland granted permission for an interview, but Collins’ candidacy is new, notes Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Darvin Ham, who has been an assistant to Budenholzer for the past five seasons, will interview tomorrow.

Other identified candidates are David Fizdale, who interviewed Saturday, as well as Stephen Silas, James Borrego and Ime Udoka.

Collins, who played 10 NBA seasons, spent two years as a scout with the Clippers before joining Golden State as a player development coach in 2014/15. He was promoted to an assistant the following year.

Hawks Get Permission To Meet With Blazers’ Tibbetts

The Hawks have been granted permission by the Trail Blazers to meet with Portland assistant coach Nate Tibbetts, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Wojnarowski describes Tibbetts as a “serious” candidate to fill Atlanta’s head coaching vacancy.

Tibbetts, who was recently identified by several league executives as one of the NBA’s up-and-coming assistants who deserves head coaching consideration, was reported to be a candidate for the Hawks’ job shortly after the team parted ways with Mike Budenholzer.

That list of candidates also included former Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale, Hornets assistant Stephen Silas, and Spurs assistants Ime Udoka and James Borrego. Meanwhile, Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution added one more name to the mix on Thursday, writing that Darvin Ham – a Hawks assistant throughout Budenholzer’s tenure – could be in the mix.

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk has said there’s no set timeline for the club’s coaching search, but he expects to have a new head coach in place before the NBA draft on June 21, per Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“We are going to find the right head coach for the Atlanta Hawks,” Schlenk said. “That coach is going to have the same job description or same end game as I do and that’s to try to bring a championship to the Atlanta Hawks.”

Latest On Kidd, Bucks’ Coaching Job

Former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale is considered the early favorite to get the Bucks job after this season but there are some other viable candidates, according to Hoops Hype’s Bryan Kalbrosky.

Milwaukee fired Jason Kidd on Monday and replaced him on an interim basis with lead assistant Joe Prunty. Fizdale was fired in late November, in part because of a strained relationship with the team’s star, Marc Gasol.

Former Pelicans coach Monty Williams, Raptors G-League coach Jerry Stackhouse, Hawks assistant Darvin Ham, Thunder assistant Adrian Griffin, Clippers assistant Sam Cassell and Spurs assistants Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka are some of the other candidates that Milwaukee may consider, Kalbrosky adds.

Here are some nuggets regarding Kidd and the Bucks job:

  • Bucks franchise player Giannis Antetokounmpo offered to help Kidd save his job, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne tweets. Kidd and the All-Star starter spoke 15 minutes before Kidd was officially notified he’d been fired, Shelburne adds.
  • Milwaukee’s front office had been mulling over a coaching change for at least two weeks, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reports.
  • Williams, who has been working in the Spurs’ front office, has been patiently waiting for another opportunity and is a name to remember, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.
  • Kidd leaves with no regrets and added “we took an organization that was in a bad place and shined a light on it,” according to another Shelburne tweet.
  • Tensions between Kidd and the front office had been building for months, according to the Washington Post’s Tim Bontemps. There was friction between Kidd and forward Jabari Parker, Bontemps continues. Kidd also rubbed management the wrong way by lobbying for roster changes and harping on the lack on experience among the front office staff, Bontemps adds.
  • Jeff Van Gundy and Rick Pitino are two other candidates the Bucks might consider, Forbes’ Mitch Lawrence reports. However, the organization does not have a stellar reputation and potential replacements for Kidd will likely want to know who’s calling the shots on personnel, Lawrence adds.

Coaching Rumors: Walton, Thibodeau, Atkinson

Coaching vacancies tend to dominate headlines this time of year, and this morning, with news about Luke Walton and Mark Jackson, is no exception. See more coaching-related items here:

  • Team president Phil Jackson, after speaking recently with Walton, told members of the Knicks organization that he doesn’t think Walton will leave his job as lead assistant for the Warriors, a source told Chris Broussard of ESPN.com, as Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com relays. One report referred to the conversation between Jackson and Walton as an interview for the Knicks head coaching position, but Walton, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and others dispute that idea. The one head coaching job that Walton would be likely to take would be the Lakers gig, according to Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times, but Byron Scott is still in that position and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss is reportedly in favor Scott remaining.
  • Some people around the league are convinced Tom Thibodeau will be the next coach of the Timberwolves, Woelfel writes in the same piece. Thibodeau has high level of comfort with Minnesota from his time there as an assistant coach from 1989-91, a source told Marc Berman of the New York Post. Still, potential openings with the Rockets and Lakers intrigue Thibodeau, Woelfel hears.
  • Two NBA executives told Woelfel that Hawks assistant Darvin Ham is likely to elicit serious consideration for head coaching jobs in the next year or two.
  • Multiple Hawks players, including soon-to-be free agent Kent Bazemore, lauded assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, who’ll take over the Nets head coaching job as soon as Atlanta’s playoff run is finished, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com details. Kyle Korver said Atkinson was a significant reason he re-signed with the Hawks in 2013, observes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Western Notes: Kerr, Fernandez, Draft

Money wasn’t the issue for Steve Kerr when he chose the Warriors over the Knicks, as Howard Beck of Bleacher Report hears that New York would have met whatever salary demand he made, as Beck said on the Knickerblogger Podcast. Robert Silverman of KnickerBlogger.net provides the transcription.

More from out west:

  • A source close to Rudy Fernandez told The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry that there wasn’t anything to a February report that the Thunder were interested in the four-year NBA veteran, as Mayberry writes amid a chat with readers.
  • The Grizzlies announced they will be holding workouts this Monday for Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Jahii Carson, Bryce Cotton, Cleanthony Early, Geron Johnson, and Glenn Robinson III.
  • The Jazz have workouts scheduled on Friday with Kyle Anderson, Devin Oliver, Melvin Johnson III, Tyler Stone, Jeronne Maymon, and Davon Usher, the team announced via Twitter.
  • Darvin Ham is being considered by the Jazz for an assistant coaching position on Quin Snyder‘s staff, reports Jody Genessy of The Deseret News.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Eastern Notes: Waiters, Sanders, Nets, Green

Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters has been the subject of quite a few trade rumors throughout the season, and Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer notes that those talks will only intensify as we inch closer to the trade deadline. The second-year guard out of Syracuse insists he isn’t fazed by the possibility that he could be changing addresses soon:

“I don’t worry about that stuff…If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. If not, it’s not. I can’t control that. It’s out of my hands.” 

Here’s more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • During a live chat with his readers earlier today, Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW said that the Bucks aren’t willing to trade Larry Sanders right now because they know they’d be selling low.
  • According to Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders, there isn’t any untouchable player currently on the Nets roster, and in a market where star players are difficult to come by, Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, and Joe Johnson could be acquired for less than their true value because Brooklyn will clearly be sellers at this year’s trade deadline.
  • Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston sheds some light on Celtics forward Jeff Green, who aside from showing glimpses of his obvious potential, has struggled to find a comfort zone this year. With the trade deadline looming, Forsberg says it’s fair to wonder if Green is still a part of Boston’s future plans, and that even considering his under-performance as well as his four-year, $36.2MM price tag, there will still be teams interested in his services.
  • In a subscribers-only piece for ESPN Insider, Chad Ford cites an anonymous GM who thinks current Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis will be a more reliable floor general than Kyrie Irving“If you were to ask me right now whether I’d take Ennis over (Irving), I think it’s Ennis,..He does all the things that help a basketball team win basketball games. You can pick him apart on individual flaws, but I would take this kid right now and trust him to run my team. I think there’s very few freshmen you could ever say that about.”
  • Though some may be skeptical about how Andrew Bynum‘s past behavioral issues could affect the Pacers’ chemistry, Darvin Ham – formerly an assistant with the Lakers in 2011/12 and now an assistant with the Hawks– vouched for Bynum’s ability to remain focused: “I really spent a lot of one-on-one time with him, been in group settings with him…He’s really not a disruptive guy. He just wants to be left alone and left alone to play the game, plain and simple (Candace Buckner of IndyStar.com).
  • While Anthony Bennett has struggled for most of the year, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal writes that the UNLV product hasn’t been listening to the negative talk about his game and doesn’t dwell on his mistakes as much as he’d done earlier in the season: “I was just worried about making a lot of mistakes, with getting subbed out, all that in the back of my head…Now I’m just going out there and giving it my all. Who cares if I get subbed out? I’m just playing.”