David Blatt

And-Ones: Canada, Blatt, HOF, Dixson

Per Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, former Indiana University basketball player and Raptors general manager Glen Grunwald has been named the new president and CEO of Canada Basketball.

A native of Chicago, Grunwald was hired by the Raptors in 1994 as the team’s vice president for legal affairs and assistant general manager under former college teammate Isiah Thomas. Grunwald took over for Thomas in a few years later, eventually orchestrating a trade for Vince Carter that led to three straight playoff berths from 2000 to 2002.

Since that time, Grunwald has been heavily involved in all things Canadian. He obtained Canadian citizenship in 1999, served as the president and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade, and even spent time as the Athletic Director at McMaster University in Ontario.

“I’m honoured and proud to have this opportunity to work with Canada Basketball,” said Grunwald in a press release announcing his hiring. “This is an exciting time for the sport in our country and I look forward to working with the entire basketball community to continue the tremendous progress the sport has made here at all levels.”

Here are a few more items from around the basketball universe:

  • Former Cavaliers and current Olympiacos head coach David Blatt has called for an end to the dispute between FIBA and the EuroLeague, per Antigoni Zachari of EuroHoops. Saying the conflict is a matter of egos and political designs, Blatt iterated how the two organizations ongoing spat is not good for the sport of basketball.
  • In addition to Shawn Marion, who we highlighted here, Joe Nguyen of The Denver Post also opines that the following players could find their way into the Hall of Fame next year – guards Chauncey Billups, Tim Hardaway, Sidney Moncrief, and Kevin Johnson; and forwards Chris Webber and Ben Wallace.
  • Less than two weeks after working out for the Hawks, undrafted rookie Dikembe Dixson has signed with the Lebanese Basketball League’s Hoops Club, according to Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Dixson, 22, posted career averages of 17.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in his three seasons at UIC.

And-Ones: Blatt, Trade Details, Toupane

After interviewing for multiple NBA head coaching jobs this offseason, David Blatt has reached an agreement that will keep him in Europe. As Orazio Cauchi of Sportando relays, Blatt has signed a two-year contract to coach Greek powerhouse Olympiacos.

The former head coach of the Cavaliers, Blatt has spent most of his career overseas. Over the last two seasons he served as the head coach for Turkish team Darussafaka, and prior to his stint in Cleveland, he coached Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel. Now, Blatt – who met with the Bucks and Knicks this spring before they hired Mike Budenholzer and David Fizdale, respectively – will continue his coaching career in Greece.

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the NBA:

  • Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders has the details on a couple trades that went down on draft night, reporting that the Rockets bought the No. 52 overall pick from the Jazz for $1.5MM and the Trail Blazers sent the Kings $1.5MM in their deal for Gary Trent Jr.‘s draft rights (Twitter links).
  • Axel Toupane, who appeared in 25 total NBA regular season games in 2016 and 2017, is working out privately for NBA clubs this week, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). A 6’7″ wing, Toupane played for Zalgiris Kaunas in 2017/18, helping lead the Lithuanian club to a spot in the EuroLeague Final Four.
  • In an excellent breakdown for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks previews the coming offseason for all 30 teams, detailing each club’s key decisions and cap situation.

Coaching Notes: Hornets, Hawks, Bucks, Blatt

After reaching an agreement to hire former Suns head coach Jay Triano as a top assistant, the Hornets are adding another coach to James Borrego‘s new staff in Charlotte. According to Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link), former Magic assistant Jay Hernandez has agreed to a deal with the Hornets.

Hernandez, who had been working under Frank Vogel in Orlando, was let go at the same time Vogel was fired by the Magic last month. Hernandez’s name surfaced as one to watch in New York when David Fizdale was hired, but he’ll land in Charlotte instead, teaming up with Borrego and Triano on the Hornets’ new-look bench.

Here are a few more coaching-related updates from around the basketball world:

  • Lloyd Pierce has begun to fill out his coaching staff in Atlanta, with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated reporting that former Mavericks assistant Melvin Hunt will join the Hawks at Pierce’s lead assistant, while former Suns assistant Marlon Garnett will also be part of the team’s staff. Marc Stein of The New York Times first reported (via Twitter) that the Hawks were in advanced discussions with Hunt.
  • Many of the Hawks‘ former assistants are preparing to relocate to Milwaukee along with Mike Budenholzer, leaving the Bucks‘ old staff in the lurch. Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times looks at what’s next for those Bucks assistants.
  • Darussafaka head coach David Blatt is receiving some interest from EuroLeague powerhouse CSKA Moscow, according to a report from La Gazzetta dello Sport (via Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Blatt, who interviewed for multiple NBA coaching jobs this spring, has an extensive international résumé that includes a stint as head coach of the Russian national team.
  • At Sportando, Carchia passes along another La Gazzetta dello Sport story, as the Italian outlet reports that Sergio Scariolo – the coach of Spain’s national team – is pursuing an opportunity to become an assistant in the NBA.

Coaching Rumors: Raptors, Casey, Bucks, Knicks

As we relayed in our story on Dwane Casey‘s firing earlier today, it didn’t take long for one outside candidate to be linked to the Raptors‘ head coaching job, with Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski both reporting that Mike Budenholzer is a name to watch.

Budenholzer’s name continues to surface in relation to the Raptors’ newly-opened coaching position. Sources confirmed to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link) that Toronto is expected to pursue Budenholzer, while Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link) hears from coaching sources that Raptors president Masai Ujiri has “strong interest” in the former Hawks head coach.

As we wait to see if Budenholzer emerges as the favorite for the Raptors’ job, let’s round up more coaching rumors and notes from around the NBA…

  • According to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (Twitter link), Casey – who had one year left on his contract – sought an extension from the Raptors before he was let go. Zillgitt speculates that stance may have forced Ujiri’s hand.
  • ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) and Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provide updates on the Bucks‘ coaching search, writing that the first round of interviews should wrap up this week. Milwaukee has interviewed Ettore Messina, Steve Clifford, Mike Budenholzer, Monty Williams, and Joe Prunty so far, and still has meetings lined up with David Blatt and Becky Hammon. GM Jon Horst figures to narrow the team’s list to three or four finalists, at which point team ownership will get involved in the process.
  • A source tells Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press that Jerry Stackhouse “interviews well” for coaching jobs, but “does rub some people the wrong way.” Stackhouse entered the offseason as a popular rising head coaching candidate, but has yet to gain traction for any open jobs. In fact, despite a mid-April report indicating Stackhouse would meet with the Magic, that interview has yet to happen, per Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel.
  • New Knicks head coach David Fizdale is expected to hire Nick Van Exel to join his staff in New York, sources tell Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Like Keith Smart, who is also reportedly set to join the Knicks, Van Exel was on Fizdale’s staff in Memphis.

Pistons Notes: Stackhouse, Budenholzer, Armstrong, More

Jerry Stackhouse and Mike Budenholzer are two of the prominent names to look out for in the Pistons’ coaching search, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Detroit parted ways with coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy on Monday. Stackhouse is a former Detroit player and served as the Raptors’ G League coach this past season. Stackhouse met with the Knicks before they hired David Fizdale and also surfaced as a candidate for the Magic and Hornets’ jobs. Budenholzer, the former Hawks coach, is arguably the top experienced head coach on the market. Former Cavaliers GM David Griffin is another name to watch as the Pistons seek a new front office leader, Ellis adds.

Former Cavaliers coach Mike Brown, ex-Warriors coach Mark Jackson and ex-Pacers and Magic coach Frank Vogel could also be coaching candidates. Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. Chauncey Billups has previously been mentioned as a possible front office candidate, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News notes. Spurs assistant James Borrego and former Cavaliers coach David Blatt are among the other names to watch in the coaching search, Deveney adds.

In other news involving the Pistons-Van Gundy split:

  • Player agent and former Bulls executive B.J. Armstrong could be a candidate for a front-office position, Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago tweets. Armstrong has strong ties to Pistons chairman Arn Tellem and is a Detroit native. Goodwill adds.
  • Point guard Reggie Jackson was blindsided by the news of Van Gundy’s departure, Rod Beard of the Detroit News tweets. Jackson told Beard he was “stunned by the whole thing…it’s difficult right now to take the whole thing in.” Fellow point guard Ish Smith told Beard he would miss Van Gundy, adding that “he was really instrumental to my growth as a player.” (Twitter links)
  • Van Gundy’s coaching replacement needs to build the attack around the skills of Blake Griffin, Kevin Pelton of ESPN argues. His front office replacement will have to come up with creative ways to upgrade the roster around him despite salary-cap restraints, Pelton adds.
  • Griffin had some positive things to say about Van Gundy earlier Monday before the news of his departure broke. He made the comments during a podcast, which were relayed by USA Today’s Andrew Joseph“He’s actually a very cool guy. Very nice guy. Funny. And actually genuinely cares about people. That’s kind of rare.”

Bucks Line Up Coaching Interviews For This Week

The Bucks have a busy week of head coaching interviews ahead of them, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that the team will meet with Steve Clifford today after sitting down with Ettore Messina on Saturday.

In addition to today’s meeting with Clifford, the Bucks also have interviews lined up this week with Mike Budenholzer, Monty Williams, Becky Hammon, James Borrego, and David Blatt, per Wojnarowski. All of those interviewees had been previously named as potential candidates for the Milwaukee job, with Budenholzer and Williams viewed as possible favorites.

Assuming all those interviews take place this week as planned, the Bucks’ list of completed meetings would be up to at least seven. A recent report indicated that interim coach Joe Prunty would also get to interview for the permanent job, though it’s not clear if that meeting has already taken place or if he’ll sit down with Bucks management later in the process.

Wojnarowski said last week that the Bucks may interview up to about 10 candidates for their head coaching position, so it’s possible that one or two other contenders could join the fray. Jim Cleamons reportedly spoke informally to the club about the job, making him one candidate for a more formal interview.

Bucks To Interview Messina, Clifford, Williams

The Bucks’ head coaching search is underway, as the team is scheduled to meet with Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, former Hornets head coach Steve Clifford, and former Pelicans head coach Monty Williams within the next several days, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Clifford and Williams were identified as part of Milwaukee’s initial group of candidates on Thursday, as was David Blatt, who also intends to meet with the Bucks about their head coaching vacancy, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link).

It’s not clear if and when the Bucks will interview Mike Budenholzer, the other name mentioned on Thursday, but Wojnarowski suggests that the club may meet with as many as 10 candidates. That would put them about in line with the Knicks and Suns, the two teams so far who have filled their head coaching openings after conducting full-fledged searches. New York reportedly interviewed 11 candidates, while Phoenix met with 10.

Messina and Clifford have both received consideration for other head coaching jobs this offseason. Messina met with the Hornets, whose search is ongoing, while Clifford talked to the Suns before they hired Igor Kokoskov.

This will be the first reported interview this spring for Williams, who was identified as a possible frontrunner for the Milwaukee job way back in January. Having served as the Spurs’ vice president of basketball operations since 2016, Williams last coached as an assistant for the Thunder in 2015/16. He took a leave of absence from that position when his wife Ingrid was killed in a car crash, and hasn’t returned to coaching since.

Names Emerge In Bucks’ Coaching Search

A few early candidates have been identified as the Bucks begin their search for a new head coach, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

He names five former head coaches — Steve Clifford, Mike Budenholzer, Monty Williams, David Fizdale and David Blatt — that Milwaukee would like to interview, adding that a few more could be in the mix.

Because they made the playoffs, the Bucks got a late start in their pursuit of a new coach and are facing competition for several names on the list. Fizdale, considered one of the finalists for the Knicks’ job, has an interview scheduled with the Magic this week. He has also interviewed with the the Hornets and Hawks, as well as the Suns, who will fill their vacancy with Igor Kokoskov.

Budenholzer, who recently parted ways with the Hawks, is also believed to be a Knicks finalist, along with Blatt, who coached the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2015. Budenholzer inteviewed for the Suns’ job, as did Clifford, who was fired as head coach of the Hornets after the season ended. Williams, a former head coach with the Pelicans, serves as VP of basketball operations for the Spurs.

The Bucks may be the most desirable destination for potential coaches, boasting a playoff-caliber roster that includes MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo. Interim coach Joe Prunty, who led the team to a 21-16 record after taking over for Jason Kidd at midseason, will get consideration, but the franchise may be hoping to attract a bigger name to make a splash as it moves into a new arena this fall.

David Fizdale Gaining Traction In Knicks’ HC Search

5:24pm: Per Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, Fizdale has gained serious traction in the Knicks’ search for their next head coach.

In his story, Charania adds that while the Knicks interviewed a wide array of candidates for their vacant head-coaching position, Fizdale emerged as a leading candidate immediately after the Knicks fired Jeff Hornacek.

There is still no agreement between Fizdale and the Knicks.

11:37am: The Knicks appear to be getting closer to a decision on their new head coach, and Mike Budenholzer, David Blatt, and David Fizdale are among the candidates believed to receiving the strongest consideration, according to multiple reports.

NBA columnist Mitch Lawrence (Twitter link) hears from team sources that Budenholzer is a finalist, and adds that Blatt and Fizdale were “locks” to get at least this far in the process. Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link) singles out those three candidates as well, suggesting they’re viewed as “prime contenders” for the Knicks’ head coaching job.

According to Stein (Twitter link), one other interesting wrinkle in the Knicks’ coaching search involves Mark Jackson, who has received a “strong behind-the-scenes push” from Rich Kleiman. In addition to being Kevin Durant’s longtime business partner, Kleiman is a lifelong Knicks fan who is close with both Jackson and team president Steve Mills.

In total, the Knicks’ list of interviewees included at least 11 names, as we detailed on Tuesday. However, it’s unlikely that all of those candidates are still in the running.

Central Notes: Bucks, Doncic, Pacers

As we relayed yesterdayBucks’ interim head coach Joe Prunty is still a candidate to retain Milwaukee’s head coaching position. However, as we also indicated, former Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer is just one name circulating as a possible replacement for Prunty, with the Bucks planning to conduct an open and active search for their next head coach.

According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, the Bucks would be wise to move on from Prunty and seek a head coach who can do a better job of inserting franchise cornerstone Giannis Antetokounmpo into a superstar role. Per Deveney, the Bucks have failed to do so to this point in Antetokounmpo’s young career, and it is negatively affecting both Antetokounmpo and the team.

Deveney mentions Budenholzer, former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale, and former Cavaliers coach David Blatt as worthwhile candidates for the position, but ultimately opines that whoever the Bucks hire, he needs to be able to formulate an offense that runs through Antetokounmpo, creating mismatches and finding options for when teams double team him.

Deveney also touches on what he deems disappointing seasons from role players Tony Snell, Thon Maker, and Matthew Dellavedova, as well as the upcoming free agency of former No. 2 overall pick, Jabari Parker. Deveney feels that the best case scenario for the Bucks, although highly unlikely, is a total lack of suitors for Parker, thereby opening the door for the Bucks to potentially sign Parker to a one-year deal at the value of his qualifying offer.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Regardless of how the Bucks plan on approaching Parker’s free agency, at least one teammate is extremely confident that the former Duke star is not leaving Milwaukee (story).
  • As one part of a 10-part series focusing on the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft, Marc Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago argues that the Bulls should select Luka Doncic if he is available when Chicago makes its selection in June, as his elite-level passing ability is a perfect fit for today’s fast-paced NBA game.
  • Fresh off a heartbreaking loss to the Cavaliers in Game 7 of the teams’ first round series, the Pacers should be excited about their promising future, writes Michael Marot of The Associated Press. As Marot notes, the Pacers could have their top eight players all back next year if Thaddeus Young and Cory Joseph exercise their player options and the Pacers exercise their team option on fan favorite Lance Stephenson.