David Fizdale

Jazz Notes: Markkanen, Olynyk, Fizdale, Kessler

Lauri Markkanen is having an outstanding season for the Jazz and is a prime candidate to make his first All-Star appearance. In a Q&A session with Mark Medina of NBA.com, the Finnish forward says that a strong performance at EuroBasket and being in top physical condition have contributed to his improved play, noting that he expected the team to be successful in 2022/23.

I had high expectations, especially after this summer,” Markkanen said. “I got my confidence going with the national team. There were a lot of NBA guys [in EuroBasket]. Physically, I’m in the best shape of my life. So, I had high expectations from the beginning. We have a lot of good players on this team. So, I had high expectations with the team even coming into the year, especially after training camp started.

We have a good team. We just have to stay on the same page and build off our chemistry. We have a lot of new guys. But that was the same thing last season when I was in Cleveland. Everyone was doubting you at the beginning of the year. Then we started out well. Having that experience and then going into training camp, I knew we had a good team. We just have to keep going and keep getting better with knowing each other and staying on the same page.”

Markkanen also says he was limited to highlights and recaps growing up in Finland due to games being on in the middle of the night, and didn’t actually start watching NBA games until he came stateside to play college ball at Arizona. It’s an interesting interview from Medina and worth checking out in full.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Big man Kelly Olynyk, who recently missed four straight games with a left ankle sprain, was able to return to the lineup in Wednesday’s loss at Golden State, tweets Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. The 31-year-old Canadian is having a solid season for Utah, averaging 12.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.2 APG and 1.1 SPG on .520/.431/.835 shooting through 33 games (28.5 MPG).
  • Marc J. Spears of Andscape details how David Fizdale went from coaching to an assistant general manager position with the Jazz. Fizdale was an assistant coach with the Lakers last season, but Darvin Ham decided to go in a different direction. Fizdale had a job offer to be an assistant coach under Nate McMillan with the Hawks, but he ultimately declined it when he was offered the Jazz’s front office position. According to Spears, Fizdale told friend and Jazz part-owner Dwyane Wade that “being a more present husband and dad” played a big factor in his desire for a new role, with Wade later informing president Danny Ainge of Fizdale’s interest.
  • On the How ‘Bout This Jazz podcast, Walden and Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune explored the reported rumor of Utah discussing a three-team trade, rookie Walker Kessler being a pleasant surprise, potential lineup changes, and other topics.

Jazz Hire David Fizdale As Associate GM

JUNE 29: The Jazz have officially hired Fizdale as an associate GM, according to a press release from the team.


JUNE 28: The Jazz have reached an agreement with David Fizdale, who will join the team’s front office, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski, Fizdale’s title in Utah will be associate general manager. The plan is for Fizdale to work closely with general manager Justin Zanik and CEO Danny Ainge.

Fizdale, who played college ball at San Diego from 1992-96, became an assistant coach at his alma mater in 1998. He made the transition to the NBA in 2003 and served as an assistant coach for the Warriors, Hawks, and Heat before being hired as the head coach of the Grizzlies in 2016. Fizdale had brief head coaching stints in Memphis and New York and then joined the Lakers as an assistant on Frank Vogel‘s staff for the 2021/22 season.

Fizdale will be transitioning into a management role for the first time and will reunite with Jazz minority stakeholder Dwyane Wade, who was in Miami with the veteran coach from 2008-16.

Ian Begley of SNY.tv first reported over the weekend that Fizdale was interviewing for a front office role with the Jazz.

David Fizdale Interviewing For Jazz Front Office Job

David Fizdale is interviewing with the Jazz but not for their head coaching job. Fizdale is talking with Utah regarding a front office position, Ian Begley of SNY TV tweets.

The former Grizzlies and Knicks head coach had previously been considered a candidate for Quin Snyder’s former job, in part due to his ties with minority owner Dwyane Wade stemming back to Fizdale’s days as a Miami assistant. However, he’s not one of the many candidates that have interviewed for that job with CEO Danny Ainge and GM Justin Zanik.

Fizdale spent this past season as an assistant on the Lakers’ staff under Frank Vogel. He wasn’t retained after Darvin Ham was selected as their head coach.

Warriors Notes: Payton, Curry, Thompson, Assistant Coaches

Gary Payton II has become a fan favorite in his first full season with the Warriors, writes Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. Some of the affection stems from his Oakland roots and some can be explained by the years-long struggle he had to make the league before earning a roster spot with Golden State.

Payton received a thunderous ovation when he entered Sunday’s Game 2, playing for the first time since fracturing his left elbow in the second-round series against Memphis. He consistently provides energy off the bench and fans have responded, putting him in the top five among team jersey sales since the playoffs began.

“So hard to make this league in general,” Stephen Curry said, “but even harder (to be an) NBA player’s son trying to follow in the dad’s footsteps. It’s a different challenge and journey for him coming out of college, trying to find his way, G League, training camp offers, bouncing around the league, all over the place, then finally finding a home. … I think he was on two-way last year. He was available but not really. Then knowing he could really help us this year, he’s actually proven to be an amazing difference-maker. I think fans really resonate with that.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Curry is quickly shedding his reputation as a poor defender, according to Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle, adding that opponents are finding it harder to attack him on pick-and-rolls. “Teams used to try to call Steph into every action, and just try to pick on him, but that doesn’t work anymore,” Draymond Green said. “He’s able to hold his ground, so you’re not able to bump him off his spot, and that’s been huge for us. I’m not shocked he’s playing that type of defense.”
  • Klay Thompson has been watching online videos of his past highlights in an effort to break out of his shooting slump, Letourneau states in a mailbag column. Thompson shot just 4-of-19 in Game 2 and was 1-of-8 from three-point range. Letourneau expects coach Steve Kerr to run some early pick-and-roll action for Thompson tonight, noting that he was the team’s most efficient scorer from that set this season.
  • Former Lakers head coach Frank Vogel and assistant David Fizdale could be candidates to join Kerr’s staff next season, Letourneau adds in the same piece. The Warriors are already losing Mike Brown to Sacramento, and Kenny Atkinson is one of the finalists to be the next head coach in Charlotte.
  • Payton, Andre Iguodala and Otto Porter Jr., who were all listed as questionable, will be able to play tonight, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

Three Lakers Assistants Won’t Be Retained; Phil Handy To Stay

12:58pm: The Lakers will keep Phil Handy, who is considered one of the league’s best assistant coaches, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Handy accepted Ham’s offer to remain with the team.


11:56am: As Darvin Ham begins to build his coaching staff with the Lakers, assistants David Fizdale, Mike Penberthy and John Lucas III have been told that they won’t return next season, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Ham has talked to several potential candidates about joining him in L.A. and that process is expected to continue for weeks, adds ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). A report Monday indicated that Rasheed Wallace is among the names being considered.

Fizdale, a longtime assistant and a former head coach with the Grizzlies and Knicks, joined the Lakers last season. He has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Quin Snyder in Utah.

Lucas was also in his first year with the team, while Penberthy joined Frank Vogel‘s staff when he was hired in 2019 and was promoted to a front-of-the-bench role last offseason.

Jazz Notes: Snyder, Ainge, Fizdale, Bryant, Cockburn, Barcello

The Jazz could block Quin Snyder from coaching next season, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Snyder, who resigned on Sunday, has one guaranteed year remaining on his contract, which gives Utah leverage if Snyder seeks another coaching job before the 2023/24 season.

Snyder apparently isn’t in any hurry to patrol the sidelines again. He’s looking forward to spending time with his family,  Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do next year, as far as coaching,” Snyder said. “I know I’m going to be at Halloween with my daughter. That’s the silver lining of me stepping down now.”

Jazz executive Danny Ainge expects Snyder to return to coaching “very soon, probably next year,” Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets, though it’s unclear if, by “next year,” Ainge meant next season or 2023.

We have more from the Jazz:

  • Despite meeting the media on Monday, Snyder’s motivation for leaving his post remain vague, Walden writes. However, it is clear he – not the team – made the decision and agonized over it for several weeks.
  • Minority owner Dwyane Wade might push the front office to strongly consider Lakers assistant and former Knicks head coach David Fizdale as Snyder’s replacement, Marc Stein writes in a Substack post. Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant is a favorite of Donovan Mitchell, but Ainge may be hesitant to cater too much to his star shooting guard.
  • On the draft front, the Jazz are bringing in Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn and BYU’s Alex Barcello for workouts this week, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets.

Central Notes: Cavaliers, Ball, Pacers, Pistons

Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has talked to president of basketball operations Koby Altman about possible additions to his coaching staff, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscriber-only link), who says Bickerstaff keeps a running list of potential targets that he adds to every year.

Sources tell Fedor that Bickerstaff would be looking for a well-rounded candidate with experience, and wouldn’t necessarily be seeking an offensive coordinator. Fedor identifies Steve Clifford, Paul Hewitt, Chad Forcier, Tyrone Corbin, and David Fizdale as some names to watch, though some of those coaches may not be inclined to leave their current positions for an assistant role with the Cavaliers.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Longtime Chicago media personality David Kaplan said during his ESPN 1000 radio show that the Bulls‘ front office has “serious concerns” about Lonzo Ball‘s left knee injury and that the issue could impact how the team approaches its offseason (link via NBC Sports Chicago). There have been no concrete updates on Ball’s troublesome knee injury since he said in late April that his rehab was “kind of at a standstill” and that he planned to visit a specialist.
  • The Pacers could end up picking anywhere from No. 1 to No. 9 as a result of Tuesday’s draft lottery, but one thing is certain: Indiana will have its first top-10 pick since 1989. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (Insider link) takes a look at the end of an unusually long streak, which Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard calls an “exciting opportunity” for the franchise.
  • James L. Edwards III of The Athletic looks at some potential second-round targets the Pistons could consider at No. 46, starting with Alabama wing Keon Ellis.

COVID-19 Updates: Porzingis, SGA, Garland, Valanciunas, More

Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and has been ruled out for Monday’s game vs. Denver, the team announced today (via Twitter).

The Mavericks got good news over the weekend, as Luka Doncic was cleared to play for the first time since December 10 and led the team to a win in Oklahoma City on Sunday. But now Porzingis is at risk of missing a few games due to the health and safety protocols, and he’s not the only Mav affected — the club still has four other players in the protocols too.

Here’s more COVID-related news from around the NBA:

  • Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is no longer in the health and safety protocols, acting head coach Mike Wilks said today (Twitter link via Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman). Gilgeous-Alexander only entered the protocols on Saturday, so he may have registered a false positive test.
  • Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, who had been in the COVID-19 protocols since last Tuesday, was able to practice today, per head coach J.B. Bickerstaff (Twitter link via Kelsey Russo of The Athletic).
  • Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas has cleared the protocols and will be available for Monday’s game against Utah, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN.
  • Damion Lee and James Wiseman have exited the protocols for the Warriors, per the NBA’s injury report. Wiseman remains sidelined while he recovers from right knee surgery, but Lee is no longer on the injury report at all, and Golden State doesn’t have any players in the protocols.
  • After briefly clearing the protocols, Hornets forward P.J. Washington reentered them on Sunday, according to the team (Twitter link). He’ll miss Monday’s game vs. Washington (Twitter link).
  • Lonzo Ball and Alfonzo McKinnie of the Bulls have both exited the health and safety protocols and will be available to play on Monday vs. Orlando, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.
  • Nets rookie Kessler Edwards is no longer in the COVID-19 protocols, according to the NBA’s injury report. Brooklyn was hit hard by an outbreak in December but currently has no players affected.
  • Lakers assistant David Fizdale, who briefly served as the club’s acting head coach during Frank Vogel‘s stint in the protocols, has now entered the protocols himself, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Frank Vogel, Kent Bazemore Placed Into Protocols

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, along with Kent Bazemore, tweets Bill Oram of The Athletic. Assistant David Fizdale will take over Vogel’s duties until he can return.

L.A. now has eight players either in the protocols or sidelined by injuries, but the team still has enough for tonight’s game in Chicago, Oram adds (Twitter link). Trevor Ariza will suit up, but the Lakers don’t believe he’s ready to make his season debut after ankle surgery, so they will only have nine players available.

Vogel is the third head coach in the protocols, joining the Pacers’ Rick Carlisle and the Kings’ Alvin Gentry.

Lakers Notes: Anthony, LeBron, Nunn, Coaching Staff

Carmelo Anthony was hoping to return to the Trail Blazers this summer before LeBron James urged him to join the Lakers, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Appearing on Haynes’ “Posted Up” podcast, Anthony said he was waiting to see if Portland was interested in bringing him back when James reached out to him. Anthony spent the last two years with the Blazers, but said management didn’t contact him about a return.

“No, not the way I thought. But honestly, I wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “… Not to say Portland did anything wrong, but I was sitting around because I’m a loyal person. I didn’t want to leave (Damian Lillard) and CJ (McCollum) and those guys. But I know the business.”

In addition to his long friendship with James, Anthony chose the Lakers because he sees the team as his best hope to cap off his career with a championship. He told Haynes that several other organizations expressed interest, which felt good after being out of the league two years ago.

“New York was always there, always a story,” Anthony said. “I told my son when he made it to high school, I’d be there. Philly, I didn’t get a chance to converse with Philly, but there was interest. New Orleans had interest. It felt good to see that again and being a part of teams being interested in me when 18-20 months again, it was nobody.”

There’s more from L.A.:

  • James has played fewer minutes per game each season since 2016/17, and Jovan Buha of The Athletic expects that trend to continue this year. James will turn 37 in December and the Lakers will be try to be careful with him to avoid the kind of long-term injury he had last season.
  • Of all the players the Lakers added in free agency, Kendrick Nunn was probably the most surprising, Buha adds in the same piece. The former Heat guard signed for the taxpayer mid-level exception, and Buha speculates that he could have gotten a better offer from another team. Buha also questions whether Nunn will get the playing time he’s used to with Russell Westbrook handling most of the minutes at point guard.
  • The Lakers have officially announced the additions of David Fizdale and John Lucas III as assistant coaches (Twitter link). Both hires were previously reported.