David Fizdale

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.

Pacers Notes: Fizdale, Collins, Pritchard, Turner, Sabonis, Workouts

David Fizdale turned down more money from the Pacers to be one of Rick Carlisle’s lead assistants in order to take a similar job with the Lakers, according to Marc Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). Indiana’s interest in Fizdale was previously reportedFormer Warriors assistant coach Jarron Collins is being considered for an assistant coaching position with the Pacers, Spears adds.

We have more on the Pacers;

  • President of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said the hiring of Carlisle is a signal that the franchise is intent on winning a title, according to Michael Marot of The Associated Press“We’re in a win-now mode, we’re trying to win and so we identified some traits or characteristics we wanted in a coach,” Pritchard said. “Those characteristics were first of all multiyear experience, we really wanted to have someone who had a championship pedigree and that can be challenging to find all of them in one person. What happened in this year’s search is Rick became available.”
  • Myles Turner‘s name has often been tossed into trade rumors but Carlisle believes he can get more out of the frontcourt duo of Domantas Sabonis and Turner, Wheat Hotchkiss of Pacers.com writes. “When my teams have played them over the last few years, we’ve always felt like it was a physical beating that we were taking with them, both defensively and offensively,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of making it work.”
  • The team is bringing in Brandon Boston Jr. (Kentucky), Matt Coleman III (Texas), EJ Onu (Shawnee State), Austin Reaves (Oklahoma), Jaden Springer (Tennessee) and Moses Wright (Georgia Tech) for pre-draft workouts on Thursday, according to a team press release. Springer, a point guard, is ranked No. 27 on ESPN’s Best Available list. Shooting guards Boston (No. 41) and Reaves (No. 44) are also ranked in the Top 50.

Lakers Finalizing Deal To Hire David Fizdale As Assistant

The Lakers lost a top assistant coach when Jason Kidd agreed to become the new head coach in Dallas. However, it appears Los Angeles has already lined up a replacement for Kidd on Frank Vogel‘s staff.

The Lakers are finalizing a deal to hire David Fizdale as an assistant coach, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). He’ll join a staff that includes Lionel Hollins and Phil Handy, among others.

Fizdale, who began his coaching career in the college ranks in 1998, moved to the NBA in 2003, becoming a Warriors assistant. He subsequently worked as an assistant for the Hawks and Heat before being hired as the head coach of the Grizzlies in 2016. He later had a stint as the head coach of the Knicks.

Fizdale’s time in New York was a disaster — he had a 21-83 (.202) record in one full season and part of a second from 2018-19. However, he earned a reputation as a respected and well-liked assistant during his eight years on Erik Spoelstra‘s staff in Miami, and spent four of those seasons working with LeBron James, making him a logical fit for the Lakers.

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), multiple teams pursued Fizdale this offseason, hoping to hire him as a lead assistant. Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link) says Fizdale was on the Cavaliers‘ list of targets, and Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link) adds that the Pacers were eyeing the veteran coach too.

Atlantic Notes: Dinwiddie, Fizdale, Raptors’ Lottery Pick

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie is not only looking for a more lucrative contract but also may prioritize a return to Los Angeles, where he grew up, according to Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News.

Dinwiddie is declining his $12.3MM player option in order to test the free agent market despite missing most of this season due to a partial ACL tear. Dinwiddie seems unlikely to return to the Nets and would prefer to join one of the L.A. teams, with Winfield noting he rehabbed his injury in California. However, due to his likely contract demands, Dinwiddie could only join the Lakers or Clippers in a sign-and-trade scenario.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • David Fizdale dealt with mental health issues during and after his final season with the Knicks, he said in an interview with Jesse Washington of The Undefeated. Fizdale said he was filled with self-doubt after getting fired during the 2019/20 season. “I thought the lowest point was during the losses,” Fizdale said. “But it was after, when you go through the whole part of, ‘What could I have done different? Did I even deserve this job?’ You think like you were an imposter. You felt like you got over on these people. You’re a fraud.”
  • The Raptors emerged from the lottery with the No. 4 pick. Blake Murphy of The Athletic takes a closer look at what the Raptors might have to give up to move into the top three while also speculating on what assets they could acquire if they’re willing to move down to the 5-7 range.
  • Agreeing to an extension with president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, selecting top big man Evan Mobley with the No. 4 pick, and re-signing Kyle Lowry to a two-year deal. Those would be some of the components for an ideal offseason for the Raptors, Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes.

Atlantic Notes: Paul, Fizdale, Knicks, Raptors

Former Knicks coach David Fizdale believes the team wouldn’t be a good fit for Chris Paul in a potential trade, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Fizdale, who coached the team for 104 games over two seasons, argued the fit would be better for the Knicks than it would be for Paul — especially with Paul still being without a championship entering his 16th NBA season.

“I think the Knicks have to be open to a lot of different things,’’ Fizdale said. “Would he be a great fit for them? Absolutely. I think he would fit those kids — Mitchell Robinson going to the rim, they get more spacing, more shooting. Absolutely, he would fit. The big stage. He doesn’t get sick [with COVID-19].”

“[But] for him, where he is at his career, I don’t think it’s a good fit for him and what he’s trying to do.’’

Paul is coming off his first All-Star season since the 2015/16 campaign, averaging 17.6 points, 6.7 assists and 31.5 minutes per game with the Thunder. For the Knicks, the team must decide between pursuing a star player and continuing to slowly build their young core — a decision that’ll be made by general manager Scott Perry and president Leon Rose.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News examines how the Knicks could improve their roster before next season, listing four ideas for potential trades. New York accrued just a 21-45 record last year (fourth-worst in the Eastern Conference).
  • The Raptors have a number of questions to answer this offseason, including where the team will play during the 2020/21 season, Damien Cox of The Toronto Star writes. Toronto also has a number of key players set to reach free agency later this month, including Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka.
  • Raptors officials visited Nashville, Tennessee last week to investigate another potential home for the team next season, Adam Vingan of The Athletic writes. With Canada closing the border except for essential travel, Toronto likely needs to find a temporary arena located in the United States for most or all of the upcoming campaign. Kansas City, Missouri and Tampa Bay, Florida are also in the running to host the team, Vingan relays. Despite conducting due-diligence, the club is reportedly holding out hope that it will be able to play in Toronto next season.

Brian Shaw To Coach G League Select Team

JUNE 9: Shaw’s hiring was officially confirmed today in a press release issued by the G League.

“Brian’s extensive experience and success as an NBA player and coach make him a natural choice to lead the new NBA G League team,” NBAGL president Shareef Abdur-Rahim said in a statement. “We look forward to watching these terrific young players develop their skills and grow as professionals under Brian’s leadership.”

JUNE 1: Veteran NBA coach Brian Shaw has agreed to become the head coach of the NBA G League’s new “Select Team,” sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

That G League squad will be made up of a handful of top prospects who opted not to play college ball, as well as several veteran players who will be tasked with mentoring the youngsters. The 2020/21 NBAGL Select Team – which will play exhibition games against other G League teams but won’t be part of the league’s official schedule – will include guards Jalen Green and Daishen Nix, forward Isaiah Todd, and center Kai Sotto.

Shaw, who was the head coach in Denver from 2013-15, has also served as an assistant coach for the Lakers and Pacers. He had two separate stints with the Lakers, most recently holding the title of associate head coach from 2016-19 under Luke Walton.

We heard back in April that Shaw was receiving consideration to coach the G League Select Team, along with David Fizdale and Sam Mitchell. At the time, it sounded as if Mitchell was on track to becoming the club’s head coach, with the other two men potentially being involved in some capacity. Now that Shaw has been tabbed for the head coaching position, we’ll see if Fizdale and Mitchell have any sort of roles with the Select Team.

And-Ones: Yabusele, British League, Jones, NBCA

Former NBA forward Guerschon Yabusele has signed a one-year contract with LDLC Asvel, according to a press release from the French club (hat tip to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Yabusele appeared in four games for Asvel before the pandemic suspended play after beginning the season in China. Yabusele was drafted in the first round by the Celtics in 2016 and played 74 games over two seasons with Boston.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • The British Basketball League has canceled the remainder of its season, according to a statement from the league. “We looked at every option, including playing behind closed doors or restarting the season in the summer, in order that we could get to a league and playoff winners, but with the continued uncertainty, we just ran out of time and options,” BBL Chairman Sir Rodney Walker said. “The clubs were united that now was the right time to bring the current season to a close.”
  • Veteran NBA forward Terrence Jones has signed with Team Washington for TBT 2020, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. The Basketball Tournament is a 5-on-5, winner-take-all event with a grand prize of $2MM. Jones has played with Houston, New Orleans and Milwaukee since being drafted 18th overall back in 2012.
  • A number of prominent coaches have been selected by the National Basketball Coaches Association for a committee on racial injustice and reform to pursue solutions within NBA cities, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, Lloyd Pierce, David Fizdale and Stan Van Gundy were among the coaches selected to a committee in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and a continuing pattern of violence and intolerance toward African Americans in the U.S.

Latest On NBA G League’s New Select Team

Former Raptors and Timberwolves head coach Sam Mitchell, who was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year in 2006/07, is expected to become the coach of the G League’s newly-formed “Select Team,” reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The new squad is the one that prep stars Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd will be joining next season, as we detailed last week.

As Adam Zagoria of Forbes points out, the Mitchell news hasn’t officially been confirmed, but the 56-year-old – who coached Green in AAU – repeatedly used the word “we” when he referred to the team during a recent ESPN appearance. Mitchell confirmed that the new G League Select Team will feature several veterans in addition to the prospects arriving from high school, suggesting that most of those vets will be aiming to get back to the NBA.

“We’re going to try to fill out the rest of the roster with guys who know how to play, guys that know how to be mentors, but also guys that can teach these guys how to play and how to win and how to be a pro,” Mitchell said, per Zagoria. “They’re going to try to surround these kids with all different type of players, the type of players that they’re going to have to play on a team with.

“Some of these (prospects) are actually going to be fortunate enough to go to (an NBA) team where they’re actually going to be the man on a team and some of these guys are going to be on a team where they’re going to have to learn how to fit in,” Mitchell continued. “So they’re going to mix these teams up with different types of players with different types of backgrounds. It’s not going to just be a bunch of high school kids.”

Here’s more on the G League’s new squad and the league’s developmental path for top high school prospects:

  • Prior to Carchia’s report on Mitchell, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports wrote that David Fizdale and Brian Shaw were also receiving consideration for the Select Team’s head coaching job. A source who spoke to Zagoria said that he wouldn’t be surprised if Fizdale and Shaw still end up having some sort of role with the club.
  • The G League’s Select Team is exploring the idea of making the Mamba Sports Academy its “home base,” sources tell Haynes. The training facility, created by the late Kobe Bryant, is just one of a handful of venues being considered, but it appears to be a frontrunner, Haynes adds. The Select Team will be based in Southern California.
  • Zagoria wrote in a separate Forbes article last week that the G League has been attempting to court other high school stars in addition to Green and Todd, including five-star recruit Greg Brown. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link) hears that the NBAGL has actually already started reaching out to prospects in the 2021 recruiting class as well.

Fizdale Believes Knicks Need To Add Power Forward With Range

Although they did win two of three before the NBA suspended the season, the Knicks weren’t having the best 2019/20 campaign. Former coach David Fizdale, who New York fired back in December, believes the team can improve via free agency this offseason by targeting a point guard and a power forward with range.

“I think that if the Knicks can find those pieces in free agency,” Fizdale said on ESPN Radio recently (h/t Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News). “So the next year or two years from now, that big free agent comes through says, ‘Wait a minute, they got these pieces in place, these guys are now starting to get into the playoffs, eighth seed, seventh seed.

That’s the team I want to join in New York City, in the Garden, that could take us to another level.’”

Three-point shooting has been an issue for the club this entire season. Only three teams, the Hawks, Warriors, and Timberwolves, shot a worse percentage from three-point land than the Knicks this year.

“Just looking at the roster where they’re at — I love Elfrid (Payton), Frank (Ntilikina), and Dennis Smith Jr. — but all of them have something in common in that they’re not consistent 3-point shooters coming off the pick-and-roll,”

The coach added that he believes Mitchell Robinson can reach great heights if he continues to develop.

“And if you have a super talent like Mitchell — and I think Mitchell can end up being one of the best centers over the next ten years — you have to have a guy coming off that pick and if you have to fight over that pick and roll,” Fizdale said. “And if you do that, all of a sudden Mitchell Robinson looks totally different. And his production goes up big time.

“The other piece to that puzzle is a 4-man who can really rope that 3… Like I’ve always said, the key to player development is spacing. You want to see players look better on the court, spread the floor.”

New York Notes: Fizdale, Knicks, Kyrie, Nets

Appearing on ESPN’s The Jump on Monday, former Knicks head coach David Fizdale said the toughest part about being fired a year and a half after joining the franchise was fulfilling the goal of turning things around and giving fans a winner. However, Fizdale still believes that the club is well-positioned to improve going forward.

“I think that they have really good young talent and those young guys are going to keep getting better, Fizdale said of the Knicks, per Steve Popper of Newsday. “They have to continue to draft well because they have a lot of draft picks over the next few years. Then with the veterans that they did sign, they have to figure out which guys they want to retain and which guys they want to move on from. But they do have a lot of cap space there and they will have an opportunity to get back in the free-agency market this summer.

“So I really think they’re in a good position,” the ex-Knicks coach added. “I know a lot of people don’t and a lot of people are down on them. But I actually think that they’re in a good position to make some good things happen for the organization.”

Here’s more out of New York:

  • While a segment of Knicks fans may prefer to see the team’s young players get some of the minutes currently going to veterans, the team “clearly has a showcase mentality” with those vets, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Berman suggests there will be plenty of time for New York to increase the youngsters’ roles after the trade deadline.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic identifies a few players and potential trades that could be of interest to the Knicks at the deadline. Jerome Robinson, Kris Dunn, and Bogdan Bogdanovic are among the players Vorkunov thinks might be logical targets.
  • After Kyrie Irving was a late scratch on Monday due to a tight hamstring, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson explained that the team is just being “cautious” with the star guard, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. However, Atkinson did acknowledge that the issue had been nagging Irving for a few days.
  • Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News says it’s ridiculous to claim the Nets are better without Irving and argues that some of the criticism Kyrie is facing for recent comments is unfair.