David Fizdale

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.

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.