Herb Williams

Eastern Notes: Nene, Cavs, Heat, Pistons

Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer looks at Cavs interim GM David Griffin‘s track record from when he worked with Steve Kerr in the Suns front office, noting his success and his preference for building exciting, high-scoring teams. Pluto would expect Griffin to target offensive firepower if he became a permanent GM by reuniting with Kerr on the Knicks, or by losing the interim tag in Cleveland. Such an offensive bent runs counter to coach Mike Brown‘s determination to win through defense. Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders thinks that both Brown and Griffin are likely to be brought back since they haven’t been fired yet, but notes that a decision hasn’t been made (Twitter link).
  • There was some ambiguity as to whether Phil Jackson will want to retain Herb Williams when he hires the next Knicks coach, but Kyler expects Williams will be gone (Twitter link).
  • Vince Ellis of Detroit Free Press expects the Pistons GM search to be a lengthy process. Detroit’s front office considers the draft and free agency “artificial” deadlines, and will be thorough and patient while evaluating candidates, many of whose schedules are loaded from working for teams still in the playoffs.
  • Nene is in danger of facing a one-game suspension for his altercation with Jimmy Butler in last night’s Wizards loss to the Bulls, per Mike Wise of The Washington Post.
  • Stu Jackson of NBATV used to make disciplinary decisions for the league, and he says that the thrown punch from Nene merits a suspension according to the rules (Twitter links).
  • Ira Winderman of Sun Sentinel looks at the likelihood that the Heat will pay a steep repeater tax bill in the coming years if they manage to keep LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.
  • Winderman lays out a variety of scenarios in which Heat players could help the roster stay intact and under the salary cap, by opting out of their deals to accept longer contracts with lower annual salaries.
  • We looked at Wade’s tricky contract situation in our latest Free Agent Stock Watch feature.

Coaching Rumors: Warriors, Wolves, Knicks

The week began with the creation of a pair of coaching vacancies, as the Knicks fired Mike Woodson an hour before Rick Adelman announced his retirement from the Wolves. There will probably be other jobs opening up, but Jermaine O’Neal gets the sense that Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob isn’t down on Mark Jackson, as the veteran center tells USA Today’s Sam Amick.

“When I speak to Joe, he likes what we have,” O’Neal said. “But hey, it’s a different era right now. We have a new breed of owners in our league and their patience is a lot shorter. So I don’t know ultimately what his plan is — that’s up to him. He pays the bills. He can do whatever he wants to do with his team. But from the conversations I’ve had with him, he likes Mark.”

Here’s more on the Warriors and other coaching news from around the league:

  • Andre Iguodala has Jackson’s fate on his mind as the Warriors go through the playoffs, observes Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group“We’re trying to save our coach,” Iguodala said. “Every game is pressure for us.”  
  • Fellow Bay Area News Group scribe Tim Kawakami suggests that Steve Kerr and Fred Hoiberg would top the Warriors‘ list of targets if the team parts ways Jackson (Twitter link). Jackson would “almost surely” want an extension that includes a pay raise if the team decides to keep him, Kawakami writes.
  • Adelman said he made his decision to retire in part because he didn’t think it would help the Wolves to have both him and Kevin Love on expiring contracts next season, as Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune notes. Adelman also said he probably would have retired regardless of his wife’s health, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter links).
  • Flip Saunders hinted that the Wolves will prioritize coaching candidates who’d continue to run an offense similar to Adelman’s, Zgoda tweets.
  • The Knicks will encourage whomever they hire to replace Woodson to re-hire longtime assistant coach Herb Williams, who was let go along with the rest of the team’s coaching staff today, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. However, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News casts doubt on the report, suggesting that the idea that team wants Williams back comes from neither Phil Jackson nor Williams (Twitter link).

Atlantic Notes: Woodson, ‘Melo, Lowry, Nets

Mike Woodson has had little contact with Knicks president Phil Jackson, and a source close to the coach believes he knows he’ll be fired, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Woodson’s assistants have been given no assurances of their future, and if Woodson is fired, all but Herb Williams seem certain to lose their jobs, too, Isola adds. With a coaching change seemingly on the horizon, here’s more on the Knicks and their Atlantic Division rivals:

  • Carmelo Anthony‘s longtime teammate J.R. Smith isn’t worried about the prospect that ‘Melo will head elsewhere and is confident he’ll re-sign with the Knicks this summer, as Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com observes.
  • The Raptors are so deep into plans to move forward with soon-to-be free agent Kyle Lowry on the roster next season that Lowry would be “derailing the train” if he were to sign elsewhere, writes Cathal Kelly of The Globe and Mail.
  • Shaun Livingston, also set to hit free agency, will be a priority for the Nets this summer, and he hasn’t been disappointed with his experience in Brooklyn, as Dave D’Alessandro of NJ.com notes. “I like where I’m at, let’s put it that way,” Livingston said. “This year’s been everything I could have asked for.”

Knicks Rumors: Woodson, Williams, Johnson

The Knicks endured another loss Wednesday, and though they put up a fight against a strong Blazers team, New York fell to 19-30, and rumors persist that Mike Woodson could soon lose his job. Here’s the latest:

  • The Knicks have discussed making assistant coach Herb Williams interim head coach if they fire Woodson, reports Steve Popper of The Bergen Record. The team would also get rid of most of Woodson’s assistants in that scenario, Popper writes, adding that Larry Johnson is a candidate to serve as an assistant under Williams.
  • Woodson’s firing would set up a summer pursuit of Tom Thibodeau, Jeff Van Gundy and Stan Van Gundy, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. The Knicks would pass over assistants Darrell Walker and Jim Todd, both of whom have head coaching experience, because the team believes they’re too closely allied with Woodson, Berman adds.
  • J.R. Smith says he is “without a doubt” fearful that Woodson will lose his job, Newsday’s Al Iannazzone tweets. Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com has more from last year’s Sixth Man of the Year. “I love Coach Woodson,” Smith said. “I think he’s done a great job. But it’s out of my hands. So I would hope not [if management opts to make a change], but if it does then we have to live with it.”
  • Jeff Van Gundy would want a major payday, control over the team’s basketball operations, and a relaxation of the team’s draconian media rules if he were to agree to coach the Knicks, sources tell ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.
  • In the same piece, Smith opines that the Knicks should realize how unattractive they are to free agents and trade Carmelo Anthony before the deadline rather than risk him leaving in the offseason.
  • Woodson admits the season has been a supreme disappointment, as Ian Begley notes via Twitter. “This year, for me, has been kind of a disaster from a coaching standpoint … and trying to get players to play at a high level,” Woodson said.

Knicks Notes: Woodson, Houston, Williams, Calipari

After tonight’s 15 point loss to the 8-13 Cavaliers, the Knicks are now 5-15 and have matched the worst start in franchise history, writes ESPN New York’s Ian Begley, who adds that there are serious questions about head coach Mike Woodson‘s job security in New York, as we well know. Here are some additional reactions to tonight’s loss, as well as some speculation as to where the team could go from here:

  • Woodson is far more concerned about his job security than he lets on to the media, reports ESPN’s Marc Stein, who openly wonders if the coach will survive tonight’s loss. Stein adds that a coaching change can only result in the Knicks playing harder given the state of the roster. Stein says that momentum is building for assistant general manager Allan Houston to end up as interim head coach. We heard a week ago that owner James Dolan was prepared to make Houston the next coach if the team continued to flounder. (Twitter links)
  • Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated agrees that Woodson’s time in New York could be up, and says that we should expect to hear John Calipari‘s name in connection with the Knicks’ job. Mannix doesn’t understand why the Knicks would name Houston the interim coach over assistant coach Herb Williams, but Stein reminds us that Houston can get a better look at the personnel from up close. (Twitter links)
  • Agreeing with Stein’s sentiment, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News tweets that the Knicks’ problems go way beyond the head coach, essentially implying that night after night of sellouts at the Garden will have fooled Dolan into a cosmetic change if that is, in fact, all that the owner chooses to do.