Igor Kokoskov

Kings Assistant Igor Kokoskov To Coach Fenerbahce

Former Suns head coach and current Kings assistant Igor Kokoskov has agreed in principle to become the new head coach of EuroLeague team Fenerbahce, writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Ismail Senol of beIN Sports, who first reported the agreement, tweets that the two sides agreed to a three-year deal. Kokoskov will replace longtime Fenerbahce coach Zeljko Obradovic, a three-time EuroLeague Coach of the Year who parted ways with the Turkish club last week.

Kokoskov became the NBA’s first European-born head coach when he was hired by Phoenix in 2018 to replace Jay Triano. However, he lasted just a single season with the Suns before being replaced by Monty Williams. After interviewing for the Grizzlies’ head coaching vacancy in 2019, Kokoskov ultimately landed in Sacramento as the top assistant on Luke Walton‘s staff.

A native of Serbia, Kokoskov is currently the head coach of the country’s national team and will look to lead Serbia to a spot in the Tokyo Olympics next summer. He previously coached the Slovenian National Team, leading that club to a 2017 EuroBasket victory, and was also the head coach of the Georgian National Team from 2008-15.

Despite his agreement with Fenerbahce, Kokoskov will join the Kings in Orlando this summer and finish out the season with the team, tweets Jason Jones of The Athletic.

Pacific Notes: Bradley, Horton-Tucker, Evans, Kokoskov

Lakers guard Avery Bradley has been cleared for full contact, the team’s PR department tweets. Bradley started 10 games for the streaking Lakers, averaging 9.8 PPG, before suffering a lower right leg injury. He had a hairline fracture in a non-weight bearing bone. Bradley’s two-year, $9.8MM contract includes a $5MM player option.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers second-round pick Talen Horton-Tucker is trying to make the most of his G League appearances, he told David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders. Horton-Tucker is averaging 11.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 3.2 APG in 11 games with the South Bay Lakers. “I understand that I’m probably not going to get minutes with the Lakers right now,” Horton-Tucker said. “I feel like the G League has been great. It helps us get our reps in and it helps our careers get started.”
  • Warriors guard Jacob Evans is available to play on Monday after missing 21 games with an adductor strain, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Evans appeared in three games this season prior to the injury, averaging 6.0 PPG in 14.3 MPG. The former Cincinnati standout had his 2020/21 option picked up by Golden State in late October.
  • Former Suns coach and current Kings assistant Igor Kokoskov has no regrets about his draft input with Phoenix, Dan Feldman of NBC Sports relays. “I will tell you that I sleep peacefully and peaceably,” Kokoskov said to Index regarding his recommendation for the Suns’ No. 1 overall pick in 2018. Kokoskov is believed to have wanted Luka Doncic, whom Kokoskov coached on the Slovenian National Team, but Suns owner Robert Sarver pushed for Deandre Ayton, Feldman adds.

Igor Kokoskov To Coach Serbian National Team

Former Suns head coach and current Kings assistant Igor Kokoskov has been named the new head coach of the Serbian National Team, according to a press release. The move will put Kokoskov in position to coach Team Serbia next summer as the program attempts to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.

Marc Stein of The New York Times, who reported the impending hiring of Kokoskov on Tuesday night, tweets that the Serbian program received permission from the Kings this week to hire the veteran assistant. Kokoskov will succeed Sasha Djordjevic, who resigned in September following the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Entering the World Cup this fall, Serbia was viewed as the most dangerous challenger to the United States, led by star center Nikola Jokic. However, Team Serbia had a disappointing showing, failing to claim a medal or a spot for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. One of the four Olympic qualifying tournaments next June will be held in Belgrade, so Kokoskov will need to lead the program to victory in that tournament to secure an Olympic berth.

A native of Serbia, Kokoskov previously coached the Slovenian National Team, leading that club to a 2017 EuroBasket victory over Serbia. He was also the head coach of the Georgian National Team from 2008-15.

More recently, Kokoskov became the NBA’s first European-born head coach when he was hired by the Suns in 2018/19. However, he lasted just a single season in Phoenix before being replaced by Monty Williams. After interviewing for the Grizzlies’ head coaching vacancy this spring, Kokoskov ultimately landed in Sacramento on Luke Walton‘s staff.

Pacific Notes: Thompson, Caroline, Fall, Kings’ Staff

Mychal Thompson, father of Warriors star Klay Thompson, said there’s “no question” Klay will re-sign with Golden State, Connor Letourneau‏ of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. The Warriors are expected to offer him a full five-year maximum deal worth nearly $190MM despite Thompson’s knee injury during Game 6 on Thursday. Thompson suffered a torn left ACL and is expected to miss most of next season.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

Kings To Hire Igor Kokoskov As Assistant Coach

The Kings will hire Igor Kokoskov as an assistant coach, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). He’ll serve under Sacramento’s new head coach Luke Walton.

Kokoskov spent last season as the head coach of the Suns. He was fired after just one season where the team went 19-63.

The coach previously spent time as an assistant with the Clippers and Jazz among other teams. He also has extensive experience coaching internationally.

Grizzlies To Interview Tibbetts For Coaching Job

The Grizzlies have been granted permission to interview Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts for their head coaching vacancy, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Tibbetts has been on other teams’ lists recently during their head coaching searches. He was expected to be interviewed by the Cavaliers, but they chose Michigan coach John Beilein before that potential meeting. Tibbetts interviewed with the Suns before they selected Monty Williams. He was also one of four finalists for the Hawks job last summer that went to Lloyd Pierce.

Memphis, which parted ways with J.B. Bickerstaff after the season, has already interviewed at least three other candidates for the job — former Suns coach Igor Kokoskov, Jazz assistant Alex Jensen and Warriors assistant Jarron Collins. Memphis is also believed to have interest in Lithuania’s Sarunas Jasikevicius.

The Grizzlies are the only team that hasn’t filled its head coaching vacancy.

Grizzlies Interview Igor Kokoskov

Former Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov is the latest candidate to interview for the head coaching vacancy in Memphis, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

Kokoskov was fired last month after just one season with Phoenix, leading the Suns to a 19-63 record, which tied for the second-worst mark in the league. He reportedly had two years remaining on the contract he signed last summer.

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Jazz assistant Alex Jensen and Warriors assistant Jarron Collins are the only other known candidates to interview with the Grizzlies. Memphis is also believed to have interest in Lithuania’s Sarunas Jasikevicius.

The Grizzlies and Timberwolves are the only teams currently conducting coaching searches. The Kings, Suns, Lakers and Cavaliers have already filled their vacancies.

Western Notes: Morris, Fournier, Kanter, Booker

Celtics forward Marcus Morris believes Thunder coach Billy Donovan made a big mistake by using his brother Markieff Morris sparingly during their playoff series against Portland, Jay King of The Athletic reports.

Markieff Morris chose to play with Oklahoma City after reaching a buyout with New Orleans, which acquired him from the Wizards at the trade deadline. Markieff played just four minutes in Game 5 and between 13 and 15 minutes in the other games of the series won by the Trail Blazers, 4-1.

“I’m not a coach or anything like that, but I feel like they just didn’t utilize their bench enough. I feel like my brother went over there for no reason,” Marcus said. “He never got an opportunity to play. I thought that he would really help them in the playoffs, but from what I seen he should have went somewhere else just to be able to show that veteran leadership and that experience.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Trail Blazers made an offer for Magic swingman Evan Fournier that Orlando passed on prior to the trade deadline, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders tweets. Portland was willing to ship a roster player and a protected first-rounder for Fournier, who will make $17MM next season and holds a player option on his $17MM salary for the 2020/21 season.
  • Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter played with a separated left shoulder in Game 5, Kevin Pelton of ESPN reports. Kanter suffered the injury during the opening quarter but managed to play 32 minutes. He received a pain-killing injection at halftime. Kanter averaged 13.2 PPG and 10.2 RPG in the series as the primary replacement for injured Jusuf Nurkic. Portland would have to rely more on Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard in the conference semifinals if Kanter is forced to miss any games.
  • Suns star guard Devin Booker had no input in the firing of coach Igor Kokoskov, GM James Jones told the Arizona Republic’s Katherine Fitzgerald and other media members. “I speak to Devin, I speak to all of our players, about our organization. But in these instances, this isn’t a decision for Devin to make. This is my decision,” Jones said. That’s curious, since Booker indicated after signing his five-year maximum salary extension that he’d have a say in all major moves going forward.  I think it’s a collective agreement. Moving forward, throwing in any advice I can, stay in the loop and watch what’s going on and know what’s going on,” Booker said last month.
  • The Rockets held a predraft workout on Wednesday that included Mississippi guard Quinndary Weatherspoon, Washington guard Jalyen Nowell and Campbell guard Chris Clemons, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets.  Houston does not currently own a pick in this year’s draft. Nowell is the highest-ranked prospect among the trio, as he’s ranked No. 87 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

Pacific Notes: Suns, Jones, Cousins, Clippers

Speaking today to reporters, new permanent Suns general manager James Jones took responsibility for the dismissal of head coach Igor Kokoskov, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic writes. Owner Robert Sarver has taken the brunt of the criticism – perhaps deservedly so – for the revolving door of coaches in Phoenix, but Jones said that firing Kokoskov was “my decision alone,” per Rankin.

“The decision I had to make Monday was a tough one,” the Suns GM told the media. “Not one I take lightly.”

As for who might replace Kokoskov on the Suns’ bench, Jones said today that the club is seeking a “leader” who can relate to and challenge its players (Twitter link). While that description might sound generic, the mention of leadership is worth noting — after all, one report this week suggested that Suns players felt assistant coach Joe Prunty was more in charge of the bench than Kokoskov was.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Later in today’s press conference, Jones said that the Suns want to focus on adding players “in their prime” this summer, and will explore all possible avenues to do so (Twitter link). Phoenix doesn’t project to have much – if any – cap room, so it will be interesting to see how aggressive the club is on the trade market.
  • In an in-depth look at Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, Ken Berger of Bleacher Report cites one Western Conference executive who believes that Cousins’ Achilles and quad injuries over the last two years may ultimately cost him upwards of $150MM. Berger also explores whether it’s realistic to believe that Golden State could re-sign Cousins, even after his latest health issue.
  • While the Clippers have tried to hold their own against the Warriors and have one impressive comeback win under their belts, the series has reaffirmed why L.A. ultimately needs a superstar on its roster, says Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Despite their depth, the Clips don’t have the sort of No. 1 option who can go head to head with Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant, so their foray into free agency this summer will be worth watching closely.

Coaching Notes: Suns, Cavaliers, Kings

The Suns let head coach Igor Kokoskov walk after just one season and Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (Twitter link) that the team will also let go of all of his coaching and player development staff. Phoenix’s next head coach will have the ability to build his or her staff from the ground up.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Cavaliers are interested in J.B. Bickerstaff for their head coaching gig, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Bickerstaff, who spent the past two seasons as the Grizzlies’ coach, may “formally” be added to the team’s coaching search, which Stein hears is in its early stages.
  • As of Tuesday afternoon, Luke Walton‘s job with the Kings remains safe, Sam Amick of The Athletic hears. The franchise is working with the league to investigate the accusations against Walton and unveil the truth.
  • The Kings had interviews for assistant coaching positions scheduled prior to the allegations surfaced and those took place today with GM Vlade Divac and Walton conducting the meetings. Former Suns and Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek was one of the interviewees, Amick writes in the same piece.