Ime Udoka

Kenny Smith Still In Running For Pistons’ HC Job

The Pistons‘ list of finalists for their head coaching position lost one name on Wednesday when John Beilein announced that he’ll remain at the University of Michigan, but another name has emerged, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times. Stein reports (via Twitter) that TNT’s Kenny Smith is in Detroit’s top tier of candidates and is meeting with owner Tom Gores.

Dwane Casey remains the leading candidate to replace Stan Van Gundy as the Pistons’ head coach, according to Stein, and Spurs assistant Ime Udoka is still in the mix too. However, the club is “intrigued” by Smith’s candidacy after interviewing him last week, and hasn’t ruled him out yet, Stein tweets.

Smith, who was a player in the NBA from 1987 to 1997 and has now been with Turner Sports for two decades, doesn’t have any NBA coaching experience. However, this is the second time this spring that a team has considered him for a head coaching job. Smith also met with the Knicks about their coaching vacancy before they hired David Fizdale.

Gores reportedly met with Casey on Tuesday and Udoka today. It’s not clear when the Pistons will sit down with Smith. Beilein met with Gores back in May, but withdrew from consideration for Detroit’s head coaching job and has reportedly agreed to a new deal with the Wolverines.

Latest On Raptors’ Coaching Search

The Raptors plan to trim their group of coaching candidates down to three finalists in the next seven to 10 days, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.

Spurs assistant Ettore Messina is expected to be on the list, along with longtime Raptors assistant Nick Nurse, according to Grange. He expects the other finalist to be Sarunas Jasikevicius, who briefly played in the NBA and has become one of Europe’s top coaching propects.

Jasikevicius, who serves as head coach of EuroLeague team Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania, interviewed with Raptors president Masai Ujiri over the weekend at the NBA Global Camp in Italy.

Spurs assistant Ime Udoka, who is among the finalists for the Pistons’ head coaching vacancy, may also get consideration from the Raptors, Grange adds.

Toronto hopes to hire a new coach by the end of the month, and Nurse should be considered the front-runner, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports, who adds that several outside candidates are still being considered. Nurse is viewed highly by the front office after revamping the Raptors’ offense heading into this season.

The organization may talk to some more candidates before a final decision is made, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Latest On Pistons’ Head Coaching Search

The Pistons are still considering former Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, Michigan coach John Beilein, and Spurs assistant Ime Udoka for their head coaching vacancy, as we heard on Monday. When we asked Hoops Rumors readers this morning about who would become the next head coach in Detroit, we passed along a note on Casey from Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press, who said the ex-Raptors coach exceeded expectations and was “impressive” in his interview.

Ellis has more updates on the Pistons’ search for a new head coach, so let’s dive in…

  • Casey wasn’t the only candidate who had a very strong interview. Ellis tweets that Udoka also impressed the Pistons’ search team and emerged as a serious option for the club.
  • According to Ellis, Udoka will meet with Pistons owner Tom Gores on Wednesday in Los Angeles, while Casey will meet with Gores today. Beilein previously met with Gores prior to last months’ Memorial Day weekend, so a second sit-down with ownership has been deemed unnecessary, per Ellis, who clarifies that the Michigan coach is definitely still in the running.
  • A source tells Ellis that the Pistons will likely fill their head coaching opening before they hire a new head of basketball operations. While that would mean the new GM wouldn’t get a say on the coaching hire, the Pistons have a strong group leading the coaching search, with special advisor Ed Stefanski, vice chairman Arn Tellem, and ownership representative Bob Wentworth involved.
  • Rod Beard of The Detroit News says (via Twitter) that he’s getting “more and more indications” that Casey is the frontrunner for the Pistons’ job. Our readers seem to agree — Casey has received nearly 69% of the votes in this morning’s poll on which candidate will become Detroit’s next head coach.

Pistons Want More Talks With Casey, Beilein, Udoka

9:35pm: Spurs assistant Ime Udoka also remains on the short list and the Pistons are making plans to advance the three candidates to meet with owner Tom Gores, according to Wojnarowski.

6:04pm: The Pistons would like to have additional conversations with former Raptors coach Dwane Casey and current Michigan coach John Beilein regarding their head coaching job, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Both coaches have already met with Detroit’s front office, Wojnarowski adds.

This suggests that the duo may be emerging as the top candidates for the position, despite their very different resumes. Casey was named NBA Coach of the Year by the National Basketball Coaches Association after guiding the Raptors to the Eastern Conference’s best record, then was abruptly fired after Toronto was swept by the Cavaliers during the conference semifinals.

Casey, who had coached the Raptors since 2011, was the winningest coach in team history, leading the club to a 373-307 (.549) regular season record. He had one year left on his contract with Toronto, worth $6MM.

Beilein has been a long-time college coach and led the Wolverines to the NCAA title game before they fell to heavily favored Villanova. Beilein has compiled a 248-143 record in 11 years at Michigan, including two trips to the Final Four.

Newly hired special advisor Ed Stefanski said that hiring a new head coach was a priority over hiring another front office executive. Stan Van Gundy held the positions of head coach and president of basketball operations before he was fired last month. GM Jeff Bower was let go last week.

Former Bucks coach Jason Kidd, Spurs assistants Becky Hammon and Ime Udoka, Heat assistant Juwan Howard, and TNT broadcaster Kenny Smith have also been connected to the position.

Pistons Part Ways With GM Jeff Bower

The Pistons have decided to cut ties with GM Jeff Bower, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Bower was hired to be Stan Van Gundy’s right-hand man when he took charge four summers ago. Owner Tom Gores fired Van Gundy last month and is currently conducting a search for a coach and front-office executive.

Ed Stefanski was hired last week as a senior advisor in charge of overhauling the team’s basketball operations. Van Gundy served as both head coach and president of basketball operations but Gores now wants separation between the two jobs.

Bower had continued his duties after Van Gundy’s departure but his contract was expiring at the end of June and Gores had to make a decision whether to retain him or move on.

Searches to fill the coaching and front office vacancies are ongoing.

On the coaching front, the team has lined up or already interviewed TNT analyst Kenny Smith, Heat assistant Juwan Howard, Spurs assistant Ime Udoka, Michigan coach John Beilein and former Raptors head coach Dwane Casey.

Nets assistant Trajan Langdon , TNT analyst Brent Barry, Hawks executive Malik Rose, Grizzlies assistant Tayshaun Prince and ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups are among the candidates for the front-office job.

Pistons To Interview Howard, Casey, Udoka

Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard will interview with the Pistons about their head coaching vacancy, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Howard is expected to receive an interview in the next few days, Wojnarowski adds. He is the second prominent name to emerge as a candidate for the job today, following TNT broadcaster Kenny Smith. Former Raptors coach Dwane Casey and Spurs assistant Ime Udoka will also receive interviews, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

Howard has been part of Erik Spoelstra’s staff in Miami for the past five seasons. He and Smith were among 11 candidates to interview for the Knicks’ head coaching position before they hired David Fizdale.

Howard, 45, played 19 NBA seasons before retiring in 2013. Casey coached Toronto for the past seven seasons before being fired after a second-round playoff ouster, and Udoka has been on Gregg Popovich’s staff for six years.

Raptors Interview Messina, Udoka For Head Coach Job

The Raptors officially interviewed Spurs assistant coaches Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka for the team’s vacant head coaching position, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Messia interviewed on Thursday while Udoka met with the Raptors on Friday, Wojnarowski notes.

With several teams seeking to fill head coaching vacancies, Messina and Udoka have been popular names this summer.

Messina interviewed with the Bucks and Hornets before those teams hired Mike Budenholzer and James Borrego, respectively. Messina received a second interview with Milwaukee before the team decided on Budenholzer. Long considered one of the top international coaches in basketball, the 58-year-old has served as an assistant under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio the past four seasons. Messina stepped up to coach the Spurs for Game 3-5 during the first round of the playoffs after Popovich’s wife, Erin, passed away.

As for Udoka, he has interviewed with the Magic and Hornets about their openings. Udoka has been an assistant to Popovich the past six years after he finished his playing career with the Spurs in 2010/11. Udoka played seven NBA seasons, spending time with the Trail Blazers, Kings, Knicks and Lakers.

The Raptors fired Dwane Casey after another early postseason exit, despite finishing with the best record in the Eastern Conference. Casey, who was named Coach of the Year by his fellow coaches after his dismissal, is also one of three finalists for the official award. Budenholzer was reportedly a top target for the Raptors before he accepted the Bucks job.

Toronto recently interviewed Jerry Stackhouse –– a former assistant to Casey — who coached the organization’s G League squad this season. Stackhouse was one of three internal candidates considered by the Raptors as Nick Nurse and Rex Kalamian have also interviewed for the job.

Stay up to date with all the latest developments on the coaching front with our Coaching Search Tracker.

Magic To Interview Ime Udoka For Coaching Job

The Magic are scheduled to interview Spurs assistant Ime Udoka for their head coaching job this week, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Udoka, a former NBA player for the Lakers, Knicks, Trail Blazers, and Spurs, transitioned to coaching in 2012 following his retirement. He has been a member of Gregg Popovich‘s coaching staff in San Antonio since then, spending the last six seasons as a Spurs assistant.

Like fellow Spurs assistants Ettore Messina and James Borrego, Udoka has been a popular candidate so far this spring for teams seeking a new head coach. As Wojnarowski notes, Udoka has spoken to the Hornets already. He has also been identified as a potential target for the Hawks.

[RELATED: 2018 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

As for the Magic, they’ve been taking their time with their head coaching search, carefully weighing their options since parting ways with Frank Vogel last month.

A mid-April report indicated that Raptors 905 coach Jerry Stackhouse would meet with Orlando about the team’s coaching job, and we heard a few days ago that the club would also speak to Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool about the position.

Hawks Expected To Consider Fizdale, Tibbetts, Others

2:13pm: Vanterpool won’t be among the Hawks’ head coaching candidates after all, tweets Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

9:30am: The Hawks are the latest NBA team to embark on a search for a new head coach, having confirmed on Wednesday that they’ve parted ways with Mike Budenholzer, who had held the position since 2013. While there’s no presumed frontrunner to replace Budenholzer yet, a number of potential candidates have already emerged for Atlanta.

The Hawks are expected to talk to former Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale and current Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts about their head coaching position, a source tells Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Fizdale has been one of this spring’s most popular head coaching candidates, having previously been linked to the Knicks, Suns, and Hornets. It’s the first time we’ve heard Tibbetts connected to one of the ongoing searches, however.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski adds a few more names to the Hawks’ list of candidates, reporting that the club is also expected to consider Hornets assistant Stephen Silas, Spurs assistants Ime Udoka and James Borrego, and another Trail Blazers assistant, David Vanterpool.

Borrego has been another assistant whose name has frequently popped up in coaching rumors this spring — he has been linked to the Knicks and Suns. Meanwhile, Silas was identified as a possible head coaching candidate in the wake of Steve Clifford‘s ouster in Charlotte. As Amick and Zillgitt note, Silas is “widely respected” around the NBA and was with the Warriors at the same time as current Hawks GM Travis Schlenk.

It’s no surprise that the initial group of candidates for the rebuilding Hawks includes a number of NBA assistants. Wojnarowski writes that the team wants to hire an up-and-coming coach who can evolve along with Atlanta’s young roster. Vanterpool, Silas, and Tibbetts all showed up near the top of a recent list of NBA assistants who should receive head coaching consideration — that list was voted on by about three dozen executives around the league.

Ime Udoka To Interview With Hornets

The Hornets will interview Ime Udoka for their head coaching vacancy this week, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. An assistant in San Antonio, Udoka joins fellow Spurs assistant Ettore Messina and former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale on Charlotte’s interview list.

Udoka has been an assistant to Gregg Popovich for the past six years after concluding his playing career in San Antonio in 2010/11. He played seven NBA seasons, also spending time with the Trail Blazers, Kings, Knicks and Lakers.

Keep up to date with all the latest coaching news with our NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker.