And-Ones: Coach Contracts, Options, Star Trades, Glickman

Monty Williams‘ record-setting six-year, $78.5MM contract with the Pistons will have a major impact on some of the league’s top coaches, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said on NBA Countdown (YouTube link).

It’s going to significantly impact the head coaching landscape for high-level coaches, including (the Heat‘s) Erik Spoelstra and (the Warriors‘) Steve Kerr,” said Wojnarowski (hat tip to RealGM). “Both of those coaches have one year left, next season, on their deals. Both, I’m told, in the $8 million annual range right now. Both coaches, when you talk to owners and executives around the league, if they were on the open market might be able to get what (Denver Broncos coach) Sean Payton got: in the neighborhood of $20 million per year.

It’s hard to imagine Erik Spoelstra leaving a Miami organization where he started 28 years ago as a video intern, where he’s spent 15 years as a head coach with two championships.

Steve Kerr is going to be a different situation. His president/GM Bob Myers announced last week that he’s leaving. This is an aging roster. The worldview for Steve Kerr may look different. Watch his negotiations this summer on an extension.

One other coach who is going to benefit from Monty Williams changing the pay structure of NBA head coach is Clippers coach Tyronn Lue.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Which players are likely to exercise their player options? Which teams will exercise their options on players’ contracts? Which players on partially guaranteed and non-guaranteed contracts will be waived before free agency? John Hollinger of The Athletic predicts all of those decisions. The former Grizzlies executive believes Jazz guard Talen Horton-Tucker ($11MM) will decline his option and test free agency, writing that his age (22) could help him get a new contract for the full mid-level exception or better. According to Hollinger, the Lakers will likely decline their $16.6MM team option on guard Malik Beasley, while the Magic will retain Gary Harris‘ $13MM deal, which is currently non-guaranteed (it will become guaranteed if he’s still on the roster July 1).
  • Mike Vorkunov, Fred Katz and James L. Edwards III of The Athletic draft the NBA teams they think have the top assets to offer in hypothetical trades for star players this offseason, with two caveats: The team’s best player cannot be included for the star, and the outgoing pieces will be both players and draft picks. The Thunder are selected No. 1 by Vorkunov, followed by the Magic at No. 2 (Katz), and surprisingly the Trail Blazers at No. 3 (Edwards).
  • Marshall Glickman, the acting CEO of the EuroLeague, announced he will step down from his post when his contract expires at the end of July, tweets Donatas Urbonas of As BasketNews relays, a previous report indicated that Glickman’s work relationship with EuroLeague president Dejan Bodiroga was strained, which made have contributed to the decision. Glickman has been acting CEO since last September.

Brandon Ingram, Jaren Jackson Jr. Commit To Team USA

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram and Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. are the latest players to commit to play for Team USA this summer, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

That brings the total of players who have reportedly committed to Team USA to eight. USA Basketball plans to finalize the 12-man roster later this month.

Team USA will compete for the FIBA World Cup in the Philippines.

A quartet of guards — the Timberwolves‘ Anthony Edwards, the Pacers’ Tyrese Haliburton , the Lakers’ Austin Reaves, and Knicks’ Jalen Brunsonhave already pledged to play along with Nets forward Mikal Bridges and Bucks forward Bobby Portis.

Ingram averaged 24.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists in an injury-marred season in which he played just 45 games. Jackson averaged 18.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 1.0 steals in 63 regular-season contests en route to being named Defensive Player of the Year. Jackson will provide a much-needed shot blocking presence for the squad, which begins training camp Aug. 3 in Las Vegas.

Another Grizzlies big man, Santi Aldama, is expected to play for Spain in the World Cup.

Team USA will play its first exhibition game Aug. 7 against Puerto Rico and will also make stops in Spain and the United Arab Emirates before its World Cup opener Aug. 26 against New Zealand.

Edwards, Haliburton, Reaves Commit To Team USA

Timberwolves All-Star guard Anthony Edwards and Pacers star guard Tyrese Haliburton are among the players who have committed to Team USA this summer, Joe Vardon and Shams Charania of The Athletic report. Team USA will compete for the FIBA World Cup in the Philippines.

Lakers shooting guard and restricted free agent Austin Reaves, Nets forward Mikal Bridges and Bucks forward Bobby Portis have also made commitments.

Knicks guard Jalen Brunson has pledged to play for Team USA as well, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link).

The 12-man roster is still being assembled by USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill and no roster additions have been formally announced yet.

Edwards, who averaged 24.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists this season, was a member of the USA Select Team for the Tokyo Olympics. Team USA has begun to prioritize bigger guards who can hold their own defensively and shoot well from the perimeter in international competitions, according to The Athletic duo. Edwards and Reaves fit that mold.

Team USA begins training camp Aug. 3 in Las Vegas, plays its first exhibition game Aug. 7 against Puerto Rico and will also make stops in Spain and the United Arab Emirates before its World Cup opener Aug. 26 against New Zealand.

Wizards Notes: Schlenk, GM, Winger, Offseason, Richman

Having reached an agreement to join the Wizards as the team’s senior VP of player personnel, Travis Schlenk will oversee Washington’s player evaluation work at all levels (amateur, international, and professional), according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic, who says scouts will report to Schlenk.

While new team president Michael Winger will have the final word on personnel moves, Schlenk’s input will carry “significant weight,” writes Robbins, as will that of the executive that the Wizards eventually hire in a general manager-type role. Winger hasn’t offered that position to anyone yet, sources tell The Athletic.

As Robbins explains, Winger’s previous work has focused less on player evaluation and more on bigger-picture roster construction and strategy, as well as navigating the CBA and salary cap, so he wants to ensure he’s surrounded by strong player evaluators in Washington’s new-look front office.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • According to Marc Stein at Substack, the word in league circles is that the Wizards offered Winger an annual salary in the neighborhood of $9MM to lure him away from the Clippers to become the new head of basketball operations in D.C.
  • Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington lists five major decisions Winger will have to make within his first few months on the job, starting with hiring a general manager. The Wizards’ new president will also have to determine whether or not to keep the team’s “big three” (Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kyle Kuzma) intact and figure out whether or not to sign Deni Avdija to an extension this offseason.
  • Assistant coach Ryan Richman is leaving the Wizards and taking a job as the head coach of the Seahorses Mikawa, a Japanese team, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Raptors Have Shown Interest in Sarunas Jasikevicius

The Raptors expressed interest in Barcelona head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius during their ongoing search for a new lead coach, Marc Stein reports at Substack.

As Stein notes, Toronto actually interviewed Jasikevicius for the position in 2018 as well, prior to the team promoting then-assistant Nick Nurse. Jasikevicius was reportedly a finalist at that time. Nurse was dismissed after the 2022/23 season concluded and was recently hired by Philadelphia.

It’s unclear if Jasikevicius, a former EuroLeague legend and NBA guard with the Pacers and Warriors, advanced that far this time around, Stein writes. The Raptors have been quite secretive about their process, much as they were during the lead-up to the trade deadline.

The Grizzlies also expressed interest in Jasikevicius in 2019 prior to hiring Taylor Jenkins to be their head coach.

Jasikevicius, 47, coached Lithuanian side Zalgris for four seasons prior to becoming Barca’s head coach in 2020.

And-Ones: Team USA, Summer League, Draft, E. Lewis

USA Basketball announced today in a press release that the men’s national team will face Puerto Rico in Las Vegas on August 7 as part of its exhibition schedule in advance of the World Cup.

Team USA now has five World Cup tune-ups on its schedule before this year’s event tips off. The squad will also go up against Slovenia and Spain on Aug. 12 and 13 in Spain, then play Greece and Germany on Aug. 18 and 20 in Abu Dhabi.

The 2023 World Cup will begin on Aug. 25, with the U.S. team playing its first game on Aug. 26 against New Zealand. With the international competition less than three months away, we should find out in the not-too-distant future which 12 players will be playing for Team USA this summer.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • James Ham of The Kings Beat (Twitter link) has heard rumblings that the Spurs and Hornets will take part in this year’s California Classic Summer League. The annual event – which has been hosted in past years by the Kings or Warriors – serves as a brief four-team warm-up for the Las Vegas Summer League. It could draw far more attention this year if San Antonio and Charlotte are involved, given that they control the top two picks in the draft. The Lakers and Heat joined the Kings and Warriors at last year’s event.
  • Michael Scotto updated HoopsHype’s aggregate 2023 mock draft with commentary that includes several of the tidbits he has heard about this year’s top prospects.
  • The NBA has opened an investigation into a possible Twitter burner account run by veteran referee Eric Lewis, according to reports from Marc Stein (Twitter link) and ESPN. The Twitter account, which has since been deleted, responded to many posts about NBA officiating to defend Lewis and other referees (Twitter thread). NBA rules prohibit referees from publicly commenting on the officiating without authorization.

Sergio Scariolo Reportedly Among Raptors’ Head Coaching Finalists

Sergio Scariolo, the head coach of Virtus Bologna in Italy, is reportedly among the finalists in the Raptors‘ head coaching search.

International outlet passes along a report from Andrea Tosi of Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport that states Scariolo has a second meeting lined up with the Raptors. He initially interviewed with the team in Italy earlier this month.

A veteran coach who has spent the majority of his career in Europe, Scariolo is the current head coach of the Spanish national team and has previously led European teams such as Baskonia, Olimpia Milano, Khimki, and Real Madrid. He reportedly has one year left on his contract with Virtus Bologna.

Scariolo had a three-year stint as an assistant in the NBA as well, serving as a member of Nick Nurse‘s staff in Toronto from 2018-21, so the Raptors were already familiar with him. He won a championship with the franchise in 2019 and was briefly the club’s acting head coach when Nurse tested positive for COVID-19 in 2021.

A report on Sunday indicated that the Raptors were advancing to the second round of their head coaching interviews but didn’t clarify which candidates were still in the running to replace Nurse on the club’s bench.

While it remains unclear exactly who Scariolo is up against, Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez was identified over the weekend by Marc Stein as a legitimate candidate to land the Raptors’ job, so Fernandez may be another one of the team’s finalists.

Ricky Rubio Hopes To Play In Europe Again

Ricky Rubio has at least one more season left on his contract with the Cavaliers, and he’s thinking about finishing his career in Spain once his NBA commitment is complete, writes Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops.

I am starting to consider my return,” Rubio said in an appearance Sunday on the La Sotana podcast. “Going home. To Barcelona. Close to home.”

The 32-year-old guard is under contract for $6.1MM next season, but he has only a $4.25MM guarantee on his $6.4MM salary for 2024/25. Cleveland will have to terminate the contract by June of 2024 if the team decides not to pay him the full amount.

Rubio had a limited role for the Cavs this season after his year-long rehab following an ACL tear. He wasn’t able to play until January and then appeared in 33 games, averaging 5.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 17.2 minutes per night.

Rubio was a star in Europe for six years before coming to the NBA. He helped Barcelona capture the EuroLeague championship in 2010 and the Liga ACB title in 2011.

He has played 12 years in the NBA with the Timberwolves, Jazz, Suns and Cavaliers.

And-Ones: Carmelo, Howard, Allen, Flopping

Carmelo Anthony recently announced his retirement after 19 seasons, and he doesn’t regret the decision at all, Chris Herring of Sports Illustrated writes in an in-depth feature.

It’s weird to use the word happy, but I’m happy,” Anthony said. “It took a lot for me to get to that point, and to be able to see it all clearly. But I do.”

As Herring notes, despite plenty of individual and team accolades (with Team USA), Anthony was labeled as one of the top players to have never won an NBA championship. He says he’s “at peace” with that label, according to Herring.

That doesn’t bother me no more; that idea that you’re a loser if you don’t win a championship,” Anthony said. “For me, I’ve won. I won back in 2003, the night I shook David Stern’s hand on that [draft] stage. I made it out of Red Hook. I’ve won at life. The ring is the only thing I didn’t get. It would’ve been a great accomplishment, but I don’t regret it, because I feel like I did everything I could to get it.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Dwight Howard, Anthony’s teammate with the Lakers in 2021/22, says he “would love to come back” to the NBA if he finds an opportunity next season, he tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter video link via FanDuel TV). “I would love to finish off my career with an NBA team, hopefully win an NBA championship,” Howard said. The eight-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year spent this season in Taiwan with the Taoyuan Leopards.
  • Former NBA player Tony Allen has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud, per Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Allen was one of 18 players charged with allegedly defrauding the NBA’s health and welfare benefit plan by submitting false claims for dental and medical expenses that were never incurred. Allen has repaid the money that he gained and faces up to two years in prison, according to Cole, who notes that two other former players have pleaded guilty in the case and avoided jail time.
  • The NBA’s competition committee is considering adding an in-game penalty for flopping, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The penalty would be a technical free throw, with a possible trial run set for Summer League in a couple months.

International Notes: Wembanyama, Darlan, Schröder, Yao

Victor Wembanyama‘s overwhelming popularity is creating a lot of new basketball fans in France, writes Sam Borden of ESPN. Borden notes that it has long been a “niche sport,” far behind soccer in the French sporting landscape, but Wembanyama has been drawing massive crowds, especially as his time in the French league nears its end.

Nearly 16,000 people attended his most recent game in Accor Arena — the largest venue in Paris, which has been hosting Metropolitans 92 games in light of Wembanyama’s celebrity status — and tickets were selling for hundreds of dollars on the resale market. The Wembanyama phenomenon figures to create a huge crop of new NBA fans in France when he begins playing for the Spurs in the fall.

“We’ve had this traditional setup in France — you are going to play the sport your dad played, or the sport he watches,” said Maxime Raynaud, who plays at Stanford. “And so for the past 100 years, everyone just picked up a soccer ball. Now, we have access to basketball. We have role models for basketball. And Victor is going to be the face of that.”

Wembanyama has a crucial playoff game today as his team’s best-of-three series with Cholet is tied at 1-1. Beyond winning an LNB Pro A title and making an impact in the NBA, he has his eyes on the 2024 Olympics, which will take place in Paris.

“My goal,” he said, “is to beat Team USA in the final.”

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • After officially signing with G League Ignite, Thierry Darlan hopes to prove that Africa can produce NBA-level guards as well as big men, per Marc J. Spears of Andscape. Darlan hails from the Central African Republic and graduated from the NBA Academy Africa. “When they talk about basketball in Africa, they always talk about the center, the big,” Darlan said. “It’s a big challenge to change that to talking about (a) point guard. In Africa, we’re not just known to run the floor and get rebounds. We can do many things, too. We can pass the ball. Create for others. That is my mission to show that African players can do more.”
  • Lakers guard Dennis Schröder, who is entering free agency, said he plans to play for Germany this summer in the FIBA World Cup, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
  • Hall of Famer Yao Ming has stepped down as head of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to an Associated Press report. No official explanation was given, but the league has been plagued by allegations of corruption, including match fixing.