Jacque Vaughn

Nets Notes: Atkinson, Assistants, Free Agency

Kenny Atkinson’s obsessive focus on individual player development led to his contract extension, Michael Scotto of The Athletic reports. ESPN reported on Monday that the Nets head coach would receive an extension, which Scotto confirms. Brooklyn is in playoff contention after winning 20 and 28 games the last two seasons.

“He has done arguably as good of a job as any coach in the league when you look at his improvement each year,” swingman Joe Harris said. “Obviously, I’m again biased just because I’m around him day in and day out and I see his approach and his competitiveness, his toughness, what he’s preached to us has trickled down to each one of the guys. He embodies what we are as an organization. We’re obviously not getting to this point without a leader like that.”

We have more on the Nets:

  • Members of Atkinson’s staff received two-year extensions, Scotto tweets. Atkinson’s staff include Bret Brielmaier, Chris Fleming, Jordan Ott, Pablo Prigioni, Jacque Vaughn, Adam Harrington and Travon Bryant.
  • The Nets will be an attractive free agent destination even if their playoff bid comes up short, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Kyrie Irving will give them consideration, a source told Lewis. There’s also a general feeling that free agents respect what Brooklyn has built and the culture around the franchise. “We’ve competed and won enough games this year that they know that all we need is another All-Star, another dynamic player to take the franchise over the top,” forward Ed Davis told Lewis. “I think that’s what those top-tier free agents that’s what goes through their minds. That’s how they think.”
  • Allen Crabbe underwent knee surgery on Thursday, likely ending his disappointing season.

Nets Notes: Lin, Russell, Vaughn, Okafor

Jeremy Lin went down with a season-ending injury on opening night, adding another chapter to what has been an injury-riddled first two seasons in Brooklyn. However, the veteran point guard is on track to return to full health for next season and he expects to start for the Nets, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.

Lin appeared in just 36 games last season and just 25 minutes this season before a ruptured patella tendon shut him down. Despite his limited playing time for the Nets, the 29-year-old —  focused on improving his health — envisions himself on the court as a starter.

“I came here having the same role. I don’t expect it to change,” Lin said. “if it does, it’;l be something we communicate over. But I’m not even thinking that far in advance. I’m thinking about my health, about moving properly. And I have full confidence if I’m doing that, everything will be [OK]. Everything will make up for lost time, and we’ll see what I’d envisioned my time in Brooklyn being.”

With Lin healthy, the Nets face a crowded backcourt with D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Caris LeVert on the roster.
Check out more Nets news below:
  • D’Angelo Russell played well for stretches in his first season with the Nets and the organization is excited for what he can produce if he can be consistent, Lewis writes in a separate story. Still 22 years old, Russell has All-Star potential for a team that hasn’t had an All-Star since Joe Johnson in 2013/14.
  • Nets assistant coach Jacque Vaughn has received interest from collegiate programs at Connecticut and Memphis about becoming a head coach, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Vaughn has been credited for working diligently with Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson this season.
  • As we relayed this week, impending free agent Jahlil Okafor has a mixed perception around the NBA as a talented but generally flawed player.

Coaching Notes: Wizards, Nets, Grizzlies

The Wizards announced today that the team has named Tony Brown, Sidney Lowe, Chad Iske, Mike Terpstra and Maz Trakh as assistants on head coach Scott Brooks’ staff. Eric Sebastian, director of coaching operations, and Kamran Sufi, advance scout, were also named by the team while David Adkins will stay on as the team’s director of player development, according to the press release.

The staff we have put together here in Washington is an impressive group of basketball minds with extensive coaching experience and knowledge of the game,” said Brooks. “I look forward to working alongside this versatile group every day in our quest to bring the best out of our players.

Here’s more of the latest from the NBA’s coaching ranks:

  • The Grizzlies announced via press release that the organization has hired Keith Smart and Adam Mazarei as assistant coaches on head coach David Fizdale’s staff. Smart spent the last two seasons working with Fizdale as an assistant coach for the Heat, while Mazarei was a player development assistant for Memphis the past three years.
  • The Nets officially announced their coaching staff for the 2016/17 season. Joining new head coach Kenny Atkinson’s staff as assistant coaches are Jacque Vaughn, Chris Fleming and Bret Brielmaier, Adam Harrington as assistant coach and director of player development, Jordan Ott as assistant coach and manager of advance scouting and Mike Batiste as player development assistant.
  • The Timberwolves are bringing in Brian Pauga to serve as player personnel director, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets. Pauga previously worked with GM Scott Layden when both were members of the Spurs organization, Wojnarowski adds.

Nets Notes: Atkinson, Vaughn, Development

New Nets coach Kenny Atkinson‘s contract is for four years and approximately $10MM, NetsDaily reports (on Twitter). With performance bonuses, Atkinson could earn as much as $12MM, NetsDaily adds. The Nets hired Atkinson, formerly the Hawks’ top assistant, on April 17th as the team’s sixth coach since it moved to Brooklyn prior to the 2012/13 season, following Avery Johnson, P.J. Carlesimo, Jason Kidd, Lionel Hollins and Tony Brown.

Here’s more on Atkinson and the Nets:

  • The Nets again moved swiftly Saturday and hired Jacque Vaughn to be the team’s top assistant. Brooklyn wanted to move fast on its coaching decisions to exemplify a new culture, which is essential in the hope of luring free agents this summer, NetsDaily writes. With Atkinson and Vaughn on board, the Nets appear to be prioritizing player development under new GM Sean Marks, which is an element that had been missing in recent years for Brooklyn, NetsDaily adds.
  • Pacers consultant Donnie Walsh, who was formerly the Knicks president when Atkinson was an assistant coach for New York, expects the first-year head coach to perform well in his new gig, as Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes in a lengthy profile. “I figured people would start noticing him. He’s got the talent,” Walsh said. “Some guys know the game, but just strategy, how to set up offense or defense. Kenny can teach the game. He’s in shape. I’d get a kick out of it. He’d say, I want you to go hard,’ and then lead it himself. [Players] are thinking, ‘[Expletive], if he can do it, I have to do it!’ … He’s like a little motor, the little battery that wouldn’t shut down.’’

Nets Hire Jacque Vaughn To Be Top Assistant

The Nets have hired Jacque Vaughn to be the team’s top assistant coach on Kenny Atkinson’s staff, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Vaughn played for the Nets during the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons.

The Magic hired Vaughn to coach their team in 2012 and he compiled a 43-121 record over three-plus seasons. He was fired in February of 2015. Prior to joining the Magic, Vaughn was an assistant coach for Spurs.

Wojnarowski points out that GM Sean Marks has worked closely with Vaughn during their time together in San Antonio. Vaughn spent the 2015/16 season with the Spurs as a pro personnel director.

Southwest Notes: Cuban, Vaughn, Pelicans

Clippers coach and executive Doc Rivers had been critical of some comments reportedly made by Mavs team owner Mark Cuban in the wake of DeAndre Jordan changing his mind about signing with Dallas in order to return to Los Angeles this offseason. In an interview on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Cuban fired back at Rivers (h/t Dallas Morning News), saying, “First of all [Rivers] obviously didn’t actually hear or see what I said.  Because I didn’t say a whole lot. I think I said I responded to DJ’s Twitter apology, and that’s pretty much it. I haven’t said a whole lot about it at all, so I don’t know where he’s getting what he’s got. But I think the most interesting thing is, it shows you what someone will do when their entire future is vanishing in front of them. And that’s exactly what Doc did and I give him credit for it. His professional life was over if he didn’t get DJ. And so his back was against the wall and he did what he needed to do. More power to him. Sometimes the deals you don’t do are the best ones, so we’ll see. But Doc obviously hadn’t heard what I had said because I really didn’t say anything.

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks will begin training camp without three key contributors being fully cleared for basketball activities, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com relays. Swingman Wesley Matthews, small forward Chandler Parsons and center JaVale McGee are all expected to gradually work themselves back into full participation in practices as they continue to recover from major injuries, MacMahon notes.
  • The Spurs announced today that former Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn has been hired by the team as a pro scout. The news that San Antonio was to hire Vaughn was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
  • Pelicans GM Dell Demps says that the blueprint of assembling an up-tempo team with ample depth that he envisioned three years ago is finally coming to pass, writes John Reid of The Times Picayune. ”We set out a plan three years ago to be exactly where we are right now,” Demps said. ”This is a big year for us. We’re really looking for this group jelling and taking that next step. I think we have over 20 games on national television, which is a great sign that people have expectations on us. We look forward to it and embrace the opportunity. We can’t wait, we’re really excited. I think it’s really going to be exciting for the fans to watch. I think it’s going to be great for the players.

And-Ones: Vaughn, World Peace, Pistons

Former Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn will be joining the Spurs in a player-personnel role, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports.

The Magic fired Vaughn in February in the midst of his third season as coach after having served a brief apprenticeship as an assistant coach with the Spurs. Vaughn could eventually find his way back to the bench as an assistant coach, Wojnarowski writes, but there are no openings for him now.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Although a deal does not seem imminent, Cerruti Brown of the AmeriLeague announced that he will speak to free agent Metta World Peace about a possible deal, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter links). There’s a good chance that the veteran small forward will come to an agreement with the Lakers before camp, however.
  • It’s unlikely the Pistons would trade shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for a few reasons, David Mayo of MLive.com writes. Caldwell-Pope, Mayo adds, still could be a major part of the Pistons’ future. What’s more, Caldwell-Pope’s defense makes him a valuable commodity and he is an improving player on a rookie contract, so it would take a strong offer to move him, according to Mayo.

Poll: Which Fired Coach Lands Next Job First?

The pace of coaching changes in the NBA isn’t nearly what it was two years ago, when 13 teams hired new coaches in the 2013 offseason, as I noted last week when I looked at how those 13 coaches had fared since then. Still, five coaches have lost their jobs since the beginning of the 2014/15 season, while a sixth, Tom Thibodeau, hangs in serious limbo.

It’s a reasonable assumption that if Thibodeau were to join the ranks of the coaches let go within the past several months, he would have the best shot among them to quickly land another NBA head coaching job, given his credentials. None of the five who’ve already lost their jobs have found replacement head coaching gigs, despite some impressive bona fides of their own.

Monty Williams just lost his Pelicans gig this week, so of course it would be quite a stretch to have expected him to land a new position so quickly. He’d engineered an 11-game improvement from last year to this season, clinching a playoff berth on the season’s final night. Still, that wasn’t enough to save him from the ax.

Scott Brooks wasn’t let go all that long ago, either, and while his Thunder lost a tiebreaker to the Pelicans for that playoff berth, he compiled an impressive 338-207 record during the regular season in parts of seven years as Oklahoma City’s bench boss. That record had plenty to do with the elite talent surrounding him, and Brooks only made it to one NBA Finals in his time with the Thunder, losing that series to the Heat.

Brian Shaw never sniffed the playoffs in his season and a half with the Nuggets, but he was long a sought-after head coaching candidate before Denver hired him. He has two rings from his time as an assistant under Phil Jackson on the Lakers.

Jacque Vaughn also cut his coaching teeth as an assistant with a team accustomed to long playoff runs, learning under Gregg Popovich with the Spurs. The Popovich head coaching tree has expanded rapidly in the past couple of years, though it lost a member when the Magic fired Vaughn during the season, with Orlando largely stuck in neutral amid the third year of a rebuilding project.

Michael Malone didn’t get a third year in Sacramento, and he barely got a second before the Kings fired him just 24 games into his second season this past December. The Kings were off to a fast start this year before DeMarcus Cousins went down with viral meningitis, and the coach had connected with the sometimes-difficult star.

Vote to let us know which of the five coaches let go since the start of the 2014/15 season you think will be the first to find another head coaching job, and elaborate on your choice in the comments.

Southeast Notes: Vaughn, Heat, Walker

A number of coaches around the NBA have taken issue with the way in which the Magic fired former coach Jacque Vaughn, Chris Mannix of SI.com writes. Said one NBA coach, “We get hired to eventually get fired. But what they did to Jacque was disrespectful.” The main complaint about the team’s handling of Vaughn relates to how the franchise left Vaughn to face a daily barrage of questions regarding his job status instead of either simply pulling the plug on him sooner, or giving Vaughn a public endorsement to ease the media scrutiny, Mannix adds.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat team president Pat Riley and his staff want to bolster their roster at the deadline but lack the assets to make a deal, Grantland’s Zach Lowe writes. Still, that would seem to indicate that the club doesn’t intend to be a seller, though that is merely my speculation.
  • Kemba Walker is expected to miss approximately five more weeks while recovering from knee surgery, but the Hornets‘ point guard says that he won’t rush his recovery and risk re-injuring himself, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. “Right now I’m taking things slow. I want to be 100% when I come back,” Walker said. “I started riding the bike two days ago. As the weeks go by, I’ll do more and more.
  • After enduring the previous two rebuilding seasons, Magic GM Rob Hennigan and CEO Alex Martins both expected greater improvement and player progress than the team displayed this season, which is what ultimately led to Vaughn being fired, John Denton of NBA.com writes. “We went into the season wanting to see some progress and see some growth and we just didn’t feel like we were seeing the kind of growth that we wanted to see,’’ said Hennigan. “That led us to this point. We find ourselves in a little bit of a rut right now. We’ll call it what it is, but I’ll always say that it’s a road bump and not a road block. We will get through this, but it doesn’t make it any easier when you have to make the type of decision that we made the other day.’’

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Central Notes: West, English, Gutierrez

There was less acrimony Thursday when the Magic fired Jacque Vaughn than there was when they ousted Stan Van Gundy in 2012, but the current Pistons coach and executive nonetheless has plenty of sympathy for the latest ex-Magic coach. “There’s no such thing as a longtime Magic coach,” Van Gundy contends, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press relays.

“All those things are the same,” Van Gundy said. “You get in the press conference, they loved Jacque. He did a great job. You listen to all that, and then I listen to [GM] Rob [Hennigan] say it doesn’t fall on Jacque, but he takes full responsibility. I laugh, obviously, because that’s not true. You’re still sitting there with a job, and Jacque doesn’t have one, so I don’t know what full responsibility means. But I would say they left the full responsibility on Jacque.”

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • Grantland’s Zach Lowe heard six weeks ago that the Pacers had become open to trading David West for a first-round pick, but such chatter has quieted, Lowe adds, suggesting teams aren’t willing to pay that price for the power forward.
  • Bulls camp invitee Kim English has signed with Guaros de Lara in Venezuela, the team announced (Twitter link; translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). The 26-year-old who played in 41 regular season games with the Pistons in 2012/13 had played in France earlier this season after the Bulls cut him loose prior to opening night.
  • Coach Jason Kidd admits that the indefinite length of Larry Sanders‘ latest drug-related suspension complicates Jorge Gutierrez ‘s future with the Bucks, as Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examines. Gutierrez’s 10-day contract expires tonight, when the Bucks play the 10th game of Sanders’ suspension. The ban was to last a minimum of 10 games, but the league still hasn’t revealed just how long it will last, and once Sanders comes back, the 16th roster spot the Bucks created when they placed Sanders on the suspended list goes away. “We understand this is Jorge’s 10th day,” Kidd said today. “We’ll go back and evaluate and see if we can do another 10-day.”