Jason Kidd

Details On Dwight Howard Signing With Lakers

Dwight Howard is returning to Los Angeles in a rebounding and rim-protecting role to play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The signing of the center was a complex process for the Lakers, as Shams Charania of The Athletic explains.

The Grizzlies gave Howard and representatives permission to seek out a deal. Once that happened, the big man met with Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd, with whom Howard played during USA Basketball activities in 2007. The two have a solid relationship and mutual respect for each other from their time in the NBA together, Charania writes in a full-length piece.

In the past, Howard wanted an expanded role on the teams he’d played for. Now, he would be fine with simply rebounding, defending and staying in his lane. Howard has reportedly made these kind of declarations before with no actions to follow up his words. However, Kidd was convinced that Howard had sincerely shifted his mindset.

Next came getting on the same page with Lakers’ stakeholders, from James and Davis to ownership and front office members, Charania writes. Howard then got the green light for the workout with the team, which went well — “amazing” was what one source told Charania about Howard’s performance.

Here’s more on Howard’s path back to the Lakers:

  • Charania hears that Dwight actually arrived at the Lakers’ training facility the day before his scheduled workout, showcasing initiative which impressed the team’s brass.
  • Howard was convincing during an emotional meeting with Lakers’ players and staff, explaining how he had hit rock bottom and understood what he needed to do to remain in the league.
  • Davis, who was one of the players with whom Howard met, prefers to play alongside a true center during the course of the NBA season, a source tells Charania. Davis is comfortable playing the five during the playoffs but his preference is part of the reason the Lakers were targeting centers to begin with after DeMarcus Cousins went down.
  • By multiple accounts, Howard is fully healthy and truly motivated. Charania writes that Howard treated his workout with the Lakers like a post-college player participating in a pre-draft workout.
  • Howard doesn’t feel a need to start at the five but he will compete for it along with JaVale McGee. He’s willing to play any amount of minutes the team needs of him with a source close to Howard telling Charania that “Dwight is ready. He can’t wait.”

Lakers Officially Announce Coaching Staff

The Lakers have officially announced the assistant coaches who will join new head coach Frank Vogel on the team’s bench this season.

As expected, former head coaches Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins are the headliners of the group. Their deals with the team were previously reported, as was Phil Handy‘s. Handy has appeared in five consecutive NBA Finals, having coached in Cleveland before joining the Raptors for the 2018/19 season.

The Lakers also confirmed the previously-reported hirings of former Lakers player Mike Penberthy and former Hornets player development coach Quinton Crawford, both of whom will be assistants. Miles Simon will be the only returning assistant from last season’s staff.

“I could not be more excited about the group we’ve assembled,” Vogel said in a statement. “Each of these guys brings a unique set of skills and experiences that will greatly impact the success of our players, as we look to build a championship-caliber team.”

The Lakers also announced that they’ve hired Greg St. Jean as a player development coach/advance scout and Dru Anthrop as the team’s head video coordinator/player development coach.

Coaching Updates: Grizzlies, Kidd, Suns, Sixers, Bulls, Thibodeau

The latest round-up of NBA rumors from Shams Charania of The Athletic features a handful of coaching-related notes, including an update on the Grizzlies‘ head coaching search.

According to Charania, Bucks assistant Taylor Jenkins, whose interview with Memphis was previously reported, met with the Grizzlies for a second time last week. Jenkins is one of at least six candidates to interview for the position, but the fact that he got a second meeting may signal that he’s receiving serious consideration.

Elswhere in Charania’s story, he notes that Jason Kidd‘s contract with the Lakers will make him the highest-paid assistant in the NBA and reports that Warriors assistant Willie Green has been offered a leading assistant coach job with the Suns. Phoenix is hopeful that Green, who played for new Suns head coach Monty Williams in 2010/11, will accept that offer.

Here are a few more coaching-related items from around the NBA:

  • Former Brooklyn and Dallas head coach Avery Johnson is interviewing with the Sixers for a job on Brett Brown‘s staff, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Johnson spent the last four seasons coaching at Alabama.
  • Not long after parting ways with the Rockets, Roy Rogers has agreed to a three-year deal to become an assistant for the Bulls, tweets Wojnarowski. K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, who tweets that Rogers’ interview with the team was described as “impressive,” points out that the three-year term lines up with head coach Jim Boylen‘s new extension.
  • Appearing on The Zach Gelb Show, Tom Thibodeau confirmed that he’s not eager to rejoin the assistant coaching ranks anytime soon (link via CBS Sports Radio). The Lakers were rumored to have interest in Thibodeau as a lead assistant when they appeared to be nearing a deal with Tyronn Lue, but Thibs says the position probably wouldn’t have appealed to him. “I’ve known Ty for a long time. I coached him in Houston, and when he first got into coaching, we were in Boston together, so I consider him a really good friend,” Thibodeau said. “But I still have some time on my contract. I’ll be patient and just wait for the right opportunity to come along.”

Vogel Isn’t Worried About Kidd Taking His Job

New Lakers head coach Frank Vogel says he won’t feel threatened by the presence of former Nets and Bucks head coach Jason Kidd on his staff, he told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and other reporters on Monday.

Vogel called Kidd an “incredible asset” during his introductory press conference. The Lakers brass suggested to Vogel that he should bring in Kidd, who also interviewed for the job, as his lead assistant. Vogel and Kidd had a long discussion that made the former Pacers and Magic coach comfortable with Kidd joining his staff.

“I am very good at blocking out noise,” Vogel said. “I have been around this business a long time. I really don’t give that (the possibility of Kidd eventually taking over) a second thought. You can say that about every coach in the league about their assistant coaches. It happens from time to time. I believe if you treat people with the right respect and do the job at the highest level, build an environment of positivity and collaboration, you can’t worry about that stuff. You can’t worry about looking over your shoulder.”

Vogel was essentially the Lakers’ third choice to replace Luke Walton, who was let go immediately after the season. They were keenly interested in Monty Williams, who took the Suns job, and failed to complete negotiations on a contract with former Cavs coach Tyronn Lue.

Vogel admitted he didn’t have much of a relationship with Kidd before their long talk.

“I had a great, lengthy interview process with Jason where we talked about every topic you can imagine, and came away thinking he’s going to be an incredible asset to our program,” Vogel said.

There has been speculation that the addition of Kidd could be a means to woo Giannis Antetokounmpo if he becomes a free agent.

Lakers Angling For Antetokounmpo?

The Lakers have stated that they want Jason Kidd on their coaching staff to serve as a veteran assistant to Frank Vogel and a mentor to Lonzo Ball, but the real reason may be more ambitious, according to Steve Popper of Newsday.

A source familiar with the Lakers told Popper at this week’s draft combine that the Lakers are hoping to make a pitch for MVP finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo when he becomes a free agent in 2021. They hope Kidd will provide the personal connection needed to attract the Bucks star.

Kidd was Antetokounmpo’s coach for three and a half years in Milwaukee before being fired in the middle of the 2017/18 season. He helped Antetokounmpo develop from a part-time player as a rookie into one of the NBA’s top talents.

L.A. currently doesn’t have any salary committed past 2021 other than $5MM owed for the final year of Luol Deng‘s stretched contract. LeBron James has a $41MM player option for the 2021/22 season, while Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart will all be eligible for extensions by then.

Although nobody can tell what might happen in two years, the Lakers seem to have a tough sell to convince Antetokounmpo to leave a Bucks team that appears headed for a long run as a title contender. Beyond that, he will likely be eligible for a supermax contract that would pay him 35% of the salary cap, but that’s an offer that only the Bucks can make.

Winning this year’s MVP honors would automatically qualify him for a super-max, as would being named Defensive Player of the Year or making an All-NBA team in 2021 or two of the next three seasons.

Lakers Hire Frank Vogel As Head Coach

MAY 13, 7:47pm: The Lakers have officially signed Vogel to a multiyear contract, according to a team press release.

“We are excited to add Frank Vogel as the next head coach of the Lakers,” Pelinka said in a statement. “Coach Vogel has a proven track record of success in the NBA Playoffs, and he reflects the core qualities we were looking for in a head coach – including, detailed game preparation, extreme hard work, and holding players accountable to the highest basketball standards.”

MAY 11, 6:13pm: Vogel has accepted a three-year deal to be the Lakers’ next coach, Wojnarowski tweets. Kidd has agreed to join his staff in a “prominent assistant coaching role” (Twitter link).

Vogel probably won’t have a top assistant, with the entire staff being considered equal, Woj adds. A team source called it “the Phil Jackson model,” another indication that Jackson and Rambis had a hand in Vogel’s hiring.

4:14pm: Frank Vogel has become “a front-runner” in the Lakers’ coaching search after interviewing with the team on Thursday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Sources say the team plans to hire Jason Kidd as an assistant to work with Vogel.

GM Rob Pelinka has been talking to people who have experience with Vogel and Kidd to determine if they can comfortably fit together on the same staff, the authors add. The Lakers admire how Kidd developed young talent in Milwaukee and view him as a mentor for Lonzo Ball.

Vogel, 45, was previously a head coach with the Magic and Pacers, compiling a 304-291 record with five playoff appearances. He has been out of coaching since being fired in Orlando at the end of last season.

Vogel’s interview included “detailed discussions” on how he would handle a volatile situation in Los Angeles. The Lakers underachieved in LeBron James‘ first year in L.A., then saw team president Magic Johnson resign on the final day of the season, followed by a chaotic coaching search with assumed favorite Tyronn Lue turning down an offer this week.

[Related: 2019 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

The move toward Vogel underscores the influence of adviser Kurt Rambis and former coach Phil Jackson, according to Wojnarowski and Youngmisuk, who note that Vogel was the second choice when Jackson hired Jeff Hornacek to coach the Knicks three years ago.

Mike Woodson and Lionel Hollins were also rumored to be in the running for the Lakers’ job after negotiations with Lue ended. Their status is unclear in light of the latest news on Vogel.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Vogel, Kidd, Front Office

The Lakers are in position to dictate the terms of an Anthony Davis trade and should make an offer with a firm deadline, writes Bobby Marks of ESPN. L.A. made a strong push for Davis before the February deadline, reportedly offering several packages of young players and draft picks for the Pelicans star, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent next summer.

Marks believes getting past the constraints of the regular season could work in the Lakers’ favor as they no longer have to take on an unwanted contract such as Solomon Hill‘s to complete a deal. He suggests offering Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, this year’s lottery pick plus an unprotected first-rounder in 2021 and giving New Orleans a June 30 deadline to complete the deal so it will be resolved before free agency.

Under that proposal, L.A. would use some of its cap space to absorb Davis’ salary, eliminating the opportunity to offer a max deal on the free agent market, but the Lakers would get their second star and still have enough left over to chase second-tier free agents.

There’s more this morning from Los Angeles:

  • If the Lakers can’t land Davis or sign an elite free agent, Marks recommends following the Pacers’ approach and improving the roster through two-year contracts. He identifies T.J. McConnell, Danny Green, Bojan Bogdanovic and Dewayne Dedmon as players who might be willing to take a portion of the available $35.6MM on short-term deals.
  • Because he had to take on Jason Kidd as an assistant, new Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is walking into a situation similar to what LeBron James‘ former coach, David Blatt, faced in Cleveland, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Blatt wasn’t able to earn respect from James, who bonded with former player Tyronn Lue, his top assistant, setting the stage for a coaching change a year later. James and Kidd already have a strong relationship, Windhorst notes, that began when they won Olympic gold medals together in 2008.
  • The Lakers’ awkward coaching search exposes the danger of having too many people trying to run the organization, writes Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times. Kurt Rambis is expanding his power as an adviser, and his wife Linda has become a “shadow owner” because of her friendship with Jeanie Buss. Ex-coach Phil Jackson is also contributing ideas, while former team president Magic Johnson has reconciled with Buss and is offering advice as well.

Latest On Kyrie Irving

Would Kyrie Irving truly consider joining forces with LeBron James again? According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, it’s a real possibility (hat tip to Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype). Windhorst believes a reunion could be in the works, especially if the Lakers hire Jason Kidd as their head coach. Irving has even talked about it, according to Windhorst.

“That door, which was deadbolted, has been un-deadbolted and has now been cracked open,” Windhorst said. “… It might even be opening more by the day. And I say that just because I think it’s on Kyrie’s radar, it’s on Kyrie’s board. He has had discussions with people about playing for the Lakers.”

We have more on Irving, who becomes an unrestricted free agent once he declines his $21.3MM player option:

  • Irving’s poor performance against Milwaukee in the conference semifinals should concern the Knicks, Marc Berman of the New York Post opines. The Knicks will try to sign two top-level free agents but if they don’t get Kevin Durant or trade for Anthony Davis, Irving might be a poor fit because he’s only proven he can be the No. 2 star on a championship-caliber team, Berman continues. There is genuine debate within the front office whether they’d be better off chasing Hornets All-Star guard Kemba Walker instead of Irving, Berman adds.
  • Celtics guard Marcus Smart defended Irving against critics who believe Irving’s leadership skills led to poor chemistry in the locker room, according to an ESPN report. Smart feels Irving was thrust into a difficult situation. “Probably a few amount of people in this world know what Kyrie goes through. It was hard for him as well,” Smart said. “He was forced into a situation where it was business over the friendships. … This is Kyrie Irving we’re talking about it, and he’s worried about coming in and disrupting us. We took him in with full arms. We tried to understand. But like I said, we never really understood because we’re not in his shoes.”
  • It seems almost inevitable that Irving will sign elsewhere this summer, David Aldridge of The Athletic writes. When Boston’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge traded for Irving two years ago, it was a safe bet that he’d emerge as a mature and credible leader of a title-contending team, Aldridge continues. Irving came up well short of the mark, as he was AWOL emotionally much of this season, Aldridge adds.

Tyronn Lue Won’t Be Lakers’ Next Coach

6:19pm: The Lakers will start fresh in their coaching search, with former NBA coaches Lionel Hollins, Frank Vogel and Mike Woodson to be considered, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

5:50pm: After a report of an impasse in contract negotiations between Tyronn Lue and the Lakers, both sides have decided to move on.

A team source tells Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times that the organization has determined Lue isn’t the “right long-term fit” (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times tweets that Lue and his representatives informed the Lakers that he has withdrawn his name from consideration, offering thanks to the team for including him in the interview process.

Lue turned down the Lakers’ offer of $18MM over three years, Turner adds (Twitter link). A source says Lue was asking for a five-year contract. Lue is still owed $10MM by the Cavaliers, points out ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and could lose money by agreeing to a deal that’s below his market value.

Lue was the top choice of Lakers star LeBron James, Wojnarowski adds, but Lakers brass was also sold on Lue for his experience in coaching in three NBA Finals, along with his title history as a player in L.A.

Sources tell Woj that GM Rob Pelinka and front office advisor Kurt Rambis were very impressed with Kidd when they interviewed him and were insisting that he become part of Lue’s staff. They view Kidd as a valuable mentor for Lonzo Ball and liked the way he developed young talent in Milwaukee. Sources don’t believe Lue was opposed to Kidd joining the staff, but the two men hadn’t discussed the possibility.

It’s not clear now if Kidd becomes the favorite to take the head coaching job or if the Lakers will start the interview process again. Along with Lue and Kidd, they talked to Sixers assistant Monty Williams, who will be the next head coach in Phoenix, and Heat assistant Juwan Howard.

Lakers, Tyronn Lue Reach Impasse

The Lakers are at “an impasse” in negotiations with Tyronn Lue to be their next head coach, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Talks have stalled without an agreement for Lue to take over the team, even though he has been widely expected to get the job.

Sources tell Wojnarowski that negotiations have focused on contract specifics and the makeup of Lue’s coaching staff. The Lakers want him to add former Nets and Bucks head coach Jason Kidd, who made a “strong impression” when he interviewed for the job and has shown an ability to develop young players.

The idea of having experienced assistants have always been important to Lakers management, notes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link), who adds that it was part of the reason there was friction with former head coach Luke Walton. A report yesterday said that Lue reached out to Tom Thibodeau about being his top assistant, but that pairing is considered unlikely to happen, even if Lue does get the job.

It’s not clear if Kidd is interested in taking on that role either, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic. Kidd moved straight into a head coaching role after his playing days were over and has never worked as an NBA assistant.

In addition to Lue and Kidd, Lakers management also met with new Suns coach Monty Williams and Heat assistant Juwan Howard in their coaching search. L.A. never made Williams a contract offer before he signed with Phoenix, and there was “no concrete sense” that the team planned to, sources tell Charania.

Lue seems like a natural candidate for the Lakers because of his connection to LeBron James from their days in Cleveland, which included a championship and three straight NBA Finals appearances. However, Charania reports that James has told the front office he doesn’t want to be part of the coaching search and reportedly declined a request to speak to Williams about the job.

James intends his decision to be a sign of faith in management, Charania adds, and he is still committed to trying to get the team back into title contention. The Lakers are expected to be active on the free agent market, and the coaching decision will be among several factors that determines their success.