Jay Larranaga

Clippers Notes: Leonard, Ibaka, Preston, Offseason Grade, New Coaches

The Clippers made it to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history last season, but they’ll have to wait quite a while for Kawhi Leonard to return from the partially torn ACL he suffered in the playoffs — possibly until the 2022/23 season.

President of basketball operations Lawrence Frank says the team doesn’t even broach the subject of Leonard’s recovery timeline, stating that “no one knows” when he’ll return, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

In the same piece, Youngmisuk relays that Serge Ibaka, who’s recovering from back surgery, will be limited to non-contact drills at the start of training camp, according to Frank.

Youngmisuk also notes that rookie Jason Preston, the 33rd pick in the draft, suffered a foot injury in a group workout recently and will not be available for the start of training camp, which begins next Tuesday, September 28th. Frank said team physicians will determine the severity of the injury in the next couple of days.

Frank declined to say whether all of the players and staff members on the team are fully vaccinated, per Youngmisuk, although he did say that he’s a “huge advocate of the vaccinations.”

There’s more on the Clippers:

  • Zach Harper of The Athletic gave the Clippers a B-minus for their offseason moves. He liked their draft picks and thought Justise Winslow and Harry Giles were decent “buy-low” pickups, but states that ultimately their offseason will depend on how Leonard and Ibaka recover from their surgeries.
  • The Clippers announced in a press release that Brian Shaw and Jay Larranaga will be assistant coaches under Tyronn Lue. The team also promoted Shaun Fein to assistant coach. Shaw’s and Larranaga’s additions were reported in July. Shaw played 14 seasons in the NBA and was the former head coach of the Lakers and Nuggets. He spent last season as the head coach of G League Ignite. Larranaga was an assistant with the Celtics the past nine seasons.
  • In the same release, the Clippers said former NBA player Wesley Johnson will be joining the team in a coaching and development role, along with Cookie Belcher.
  • Frank loves Patrick Beverley and said it wasn’t easy parting with him, but he’s excited for what new addition Eric Bledsoe will bring to the team, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (via Twitter).

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Lacob, Moody, Larranaga

Prior to the draft, the Warriors’ top players were reportedly urging the front office to make a major deal by using assets such the No. 7 and 14 picks in the draft. Golden State ultimately didn’t make a deal, instead drafting Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.

Majority owner Joe Lacob said it’s “unlikely” will swing a big deal this offseason, Anthony Slater of The Athletic reports. The Warriors don’t want to give up an established star for another one.

“I know this isn’t popular with a lot of people. They think we ought to go get the next star,” Lacob said. “We already have the stars. And we have a payroll that’s — and I’ve said this when I was interviewed before, but nobody listened. It’s very unlikely, I’ve said that we’re not going to trade for anybody that people are expecting. Very unlikely.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • In the same story, Lacob said he’s ecstatic how the draft unfolded. “We’ll probably never have two lottery picks again. If we do, we’ll have a problem,” he said. “The thing that’s most amazing to me is how it worked out. I shouldn’t say where they were on our board, but it’s hard for me not to say it. I’ll just tell you they were both clearly in our top 10. We feel like we got really fortunate on Kuminga. Then with Moody, I think it’s pretty common knowledge we were seriously considering him at seven.”
  • Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson attended Moody’s draft workout, Alex Didion of NBC Sports Bay Area relays. Moody also has the same representative as Draymond Green and they had conversations leading up to the draft.
  • Jay Larranaga is joining Tyronn Lue’s coaching staff with the Clippers, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweetsLarranaga has been Brad Stevens top assistant with the Celtics over the past seven seasons.

Jamie Young, Jay Larranaga Won’t Return As Celtics Assistants

Longtime Celtics assistant coaches Jamie Young and Jay Larranaga won’t be part of Ime Udoka‘s new staff, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Both coaches told Himmelsbach that their contracts won’t be renewed for next season.

A league source confirms the rumor that Spurs assistant Will Hardy will join Udoka in Boston, and assistant coach Joe Mazzulla is expected to be retained.

Young started with the Celtics in 2000 and became an assistant coach in 2011. He served as an advance scout and video coordinator prior to the promotion. Larranaga, who has been with the team since 2012, was the top assistant under Brad Stevens.

“The experience was incredible,” Young said. “You don’t usually get to be in one place this long in this business. It was everything anybody could’ve wished for.” (Twitter link)

Outside Names Emerge In Celtics’ Coaching Search

New Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens has begun reaching out to other organizations for permission to interview coaching candidates, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojanarowski.

The early group of candidates will likely be expansive, according to Woj. A few names he has heard from sources include Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee, Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley, and Nets assistant Ime Udoka.

Billups and Udoka have been mentioned before in relation to Boston, but the other three names are new. Ham, who played 12 NBA seasons, has been an assistant coach for the past decade, starting with the Lakers and then working under Mike Budenholzer in both Atlanta and Milwaukee. Lee is also a former NBA player with seven years as an assistant, all under Budenholzer. Mosley started his coaching career with the Nuggets in 2005 and has been with Dallas since 2014.

Stevens, who is in the unusual position of hiring his own replacement, recently completed interviews with several assistants who were on his staff this season. Prominent names in that group include Jay Larranaga, Scott Morrison, Jerome Allen, and Joe Mazzulla.

Follow the developments on all the coaching vacancies throughout the league with our Head Coaching Search Tracker.

Celtics Will Start Coaching Search With Internal Interviews

The first step in the Celtics‘ search for a new head coach to replace Brad Stevens will begin with several internal candidates, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Chris Mannix of SI.com suggested as much earlier today.

Boston’s head coaching position opened up this morning when Danny Ainge resigned as president of basketball operations and Stevens was chosen to replace him.

Weiss notes that Stevens’ staff has several strong candidates. Jay Larranaga interviewed for the Hornets’ head coaching spot before James Borrego was hired, and Scott Morrison and Brandon Bailey both coached at the team’s G League affiliate in Maine. Jerome Allen is a former NBA player with college head coaching experience at the University of Pennsylvania, while Jamie Young has been with the team since 2008.

Among external candidates, the most interesting name is Kara Lawson, who would become the first female NBA head coach if she gets the job. Lawson spent a year as an assistant in Boston before leaving in 2020 to become head coach of the women’s team at Duke. Others to watch, sources tell Weiss, include former Celtics players Sam Cassell, currently an assistant with the Sixers, and Chauncey Billups, who is on the Clippers‘ staff.

Weiss also expects interest in former Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce, Timberwolves assistant David Vanterpool, Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, Nets assistant Ime Udoka, Spurs assistant Becky Hammon and Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee. According to Weiss, another potential outsider is Juwan Howard if he’s willing to leave Michigan.

Celtics Notes: Leonard, Irving, Draft, Summer League

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge is wary of paying a steep price for Kawhi Leonard without a guarantee that he’ll stay more than one season, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Leonard has asked for a trade out of San Antonio and the Celtics may be able to put together the best offer, but Ainge will probably be cautious, according to Washburn.

He suggests Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum would have to be part of the package, along with the rights to the Kings’ first-rounder in 2019. It might be easier to match salaries by including Gordon Hayward, but his trade value has dropped after missing the season with a severe ankle fracture.

Kyrie Irving can already opt out next season, and the Celtics might be reluctant to have two stars on their roster who could leave at the same time, especially if it means breaking up a young core that looks like it will be a contender for several years.

There’s more today from Boston:

  • Irving hopes to resume playing again “in like a month,” he said in an appearance this week on The Bill Simmons Podcast. NBC Sports Boston relayed a few of his comments, including an explanation of what it was like to deal with a knee infection that forced him to miss the entire playoffs. “I was leaving the games at halftime because I had eight-hour shifts of antibiotics I had to take for my infection,” Irving said. “I had a PICC line in my arm for two months and I’m just like… every day is like OK, I can’t necessarily lift, I can’t run, I can’t do anything. If I didn’t have my PICC line in for my infection I would have definitely tried to go after being ready for at least the Eastern Conference Finals.”
  • The Celtics have a recent history of going the draft-and-stash route late in the first round, but the overseas talent doesn’t warrant it this year, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Apart from Luka Doncic, the only foreign players with a shot at being taken in the first round are French point guard Elie Okobo and Bosnian wing Dzanan Musa, according to Blakely.
  • Guerschon Yabusele, Kadeem Allen and Jabari Bird are all expected to be part of the Celtics’ summer league team in Las Vegas, Washburn notes. Bird has a two-way contract, so Boston has to make a qualifying offer before he is eligible. Jay Larranaga will coach the team.

Jay Larranaga Met With Bucks About HC Job

We can add another name to the list of candidates for the Bucks’ head coaching job, as Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link) reports that Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga met with Milwaukee on Friday. The meeting took place between the end of the second round and the start of Boston’s third-round series against Cleveland.

The Bucks interviewed several candidates last week as part of their first round of meetings for the team’s head coaching vacancy. In addition to interviewing interim coach Joe Prunty for the permanent job, Milwaukee also spoke to Ettore Messina, Steve Clifford, David Blatt, Becky Hammon, Monty Williams, and Mike Budenholzer.

The Bucks reportedly intend to narrow down their search to three or four finalists, potentially bringing back those finalists to meet with ownership at some point this week. So far, the only candidate known to get a second meeting is Budenholzer, who is believed to be the frontrunner. He’ll meet with team ownership on Tuesday.

[RELATED: 2018 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

If Larranaga doesn’t land the Bucks’ job, it will be the fourth time this spring he has interviewed for a head coaching position and seen that team hire someone else. Previously, he met with the Hawks, Hornets, and Knicks. He was believed to be a finalist for the Hornets’ job before Charlotte chose James Borrego.

Having been considered in the past for head coaching jobs with the the Celtics, Sixers, and Grizzlies, Larranaga would seem to be due for an opportunity to run an NBA team of his own. Still, if Larranaga isn’t hired by another team this offseason, the Celtics will certainly be happy to have him back, as he has been a key part of Boston’s staff since 2012.

Hawks Narrow Coaching Search To Four Finalists

MAY 7, 10:44pm: Pierce’s previously-reported second interview with the Hawks will take place on Tuesday, Marc Spears of The Undefeated tweets.

MAY 6, 6:39pm: The Hawks have narrowed down their list of head coaching candidates to four finalists, reports Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. According to Cunningham, Sixers assistant Lloyd Pierce, Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts, Hornets assistant Stephen Silas, and Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga remain in the running.

[RELATED: 2018 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Pierce has emerged this weekend as a frontrunner for the position, with a Saturday report indicating he’d get a second interview for the job. Earlier today, we heard that Pierce would meet with Hawks ownership early this week, and could receive a job offer if that meeting goes well.

However, the Hawks are considering three other assistants from around the NBA, including Tibbetts, who has already met with team owner Tony Ressler, according to Cunningham. A source with knowledge of the Hawks’ plans tells Cunningham that Pierce’s own meeting with Ressler hasn’t yet been officially scheduled, adding that it’s premature to view him as a lock for the job over Atlanta’s other finalists.

As Cunningham details, David Fizdale interviewed with the Hawks and met with Ressler as well, but reached an agreement on Thursday to become the Knicks’ new head coach, taking him out of the mix for Atlanta.

Shortly after the Hawks parted ways with Mike Budenholzer, a report indicated that the team was looking to find an up-and-coming coach who could evolve along with Atlanta’s young roster. As such, it’s perhaps no surprise that none of the team’s finalists – Pierce, Tibbetts, Silas, and Larranaga – have held a permanent head coaching job in the past.

Southeast Notes: Morris, Hawks, Hornets, Adebayo

Markieff Morris will be entering the final year of his contract with the Wizards this fall, raising questions about his long-term future in D.C. While Morris’ outlook could change between now and his 2019 free agency, his current preference would be to not only stick with the Wizards beyond his current deal, but also to remain in Washington for several years, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington details.

“I would definitely want to finish my career here,” Morris said of the Wizards. “I love playing here. I love being in the city that I was basically raised in and playing for this organization.”

After a first-round exit in the postseason this spring, the Wizards will be looking for ways to improve their roster this season, so Morris isn’t necessarily a lock to return. However, his $8.6MM salary makes him a better value than the team’s two centers, Marcin Gortat ($13.57MM) and Ian Mahinmi ($15.94MM).

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

Jay Larranaga Interviews Again With Hornets

Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga was away from the team on Sunday as he was in Florida interviewing with the Hornets for the team’s head coaching vacancy, tweets Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. This is Larranaga’s second interview with Charlotte.

Hornets president Michael Jordan was part of the interview, as we relayed yesterday. In addition to Larranaga, Spurs assistant James Borrego is among those reportedly receiving strong consideration for the position.

The Hornets are seeking a replacement for Steve Clifford, who was relieved of his duties last month.

Larranaga enjoyed a lengthy international career as a player before transitioning into coaching after his retirement in 2009. Before joining the Celtics’ coaching staff in 2012, Larranaga was the head coach of the G League’s Erie BayHawks. This is not Larranaga’s first attempt at a head coaching gig as he was considered for jobs with the Celtics, Sixers, and Grizzlies in recent years. This spring, he interviewed with the Knicks and Hawks about their head coaching openings.

Keep up with all the latest coaching developments with our 2018 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker.