Jay Triano

Canada Basketball Unveils 18 Training Camp Invites

Canada Basketball has announced its preliminary 18-man roster of players who have been invited to participate in training camp and exhibition play ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers next month, reports Josh Lewenberg of The Sports Network.

Among the 18 named individuals, eight played in the NBA last season – Khem Birch (Magic), Chris Boucher (Warriors), Dillon Brooks (Grizzlies), Cory Joseph (Pacers), Jamal Murray (Nuggets), Kelly Olynyk (Heat), Dwight Powell (Mavericks), and Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers).

The preliminary roster also includes former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, as well as three other G League players – Aaron BestOlivier Hanlan, and Kaza Kajami-Keane.

The remaining six players are former first-round pick of the Magic, Andrew Nicholsonformer college standouts’ Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim, Baylor’s Brady Heslip, and Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos, as well as brothers Phil Scrubb and Tommy Scrubb.

As also highlighted by Lewenberg, notable absences include Trey Lyles (Nuggets), Nik Stauskas (Nets), and most glaringly, Andrew Wiggins (Timberwolves). Per Lewenberg, multiple sources indicated that one factor in Wiggins’ decision to decline Canada Basketball’s invitation is his strained relationship with national team head coach Jay Triano, who left Wiggins on the bench during the final moments of a qualifying game for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Hornets Hire Jay Triano As Assistant Coach

MAY 24: The Hornets have officially hired Triano as an assistant, the team announced today (via Twitter).

MAY 20: Jay Triano has agreed to join the Hornets as a top assistant under new head coach James Borrego, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. It was reported earlier this week that Charlotte was considering Triano for their coaching staff.

Triano, 59, coached all but three games for the Suns last season after Earl Watson was dismissed. With Triano at the helm, Phoenix went 21-58. He was a candidate for the permanent job in Phoenix before the Suns hired former Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov.

Aside from his stint as interim coach this past season, Triano brings previous head coaching experience from his stint with the Raptors from 2008-2011.

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer noted that it’s common for first-time head coaches, such as Borrego, to bring in experienced head coaches to round out their staff. Steve Clifford, who the Hornets fired after the regular season, had former head coaches Bob Weiss and Eddie Jordan on his staff in Charlotte.

The Hornets are in the midsts of an organizational overhaul of sorts. The team recently brought in Mitch Kupchak as the new general manager in addition to replacing their head coach.

Hornets Considering Jay Triano For Coaching Staff

As first relayed by international basketball journalist David Pick, the Hornets are reportedly in discussions to hire former Suns’ interim head coach Jay Triano to new head coach James Borrego‘s coaching staff.

In a story for The Charlotte Observer, Rick Bonnell adds that the Hornets wouldn’t comment earlier today when asked about Triano, but that the report makes sense given the fact that it’s common for first-time head coaches in the NBA like Borrego to hire former head coaches to their staff as a resource.

An example cited by Bonnell is this past season’s head coach for the Hornets, Steve Clifford, having both former Spurs, Hawks, Clippers, and Sonics’ head coach Bob Weiss and former Kings, Wizards, and Sixers’ coach Eddie Jordan on his staff in Charlotte.

Triano, 59, coached all but three games for the Suns last season after Earl Watson was fired and was a candidate for the permanent job in Phoenix before the Suns hired former Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov.

Jay Triano No Longer In Consideration For Suns Job

Jay Triano, who served as the Suns‘ interim head coach during the 2017/18 season, will not return to the position in a full-time capacity, as first reported by 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro.

Per ESPN’s Chris Haynes, assistant coach Ty Corbin has also been relieved of his duties.

Triano took over as Phoenix’s interim coach three games into the season after Earl Watson was fired. The Suns went 21-58 with Triano at the helm.

Phoenix has been aggressive in the early going, interviewing several candidates for their head coach vacancy. Earlier this week, soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer and former Suns player, Jason Kidd, was eliminated from consideration for the job. The same day, we relayed that Raptors assistant Nick Nurse and Pelicans associate head coach Chris Finch were interviewed for the job.

Since the end of the regular season, along with the aforementioned names, David FizdaleIgor KokoskovFrank VogelVinny Del NegroDavid Blatt, Kevin McHale, and Mike Budenholzer have all either interviewed or been linked to the position.

Keep up with all the latest action on the coaching front by following our 2018 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker.

Suns Getting Head Start On Coaching Search

Rather than waiting until the end of the regular season to begin their head coaching search in earnest, the Suns are doing so now, general Ryan McDonough tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. As Wojnarowski details, the Suns recognize that there may be several teams looking to hire new coaches this spring, so they want to start exploring their options before the season ends.

“This is going to be a competitive marketplace,” McDonough said. “There are three of us (Phoenix, Milwaukee and Memphis) with interim coaches in place, and we want to be able to hit the ground running. We don’t want to have to wait until the end of the regular season for candidates who aren’t with teams now. At the end of the regular season, we’ll be able to talk with coaches on non-playoff teams and we’ll need to work with playoff teams on what their approach will be on contacting (assistant) coaches still in the postseason.”

Interim head coach Jay Triano will receive consideration for the permanent job, McDonough confirmed. According to Wojnarowski, Triano wants to give his undivided attention to his players down the stretch, but his agent – Warren LeGarie – requested that Triano be able to prepare a “formal presentation” to the team after the season ends.

As for outside candidates, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) hears from prominent coaching agents that the Suns will have to offer “real money” over four or five years in order to attract anyone credible. Mannix suggests (via Twitter) that Phoenix would be wise to pony up that sort of money if necessary, since the club could badly use some coaching stability. Since their last playoff appearance in 2010, the Suns have had four different coaches, and the franchise hasn’t won more than 24 games in a season since the 2014/15 campaign.

Still, as Wojnarowski observes, the Suns appear better positioned heading into the 2018 offseason than they have been for the past few years. With building blocks like Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, and T.J. Warren already in place, Phoenix could have three first-round picks this summer, and will have the cap flexibility to be aggressive in free agency and on the trade market. That flexibility could appeal to potential head coaching candidates.

Stein’s Latest: Pistons, Knicks, Bucks, Magic, Suns

Earlier today, Marc Stein of The New York Times reported that the Pistons have expressed interest in Chauncey Billups for a potential front office role, with an eye on possibly pairing him with Arn Tellem in their basketball operations department. The report quickly drew responses from multiple sides — Billups stated that he would “never push for a job with any NBA franchise that is not open,” while a Pistons ownership spokesman simply called the report “false.”

Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link) also hears from a source that there’s “nothing whatsoever” to the idea of a Billups/Tellem team-up in the Pistons’ front office, but Stein doubled down on the report in his latest newsletter for The New York Times, citing league sources who say that Detroit has “great interest” in hiring Billups. According to Stein, the Pistons believe they have a real shot to convince Billups to leave his TV job for an executive role.

Stein’s newsletter includes a few more tidbits on coaching and front office situations around the NBA. Let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • There’s a growing belief that Knicks GM Scott Perry will want to hire his own hand-picked head coach at season’s end, says Stein. According to Stein, if the club replaces Jeff Hornacek and makes a high-profile hire, Mark Jackson and David Blatt would be among the candidates to watch.
  • With a move to a new arena around the corner, the Bucks may want to make a big splash with their next head coaching hire. League sources tell Stein that Jeff Van Gundy and Kevin McHale are among the names on the Bucks’ list of potential candidates, while Monty Williams and David Fizdale have also been mentioned. Rick Pitino could even get an “exploratory look,” says Stein.
  • There’s a “widely held assumption” in coaching circles that the Magic will replace Frank Vogel, according to Stein, who identifies Nick Nurse, Rex Kalamian, and Jerry Stackhouse as possible targets for Orlando. All three of those coaches are in the Raptors organization, which is where Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman previously worked.
  • While Jay Triano will receive an interview as part of the Suns‘ head coaching search, Stein is hearing buzz that Triano is more likely to be asked to stay on as an assistant. Phoenix wants to explore the college ranks, and Villanova’s Jay Wright is one name that figures to come up during that search, per Stein.

Pacific Notes: Casspi, Green, Suns’ Coach, Carter

Veteran forward Omri Casspi is the latest addition to the Warriors‘ growing disabled list, according to Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. Casspi underwent an MRI today after spraining his right ankle Friday. Doctors are still evaluating the results, but initial reports indicate that he will be out of action for about a week.

Medina notes that Casspi’s production and playing time have been inconsistent since signing with Golden State over the summer. He has appeared in 53 games, but is averaging just 14 minutes and 5.7 points per night.

The timing of the injury is especially unfortunate for Casspi, whose spot on the Warriors’ roster could be in jeopardy. Golden State may decide to give two-way player Quinn Cook an NBA contract before the playoffs, but first must open a roster spot. With an expiring, minimum-salary deal, the Warriors could get rid of Casspi at minimal cost.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • With three All-Star teammates sidelined by injuries, Draymond Green is taking responsibility for holding the Warriors together, writes Logan Murdock of The San Jose Mercury NewsStephen Curry and Klay Thompson are out until at least next week and Kevin Durant will be sitting until April, leaving Green as a leader in lineups where he is surrounded by role players. “I just try to still play my game and not think I’m going to be Stephen, Kevin or Klay,” he said. “I am who I am and bring to this team what I bring so just continue to play my game. It may mean a few more shots here or there. It’s just not my goal to say, ‘I need to jack up my scoring.’ If it happens, it happens – if not, I’m going to try and lead the guys and play the best that we can.”
  • Suns GM Ryan McDonough says the team will conduct a “wide-ranging” search for its next coach once the season ends, relays Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Interim coach Jay Triano will be included in that process, along with former NBA head coaches, current assistants and maybe some college coaches. McDonough indicated the team plans to talk to several candidates before the list is trimmed to ‘two or three” who will receive second interviews.
  • Vince Carter has become a mentor with the Kings in his 20th NBA season and is offering his younger teammates advice on how to lengthen their careers, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Carter, who has a one-year deal with the Kings, may be on the move again this summer as he searches for more playing time. “I’m not going to sit here and deny that I want to play more,” he said. “Things changed. We aren’t winning and the younger guys need to get better. I get that, but at the same time, I try to make the best of it. That way if it doesn’t work out here, I can still play on another team, maybe a contending team, in a lesser role.”

Suns Owner Discusses Coach, Offseason, Roster

Early in the 2017/18 season, the Suns made a coaching change, installing Jay Triano as the interim head coach in place of Earl Watson. Speaking to Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic, team owner Robert Sarver praised the job that Triano has done with the club this season, suggesting that his interim role has been “a tough job that wasn’t what he signed up for.”

Despite his appreciation for Triano, Sarver doesn’t want to repeat a past mistake — in 2016, after Watson stepped in for Jeff Hornacek as the Suns’ interim coach, the team hired Watson to the full-time position at season’s end without interviewing other candidates. This time around, Sarver says, the club plans to “cast a much wider net.”

Sarver’s conversation with Bordow about the state of the franchise is worth checking out in full, particularly for Suns fans. The discussion includes a few more interesting comments from the club’s owner, so we’ll relay some of those highlights right here:

On the Suns’ offseason outlook as the 2017/18 season nears an end:

“We’re going to add another really good young player. I think we’re in a position where we can turn the corner, but if we don’t execute properly in terms of free agency and we don’t develop the players and we don’t execute in terms of our draft, then it’s going to be another tough year. So I think it’s a year of opportunity, but a year for us to step up and make some good decisions.”

On adding more veteran leadership without compromising the development of young players:

“Our younger players need confidence. I think there’s a fine line between coming in a game feeling confident you can win and not feeling confident you can win. I think maybe we can add a piece or two next season with some leadership and some experience and some winning and some grit that can help turn that confidence level with some of our younger players. So this offseason is going to be about adding some of that confidence and leadership, and at the same time to get some of our younger players to take a meaningful step forward.”

On what sort of player(s) the Suns will be targeting this summer:

“I think two things. Balance in terms of shooting. The league has been changing. What’s very important is the ability to shoot the three and defend the three. And getting back to this winning attitude that someone can bring to us. Someone who has won and someone who plays a meaningful role on our team. Someone who probably is a starter or first guy off the bench who can bring some swagger and a winning attitude. Obviously I’m biased, but I do think the talent on our roster is a little bit better than our win-loss record, and I think we need some of that winning attitude and swagger. I don’t think we have that right now.”

On expectations for 2018/19:

“I think with a piece or two and a solid year of development, I think we can flip the switch and end up being a team that can have a winning record. But looking at where we stand right now, there’s a long way to go to get to that.”

Suns Rumors: Head Coach, Draft Picks, Roster

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough participated in a Facebook Live interview on the Suns’ official Facebook page today, addressing several topics of note during that Q&A with fans. Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic rounded up some highlights from the discussion, which we’ll relay below. Let’s dive in…

  • The Suns intend to interview several candidates for their permanent head coaching job, per McDonough, who suggested that the team will consider college coaches (Twitter link). Interim head coach Jay Triano will receive an interview for the full-time job too.
  • McDonough referenced the possibility of using extra first-round picks from Milwaukee and Miami for “asset consolidation” purposes, per Bordow (Twitter link). In other words, the Suns would be open to packaging one or more of those picks to trade up in the draft or to make a move for an established star.
  • According to McDonough, a center is a “slightly higher” priority than a point guard for the Suns this offseason. As Bordow notes (via Twitter), that preference could be good news for fans hoping that Phoenix can land a high lottery pick and draft Arizona center Deandre Ayton.
  • The Suns would like to add more veteran players to balance out the age of their roster, says McDonough (Twitter link). Bordow observes that it makes sense to have some veteran depth on the bench so that Phoenix’s head coach has some options if the club’s young players struggle. The Suns entered the 2017/18 campaign with a bit more balance in terms of NBA experience, but Brandon Knight has missed the season with an ACL injury and Eric Bledsoe was traded.

Suns Notes: Tanking, Triano, Len, Harrison

Suns GM Ryan McDonough promises there won’t be a repeat of the “strategic resting” that saw Eric Bledsoe and Tyson Chandler held out of the lineup late last season, relays Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Phoenix reached the All-Star break tied with the Hawks for the top spot in our Reverse Standings, but McDonough said the team won’t make any changes to try to improve its odds for the No. 1 pick.

“We’re planning on doing what we have been doing, that’s playing our young players. For us, that’s not a change,” he said. “… We want to continue to have them improve and get minutes and try to win as many games as we can.”

Interim coach Jay Triano echoed those sentiments and recalled that Bledsoe was angry about being forced to sit out the final 15 games last season, which played a part in his request to be traded. “I think we learned from last year with guys sitting out,” Triano said. “I don’t think that was real productive for us.”

There’s more tonight out of Phoenix:

  • Triano, who has served as interim coach since Earl Watson was fired in October, would like to be considered for the full-time job after the season ends, Bordow adds in the same story. “Listen, I love coaching, I love it here, I love the relationship I’m starting to develop with these players, so I’d like to keep it going and be a part of their development because I see a lot of positives,” Triano said. … “So there’s no reason I would not want to be [the coach].”
  • Fifth-year center Alex Len no longer seems to be in the Suns’ plans for the future, Bordow notes in a separate story. The plan for the final 23 games of the season is to start Chandler at center with Dragan Bender as the primary backup as Marquese Chriss gets another shot at the starting lineup. Len will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after agreeing to the Suns’ qualifying offer last year. He is averaging 8.4 points and 7.7 rebounds in 49 games, but the organization doesn’t seem to think his future will be in Phoenix.
  • Shaquille Harrison is thrilled to make his NBA debut after spending two seasons with the Suns’ G League affiliate in Northern Arizona, relays Craig Grialou of ArizonaSports“I’m just trying to seize the opportunity,” said Harrison, whose 10-day deal became official today. “I’m very grateful to be here. It’s a great organization, that’s why I stuck with them the past year-and-a-half, two years. I’m loving it and enjoying the process.”