John Lucas III

International Notes: Dotson, Lucas III, Okobo, Leaf

Free agent guard Damyean Dotson has signed overseas in Turkey with Gaziantep Basketbol, the team announced on Saturday. This marks the first overseas stint in Dotson’s professional career, which began when he was drafted No. 44 overall by the Knicks in 2017.

Dotson stayed with New York for three years, then spent time with the Cavaliers during the 2020/21 season. He joined the Spurs for training camp last fall and spent most of the season in the G League. The Knicks also signed him to two 10-day hardship contracts in December.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • John Lucas III is drawing coaching interest from Italian club Pallacanestro Varese, as relayed by Sportando. The team has offered the job to several NBA assistant coaches, including Pablo Prigioni (Timberwolves). Lucas joined the Lakers as an assistant last fall.
  • Former NBA guard Elie Okobo has signed a lucrative deal overseas with AS Monaco, according to EuroHoops. Okobo most recently played for ASVEL. He played 108 games with the Suns between 2018-20, averaging 4.8 points in 15.5 minutes per contest.
  • Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel) is signing forward T.J. Leaf to a contract, Eurohoops reports. This will be the first European stint for Leaf, who was selected No. 18 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. He holds experience with the Pacers and Blazers.

Three Lakers Assistants Won’t Be Retained; Phil Handy To Stay

12:58pm: The Lakers will keep Phil Handy, who is considered one of the league’s best assistant coaches, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Handy accepted Ham’s offer to remain with the team.


11:56am: As Darvin Ham begins to build his coaching staff with the Lakers, assistants David Fizdale, Mike Penberthy and John Lucas III have been told that they won’t return next season, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Ham has talked to several potential candidates about joining him in L.A. and that process is expected to continue for weeks, adds ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). A report Monday indicated that Rasheed Wallace is among the names being considered.

Fizdale, a longtime assistant and a former head coach with the Grizzlies and Knicks, joined the Lakers last season. He has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Quin Snyder in Utah.

Lucas was also in his first year with the team, while Penberthy joined Frank Vogel‘s staff when he was hired in 2019 and was promoted to a front-of-the-bench role last offseason.

Lakers Notes: Anthony, LeBron, Nunn, Coaching Staff

Carmelo Anthony was hoping to return to the Trail Blazers this summer before LeBron James urged him to join the Lakers, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Appearing on Haynes’ “Posted Up” podcast, Anthony said he was waiting to see if Portland was interested in bringing him back when James reached out to him. Anthony spent the last two years with the Blazers, but said management didn’t contact him about a return.

“No, not the way I thought. But honestly, I wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “… Not to say Portland did anything wrong, but I was sitting around because I’m a loyal person. I didn’t want to leave (Damian Lillard) and CJ (McCollum) and those guys. But I know the business.”

In addition to his long friendship with James, Anthony chose the Lakers because he sees the team as his best hope to cap off his career with a championship. He told Haynes that several other organizations expressed interest, which felt good after being out of the league two years ago.

“New York was always there, always a story,” Anthony said. “I told my son when he made it to high school, I’d be there. Philly, I didn’t get a chance to converse with Philly, but there was interest. New Orleans had interest. It felt good to see that again and being a part of teams being interested in me when 18-20 months again, it was nobody.”

There’s more from L.A.:

  • James has played fewer minutes per game each season since 2016/17, and Jovan Buha of The Athletic expects that trend to continue this year. James will turn 37 in December and the Lakers will be try to be careful with him to avoid the kind of long-term injury he had last season.
  • Of all the players the Lakers added in free agency, Kendrick Nunn was probably the most surprising, Buha adds in the same piece. The former Heat guard signed for the taxpayer mid-level exception, and Buha speculates that he could have gotten a better offer from another team. Buha also questions whether Nunn will get the playing time he’s used to with Russell Westbrook handling most of the minutes at point guard.
  • The Lakers have officially announced the additions of David Fizdale and John Lucas III as assistant coaches (Twitter link). Both hires were previously reported.

Lakers Hire John Lucas III As Assistant Coach

John Lucas III has joined the Lakers‘ coaching staff, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. The team plans to have him work with player development and serve as a “voice in the locker room,” according to Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register (Twitter link).

Lucas, 38, has previous coaching experience with the Timberwolves, serving as an assistant under Tom Thibodeau from 2017-19. He was in a player development role in Minnesota and was the head coach of the Wolves’ Summer League team.

Before that, Lucas played eight NBA seasons with the Rockets, Bulls, Raptors, Jazz, Pistons and Timberwolves and spent time overseas and in the G League as well. His father, John Lucas II, is currently a player development coach with Houston and has had a long career as an NBA coach.

The Lakers had two openings this summer on Frank Vogel’s staff when Jason Kidd left to become head coach of the Mavericks and Lionel Hollins wasn’t re-signed after his contract expired. David Fizdale previously agreed to fill one of those openings. L.A’s other assistants are Phil Handy, Miles Simon, Mike Penberthy and Quinton Crawford.

Timberwolves To Make Sweeping Staff Changes

The Timberwolves will be making extensive changes to their coaching staff, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reports.

Every assistant with an expiring contract — Ed Pinckney, Jerry Sichting, Larry Greer, John Lucas III and Dice Yoshimoto — will not return on Ryan Saunders’ staff as the organization distances itself from the Tom Thibodeau era. Saunders had the interim tag removed on Monday. The only assistant with a year left on his contract, Malik Allen, will be retained.

New president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas wants to split up duties more like a football staff. “We’re going to get the best offensive coordinator. We’re going to get the best defensive coordinator. We’re going to get the best player development coordinator,” Rosas said. “They’re going to execute our vision together. And Ryan will manage that program as a whole.”

We have more on the Timberwolves:

  • Adding players with a defensive mentality is a priority, Krawczynski adds in the same story. The team wants to utilize a more switch-heavy scheme to defend 3-point shooters. “I’ve got to help (Saunders),” Rosas said. “We’ve got to surround our team, our best players with personnel that will be complementary to them and we need more defenders.”
  • The team’s most notable players, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, attended Saunders’ press conference and gave him ringing endorsements. “I think this is a very positive change,” Wiggins told Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and other media members. “You can see the fresh air, you can see the faces and the positive energy in the air. Everyone is happy for Ryan — you don’t see negative faces, everyone is happy and we’re supportive.”
  • The decision to retain Saunders was a bow to Towns and his importance to the franchise’s long-term future, Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune writes. Towns respects and trusts Saunders and feels rejuvenated about the franchise’s direction, Scoggins notes. That’s crucial, because the Timberwolves can’t afford to alienate their best player to the point where an ugly divorce becomes inevitable, Scoggins adds.

Timberwolves Waive John Lucas III

The Timberwolves have decided to waive John Lucas III, says Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. The 34-year-old guard was the club’s lone non-guaranteed player.

Limited to action in just five games this season, Lucas III never did quite carve out a role for himself in Tom Thibodeau‘s rotation. The point guard has played just ten minutes total this season after signing with the club last August and winning a battle for the final roster spot.

According to Bobby Marks or The Vertical, Minnesota’s cap hit on Lucas III is $636K.

Just last month Lucas III squared off against his father for the first time in their respective NBA careers. John Lucas II, a long-retired 14-year NBA veteran, is the head of player development for the Rockets.

Northwest Notes: Thibodeau, Lucas, Oladipo, Blazers

Managing expectations is one of the challenges Tom Thibodeau faces in his first year as coach of the Timberwolves, writes Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. Many observers thought Minnesota was poised to become playoff contender with a proven coach joining forces with young stars Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine. But the Wolves have started slow, winning just seven of their first 25 games, and Thibodeau keeps reminding them to ignore outside influences. “Those are all projections,” he said. “Sometimes they’re high and sometimes they’re low. The thing is not to get wrapped up in that and to understand where you are and the improvement you have to make. Also, every year is different. Teams change. Personnel changes on every team and you have to understand what goes into winning.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Veteran Wolves guard John Lucas III is squaring off against his father tonight for the first time in his NBA career, notes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Lucas III earned a roster spot in Minnesota in the preseason, while the elder Lucas serves as head of player development for the Rockets.“It’s good to see him being back doing the thing he loves to do, being around the game. He’s enjoying it. I like seeing him back out there, passing on his knowledge,” Lucas III said.
  • The Thunder’s only plan regarding Victor Oladipo‘s injury is to re-evaluate him every day, according to Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. Oladipo hasn’t played since suffering a wrist sprain Sunday, and no timetable has been set for his return“I think a lot of times people want to know when he’s gonna be back, and to be honest with you, we don’t know,” said coach Billy Donovan. “I’m not saying he’s gonna be out for months. I’m not saying weeks or days. But I think what happens is, if you say, ‘He’s gonna be back this day’ and he’s not, people start to draw conclusions.”
  • The Trail Blazers need to turn some of their frontcourt surplus into a swingman who can play defense or a big man who can score, writes Josh Martin of Bleacher Report. He mentions Mason Plumlee, Ed Davis, Noah Vonleh and Meyers Leonard as possible trade candidates.

Northwest Notes: Faried, Abrines, Lucas, Butler

Kenneth Faried has the inside track to remain the Nuggets’ starting power forward when the season starts, according to Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Coach Michael Malone wanted to have a competition at that spot, but no one appears to be a serious threat to Faried. Darrell Arthur is still recovering from offseason knee surgery and will be phased in slowly. Denver sometimes uses Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler at power forward, but usually just in short bursts to speed up the game. It’s possible that Malone will decide to start Jusuf Nurkic at center and slide Nikola Jokic over to the four spot, but Dempsey believes the most likely outcome is Faried starting on opening night.

There’s more news from the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets may get their own D-League team again, possibly by next season, Dempsey writes in a separate story. Denver last had a direct affiliate in 2009 with the Colorado 14ers, who moved to Texas and hooked up with the Dallas Mavericks.
  • Alex Abrines waited to make the leap to the Thunder until he saw an opportunity for playing time, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. That chance came when Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City for Golden State and created a huge opening on the wing. OKC has owned Abrines’ rights since 2013, when it took him 32nd in the draft. The 23-year-old shooting guard has been playing in Spain ever since, but now he believes there’s a chance to make an impact with the Thunder. “Once KD left, I think there was a spot at the three position,” Abrines said. “Also I can play the two. I thought I had a chance to come here and grab some minutes. I don’t want to be here and just practice.”
  • Two veterans fighting for spots on the Timberwolves‘ roster, John Lucas III and Rasual Butler, know what to expect from coach Tom Thibodeau because they’ve played for him before, notes Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune. Both players are 37 and have non-guaranteed contracts, but they came into camp with a decent shot to make the team. Minnesota has 17 players in camp, including Nikola Pekovic, who will be kept on the roster but won’t play this season because of injuries. Butler played for Thibodeau in Chicago briefly in 2010/11, and Lucas and Thibodeau teamed up with both the Rockets and Bulls.

Wolves Notes: Rubio, Lucas, Pinckney, Newton

Ricky Rubio is clarifying remarks he made to a Spanish radio station over the summer that led many to believe he wants to be traded, writes Kent Youngblood of The Star-Tribune. In the June interview, Rubio noted that he had been in the league five years without making the playoffs, adding that he would have to “start thinking about teams that can get into the playoffs and win in the finals” if the Timberwolves don’t make the postseason this year. Minnesota’s best record in the five seasons Rubio has been with the team is 40-42 in 2013-14. “I didn’t say I wanted to get traded,” Rubio explained. “I want to play with a winner. I think we have the right mentality. It’s changing.”

  • Veteran point guard John Lucas III sounded very confident at today’s practice and clearly expects to win a roster spot, tweets John Krawczynski of the Associated Press. Lucas, who played 21 games with the Pistons in 2014/15, signed with the Wolves in August.
  • Ed Pinckney is attending the Timberwolves’ camp as a guest, but he is likely to be added to the coaching staff by the end of the week, according to Krawczynski (Twitter link). Pinckney served as an assistant with the Nuggets last season.
  • Former Minnesota GM Milt Newton hopes to eventually hold that job again with another organization, relays Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Newton, who was let go as part of a front office shakeup in May, said he believes race is a factor in a league that now has just two black GMs. “I would be naïve to think that it’s not a problem,” said Newton. “At the end of the day, I don’t want to concern myself with that. I know it’s difficult for us African-Americans to have opportunities to interview for these jobs, to have opportunities to be part of these management teams.”

Timberwolves Sign Toure’ Murry, John Lucas III

The Timberwolves have added a pair of players to their offseason roster, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who reports (via Twitter) that the team has signed guards Toure’ Murry and John Lucas III. While RealGM’s transactions log lists Murry’s deal as official, it’s not clear if Lucas’ signing has also been formalized.

Murry, 26, appeared in 51 games for the Knicks during the 2013/14 season, but has only played in five NBA games since then, enjoying brief stints in Utah and Washington. Lucas has a more extensive NBA resume, having played in 237 regular season contests with the Rockets, Bulls, Raptors, Jazz, and Pistons. The 33-year-old averaged 4.8 PPG and 1.5 APG in those games, shooting 34.5% on three-pointers.

According to Stein, both Murry and Lucas will be given the opportunity to compete for a roster spot in Minnesota this fall. However, for that to happen, the Wolves would need to either trade or cut a player with a guaranteed salary. Currently, the club has 15 players on guaranteed contracts, including Ricky Rubio, Kris Dunn, and Tyus Jones at point guard, and Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad, and Brandon Rush at the two.

[RELATED: Minnesota Timberwolves’ depth chart at RosterResource.com]

One other scenario that could open up a roster spot in Minnesota would be a retirement decision from Kevin Garnett. For now, Garnett – who has one year remaining on his contract – hasn’t made a call one way or the other on his future.