Johnnie Bryant

Northwest Notes: Blazers, ‘Melo, Nuggets, Wolves, Jazz

Star point guard Damian Lillard attempted to recruit Carmelo Anthony to the Trail Blazers before the 10-time All-Star was traded to Oklahoma City in 2017 and then again before ‘Melo signed with Houston in 2018.

With Anthony once again on the lookout for a new team, Lillard has made peace with the fact that the veteran forward probably isn’t coming to Portland, as he said during an appearance on The Joe Budden Podcast (video link via ESPN). After Lillard detailed his previous recruiting efforts, he was asked if he’s “not putting [his] hand out again.”

“The team or me,” Lillard responded. “I’m like, ‘He ain’t coming here.’ He deserves to be in the league, but he ain’t coming here.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Free agent point guard Isaiah Taylor is working out for the Nuggets in Denver this week, league sources tell Harrison Wind of BSN Denver (Twitter link). After spending the 2017/18 season with Atlanta, Taylor was pushing for a spot on Cleveland’s roster last fall when he suffered a stress fracture in his leg and was subsequently waived. Now healthy, Taylor has also worked out for the Suns and Celtics, according to Wind.
  • The Timberwolves announced this week in a press release that Sam Newman-Beck will assume head coaching duties for their G League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves. Newman-Beck, who was an assistant for the Erie BayHawks last season, previously spent eight years (2010-18) in Minnesota as a coaching associate/video scouting director.
  • Bryan Bailey, who was previously on the Salt Lake City Stars’ staff in the G League, has been hired as an assistant by the Jazz, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). Jones adds (via Twitter) that Johnnie Bryant and Alex Jensen will continue to be Utah’s lead assistants, with Lamar Skeeter, Zach Guthrie, and Vince Legarza sharing the third assistant role and rotating on the bench.

Western Notes: Randolph, Sterling, Jazz

Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com explains the odd circumstance concerning Zach Randolph‘s player option with the Grizzlies next season. According to the current CBA, a player cannot earn less money in a player option year relative to how much he made in the previous season. As it currently stands, Randolph will make $16.5MM if he decided to opt in for 2014/15, which is considerably lower than the $17.8MM he made in 2013/14.

Tim Duncan had a similar issue in his contract with the Spurs, as his player option for the upcoming year was initially less than what he made this past season. While Duncan’s contract was ultimately modified to address the error, Randolph’s remains unchanged simply because the contract had been signed too long ago, Deeks hears. Randolph and Memphis reportedly are moving toward a multi-year deal, but if he opts in and the deal winds up coming in the form of an extension, Randolph’s missing money will come into play.

Here are more noteworthy links to pass along tonight:

  • A Los Angeles Superior Court judge said that the terms of the Sterling family trust may give Donald Sterling little room to challenge the finding that he is mentally incapable of continuing as co-owner of the Clippers, writes James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times. This would appear to give Shelly Sterling the advantage in her case to affirm both her control of the trust and sale of the team.
  • The Jazz announced the additions of Brad Jones, Antonio Lang, Alex Jensen, Mike Wells, and Johnnie Bryant to Quin Snyder’s coaching staff. Jones will be Snyder’s lead assistant, according to Jody Genessy of the Deseret News (Twitter link).
  • Maccabi Tel Aviv has opted out of its contract with Joe Ingles, reports David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter link). Back in March, we passed along that Ingles was considering a move to the NBA this summer. The Grizzlies and Jazz were among the Western Conference teams reported to have interest in the Australian-born forward.

Northwest Rumors: Hickson, Morrison, Jazz

It's been a busy day for current and former members of the Timberwolves. The team officially announced the signing of Louis Amundson, having reportedly passed on Sean Williams and Yi JianlianAnthony Tolliver was also in the running to return until yesterday, and today he agreed to sign with the Hawks. Mark Deeks of ShamSports revealed the Wolves can get out of the last year of their contract with Brandon Roy if he reinjures his knees this season, and after an offseason of changes, Kevin Love says he's satisfied with the team's moves. There's news on Minnesota's Northwest Division rivals as well, and we'll round it up here:

  • J.J. Hickson will start training camp with the inside track to be the starter at center for the Blazers, said coach Terry Stotts, who also gave a nod to the strides rookie Meyers Leonard made over the summer, as The Oregonian's Joe Freeman writes.
  • In the same piece, Freeman reports that the Blazers will give strong consideration to keeping Adam Morrison for the entire season. The third overall pick in the 2006 draft signed a non-guaranteed contract with the team last week.
  • The Jazz have added 27-year-old former University of Utah guard Johnnie Bryant to their staff as a player development assistant, reports Jody Genessy of the Deseret News (Twitter link).