Jordi Fernandez

Southeast Notes: Hawks’ Coaching Search, Schofield, Gill

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that Quin Snyder, Kenny Atkinson, and Charles Lee will be among the Hawks‘ head coaching candidates as the team searches for a permanent replacement for Nate McMillan, who was let go during the All-Star break.

Shams Charania of The Athletic confirms those names and adds a few more to the Hawks’ list of possible targets, reporting (via Twitter) that Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez, Spurs assistant Mitch Johnson, and South Bay Lakers coach Miles Simon are expected to receive consideration from Atlanta.

Fernandez has generated some head coaching buzz in the past, but as far as I can tell, this is the first time either Johnson or Simon has been connected to a head coaching opening at the NBA level.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • McMillan took the fall for the Hawks‘ “organizational-wide failure” this season, according to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, who argues that – even if McMillan’s dismissal was justified – the team’s problems extend beyond the job the head coach did. Schultz cites front office dysfunction as one key issue for the Hawks in recent months.
  • Admiral Schofield‘s new contract with the Magic is a two-year, minimum-salary deal, Hoops Rumors has learned. Schofield will earn $506,508 for the rest of this season and Orlando will hold a $1,997,238 team option on the forward for 2023/24.
  • Wizards forward Anthony Gill hasn’t played a major role in D.C. this season, averaging a modest 10.0 minutes per game in 41 appearances. However, Gill’s enthusiasm and positivity have made him an important culture-setter for the club, as Ava Wallace outlines in an interesting story for The Washington Post. Gill signed a guaranteed two-year, minimum-salary deal with the Wizards last summer, so he remains under contract for $2MM next season.

Pacific Notes: Reaves, Booker, DiVincenzo, Fernandez

Because Lakers guard Austin Reaves only received a two-year contract when he had his two-way deal converted in September 2021, he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency after the 2022/23 season. During an episode of the Late Night Lake Show podcast, Jovan Buha of The Athletic suggested that Reaves will be in line for a substantial raise on his current minimum-salary contract.

“From what I’ve heard on that, it’s going to be more than (Alex) Caruso money, that’s for sure,” Buha said, according to Jacob Rude of Silver Screen and Roll. “It’s going to be double digits.”

When Caruso left the Lakers for Chicago last summer, he signed a four-year deal worth just shy of $37MM. Buha’s comments indicate he expects Reaves to receive at least $10MM annually on his second NBA contract.

While the Lakers haven’t been in position to make competitive offers to certain standout role players, including Malik Monk this past offseason, they’ll hold Reaves’ Early Bird rights in the summer of 2023, giving them more flexibility to make a strong bid. As Rude points out, the Gilbert Arenas provision will also apply to Reaves, so rival suitors won’t have the ability to make an offer the Lakers can’t match.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Asked before Wednesday’s game if Devin Booker‘s return from a groin injury on Christmas Day felt rushed, Suns head coach Monty Williams pushed back against that notion, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “In this case with Book, every box, to my knowledge, was checked,” Williams said. “Before you put a guy back on the floor, you have to do that.” Booker, who suffered a setback four minutes into his return, is now expected to miss at least four weeks.
  • Donte DiVincenzo has a championship ring, is in his fifth NBA season, and is respected by the Warriors‘ young players, but he’s also just 25 years old and feels like he’s still developing, according to Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. As Thompson writes, that makes DiVincenzo something like a “middle child” in Golden State, falling between the team’s older veteran generation and its younger prospects.
  • Before becoming the Kings‘ associate head coach under Mike Brown this season, Jordi Fernandez spent six years in Denver on Michael Malone‘s staff. As Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee relays, Malone still thinks highly of his former assistant, who is coaching the Kings while Brown is in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. “I think one day Jordi will be a head coach in this league,” Malone said. “He’s been a head coach in the G League. He’s got great international experience. This team is on the right path with the right coaches, so I’m really happy for them.”

Pacific Notes: Kuminga, Wiggins, M. Brown, Lakers

The Warriors have liked what they’ve seen lately from second-year forward Jonathan Kuminga, Anthony Slater writes for The Athletic. Kuminga scored 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting in Tuesday’s win over Charlotte, but it was his defense that drew praise after the game.

“He f—ing locks up now,” teammate Draymond Green said. “I think it’s very impressive to see. Not that you never thought he was capable, but to see the maturity and buying into a role. Like, ‘Oh, that’s my role, that’s what I need to do. I’m going to go do that better than anyone.’ We’ve seen his impact over the last few weeks. He’s hawking every point guard he gets on.”

As Slater details, a steal Kuminga made against Hornets forward P.J. Washington in the fourth quarter with the game tied at 101-101 prompted head coach Steve Kerr to compare the 20-year-old to one of the Warriors’ veteran leaders.

“He looked like Andre Iguodala on that play,” Kerr said. “That’s an Andre-type play. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Andre’s been mentoring him throughout the season and last year.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • The Warriors got some good news and some bad news this week on forward Andrew Wiggins, who has been sidelined since December 3 due to an adductor strain. Wiggins has been cleared to return from that injury, but is battling an illness, which will keep him out at least through Wednesday’s game against Utah, tweets Slater.
  • Kings head coach Mike Brown has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced on Tuesday (Twitter link via James Ham of The Kings Beat). Assistant coach Jordi Fernandez is coaching the team in Brown’s place, but Brown is experiencing only mild COVID-19 symptoms and hopes to be cleared to return soon, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Andscape (Twitter link).
  • In the past, LeBron James‘ comments to the media about his teams’ shortcomings have often spurred his front offices into action, but his calls for help this season appears to be falling on deaf ears, according to Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group, who explores whether any roster moves are coming for the Lakers.

Kings Officially Announce Mike Brown’s Coaching Staff

The Kings have finalized their coaching staff for Mike Brown‘s first season in Sacramento, according to a press release from the team.

As previously reported, former Nuggets assistant Jordi Fernandez is joining the Kings as associate head coach after working with Brown on the Nigerian national team. Jay Triano, Doug Christie, Luke Loucks, and Leandro Barbosa will also be assistant coaches on Brown’s staff, as anticipated.

Dutch Gaitley and Lindsey Harding will be assistants as well, with Gaitley serving as director of player development. Harding and Deividas Dulkys, whose hiring was previously reported, will be player development coaches.

Robbie Lemons (senior director of coaching analytics and strategy), Charles Allen (head video coordinator/special assistant to the head coach), and Garrius Adams (assistant video coordinator) will fill out the staff, which Brown referred to as a “diverse and talented group.”

Roy Rana, Mike Longabardi, and Rico Hines are among the veteran assistants on former head coach Alvin Gentry‘s staff who won’t be returning to Sacramento for the 2022/23 season. Longabardi joined the Hawks, Hines joined the Raptors, and Rana got a job coaching a team in Japan.

Kings Hire Jordi Fernandez As Associate Head Coach

Newly-hired Kings head coach Mike Brown has selected Nuggets assistant Jordi Fernandez to serve as his new associate head coach, Sacramento announced on Wednesday (via Twitter).

Fernandez has prior experience working with Brown in Cleveland, and was on Brown’s staff with the Nigerian National Team during the 2020 Olympics, tweets Sean Cunningham of Fox 40 (KTXL).

Fernandez, 39, has been an assistant with the Nuggets for the past six years. As Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports relays (Twitter link), Fernandez was Michael Malone‘s No. 2 assistant in Denver and served as the team’s defensive coordinator in 2021/22.

Brown is well-known as a defense-first coach, so clearly he trusts Fernandez in that regard. Brown is currently serving out his stint as associate head coach of the Warriors, who stymied the Mavericks in the first game of their Western Conference Finals matchup by a score of 112-87.

In other Kings coaching news, Marc J. Spears of ESPN and Andscape reports (via Twitter) that former assistant coach/chief of staff Roy Rana will be heading to Japan to be the new head coach of the Kyoto Hannaryz. Rana was with Sacramento for the past three seasons and was named the head coach of the Egyptian National Team in January, per

Western Notes: Ingles, Bogdanovic, O’Neale, Conley, Gay, Adelman, Doncic

The Jazz are well above the luxury tax line after re-signing Mike Conley and adding Rudy Gay in free agency but they don’t plan on dumping any of their mid-salaried players to ease the burden, Zach Lowe of ESPN reports. Lowe names Joe Ingles ($12.4MM), Bojan Bogdanovic ($18.7MM) and Royce O’Neale ($8.8MM) as the type of players that the Jazz could look to dump if they wanted to get below the tax line or reduce the bill. There’s no indication any of them are going anywhere anytime soon.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Conley played a role in convincing Gay to leave the Spurs for the Jazz in free agency, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News writes. Conley said the front office urged him to recruit his former Memphis teammate. “I’ve done it little bit (before) but not at this capacity,” Conley said. “I was like putting babies down for bed and having to drop them and go take a call because I’m trying to make sure we lock up a guy like Rudy. … I was really locked in on that and it was fun.”
  • David Adelman will be the lead assistant for the Nuggets, Mike Singer of the Denver Post tweets. Jordi Fernandez will be the second assistant under Michael Malone while Popeye Jones, whose addition to the staff was previously reported, will be the third assistant on Malone’s bench.
  • Luka Doncic‘s new contract extension includes a 15% trade kicker, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. However, the trade bonus would only kick in if the cap rose significantly in the future, since a trade bonus can’t increase a player’s salary beyond the maximum and the All-NBA guard has already qualified for a higher max salary than he’d typically be eligible for. Doncic’s five-year, $207MM extension with the Mavericks became official on Tuesday.

Cavaliers Hire J.B. Bickerstaff As Associate Head Coach

The Cavaliers have hired J.B. Bickerstaff as associate head coach, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. A target of multiple franchises this offseason for a coaching role (including the Sixers, Celtics, Lakers and Kings), Bickerstaff will be tasked with helping new head coach John Beilein make the transition to the NBA.

Bickerstaff, who will now be one of the league’s top paid assistant coaches, is a former head coach of both the Rockets (interim) and Grizzlies. He is also the son of former NBA coach Bernie Bickerstaff, who now serves as a Senior Basketball Advisor for the Cavaliers.

As we relayed last week, the Cavaliers also still plan to hire at least one other person to join Beilein’s staff, potentially from the pool of other candidates that interviewed for the head coaching position, including Alex Jensen (Utah), Jamahl Mosley (Dallas), Jordi Fernandez (Denver), and Nate Tibbetts (Portland).

Bickerstaff, Other Candidates Could Join Beilein’s Staff

New Cavaliers coach John Beilein is expected to meet with former Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff to gauge Bickerstaff’s interest in becoming his associate head coach, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Bickerstaff met with Cleveland’s front office and was also a candidate for the Lakers job before they hired Frank Vogel.

Bickerstaff may not be the only candidate the Cavaliers interviewed who could potentially join Beilein’s staff. They will likely hire at least one other from that pool, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports.

Cleveland stunned the basketball world on Monday by plucking the 66-year-old Beilein out of the college ranks and naming the University of Michigan head man as its head coach.

GM Koby Altman conducted an extensive search, interviewing at least 10 other candidates, mostly NBA assistants. Among that group, Alex Jensen (Utah), Jamahl Mosley (Dallas) and Jordi Fernandez (Denver) are candidates to wind up on Beilein’s staff, as is Nate Tibbetts (Portland), who was expected to get an interview until the Cavs focused on the Wolverines coach.

Beilein is on board with having seasoned NBA assistants on the bench, Vardon continues, but wants to chat with potential candidates to find out which would be the best fits.

Vardon also added these nuggets in his story:

  • There was already mutual interest between the Cavs and Beilein when assistant GM and West Virginia alum Mike Gansey visited his former college coach at the Final Four in Minneapolis on April 6. Beilein was not viewed as a leading candidate for the job at the time mainly because the Cleveland brass doubted Beilein would leave Michigan.
  • Altman and his staff quietly interviewed Beilein last week. Later in the week, Beilein met with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who lives in suburban Detroit. Beilein emerged as the Cavs’ choice after that meeting.
  • The youth and fluidity of the Cavs’ roster intrigued Beilein. It gives Beilein a chance to mold the team to his liking, as he’s done previously in his college stops.

Cavaliers Interview More Coaching Candidates

Members of the Cavaliers‘ front office are meeting with four candidates for their head coaching vacancy today in Denver, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

We told you earlier that Magic assistant coach Steve Hetzel had an interview, but GM Koby Altman and his staff also talked to Nuggets assistants Jordi Fernandez and Wes Unseld Jr.

Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool will interview tonight, tweets Chris Fedor of, while fellow Portland assistant Nate Tibbetts had a scheduling conflict and will hold his interview sometime after tomorrow’s Game 7. That will wrap up the first round of the coaching search, Fedor adds (Twitter link).

Cleveland has conducted the most wide-ranging interview process among the teams looking for a head coach. Spurs assistants Ime Udoka and Ettore Messina, former Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff, Jazz assistant Alex Jensen and Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley have all interviewed for the job.

Cavaliers Notes: Messina, Udoka, Fernandez

The Cavaliers‘ meeting with Spurs assistant Ettore Messina is taking place today, according to Chris Fedor of (Twitter link).

As we detailed last week, Messina will become the second assistant on San Antonio’s staff to interview for Cleveland’s head coaching job this spring, joining Ime Udoka. Udoke “came across as very sharp” during his interview on Sunday, Fedor writes in a mailbag.

As Fedor explains in that same mailbag, the Cavaliers appear unlikely to interview Becky Hammon, a third assistant from the Spurs’ staff. In Fedor’s view, that’s because Messina and Udoka are lead assistants in San Antonio and are more ready to take the next step to a head coaching role. It’s the same reason Fedor believes Cleveland is unlikely to hire Jordi Fernandez, who is further down in the pecking order on the Nuggets’ staff than most of the other candidates the Cavs are interviewing.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • While Fernandez may not end up being the Cavaliers’ choice for head coach, it would make for a good story if he is. Joe Vardon of The Athletic explains why, with an in-depth look at Fernandez’s coaching journey and his deep ties to Ohio.
  • Within his mailbag, Fedor observes that the Cavaliers will have limited resources available to add pieces to their roster this offseason. However, if they’re able to acquire outside help, the Cavs need to prioritize shooting and/or rim protection, according to Fedor.
  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic examines the Cavaliers’ roster situation and potential draft needs, outlining why he thinks the team should draft R.J. Barrett over Ja Morant if given the opportunity.