Jordi Fernandez

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 CBC.ca.

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 Cleveland.com, 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 Cleveland.com (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 Cleveland.com 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.

Cavs To Interview Nuggets Assistant Jordi Fernandez

The Cavaliers have requested and been granted permission to interview Nuggets assistant Jordi Fernandez for the team’s head coaching gig, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com passes along.

Cleveland is being respectful of the Nuggets’ playoff run and an exact date for the interview has not yet been set. The Cavs have long viewed Fernandez as a candidate for the position, a source tells Fedor.

[RELATED: Five Key Offseason Questions: Cleveland Cavaliers]

Fernandez is the second candidate on Denver’s staff that the Cavs have requested permission to interview. The club is also expected to meet with Wes Unseld Jr. at some point.

Former Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff interviewed for the Cavs’ position on Tuesday and Jazz assistant coach Alex Jenson will interview with the team on Friday. Mavs assistant Jamahl Mosley is expected to get another interview during the next wave after he had an impressive meeting with the team last week.

Coaching Updates: Williams, Lakers, Suns, Cavs

The Lakers sent a big contingent of executives to Philadelphia today for their second interview with head coaching candidate Monty Williams, reports Bill Oram of The Athletic (via Twitter). According to Oram, in addition to GM Rob Pelinka and owner Jeanie Buss, the meeting will also include Lakers executives Joey Buss, Jesse Buss, Kurt Rambis, Linda Rambis, and COO Tim Harris.

Williams won’t be the first candidate to meet with such a big group. According to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (via Twitter), the same Lakers executives met with Juwan Howard on Tuesday and Tyronn Lue on Wednesday. It was Howard’s first interview and Lue’s second for L.A.’s head coaching job.

As Oram observes (via Twitter), it’s somewhat interesting to see the younger Buss siblings, Jesse and Joey, involved in the process. While they’ve been part of the Lakers’ organization for years, their contributions have been limited to the scouting department and the G League affiliate — they’d been largely left out of major basketball operations decisions until now.

Here are a few more coaching-related updates from around the NBA:

  • The Lakers aren’t the only team with interest in Monty Williams. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Suns officials are traveling to Toronto to meet with the Sixers assistant on Friday before Philadelphia opens its series against the Raptors on Saturday. Phoenix received permission earlier this week to interview Williams, who has been identified as the team’s top candidate to replace Igor Kokoskov. The Suns may try to preempt a Lakers offer, Wojnarowski writes.
  • The Cavaliers and J.B. Bickerstaff are working to set up a meeting for next week, sources tell Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Bickerstaff said on Wednesday that he’s “definitely interested” in Cleveland’s head coaching job. Vardon also confirms that Juwan Howard and Jamahl Mosley are the only candidates who have formally interviewed with the Cavs so far.
  • The Cavaliers remain interested in Nuggets assistant Jordi Fernandez, but have yet to officially line up an interview, league sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link). Denver remains alive in the playoffs, so the Cavs will have to work around the Nuggets’ schedule.

Latest On Larry Drew, Cavaliers

The Cavaliers and head coach Larry Drew have yet to discuss Drew’s future with the team, he told reporters on Sunday. As Tom Withers of The Associated Press details, Drew said that conversation will take place once Cleveland’s regular season ends.

While the Cavs haven’t confirmed that they’ll conduct a full-fledged coaching search this spring, they also haven’t done anything to give the idea that Drew will return, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. According to Vardon, NBA insiders would be “shocked” if Cleveland ultimately ends up retaining Drew, who has a club option for 2019/20. He’d receive a buyout if he’s not retained.

After replacing Tyronn Lue early in the season, Drew has done a decent job with a poor hand — he and the Cavs have had to deal with injuries all season, with star forward Kevin Love only having appeared in 22 games. The team has a 19-56 record under Drew.

Still, even if the Cavs were interested in bringing back Drew, it’s not clear that he’d reciprocate that interest. He told The Athletic back in January, “I don’t know if I ever want to be a head coach again after this year,” adding that he hadn’t been looking to fill that role heading into the 2018/19 season.

“I think he’d be great for the future, but, I don’t even know if he wants it,” Love said of Drew, per Vardon. “He knows that I have his back and I think a lot of the guys have his back.”

If the Cavs do move on from Drew and give GM Koby Altman a chance to hand-pick his own head coach, there’s a good chance that Nuggets assistant Jordi Fernandez will get a serious look from the Cavs, sources tell Vardon. Vardon adds that the team is doing its homework on Luke Walton, who is widely expected to be dismissed by the Lakers.