Joseph Blair

Rudy Tomjanovich Joins Timberwolves As Consultant

Never underestimate the heart of Rudy Tomjanovich. The two-time title-winning former Rockets head coach has joined the Timberwolves as a player personnel consultant, the team announced today in a press release.

According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Tomjanovich worked to scout and evaluate talent for the Wolves ahead of the 2020 draft.

Tomjanovich was a five-time All-Star as a forward from 1970-1981. He spent his entire league tenure with the Rockets. He was drafted out of Michigan with the second pick by the Rockets when the team was still based in San Diego. Upon retiring, he was an assistant coach for Houston from 1983-1992.

A 2020 Naismith Hall of Fame inductee, Tomjanovich holds a 527–416 record as a head coach. He served in that capacity with the Rockets from 1992-2003, and with the Lakers for the 2004/05 season.

Tomjanovich won his titles with Houston in 1994 and 1995, with teams fronted by Hall-of-Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, plus point guard Sam Cassell and power forward Robert Horry.

Former Rockets director of player performance Javair Gillett is also among the Timberwolves’ new basketball operations additions, having been named the team’s VP of sports science and player performance. Joseph Blair (assistant coach), Aaron Blackshear (director of analytics), and Josh Gershon (college scouting coordinators) were among the other hires announced by Minnesota.

Joseph Blair, Sergi Olivia Leave Sixers

Sixers assistant coach Joseph Blair has departed Philadelphia in favor of a position on Ryan Saunders‘ staff with the Timberwolves, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

Blair was previously an assistant coach with the Rockets’ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, from 2015-18 before being promoted to head coach for the 2018/19 season. Blair guided that squad to a G League title. He served on Brett Brown‘s staff with the Sixers for Brown’s final season in 2019/20.

Pompey also reports that Sergi Olivia, the vice president of strategy for the Sixers, is leaving Philadelphia’s front office to join Quin Snyder as an assistant coach on the Jazz bench. Olivia has worked for Philadelphia’s front office in some capacity since 2014. Pompey indicated that Olivia played a key role in the club’s analytics-predicated decision making.

Blair and Olivia are not the first Sixers personnel to move on from Philadelphia this season. Assistant coach Kevin Young also recently departed the Sixers for an opportunity with Monty Williams and the Suns.

The Sixers recently signed head coach Doc Rivers to a five-year contract in the hopes that he could guide All-Stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid to a title. Rivers is in the process of fleshing out his own staff. Early today, it was announced that former Kings and Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger would be joining the 76ers as an assistant.

Eastern Notes: Celtics, Crabbe, Clarkson, Sixers

The Celtics have reached an agreement to add another new assistant coach to Brad Stevens‘ staff, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that the team is bringing aboard Kara Lawson. A former WNBA and Olympic champion, Lawson has worked as a TV analyst for the Wizards for the last three years.

According to Wojnarowski, Lawson had talked to multiple NBA teams in recent years about possible coaching roles, but was convinced to accept an offer from the Celtics based on the opportunity to work with Stevens.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Allen Crabbe, who will be a member of the Hawks once their trade with Brooklyn becomes official in July, was arrested in Los Angeles on a DUI charge on Wednesday, writes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Since the trade hasn’t technically been finalized, the Hawks can’t yet comment on Crabbe’s arrest.
  • Jordan Clarkson has hired a new agent, becoming the latest member of the Cavaliers to sign with Rich Paul and Klutch Sports for representation, reports Joe Vardon of The Athletic (via Twitter). Klutch also reps Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, and Darius Garland.
  • The Sixers officially announced in a press release that they’ve hired Ime Udoka and Joseph Blair as assistant coaches. The hiring of Udoka, who comes over from San Antonio, was reported during the first week of June.
  • Revisiting the circumstances surrounding the KnicksKristaps Porzingis trade, Sam Amick of The Athletic writes that Porzingis threatened to return to Spain to rehab his ACL injury if New York didn’t move him. A source tells Amick that Porzingis was aware he’d be fined if he made that decision without the team’s permission, but was ready to deal with the consequences.

Southwest Notes: Doncic, Brase, Harden

It’s not fair to saddle a 19-year-old rookie with the responsibility of turning the Mavs‘ franchise around. Fortunately, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes, Luka Doncic won’t have to.

Although Doncic will face pressure as a highly touted European charged with the task of at least symbolically replacing Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, he’ll get substantial help from incoming veteran DeAndre Jordan.

Jordan, along with young players like Dennis Smith Jr. and Harrison Barnes, should give the Mavs considerably more bite in 2018/19 after a down season last year.

Sefko writes that he thinks Mavs fans can expect the Doncic trade to pay dividends but they may not come for a year or two.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Rockets will add former Rio Grande Valley Vipers coach Matt Brase to head coach Mike D’Antoni‘s staff this season, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle tweets. Joseph Blair is a favorite to replace Brase in the G League.
  • A city prosecutor is reviewing an allegation against James Harden, an Associated Press report states. The Rockets star allegedly grabbed a woman’s wrist and threw her cellphone on the roof outside of a nightclub when she was recording a fight.
  • The Spurs will roster a team without several major contributors to their last championship, this season. A Basketball Insiders report breaks down their chances of being relevant in 2018/19 and the new challenges ahead.