Keith Smart

Atlantic Notes: Baynes, Trade Talks, Knicks Coaches

Aron Baynes, who is set to hit unrestricted free agency this summer, has previously declared his interest in returning to the Celtics. Baynes once again reiterated that desire, but said he understands that the business side of the game may prevent a reunion, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe writes.

“I always want a big role. I want more of a role and I want to be able to contribute to the team more. That’s always one of those big things. That was one of the big reasons for coming here. And then how the family is. You definitely have to look out for them. And also just the living situation,” Baynes said. “Money comes into it. That’s the business side of things, but I don’t think it’s the only side of things either. So I think I showed that when I came here at the start of the season as well. I’m looking forward to it, but at the end of the day my agent is going to be doing most of the work and it’s not on me.”

Baynes signed a one-year deal with Boston last summer and produced a solid 6.0 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 81 games for Boston. However, with a healthy Daniel Theis expected to return and the Celtics possibly wanting to allocate his potential salary elsewhere, Baynes is not a lock to return.

Check out more Atlantic Division notes below:
  • The Celtics enter this summer with just one pick in the draft and no cap room. As Himmelsbach writes, that reality has the Celtics preparing for a calmer summer after a couple eventful offseasons. The team is expected to enter next season with a roster similar to the one that almost made the NBA Finals.
  • Jud Buechler, a former part of the Bulls’ 72-10 season and an assistant coach with the Lakers, has agreed to join David Fizdale‘s Knicks coaching staff, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports.
  • In addition to Buechler, Keith Smart, Pat Sullivan, and Royal Ivey have all been brought in as assistant coaches, the Knicks confirmed with a press release. Their hirings were previously reported.

Knicks Notes: Smart, Porzingis, Delany, Draft

Grizzlies assistant Keith Smart is expected to become a top assistant on David Fizdale’s staff with the Knicks, tweets ESPN’s Ian Begley. Smart was an assistant with Fizdale for two years in Miami and came to Memphis with him when he was hired as head coach in 2016.

Smart, who appeared in just two NBA games as a player, began his coaching career in 2000. He has also been an assistant with the Cavaliers, Warriors and Kings and eventually became head coach of all three franchises, compiling a 93-170 career record.

J.B. Bickerstaff, who recently had his interim tag removed by the Grizzlies, has started interviewing potential replacements in anticipation of Smart’s departure, according to Begley.

There’s more today from New York:

  • Fizdale met Friday with Janis Porzingis, the older brother and agent for Kristaps Porzingis, relays Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. Fizdale is hoping to travel to Latvia this summer to talk with the Knicks’ star, who is currently rehabbing his left knee in Spain. Fizdale is working to repair a damaged relationship, Isola adds, as Porzingis has been losing faith in the front office, the Knicks’ medical staff and former coach Jeff Hornacek. In Friday’s meeting, Fizdale reportedly addressed his issues with Marc Gasol in Memphis and a reputation that he doesn’t deal well with foreign-born players.
  • Pat Delany, who also worked with Fizdale in Miami, could be another addition to the coaching staff, Isola adds. Delany has been with the Hornets the past four seasons.
  • Small forward is an obvious position of need for the Knicks, but they plan to approach the ninth pick in this year’s draft with a best-player-available philosophy, writes Chris Iseman of NorthJersey.com. Wing players Miles Bridges and Kevin Knox met with the Knicks during the draft combine, but so did point guards Collin Sexton and Trae Young, even though New York drafted Frank Ntilikina in the first round last year. “There’s no secret that we can use help on the wing,” GM Scott Perry said. “But at the end of the day I think we’re still in that talent-acquisition mode. If that happens to be at No. 9 a wing player, great. If we feel the most talented guy clearly is at another position then we got to look at that direction as well.”

Juwan Howard Unlikely To Join Fizdale In New York

Heat assistant Juwan Howard isn’t expected to join David Fizdale’s staff with the Knicks, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now.

Fizdale may want to bring Howard aboard, but he remains under contract to the Heat. They would have to give him permission to leave, which Begley calls “highly unlikely.” Howard, who also interviewed for the head coaching job in New York, worked with Fizdale for several years in Miami, both as a player and a fellow assistant. He has been a Heat assistant since his playing career ended five years ago.

Begley confirms that Keith Smart, who worked with Fizdale in Memphis and Miami, is expected to join his staff. Another strong candidate is Clippers assistant Mike Woodson, who also interviewed to be the Knicks’ head coach and expressed a willingness this week to be part of Fizdale’s staff if he got the job.

Another possibility Begley mentions is Adam Johansen, a scout for the Grizzlies who also spent time with the Heat while Fizdale was there.

Atlantic Notes: Fultz, Fizdale, Smart, Porzingis, Raptors

Markelle Fultz has been relegated to bench duty for the Sixers‘ past four postseason games as T.J. McConnell has taken over the point guard position. Fultz, the first overall pick in last year’s draft, missed most of the regular season due to a shoulder ailment that impacted his ability to shoot.

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that Fultz’s significant time missed and the Sixers’ preference for stability is the reason for his lack of playing time. After all, Fultz missed 68 games in his rookie year and then had just 10 games regular season games to get back into a groove. Head coach Brett Brown said the team is being cautious with Fultz and will continue to do so.

“To say he’s dead and buried, that’s not true,” he said. “But I got a decision to make, and I’ve made a decision. That doesn’t mean it’s etched in stone.  It’s always something that you review and I think about. And the care for Markelle Fultz and his future is always on my mind.”

Check out more Atlantic Division notes below:

  • During the draft process last year, the Celtics worked out Fultz and he said himself that Boston felt like home. Fast forward nearly a year, Fultz is riding the bench in the postseason while Jayson Tatum, the third overall pick, is thriving for the Celtics, per the Associated Press.
  • David Fizdale is joining the Knicks as the team’s next head coach and now the focus will be on the rest of his staff. Marc Berman of the New York Post reports that NCAA champion Keith Smart, who was an assistant coach in Miami and a part of Fizdale’s staff in Memphis, will likely join the Knicks as an assistant.
  • Fizdale’s ability to succeed in New York will hinge on his ability to win over Kristaps Porzingis, the team’s injured star who is rehabbing from a torn ACL, Ken Berger of Bleacher Report writes.
  • Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun looks at the Raptors‘ future after a bleak start to the team’s Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Cavaliers.

David Fizdale Notes: Assistants, Reactions, More

With David Fizdale and the Knicks in agreement on a four-year contract that will make the former Grizzlies coach the new head man in New York, Fizdale will now be tasked with filling out his coaching staff.

Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com recently suggested that Fizdale could recruit some of his old Grizzlies assistants to join him elsewhere, and Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News agrees with that assessment, tweeting that a list of potential Knicks assistants should start with Bob Bender, Keith Smart, and Nick Van Exel.

Meanwhile, Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype attempts to identify a few more candidates to join the Knicks as assistants, including Juwan Howard, who spent plenty of time with Fizdale in Miami.

Here are a few more items related to the Knicks’ decision to hire Fizdale:

  • An NBA source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post that the Knicks are prepared to open cap room this summer in the event that LeBron James shows any interest in heading to New York. While Fizdale has a good relationship with James and it may technically be possible for the Knicks to create cap space, that scenario is an extreme long shot. As Mitch Lawrence of Forbes writes, the Knicks hope Fizdale’s popularity among NBA players with help them in free agency, but they’re probably looking ahead at least to the 2019 market.
  • Before he accepted a four-year offer from the Knicks, Fizdale turned down a four-year offer from the Suns to become their new head coach, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic.
  • There has been no shortage of praise for the Knicks’ decision to go with Fizdale. As Marc Berman of The New York Post relays, ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups referred to Fizdale as the “best coach on the market,” while Jalen Rose called him the “right fit” for the Knicks. Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post agrees that Fizdale is the right man for the job, and Enes Kanter told Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic that he likes the ex-Grizzlies coach “a lot.”
  • Still, not everyone is bullish on the Knicks’ hire. Dan Feldman of NBC Sports believes the optimism on Fizdale is misplaced, arguing that there are still too many issues within the Knicks’ organization to expect success from any new head coach.
  • Ian Begley of ESPN.com takes a look at the next steps for Fizdale and the Knicks as they attempt to turn the page on years of dysfunction.

Coaching Notes: Wizards, Nets, Grizzlies

The Wizards announced today that the team has named Tony Brown, Sidney Lowe, Chad Iske, Mike Terpstra and Maz Trakh as assistants on head coach Scott Brooks’ staff. Eric Sebastian, director of coaching operations, and Kamran Sufi, advance scout, were also named by the team while David Adkins will stay on as the team’s director of player development, according to the press release.

The staff we have put together here in Washington is an impressive group of basketball minds with extensive coaching experience and knowledge of the game,” said Brooks. “I look forward to working alongside this versatile group every day in our quest to bring the best out of our players.

Here’s more of the latest from the NBA’s coaching ranks:

  • The Grizzlies announced via press release that the organization has hired Keith Smart and Adam Mazarei as assistant coaches on head coach David Fizdale’s staff. Smart spent the last two seasons working with Fizdale as an assistant coach for the Heat, while Mazarei was a player development assistant for Memphis the past three years.
  • The Nets officially announced their coaching staff for the 2016/17 season. Joining new head coach Kenny Atkinson’s staff as assistant coaches are Jacque Vaughn, Chris Fleming and Bret Brielmaier, Adam Harrington as assistant coach and director of player development, Jordan Ott as assistant coach and manager of advance scouting and Mike Batiste as player development assistant.
  • The Timberwolves are bringing in Brian Pauga to serve as player personnel director, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets. Pauga previously worked with GM Scott Layden when both were members of the Spurs organization, Wojnarowski adds.

Eastern Notes: Smart, Teague, Draft

Hawks point guard Jeff Teague relayed today that he played the entire 2015/16 campaign with a torn patellar tendon in his knee and that he “could barely jump or stop,” Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com writes. Teague won’t require surgery this offseason and is expected to be ready to go when training camp commences, Mazzeo adds. “He is kind of, for lack of a better word, managing his knee,” coach/executive Mike Budenholzer said. “I don’t know if it is knees and ankles. I would say it is hard to know what he shares and what he doesn’t. I think he was relatively healthy and he was good so many nights and he is such a good player. I do think he was managing it a little bit like a lot of NBA guys do.”

Teague, 27, appeared in 79 games in 2015/16, averaging 15.7 points and 5.9 assists and shooting 43.9% from the field and 40% from 3-point range. He has one year remaining on his current deal and is a potential trade candidate this offseason. Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Celtics held two group workouts today, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com tweets. The first group was comprised of Alex Caruso (Texas A&M), Juan Hernangomez (Spain), Damian Jones (Vanderbilt), Thon Maker (Australia), Georgios Papagiannis (Greece) and Rasheed Sulaimon (Maryland), Forsberg notes. The second group included Robert Carter (Maryland), Stefan Jankovic (Hawaii), Shawn Long (Louisiana-Lafayette), Mamadou Ndiaye (UC Irvine), Nik Slavica (Croatia) and Troy Williams (Indiana).
  • The Heat have granted the Grizzlies permission to interview assistant coach Keith Smart for a position on the staff of former Miami assistant David Fizdale, who was recently named Memphis’ head coach, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel relays. Memphis was denied permission to interview Heat assistant coach Dan Craig, who is expected to take an elevated position on Erik Spoelstra‘s staff next season, Winderman adds.
  • The Hornets have workouts scheduled for Friday with Cat Barber (NC State), Nathan Boothe (Toledo), Jake Layman (Maryland), Isaiah Miles (St. Joe’s), Tyler Ulis (Kentucky) and Stephen Zimmerman (UNLV), Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders relays (on Twitter).

And-Ones: Porzingis, Smart, Terry, D-League

The KnicksKristaps Porzingis could be the rare young player who affects decisions in the free agent market, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski claims. In a video response to a reader’s question, Wojnarowski said Porzingis has a clear path toward becoming an All-Star. “Elite free agents generally aren’t as interested in young talent as they are veteran, winning talent in its prime,” Wojnarowski said. “But Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks is an exception. He’s far more and will be far more intriguing to free agents than say, the Lakers’ young core.” 

There’s more from around the world of basketball:

  • Heat assistant coach Keith Smart is trying to overcome a rare form of skin cancer and rejoin the team on the bench, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Chris Quinn has moved from behind the bench to take Smart’s place while he undergoes treatment, and Smart said he doesn’t want to disrupt the chemistry of the coaching staff when he returns. He credits the Heat for keeping him involved during his absence. “This team has been great,” Smart said. “The organization has been great. [Coach Erik Spoelstra] is incredible, managing this team and also communicating with me almost on a daily basis or every other day, just to make sure that I’m doing OK.”
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban believes Rockets guard Jason Terry has the personality to succeed as a college coach, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Terry interviewed Thursday to be the next head coach at Alabama-Birmingham. “I could see Jet being a coach,” Cuban said. “He knows the game, he’s intense, he communicates well. And guys would relate to him.” Cuban added that the former Maverick can have a job with Dallas whenever he wants one.
  • The addition of three new teams to the D-League next season will bring a few complications, writes Adam Johnson of D-League Digest. The Windy City Bulls, Greensboro Swarm and Long Island Nets will be launched for 2016/17 as more NBA teams decide to have direct D-League affiliates. Johnson notes that the extra teams will require an expansion draft and will complicate the way the league handles its draft picks.
  • The Thunder have recalled Mitch McGary from their Oklahoma City Blue affiliate in the D-League, the team announced. McGary is averaging 14.7 points and 8.8 rebounds in 26 games with the Blue.
  • The Kings have recalled Eric Moreland and Duje Dukan from Reno of the D-League (Twitter link).

Southeast Notes: Katz, Smart, White, Watson

Heat minority share owner Ranaan Katz refuted a report made earlier today by international journalist David Pick in which it was relayed that Katz indicated that LeBron James tried and failed to oust coach Erik Spoelstra when they were together in Miami, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reports (Twitter links). According to Jackson, Katz maintains that he has no information relating to James attempting to have Spoelstra removed from his position. “That was my opinion. I am very careful with what I say,” Katz told Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. “I have no knowledge of what happened. The only thing I said to the reporter was, ‘It’s up to you to figure it out yourself.’

Blatt‘s camp reportedly believes that James was the sole catalyst for the Cavs coaching change, and the belief is much more than simply a fringe theory among people around the league, according to TNT’s David Aldridge. Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Heat assistant coach Keith Smart will be taking a second leave of absence from the team for another round of treatment for skin cancer, Ethan J. Skolnick of The Miami Herald relays. Miami did not set a definitive date for Smart’s return, though his absence is likely to be measured in weeks, not days, Skolnick adds.
  • The Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv recently tried to acquire Wizards 2015 second round draft pick Aaron White, but the buyout attempt was declined by his German club, Telekom Baskets Bonn, J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com writes. White, the No. 49 overall pick last June, went to Europe to develop because he considered it a better option than the D-League, Michael notes.
  • Magic point guard C.J. Watson, who has missed 35 consecutive games with a calf injury, is nearing a return to basketball related activities, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel relays. “It’s like night and day,” Watson said regarding his calf. “So, hopefully, pretty soon I’ll get to start practicing, do some conditioning and running on the court. But right now I’m [doing] just a little spot shooting, just taking it one day at a time and just seeing how I feel the next day.” Orlando inked Watson to a three-year, $15MM deal this past offseason.

And-Ones: Hawks, Douby, Heat

The league’s players have mixed opinions on whether or not they would consider signing with the Hawks, Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report writes. The majority of players polled agreed with Carmelo Anthony‘s assessment that players would avoid signing with Atlanta in the wake of GM Danny Ferry and majority owner Bruce Levenson’s racist remarks, notes Bucher. But there were a few that said they wouldn’t let the incident get in the way of their potential earnings, but also added that they “wouldn’t shake Ferry’s hand” when the deal was completed.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Former Rutgers star and NBA player Quincy Douby has signed with the Tianjin Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to his agent Bill Neff, Zach Links of Hoops Rumors reports (Twitter link). Douby last appeared in the NBA during the 2008/09 season with the Raptors.
  • The partial guarantee on Khem Birch‘s two-year deal with the Heat is worth $50K, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.
  • Keith Smart and Chris Quinn have been added as assistant coaches to Eric Spoelstra‘s staff with the Heat, the team announced.
  • The Bulls are hoping for a healthy season out of Derrick Rose, and that their new additions of Pau Gasol and Doug McDermott will help them contend in the Eastern Conference. The crew over at Basketball Insiders previews the upcoming season, and the majority opinion is that Chicago will finish second in the Central Division.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.