Kenny Smith

Kenny Smith Still In Running For Pistons’ HC Job

The Pistons‘ list of finalists for their head coaching position lost one name on Wednesday when John Beilein announced that he’ll remain at the University of Michigan, but another name has emerged, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times. Stein reports (via Twitter) that TNT’s Kenny Smith is in Detroit’s top tier of candidates and is meeting with owner Tom Gores.

Dwane Casey remains the leading candidate to replace Stan Van Gundy as the Pistons’ head coach, according to Stein, and Spurs assistant Ime Udoka is still in the mix too. However, the club is “intrigued” by Smith’s candidacy after interviewing him last week, and hasn’t ruled him out yet, Stein tweets.

Smith, who was a player in the NBA from 1987 to 1997 and has now been with Turner Sports for two decades, doesn’t have any NBA coaching experience. However, this is the second time this spring that a team has considered him for a head coaching job. Smith also met with the Knicks about their coaching vacancy before they hired David Fizdale.

Gores reportedly met with Casey on Tuesday and Udoka today. It’s not clear when the Pistons will sit down with Smith. Beilein met with Gores back in May, but withdrew from consideration for Detroit’s head coaching job and has reportedly agreed to a new deal with the Wolverines.

Pistons Part Ways With GM Jeff Bower

The Pistons have decided to cut ties with GM Jeff Bower, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Bower was hired to be Stan Van Gundy’s right-hand man when he took charge four summers ago. Owner Tom Gores fired Van Gundy last month and is currently conducting a search for a coach and front-office executive.

Ed Stefanski was hired last week as a senior advisor in charge of overhauling the team’s basketball operations. Van Gundy served as both head coach and president of basketball operations but Gores now wants separation between the two jobs.

Bower had continued his duties after Van Gundy’s departure but his contract was expiring at the end of June and Gores had to make a decision whether to retain him or move on.

Searches to fill the coaching and front office vacancies are ongoing.

On the coaching front, the team has lined up or already interviewed TNT analyst Kenny Smith, Heat assistant Juwan Howard, Spurs assistant Ime Udoka, Michigan coach John Beilein and former Raptors head coach Dwane Casey.

Nets assistant Trajan Langdon , TNT analyst Brent Barry, Hawks executive Malik Rose, Grizzlies assistant Tayshaun Prince and ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups are among the candidates for the front-office job.

Pistons Plan To Interview Kenny Smith For HC Job

The Pistons intend to interview TNT analyst Kenny Smith for their head coaching job, report Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). According to Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link), the Pistons spoke to Smith prior to the combine about the role, so today’s report “could be a signal of intensifying conversation.”

Smith, who was a player in the NBA from 1987 to 1997 and has now been with Turner Sports for two decades, doesn’t have any NBA coaching experience. However, this is the second time this spring that a team has expressed interest in interviewing him. Smith also met with the Knicks about their head coaching vacancy before they hired David Fizdale.

In addition to seeking out a new head coach, the Pistons are also in the market for a new head of basketball operations, and there’s a belief that the team will attempt to fill the latter role before deciding on a coach.

Still, veteran executive Ed Stefanski is serving as a special advisor in both searches, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported today (via Twitter) that former NBA head coaches Bernie Bickerstaff and Jim Lynam will consult with Stefanski in the coaching search, and sit in on interviews with candidates. As such, there are already plenty of voices involved in the search for a new head coach, even without a GM in place.

Dwane Casey has also been cited as a possible candidate for the Pistons, and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald tweeted today that it wouldn’t be a surprise if Detroit brings in Heat assistant Juwan Howard for an interview.

Knicks Interview Mike Brown, Aim To Hire New Coach Soon

The Knicks have completed their interviews for their head coaching vacancy, and will huddle this week to attempt to reach a consensus on Jeff Hornacek‘s replacement, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. According to Woj, the club hopes to have a new head coach hired by the end of the week.

As Wojnarowski details, the Knicks conducted one final interview in addition to the meetings that have already been reported, speaking to Warriors assistant Mike Brown about their head coaching position. That brings New York’s list of reported candidates to 11 names. They are as follows, in alphabetical order:

  1. David Blatt (former Cavaliers head coach)
  2. James Borrego (Spurs assistant)
  3. Mike Brown (Warriors assistant; former Cavaliers head coach)
  4. Mike Budenholzer (former Hawks head coach)
  5. David Fizdale (former Grizzlies head coach)
  6. Juwan Howard (Heat assistant)
  7. Mark Jackson (ESPN analyst; former Warriors head coach)
  8. Jay Larranaga (Celtics assistant)
  9. Kenny Smith (TNT analyst)
  10. Jerry Stackhouse (Raptors 905 head coach)
  11. Mike Woodson (Clippers assistant; former Knicks head coach)

Budenholzer and Blatt have generated the most buzz as potential targets for the Knicks, while Fizdale, Stackhouse, and Jackson were initially considered among the club’s top tier as well.

If the Knicks do name a new head coach this week, they’ll likely become the first team to complete a full-fledged search this offseason. The Grizzlies became the first team to hire a new permanent head coach last week, but they didn’t consider outside options, opting instead to promote J.B. Bickerstaff from the interim role.

Latest On Knicks’ Head Coaching Search

9:00pm: The Knicks will meet with Mike Budenholzer on Sunday, Ian Begley of ESPN tweets.

7:48pm: Add James Borrego to the list of candidates scheduled to interview with the Knicks regarding their coaching vacancy. Ian Begley and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN report that the current Spurs assistant has been granted permission to interview for the position.

Borrego was previously linked as a potential Suns candidate although it wasn’t known at the time whether he had been granted permission to interview there.

Worth noting is that Borrego worked with Knicks general manager Scott Perry in Orlando between 2012 and 2015, serving as an assistant and eventually interim head coach prior to joining San Antonio.

Here’s more on the search for a new Knicks’ coach:

  • Representatives from the franchise will travel abroad to interview David Blatt this week. Wojnarowski and Begley write that Blatt has a strong relationship with Knicks president Steve Mills but doesn’t have a relationship with Perry.
  • For what it’s worth, the ESPN scribes say that Jerry Stackhouse and David Fizdale both made strong cases for themselves in their previously conducted interviews.
  • And finally, Kenny Smith‘s interview with the franchise is now in the books, although the ESPN piece gives no indication of how it went. Smith is a native of New York but has no coaching experience.

Coaching Notes: Messina, Hornets, K. Smith, Knicks

As we relayed last weekend, the Hornets have been granted permission to interview Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for their open head coaching position. With Messina’s Spurs still alive in the postseason – and Gregg Popovich away from the team to be with his family following the death of his wife – the veteran assistant isn’t currently available for that interview. But he may be soon.

As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes, the Hornets intend to move quickly to meet with Messina once the Spurs’ season is over. With San Antonio trailing Golden State 3-0, that series could end as early as Sunday. And according to Bonnell, the meeting between the Hornets and Messina is currently on track to take place in the middle of next week, unless the Spurs can win a couple games against the Warriors and extend the series.

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

  • Kenny Smith confirmed on TNT on Thursday night that he will indeed be interviewing with the Knicks for their head coaching job on Friday. As Marc Berman of The New York Post relays, his fellow TNT broadcasters gave him a few friendly pieces of advice, including making sure that he knows how to pronounce “Kristaps Porzingis.”
  • In a terrific – and in-depth – piece for ESPN.com, Kevin Arnovitz takes a wide-ranging look at the head coaching landscape, identifying most of the candidates who will receive consideration for the open jobs this spring.
  • Magic veteran Marreese Speights says his preference is to play for a head coach who has experience as an NBA player himself. With that in mind, John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com explores whether former players have a leg up in NBA head coaching searches, speaking to other players – and Magic president Jeff Weltman – about the subject.
  • To follow the latest updates on the NBA’s current head coaching searches, be sure to keep an eye on our tracker, which we’re updating daily.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks’ HC Search, Celtics, Embiid

Following up on Wednesday’s report that the Knicks will interview Kenny Smith for their head coaching position, Marc Berman of The New York Post classifies the TNT analyst as a long shot, suggesting that it may simply be a “courtesy interview,” unless Smith has interest in joining the coaching staff as an assistant.

A job as an assistant is also a possibility for Mike Woodson, according to Berman, who writes that there has been speculation about a scenario in which the Knicks hire Mark Jackson as their new head coach and bring aboard Woodson as Jackson’s top assistant.

The Knicks continue to go through the interview process, so it’s probably too early to suggest that the team is leaning toward a single candidate, but it still seems as if Jackson, David Fizdale, and David Blatt represent the top options for the club. Jerry Stackhouse was reported to be a part of the Knicks’ “top tier” of candidates too, but Berman’s sources suggest Stackhouse may be the top choice for the Magic.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Kyrie Irving blockbuster and the Celtics‘ lack of activity at the trade deadline generated most of the headlines during the 2017/18 league year, but Danny Ainge has done a nice job filling out the roster with under-the-radar acquisitions, writes Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com. Forsberg points to the signings of players like Aron Baynes, Shane Larkin, and Daniel Theis as moves that paid off for Boston.
  • While the Celtics have done an admirable job complementing their big veteran contracts with affordable rookie deals, the team will have to look ahead and consider which players are long-term keepers when their youngsters start getting second contracts, tweets Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports. As Mannix notes, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier will be up for raises soon, with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to follow down the road.
  • While the Sixers and Joel Embiid – who remains doubtful to play in Game 3 – would both love to see the franchise center on the court during the team’s first-round series against the Heat, his orbital bone injury is “no joke,” writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Given the risk of further damage to Embiid’s eye, the 76ers are right to play it safe with Embiid this year, in Pompey’s view. That’s especially true when considering Philadelphia’s long-term investment in the young big man — his maximum-salary extension goes into effect in 2018/19.
    (Note: Embiid has been upgraded to probable for Game 3 — 3:55pm)

Knicks Notes: Coaching Search, O’Quinn, Noah

The Knicks aren’t afraid to take their time as they look for their next coach, according to Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. Today was Mark Jackson‘s turn to interview with team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry in Los Angeles, one day after Jerry Stackhouse. News broke tonight that TNT analyst Kenny Smith will be interviewed Friday. Sessions are also scheduled for David Fizdale, Mike Woodson and David Blatt, and Isola states that more candidates could emerge.

Fizdale had an interview today with the Suns and seems to have emerged as the most popular coach on the market. He has a connection with James Jones, a former Heat player who now works in the Phoenix front office and is reportedly a strong advocate for Fizdale. The Knicks are attracted to Fizdale because he has experience with a winning organization in Miami and he has a strong connection to LeBron James, whom the Knicks haven’t given up hope of someday acquiring, Isola adds.

There’s more tonight from New York:

  • Jackson’s aversion to analytics may doom his chances with the Knicks, writes Gary Peterson of The San Jose Mercury News. Jackson had a reputation as an old-school coach with the Warriors and was often dismissive of modern techniques. “The [Golden State] analytics staff encountered more resistance than they anticipated,” said Erik Malinowski, author of a book on the building of the Warriors.
  • Backup center Kyle O’Quinn isn’t ready to make a decision on his player option, relays Jordan Lauterbach of Newsday. O’Quinn, who recently changed agents, will earn $4.26MM if he decides to opt in for next season. “I came into the season, I don’t want to say without a role, but knowing that anything can happen,” he said. “Whether it be trade talks or things like that, I think I handled it well by putting myself in a solid position where I could display what I could do.”
  • The Knicks should resist the temptation to stretch Joakim Noah‘s contract over the next five seasons, advises Bobby Marks of ESPN. Marks points to Deron Williams in Brooklyn and Josh Smith in Detroit as instances where teams have regretted compromising their long-term flexibility. Marks also recommends delaying an extension for Kristaps Porzingis to create more cap room for next summer.

Kenny Smith To Interview With Knicks

Kenny Smith is the latest addition to the Knicks’ coaching search, according to an ESPN report. The TNT analyst, who has no NBA coaching experience, will reportedly interview with the team Friday. Smith played in the league for 10 seasons and joined Turner Sports in 1998.

The Knicks have already held interviews with Mark Jackson and Jerry Stackhouse and plan to bring in David Fizdale later this week. That will be followed next week by a session with David Blatt.

They have also received permission from the Clippers to talk to assistant coach Mike Woodson, but he’s not in the top tier of candidates, according to ESPN.

Northwest Notes: Stephenson, Turner, Blazers

Newly acquired Timberwolves guard Lance Stephenson squared off against his former team Friday and Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry had nothing but positive things to say about the 26-year-old journeyman, writes Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

We had no problem whatsoever with him,” Gentry said regarding New Orleans’ decision to waive the then-15th man on their roster after a groin injury in November. “As a matter of fact, he probably raised our energy level as much as anyone. I think he’ll be fine. He’s playing for a great [Timberwolves] coach who loves energy and toughness and stuff like that.”

The Pelicans faced criticism at the time for parting ways with Stephenson as he recovered from the long-term injury but did so to free up space on their roster for Archie Goodwin (who has since been waived). Now Stephenson is back at full strength and on a 10-day contract looking to stick in Minnesota with a Timberwolves roster led by head coach Tom Thibodeau.

In two games with the Timberwolves so far, Stephenson has posted 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 16.0 minutes per game. He’ll make $72K with Minnesota over the duration of his 10-day contract, in addition to the $1.2MM he’s owed by the Pelicans.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • The news that Trail Blazers swingman Evan Turner will miss 5-6 weeks comes just as the offseason acquisition was starting to find a rhythm in Portland, writes Mike Richman of The Oregonian. Turner’s absence could thrust Allen Crabbe and Moe Harkless into a bigger role defensively where Turner had been checking the opposing team’s most potent perimeter threat. In the same column, Richman also discusses the progress that Al-Farouq Aminu has made on the offensive end since being relegated to the bench.
  • With a 23-31 record, the Trail Blazers remain very much in the hunt for the final Western Conference playoff berth (Denver sits in the eight-seed at 24-29) but TNT analyst Kenny Smith is skeptical that they have enough resources. “I don’t think they have a lot of talent, honestly. I think that’s the problem,” Smith said. Molly Blue of The Oregonian relayed both Smith’s and Charles Barkley‘s reservations about the guard-heavy roster.
  • When budding Nuggets star Nikola Jokic dropped 40 points on the Knicks Friday, he became just the second Denver player to do so in Madison Square Garden, writes Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. The last? David Thompson in 1978,