Kevin Young

And-Ones: Coaching Candidates, Kirkwood, Garuba, Embiid

Suns assistant Kevin Young, Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee, Celtics assistant Will Hardy, Grizzlies assistant Darko Rajakovic, Heat assistants Chris Quinn and Malik Allen, and Warriors assistants Mike Brown and Kenny Atkinson are among the assistants around the NBA who are viewed as potential head coaching candidates by league insiders, according to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz (Insider-only link).

A number of the names on Arnovitz’s list have been linked to one or more of the NBA’s three current head coaching openings. Ham and Brown, for instance, all believed to be under consideration by all three of the Hornets, Lakers, and Kings.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Harvard senior guard Noah Kirkwood, who declared for the 2022 NBA draft as an early entrant, has decided to remain in the draft and go pro rather than using his final year of college eligibility, according to agent Ronnie Zeidel (Twitter link via Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports).
  • Rockets forward/center Usman Garuba said in an interview with Spanish outlet that he’s committed to representing Spain at this year’s EuroBasket competition, as Eurohoops relays.
  • In an intriguing bit of international basketball news, an RMC Sport report indicates that Sixers center Joel Embiid is exploring the possibility of obtaining French citizenship and representing France in future international events. Embiid was born in Cameroon, but has family from France and has never suited up for the Cameroonian national team.

Suns Sign Emanuel Terry; Monty Williams In Protocols

2:25pm: The Suns have officially signed Terry, the team announced in a press release. His 10-day contract will run through January 5.

12:14pm: The Suns are set to sign forward Emanuel Terry to a 10-day contract using a hardship exception, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Terry, 25, has played for a handful of international and G League teams since going undrafted out of Lincoln Memorial in 2018. He also got into three NBA games as a rookie back in 2018/19 — two for Phoenix and one for Miami.

This season, Terry has been playing in the G League for the Stockton Kings, averaging 11.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 1.0 BPG in 10 games (25.5 MPG) for Sacramento’s G League affiliate. He also represented Team USA last month in the first two qualifying games for the 2023 World Cup.

For most of the month, Phoenix had avoided the league-wide COVID-19 outbreak that left a number of teams around the NBA shorthanded. However, the Suns placed Jae Crowder and Elfrid Payton in the health and safety protocols on Sunday, making them eligible to sign up to two replacement players via hardship exceptions.

The Suns have also temporarily lost their head coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that Monty Williams has entered the protocols. Williams will miss Monday’s game vs. Memphis and figures to be sidelined into the new year if he has registered a confirmed positive test. Assistant coach Kevin Young will likely take over as acting head coach in Williams’ absence, tweets Wojnarowski.

COVID-19 Updates: Ujiri, Brooks, Young

Raptors president Masai Ujiri has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a team press release.

Ujiri believes he contracted the virus during a “Giants of Africa” meeting.

“On Sunday, Giants of Africa held our first in-person event since 2019,” Ujiri said in a statement. “It was organized in compliance with all current public health guidance – everyone who attended had to show proof of vaccination, and to wear masks when not eating or drinking. Unfortunately, after the gala, we learned of positive COVID-19 tests among our guests – and even though I am fully vaccinated and have received a booster shot, I also subsequently tested positive.

“I am now at home, observing the safety protocols by self-isolating for 10 days, monitoring for symptoms and undergoing testing, and I encourage everyone who attended to please do the same. We don’t want to live in fear of this virus, but COVID is a persistent enemy. Together, we’ll defeat it.”

Several others around the league have tested positive over the last 24 hours. Here’s a roundup:

  • Grizzlies swingman Dillon Brooks missed the team’s game against the Lakers after entering the league’s health and safety protocols, the team’s PR department tweets. Brooks scored 15 points against Dallas on Wednesday before he was ejected. He’s averaging 17.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 2.8 APG.
  • Suns assistant Kevin Young has yet to return to the club after being placed under protocols, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets. Young has missed the last four games.
  • As we detailed earlier on Thursday, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle has tested positive, Derrick Jones Jr. became the fifth Bulls player to enter protocols, and the Hornets will still be missing a handful of players on Friday due to protocols.

Pacific Notes: James, Batum, Young, Iguodala

Lakers superstar LeBron James returned to action on Friday after clearing health and safety protocols and felt the process was “handled poorly,” Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. James entered protocols on Tuesday, missing a game, then was cleared on Thursday after a series of negative tests.

“Usually when you have a positive test, they’ll test you right away to make sure,” James said. “There was not a follow-up test after my positive test. It was straight to isolation and you’ve been put into protocol. That’s the part that kind of angered me. I had to figure out a way to get home from Sacramento by myself. They wouldn’t allow anyone to travel with me, no security, no anything, when I traveled back from Sacramento. And then I had to put my kids in isolation for the time being, the people in my household in isolation for the time being, so it was just a big-time inconvenience.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Nicolas Batum missed his seventh consecutive game on Friday and the Clippers have suffered without his defensive versatility, according to Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register. The Clippers had the league’s second-best defensive rating before losing Batum, who has remained in the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Their defensive rating has sagged dramatically since he tested positive. “He’s very valuable to what we do,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. Batum re-signed with the Clippers in August on a two-year deal.
  • Suns lead assistant Kevin Young didn’t travel with the team for the showdown with Golden State because he’s in the health and safety protocols, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports. Young, who has missed three games after testing positive for COVID-19, became Phoenix’s associate head coach under Monty Williams after Willie Green departed to become head coach of the Pelicans.
  • Warriors veteran forward Andre Iguodala participated in pregame warmups on Friday but isn’t expected to return until next week, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. If he doesn’t play against San Antonio on Saturday, he’ll have missed nine straight missed games due to right knee swelling.

Suns Notes: Jack, Payne, Nader, Shamet

The Suns announced some coaching changes this week, stating in a press release that Kevin Young has been promoted to associate head coach and Bryan Gates and Steve Scalzi have officially joined Monty Williams‘ staff.

Perhaps the most notable name included in the announcement was that of Jarrett Jack, a longtime NBA guard who has been hired as an assistant in Phoenix. The 37-year-old, who spent 13 seasons in the NBA, hasn’t been in the league since he appeared in 62 games for the Knicks in 2017/18.

However, Jack spent last season on the G League Ignite, acting as a mentor to the young prospects on the developmental squad, including eventual lottery picks Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga. After serving as something of an informal coach on the Ignite, Jack will officially take on that role in Phoenix under Williams, whom he played for in Portland (2005-08) and New Orleans (2010-12) early in his career.

Here’s more out of Phoenix:

  • Cameron Payne‘s three-year, $19MM contract with the Suns is partially guaranteed in its final year, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac, who tweets that the point guard is only assured of $2MM of his $6.5MM salary in 2023/24.
  • Abdel Nader‘s two-year deal with the Suns includes a team option on year two, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).
  • The Suns ended up not making any picks on draft night after attaching the No. 29 pick to Jevon Carter in a trade with Brooklyn. However, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic details, the player Phoenix acquired in that trade – Landry Shamet – has a more versatile offensive game than Carter and should immediately step into a regular rotation role.

Scotto’s Latest: Beverley, Mann, L. Williams, Wizards

Veteran guard Patrick Beverley is open to signing a contract extension with the Clippers, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said on the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast alongside Yossi Gozlan.

Beverley, who will earn $14.3MM in the final year of his current contract in 2021/22, loves playing in Los Angeles with the Clippers, according to Scotto, who says the former Arkansas standout is a “big fan” of team owner Steve Ballmer. The team will have to determine this offseason how it plans to handle the point guard position, including Beverley’s and Rajon Rondo‘s expiring contracts.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • Terance Mann is another key Clippers guard who is eligible for an extension this summer, but Scotto doesn’t believe they’ve had those discussions yet. Scotto gets the sense that Mann would only seriously consider an extension if the club offered the maximum allowable contract (approximately $56MM over four years).
  • Veteran guard Lou Williams is believed to be seeking a multiyear deal of either two or three years, says Scotto. Williams has interest in re-signing with the Hawks, and comments from GM Travis Schlenk at season’s end suggest that interest is mutual, Scotto adds.
  • Before beginning their second round of interviews, the Wizards met with Suns assistant Kevin Young about their head coaching vacancy, according to Scotto, who suggests Young is a name to watch for future coaching openings.

Assistant Coach Kevin Young Leaves Sixers For Suns

3:11pm: The Suns have officially announced the hiring of Young as an assistant coach.

2:39pm: Sixers assistant Kevin Young won’t remain on Philadelphia’s staff under Doc Rivers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that Young has agreed to join Monty Williams‘ coaching staff with the Suns.

Young, who began his career as a G League coach, was promoted from the Delaware 87ers to Brett Brown‘s staff in 2016. He received another promotion to the front of the bench two years later, and then interviewed for Philadelphia’s head coaching job following Brown’s ouster this year.

Wojnarowski reported last week that Young made a “strong impression” on the 76ers during that head coaching interview, but with Rivers putting together his own staff, Young won’t be returning to Philadelphia for the 2020/21 season.

In Phoenix, Young will reunite with Williams – who served as a Sixers assistant during the 2018/19 season – and should fill the hole on the coaching staff created by Darko Rajakovic‘s departure last month.

Sixers Notes: Harris, Rivers, Young, Simmons, Embiid

There’s hope in Philadelphia that a reunion with Doc Rivers can help Tobias Harris maximize his production going forward, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. As Wojnarowski writes, the best stint of Harris’ career came during his two half-seasons with the Clippers, where he averaged 20.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 2.9 APG on .487/.426/.856 shooting in 87 games.

While consistent strong play from Harris would benefit for the 76ers, his connection to Rivers hopefully wasn’t a major reason why the club hired the former Clippers coach, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Harris’ success in Los Angeles was mostly a result of making a few more shots and was likely the result of a career year rather than anything sustainable, Bodner continues.

Here’s more on the 76ers:

  • Within his story on Rivers’ hiring, Wojnarowski reports that Sixers assistant Kevin Young was among those who interviewed for the club’s head coaching role. While it doesn’t appear he was ever a serious candidate for the job, Young made a “strong impression” on the franchise, sources tell ESPN.
  • Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN explores the challenge Rivers will face in Philadelphia to get the most out of the Joel Embiid/Ben Simmons duo, pointing out that the new head coach will also be tasked with filling a leadership vacuum that existed during the Sixers’ 2019/20 season.
  • In his preview of their offseason, Danny Leroux of The Athletic says the Sixers’ combination of “elite talent, thorny contract structure, and high stakes” makes them one of the NBA teams with the most potential to make a major move or two this fall.
  • Rivers’ union with the Sixers after winning a title with Boston 12 years ago will make for an interesting chapter in the 76ers/Celtics rivalry, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic.
  • In case you missed it, we relayed earlier today that Alvin Gentry has emerged as a serious candidate to join Rivers’ staff as an assistant.

Atlantic Notes: Kawhi, Sixers, Kanter, Smart

While it remains to be seen what version of Kawhi Leonard we – and the Raptors – will see in 2018/19 after the star forward missed all but nine games last season, the early reports on his health sound positive. A league source tells Ashish Mathur of Amico Hoops that Leonard looks “remarkable” during his summer workouts, and is at 100% after battling a troublesome quad injury for the better part of a year.

We should probably take those rave reviews of Leonard’s workouts with a grain of salt, given the anonymous nature of the source, but good news is still preferable to bad. The Raptors will enter the 2018/19 season with two crucial Leonard-related questions — is he healthy, and will he considered re-signing? Kawhi’s health is the more pressing issue in the short term, so Toronto should be encouraged by the progress being made by the former Finals MVP.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • In addition to announcing several front office promotions today, the Sixers also indicated that assistant coach Kevin Young has been promoted to the front of the team’s bench this season. Jim O’Brien, formerly an assistant on Brett Brown‘s staff, will now serve as a senior advisor to the head coach, per the club. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the changes.
  • In a conversation with ESPN’s Royce Young, Enes Kanter insisted that his decision to exercise his player option and remain with the Knicks in June wasn’t actually made until deadline day. Kanter had long been expected to opt in, but didn’t confirm the move until June 29. Kanter’s discussion with Young also includes some interesting comments about his home country of Turkey.
  • A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston doesn’t expect Marcus Smart‘s lucrative new contract with the Celtics to have any negative effects on his on-court production or effort in 2018/19, pointing out that Smart is still hungry for greater individual and team accomplishments.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Moultrie, Raptors, Sixers

The Knicks aren’t going to land a marquee free agent like Kevin Durant this offseason, but there are plenty of more realistic targets that the team could pursue in July. Tommy Beer of Basketball Insiders singles out a few of those potential free agent targets for the Knicks, writing that Brandon Jennings, Eric Gordon, Evan Fournier, Courtney Lee, Ty Lawson, and a handful of others would make sense for the club.

Speaking of attainable free agent targets, the Knicks are taking a look at a few available veterans this week at a mini-camp, with former first-round picks Anthony Bennett, Royce White, and Arnett Moultrie among the participants, per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Moultrie, a 2012 first-rounder, has hired Travis King of Relativity Sports for representation, according to HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Here’s more from out of the Atlantic:

  • In a conversation with TSN’s Josh Lewenberg (video link), Raptors head coach Dwane Casey talks about his new contract and about Toronto’s offseason, suggesting that the team will target shooting and defensive toughness this summer.
  • The 76ers filled some vacancies on their coaching staff by promoting Kevin Young and John Bryant, a pair of coaches from their D-League affiliate, sources tell Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Meanwhile, Sixers shooting coach Gene Burroughs will become the head coach of the Delaware 87ers, Philadelphia’s D-League team, while former Sixers assistant Will Weaver is a candidate to join the Nets‘ coaching staff.
  • Bryan Colangelo and Brett Brown of the Sixers are currently overseas, visiting 2014 first-round pick Dario Saric and scouting international players, tweets Pompey.