Lamar Skeeter

Northwest Notes: Blazers, ‘Melo, Nuggets, Wolves, Jazz

Star point guard Damian Lillard attempted to recruit Carmelo Anthony to the Trail Blazers before the 10-time All-Star was traded to Oklahoma City in 2017 and then again before ‘Melo signed with Houston in 2018.

With Anthony once again on the lookout for a new team, Lillard has made peace with the fact that the veteran forward probably isn’t coming to Portland, as he said during an appearance on The Joe Budden Podcast (video link via ESPN). After Lillard detailed his previous recruiting efforts, he was asked if he’s “not putting [his] hand out again.”

“The team or me,” Lillard responded. “I’m like, ‘He ain’t coming here.’ He deserves to be in the league, but he ain’t coming here.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Free agent point guard Isaiah Taylor is working out for the Nuggets in Denver this week, league sources tell Harrison Wind of BSN Denver (Twitter link). After spending the 2017/18 season with Atlanta, Taylor was pushing for a spot on Cleveland’s roster last fall when he suffered a stress fracture in his leg and was subsequently waived. Now healthy, Taylor has also worked out for the Suns and Celtics, according to Wind.
  • The Timberwolves announced this week in a press release that Sam Newman-Beck will assume head coaching duties for their G League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves. Newman-Beck, who was an assistant for the Erie BayHawks last season, previously spent eight years (2010-18) in Minnesota as a coaching associate/video scouting director.
  • Bryan Bailey, who was previously on the Salt Lake City Stars’ staff in the G League, has been hired as an assistant by the Jazz, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). Jones adds (via Twitter) that Johnnie Bryant and Alex Jensen will continue to be Utah’s lead assistants, with Lamar Skeeter, Zach Guthrie, and Vince Legarza sharing the third assistant role and rotating on the bench.

Jazz Announce Coaching Staff Changes

The Jazz have finalized their coaching staff for the coming season and have also announced some changes to their basketball staff, the team announced in a pair of press releases. Most notably, assistant coach Igor Kokoskov has received a promotion to lead assistant in Utah, as he prepares for his second year with the club. Kokoskov previously served as an assistant for five other NBA teams, including a Pistons squad that won the 2004 NBA Finals.

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In other coaching staff moves, Zach Guthrie was elevated from manager of basketball strategy/technology to assistant coach/basketball strategy, while Lamar Skeeter was promoted from player development/video analyst to assistant coach/player development. Guthrie, Skeeter, and Kokoskov will join five other returning Jazz assistants on Quin Snyder‘s staff.

In the scouting department, Richard Smith was promoted to executive director of international scouting. Elsewhere in the front office, Bart Taylor was named the Jazz’s director of scouting and the VP of basketball operations for the D-League’s Salt Lake City Stars.

While Snyder is just 78-86 in his two years with the Jazz, the team heads into the 2016/17 season with increased expectations, having added some veteran talent to a young roster in the offseason. Although Utah missed the postseason this spring, many fans and observers expect the club to take a step forward and compete for a top-five seed in the Western Conference.