Lionel Hollins

Southeast Notes: Brown, Robinson, Kidd-Gilchrist

Former Nets interim coach Tony Brown will be Scott Brooks‘ lead assistant with the Wizards, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Sources tell Wojnarowski the deal is currently being finalized. Brown had an 11-34 record in Brooklyn after taking over for the fired Lionel Hollins in January. The Nets parted ways with him when they hired Kenny Atkinson shortly after the regular season ended. Brown started his coaching career as an as assistant with the Trail Blazers during the 1997/98 season and has also worked for the Pistons, Raptors, Celtics, Bucks, Clippers and Mavericks. Toronto assistant Rex Kalamian turned down an offer from the Wizards last week.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Thomas Robinson, who opted out of his contract with the Nets this week, could be a nice fit with the Wizards, according to Ben Standig of CSNMidAtlantic. The 6’10” power forward, who has been with five teams in his four-year NBA career, was born in Washington, D.C., and could be a low-cost option for a team in need of size. Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris are the only two Wizards’ big men with guaranteed contracts for 2016/17. Robinson averaged 4.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 71 games last season. He will be a restricted free agent after opting out of a deal worth $1,050,961.
  • The HornetsMichael Kidd-Gilchrist is focused on training camp after twice tearing the labrum in his right shoulder and missing nearly all of the 2015/16 season, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Kidd-Gilchrist, who was limited to seven games during the year, was recently cleared for on-court activities and vows to be healthy when training camp begins. “I’m shooting, I’m lifting, I’m running,” he said. “I’ll be ready for next season.” The Hornets have him under contract for four more years.
  • Dwyane Wade and Josh Richardson are the only Heat players who will definitely be on the roster next season, contends Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. Tyler Johnson is probably third on that list, Winderman writes, unless someone offers him huge money in free agency. Among the rest of the roster, Goran Dragic could be dealt to open cap space, Chris Bosh has ongoing health problems and Justise Winslow and Josh McRoberts could be trade pieces. Everyone else is either a free agent or has a contract that isn’t fully guaranteed.

And-Ones: Bender, Anderson, Trimble, Hollins

Dragan Bender’s buyout with Maccabi Tel Aviv is just $1.3MM, which shouldn’t be an obstacle for the team that drafts him, reports Jonathan Givony of The Vertical. Bender, who is projected as a top 10 pick, signed a seven-year contract with the team in 2014 that included a clause requiring a buyout that is twice the amount that NBA teams are permitted to offer. That means whoever drafts Bender will pay $650K to Maccabi Tel Aviv, and Bender will contribute the rest out of his rookie contract. Givony called the buyout figure “relatively small” for a player who is expected to be drafted so high.

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • Kings swingman James Anderson wants to leave the NBA and play in Europe, tweets international journalist David Pick. He mentions Barcelona, Real Madrid and Fenerbahce as possible destinations for Anderson, who opted out of his contract with Sacramento on Wednesday.
  • Maryland point guard Melo Trimble is getting close to a decision on whether to stay in the draft or return to school, writes Charles F. Gardner of The Journal Sentinel. Trimble, whose draft stock fell as his production slipped during the latter part of his sophomore season, said he has benefited from the NBA’s new rule allowing underclassmen to pull out of the draft by May 25th if they don’t hire agents. After working out for the Bucks on Wednesday, Trimble said he is “leaning toward” his final decision. “At this workout I really found my confidence, just out there playing, being myself,” he said. “And to see [Bucks coach] Jason Kidd on the sideline was just a morale booster. You want to show what you can do best.”
  • The Nets stand to save some money if Lionel Hollins becomes an assistant coach with the Rockets, according to NetsDaily (Twitter link). Hollins is being considered as an assistant if the Rockets hire Stephen Silas as their head coach, and whatever Houston pays Hollins would lessen the amount that Brooklyn still owes him.
  • Nando De Colo, who played two seasons with the Spurs and Raptors, is free to return to the NBA next season, writes Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops. The French star, who led CSKA Moscow to the Euroleague Final, will become a free agent this summer. “We will talk with Nando de Colo after the end of the season,” said team president Andrey Vatutin. “He knows how much we want to keep him in Europe and in Moscow and we will do what we must. Beyond that the point is 100% what he thinks and what feels more like a challenge. The answer to this question belongs to the player.”

Rockets Consider Silas-Hollins Pairing

12:52pm: The Rockets don’t expect to hire a coach this weekend, tweets Calvin Watkins of The front office wants to take more time to consider its decision.

11:39am: Stephen Silas is getting serious consideration for the Rockets’ head coaching job, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The Hornets assistant was in Houston for a second interview Thursday and met with team owner Leslie Alexander. If the Rockets hire Silas, they would like to add former Nets coach Lionel Hollins as his top assistant, Feigen reports.

Silas “crushed” his interviews, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, and a Silas-Hollins team is being weighed against a possible pairing of Mike D’Antoni and current Grizzlies assistant Jeff Bzdelik (Twitter link). Raptors assistant Rex Kalamian is a candidate to join the coaching staffs in both Houston and Washington, Wojnarowski adds.

Only 42, Silas already has 16 years of experience as an assistant coach. The son of former NBA player and coach Paul Silas was hired by the Charlotte Hornets in 2000 and has also spent time with the Cavaliers and Warriors.  The Rockets have liked Hollins for years and had hoped to add him to Kevin McHale’s staff when Kelvin Sampson left, Feigen tweets, but he was hired in Brooklyn before that could happen.


And-Ones: Grizzlies, Dudley, ‘Melo, Blatt

Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace stressed the need for the team’s next coach to focus on player development and communicate with the front office and said the team is prepared to pay whatever’s necessary to make the right hire as he spoke Wednesday in an interview with Peter Edmiston on WHBQ-AM (See all six Twitter links here). The extension and pay raise that the Jazz gave Quin Snyder on Friday helped fuel former Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger‘s frustration with the Memphis front office, which was in no rush to give him a similar deal, a source acknowledged to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Wallace, in the interview with Edmiston, also downplayed the significance of a dinner he had with former coach Lionel Hollins, which led to speculation that the Grizzlies are interested in rehiring him.

“Why can’t you have a bite to eat and catch up with an old friend?” Wallace said. “Why can’t you [do] that in today’s world?”

See more from Memphis and the rest of the NBA:

  • Wallace also pointed to the autonomy of the Grizzlies front office when it comes to shaping the roster. “We make the final decision on the personnel brought into the organization,” Wallace said to Edmiston. “The buck stops with me on that.”
  • Soon-to-be free agent Jared Dudley expressed interest in joining the Timberwolves, said he’d take a fan’s proposal of a three-year, $25MM deal from the Bucks and added that he’s enjoy playing for Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry again as the Wizards forward conducted a Q&A Wednesday on Twitter (All five Twitter links here). Dudley also addressed the Raptors, saying Toronto is a great city and that players love playing there but lamenting the high taxes, and he said he thinks Frank Vogel is the best available head coach.
  • It’s a “gross exaggeration” to say Carmelo Anthony likes the idea of the Knicks hiring David Blatt, league sources told Ian Begley of, refuting an earlier report. It’s unclear whether Anthony would support or oppose a Blatt hiring, as he hasn’t expressed any opinion thus far, Begley hears.

Western Notes: Hollins, Parsons, Booker

The obvious choice as to who should become the Grizzlies new head coach is Frank Vogel, whom the Pacers dismissed last week, Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal opines. Vogel has the track record of success and experience with younger players that the organization is seeking, Calkins writes. However, there should be some concerns regarding Vogel’s offensive acumen, which was one of the franchise’s issues with former coach Dave Joerger, and it isn’t clear if the former Indiana coach would be interested in joining a team that may well be on the decline, Calkins adds.

The scribe also notes that while GM Chris Wallace and Lionel Hollins met Monday night at a Memphis restaurant, it would be very surprising if the team were to rehire its former coach. After the issues the front office reportedly had with Joerger, it’s doubtful Memphis would hire another coach who butted heads with the front office during his tenure with the team, Calkins adds. The Grizzlies went 214-201 in parts of seven seasons under Hollins.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Despite showing that he is capable of being a building block for the Mavericks, Chandler Parsons‘ injury history should give the team pause if the forward opts out of his deal and Dallas looks to re-sign him this summer, Bobby Marks of The Vertical writes in his offseason primer for the club. The Mavs would be wise to put in injury-protection language pertaining to Parsons’ balky knee in his next contract, Marks adds, but it may be difficult to get the forward to agree to that given the amount of teams with ample cap space that are likely to compete for his services.
  • The Suns highly value the predraft interview process and believe that how a player performs under that type of pressure carries over to how well he responds to adversity on the court, writes Matt Petersen of The team was extremely impressed last year when it spoke with Devin Booker, whom it selected with the No. 13 pick, assistant GM Pat Connelly told Petersen. “He definitely stuck out in the interview,” Connelly said of Booker. “It’s not an easy thing to go into a room with a bunch of people you don’t know. We’re just one of the teams there. We had our early prep feel for Devin, but he came in and he was very confident. He answered questions really well, never got flustered in a situation. Some of the stuff you saw on the court with him now – walking into a new situation or being put in a new situation and looking like he was comfortable – it was the same thing there.

Grizzlies Considering Lionel Hollins?

Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace and former coach Lionel Hollins met Monday night at a Memphis-area restaurant, fueling speculation that the team is considering Hollins for its coaching vacancy, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. It’s nonetheless widely believed that Frank Vogel is the front-runner, Tillery adds. Memphis reportedly reached out to Vogel this past weekend.

Wallace was in charge of the front office when Hollins took over as Grizzlies coach midway through the 2008/09 season, and the club’s decision not to re-sign Hollins in 2013 came while former CEO Jason Levien exerted control over the basketball operations department. Wallace returned to power in the 2014 offseason, around the time Hollins took the Nets head coaching job. Brooklyn fired Hollins in January, and Memphis fired coach Dave Joerger, a former Hollins assistant, this past Saturday.

The Grizzlies had their greatest success during Hollins’ tenure as coach, winning 56 games in the 2012/13 season and reaching the 2013 Western Conference finals. Memphis went 214-201 in parts of seven seasons under Hollins.

Latest on Dave Joerger, Kings

The sudden availability of Dave Joerger has shaken up the timing of the Kings’ coaching search, reports Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Joerger, who will meet with Sacramento officials today, is among roughly two dozen candidates to formally interview or speak with GM/executive Vlade Divac about the position. Voisin writes that Divac plans to choose three or four finalists in the next few days and present that list to the Kings’ front office. Divac had hoped to fill the vacancy before leaving for the pre-draft camp in Chicago later this week, but the dismissals of Joerger in Memphis and Frank Vogel in Indiana forced him to alter the schedule to take a look at both candidates. According to Voisin, Divac has also been trying to schedule a meeting with Spurs assistant Ettore Messina during downtime in the San Antonio-Oklahoma City playoff series. She lists Joerger, Vogel and Messina among the front-runners to be the Kings’ next coach, along with Mike Woodson and Nate McMillan. Portland coach Terry Stotts is a possible darkhorse if the Blazers aren’t willing to extend his contract.

There’s more news this morning on the Joerger front:

  • Dissension between Joerger and the Grizzlies had been building throughout the season, according to Marc Stein of Joerger, who had just one guaranteed year left on his Memphis contract, reportedly angered team officials when he called the roster “a little bit old” earlier this season. More recently, Joerger told Memphis-area reporters that he wouldn’t be talking them them until July because he wasn’t part of the group preparing for the draft. Joerger’s request to be allowed to interview for coaching positions in Sacramento and Houston apparently sealed his fate in Memphis.
  • Joerger’s meeting with the Kings seems like a “mere formality,” tweets TNT’s David Aldridge, who hears that the team is prepared to make a three-year offer worth $12MM.
  • The arrangement between Joerger and Sacramento is virtually a done deal, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, who adds that it would take a “screeching halt” for Joerger not to get the job.
  • Joerger made a wise career move by orchestrating his firing in Memphis, writes Tom Ziller of SB Nation. Owner Robert Pera never believed in Joerger and tried to undermine him from the time he replaced Lionel Hollins in 2013, according to Ziller. That’s why Joerger has been requesting permission to interview with other franchises, starting with the Wolves in 2014. Ziller points out that Joerger is now free to pursue an arrangement that will give him more money and security than he had with the Grizzlies.

Coaching Rumors: Rockets, Lakers, Pacers

The major story on the coaching front is that the Pacers have parted ways with Frank Vogel, as we covered in detail here, but plenty more news is developing. Track the latest here:

9:31am updates:

  • Mike D’Antoni has already interviewed for the Rockets head coaching job, reports Marc Stein of, advancing an earlier report that he would do so this week.
  • TNT broadcaster Kenny Smith, whom Stein heard may interview for the Rockets vacancy, said on “Inside the NBA” Wednesday that he’d like to coach under the right circumstances but made it clear that he enjoys his television job, as Stein relays.
  • The Rockets are focused on proven NBA head coaches and up-and-coming assistants, sources emphasized Wednesday as they spoke with Stein. That casts doubt on the viability of Smith and college coaches Shaka Smart and Bill Self, who also reportedly intrigue the Rockets.
  • It became apparent to former Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff that the team wouldn’t formally make him its head coach, and that’s what prompted him to withdraw from consideration for the post, Stein also writes.
  • Incoming Lakers head coach Luke Walton counts Brian Shaw among the assistant coaching candidates for his staff, but executive Jim Buss was opposed to Shaw as a head-coaching option and many around the league are skeptical that Buss wants a Phil Jackson disciple like Shaw around, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Shaw served as a Lakers assistant under Jackson.
  • Belief around the league is rising that the Pacers will let go of Vogel, Stein writes. President of basketball operations Larry Bird has a press conference scheduled for 10am Central today, and it appears likely he’ll lend clarity to Vogel’s future at that time. The coach’s contract with the Pacers has already expired, as Wojnarowski indicates, citing league sources. Many coaching contracts carry until the end of June, as player contracts do, but apparently that’s not the case with Vogel, who made approximately $2.5MM this past season, according to Wojnarowski. The Vertical scribe speculates that Vogel could double that annual salary in his next job. Bird had yet to speak with Vogel about a new contract as of late Wednesday, league sources told Wojnarowski.

Southwest Notes: Morey, Demps, Mavericks, Howard

Rockets coaching candidates had better be prepared to discuss defense and team chemistry in their job interviews, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. GM Daryl Morey offered few clues beyond that in a press conference this week as the team decides whether to replace interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff. Owner Leslie Alexander is a strong believer in an up-tempo attack with a heavy emphasis on 3-pointers, but Morey said running that system won’t be a prerequisite for the next coach. The Rockets are known as pioneers of analytics in the NBA, but none of Morey’s coaches has been a strong believer in numbers. Feigen notes that every coach Alexander has hired came to Houston with previous head coaching experience but adds that the organization targeted several assistants before hiring Kevin McHale and is expected to do so again. The writer mentions ex-head coaches Jeff Van Gundy, Lionel Hollins and Jeff Hornacek as possibilities, along with Adrian Griffin, Ettore Messina, Jay Larranaga and Jim Boylen.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans GM Dell Demps and his staff are preparing for the draft and free agency, even though the team hasn’t confirmed that Demps will keep his job, tweets Scott Kushner of The Advocate.
  • The Mavericks can offer one max contract to free agents this summer and possibly a second if Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons follow Deron Williams and opt out for next season, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Dallas entered the offseason expecting to have at least $32MM to spend, but that number could rise closer to $60MM if Nowitzki, Parsons and Williams all opt out. Bontemps notes that Dallas is counting on landing an elite free agent this summer after last year’s near miss with DeAndre Jordan. He adds that owner Mark Cuban is trying to surround Nowitzki, who’s likely to remain, with as much talent as possible before he retires.
  • Dwain Price of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram suggests Rockets center Dwight Howard is the first name on the Mavericks‘ free agent wish list. Price believes Miami’s Hassan Whiteside, Chicago’s Pau Gasol and Atlanta’s Al Horford are other centers Dallas will target if it can’t land Howard.

And-Ones: Conley, Thompson, Dekker

Former Grizzlies and Nets coach Lionel Hollins said in a SiriusXM NBA Radio interview that Mike Conley will seek the best offer on the free-agent market, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. Hollins doubts the Grizzlies point guard will accept a hometown discount to stay in Memphis, Bondy continues. The Knicks are among the teams expected to pursue Conley, the top guard on the Hoops Rumors Free Agent Power Rankings“You have the hammer in your hand and you have to wield it because you may never get it again,” Hollins said in the interview. “The reality is you have to do what’s best for your family and the future. And if somebody comes around and offers Michael $18MM and Memphis can’t match, I think you have to make those decisions from that perspective.”

In other news around the league:

  • Jason Thompson‘s struggle to grasp the complexities of the Warriors’ schemes was a major factor why he was waived, according to Ethan Sherwood Strauss of Thompson lost his roster spot in favor of center Anderson Varejao, who was signed on Monday. The team needed more depth in the middle because of injury concerns, but Strauss also believes Thompson’s lack of an advanced feel for the game made him the odd man out.
  • The Rockets recalled rookie small forward Sam Dekker from the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the team tweets. Dekker, who underwent back surgery three months ago, made his season debut with the Vipers on Friday night, as Adam Johnson of the D-League Digest details. Dekker’s recall was simply to participate in a practice, as he will return to play a few more games with the Vipers, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports (Twitter link).
  • Center Tibor Pleiss was recalled by the Jazz from the D-League’s Idaho Stampede on Monday, according to the team’s website. Pleiss, a 7’3” center, has appeared in 12 games with the Jazz and 15 more for the Stampede this season.
  • Point guard Dwight Buycks will join the Thunder’s D-League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, international journalist David Pick tweets. Buycks signed with Fujian Sturgeons in the Chinese Basketball Association in September and was among the league leaders in assists, Pick adds. Buycks played 14 games with the Raptors during the 2013/14 season and six more with the Lakers last season after signing a 10-day contract in April. He was also on the Lakers’ summer-league squad.
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