Luka Doncic

Olympic Notes: Booker, Middleton, Holiday, McGee, Robinson, Top Players

Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are expected to be available to play in Team USA’s Sunday morning opener, Brian Windhorst of ESPN writes. The Bucks duo joined Booker in Seattle on Friday to take a private plane to Tokyo. The Finals trio won’t get a chance to practice with the team but coach Gregg Popovich would like to play them right away against France.

We have more Olympic-related news and tidbits:

  • JaVale McGee is a much different player than the man he replaced, Kevin Love, on Team USA. That forces Popovich to alter his frontcourt strategy and McGee may be nothing more than an insurance policy against France, Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes.
  • Heat wing Duncan Robinson claimed on The Long Shot Podcast that he nearly replaced Bradley Beal on Team USA’s roster, as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald relays. “It basically got to the point where like it started to pick up some momentum and it looked like it was going to happen,” Robinson said. Keldon Johnson was eventually chosen as Beal’s replacement.
  • Many of the other teams in the Olympics could threaten Team USA in its quest for gold and Vardon takes a closer look at the other 11 squads and their chances of knocking off the American contingent.
  • Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard head HoopsHype’s Frank Urbina’s Olympic player rankings. Doncic edged out Durant due to the fact he’ll likely put up big numbers for Slovenia. Urbina lists his top 30 players in Tokyo.

Southwest Notes: Harrison, Doncic, Pelicans, Green, Kidd

Newly-hired Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison hopes to make Dallas a compelling free-agent destination, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes. The goal, Harrison said, is to instill a culture that players want to be a part of.

“My approach is really simple,” he explained. “It’s going to be about servant leadership that kind of empowers the team and the staff to be at their best.”

Harrison understands that leadership must start at the top of an organization. Dallas lost longtime president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and head coach Rick Carlisle this offseason, replacing them with Harrison and new coach Jason Kidd.

The team finished with a 42-30 record this season and has an All-NBA superstar in Luka Doncic, a 22-year-old wunderkind that could aid in Harrison’s mission to entice players and build a culture.

There’s more from the Southwest Division tonight:

  • Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News examined the Mavericks‘ plan for Doncic next season. “It’s tough to nitpick an All-NBA player,” Harrison said. “The best thing you can do is surround him by a Hall of Fame coach (Kidd) who played his position and let those two vibe off each other. I think that’s going to help him tremendously.” Doncic averaged 27.7 points, eight rebounds and 8.6 assists per game this season.
  • Christian Clark, Rod Walker and Scott Kushner of The Times-Picayune grade the Pelicans‘ hire of Willie Green as head coach. Green, a former NBA player, will finish the season as an assistant coach with the Suns before reporting for New Orleans.
  • Jason Kidd has been in discussions with former Mavericks players Jason Terry, Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea about joining his coaching staff, according to Mavs.com. All three players hold several years of playing experience and were on the team’s 2011 championship roster with Kidd.

12-Team Field Set For Tokyo Olympics

Slovenia, Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic have secured their spots in the men’s basketball tournament at the Tokyo Olympics, winning their respective qualifying tournaments over the weekend. NBA players Luka Doncic (Slovenia), Moritz Wagner (Germany), and Tomas Satoransky (Czech Republic) were the MVPs of their tournaments, tweets Marc Stein.

Those four teams will join the U.S., Spain, Australia, France, Argentina, Nigeria, Iran, and Japan to make up the 12-team field for the tournament.

The groups are as follows:

  • Group A: Czech Republic, France, Iran, United States
  • Group B: Australia, Germany, Italy, Nigeria
  • Group C: Argentina, Japan, Slovenia, Spain

The preliminary round will begin on July 24, with each team facing the other three clubs in its group once. Following the round-robin portion of the tournament, the top two teams in each group – along with the two highest-ranked third-place teams – will advance to the single-elimination quarterfinals.

Rosters for the Olympics haven’t been officially locked in yet, but we have a pretty good idea of what most of the squads will look like. Team USA will, of course, feature the most star-studded group, with Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, and Bradley Beal leading the way.

Three players participating in the NBA Finals – Devin Booker, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday – are expected to be part of the U.S. Olympic squad. It’s possible those Finals could run as late as July 22 if they go seven games, but even in that scenario, the plan is for those Suns and Bucks players to fly to Tokyo right away in the hopes of being available for the July 25 contest vs. France.

While the U.S. will be the heavy favorite and will have the most NBA stars on its roster, a number of other NBA players will be taking part in the tournament.

Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes, and Matisse Thybulle are among the players representing Australia; Rudy Gobert, Evan Fournier, and Nicolas Batum are among those playing for France; Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe will suit up for Japan; Doncic will play for Slovenia; Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, and Juan Hernangomez are among the veterans in Spain’s player pool; and it sounds like Danilo Gallinari will play for Italy.

Nigeria, meanwhile, still has a ton of cuts to make, but could have as many as 10 NBA players on its roster for Tokyo, including Monte Morris, Josh Okogie, and Jahlil Okafor. For more details on the NBA players involved in the Olympics, check out the tracker from Albert De Roa of HoopsHype.

Serbia, Lithuania, Brazil, Croatia, Turkey, Greece, and Canada are among the notable programs that will miss out on the Tokyo Olympics. It was a particularly disappointing outcome for Team Canada, which lost to the Czech Republic in the semifinal of the qualifiers despite having eight current NBA players on its roster.

We won’t be closely covering the results of the Olympic tournament — the event overlaps with both the draft and free agency, so we’ll be busy focusing on the NBA. But we’ll keep an eye on Tokyo in case there are any injuries or other notable stories affecting the current NBA players involved in the games.

Olympic Notes: Gallinari, Italy, Slovenia, Germany

Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari is interested in playing for Italy during the Olympics this summer, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. Gallinari is coming off a successful postseason run with Atlanta, averaging 12.8 points per game on 42% shooting from the field and 40.5% from deep.

“I still believe in the Olympics, and if the coach and federation give me the chance to go to the Olympics once we win this game today, I’d be honored to be a part of that team,” Gallinari said prior to the final game of the qualifying tournament in Serbia, according to Scotto.

Italy defeated Serbia in that qualifying game on Sunday, officially joining Australia, Nigeria and Germany in Group B for the Tokyo games.

Here are some other Olympic-related notes tonight:

  • Slovenia defeated Lithuania 96-85 to clinch a spot in the Olympics on Sunday, receiving a key performance from Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic in the outing, as relayed by the Associated Press and ESPN. Doncic finished with a triple-double, notching 31 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. “I don’t care about the MVP,” Doncic said. “We won here. We’re going to the Olympics, the first time in our country. It’s amazing. I think every kid dreams about being in the Olympics. I did, too. So, here we are. We fought really, really hard and I think we deserve to be here.”
  • Germany also qualified for the Olympic tournament on Sunday behind Moritz Wagner‘s 28 points, as relayed by Sportando. Germany defeated Brazil, which was led by Anderson Varejao‘s 14 points and four rebounds in the outing.
  • Greece and the Czech Republic are battling on Sunday night for the last spot in the 12-team Olympic men’s basketball tournament.

Mavs Hire Jason Kidd As Coach, Nico Harrison As GM

JUNE 28, 3:38pm: The Mavericks have issued a pair of press releases officially announcing Kidd as the team’s new head coach and Harrison as the new general manager.


JUNE 25, 12:29pm: The Mavericks have agreed to terms on contracts with Kidd and Harrison, reports MacMahon (Twitter link). Kidd will be Dallas’ new head coach, while Harrison will be the general manager and run the team’s basketball operations department.


JUNE 25, 5:53am: The Mavericks are in the process of finalizing a deal with Lakers assistant Jason Kidd that will make him the new head coach in Dallas, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon.

Sources tell ESPN that Kidd has begun the “early stages” of assembling a coaching staff in preparation for taking the Mavs’ job.

Reports on Thursday indicated that Kidd had emerged as the frontrunner for the Mavs’ coaching vacancy and had begun contract negotiations with the team as it also prepared to fill an opening in its front office.

Longtime Nike executive Nico Harrison, who has strong connections with players throughout the NBA – including Luka Doncic – as a result of his two decades at Nike, is expected to be a hired to a top basketball operations position and the hope is that current VP of basketball operations Michael Finley will remain with the team and work alongside him, per Wojnarowski and MacMahon. The plan is for the duo to take over responsibilities previously held by Donnie Nelson, who left the Mavs earlier this month.

Even before officially joining the franchise, Harrison – who is also close to Kidd – has had in-depth conversations with team owner Mark Cuban about head coaching candidates, according to ESPN. While assistant coach Jamahl Mosley and others were considered, those discussions led to Cuban and Harrison identifying Kidd as their top target. Finley and special advisor Dirk Nowitzki have also lobbied for their former teammate.

Kidd has two stints as a head coach under his belt, having led the Nets for a single season in 2013/14, then the Bucks from 2014-18. He had a combined regular season record of 183-190 (.491) during his four-and-a-half years as a head coach in Brooklyn and Milwaukee, with a playoff mark of 9-15 (.375), including a lone series win in 2014.

As a player, Kidd was a member of the Mavericks from 1994-96 and again from 2008-12, helping lead the organization to a championship in 2011. Rick Carlisle, who coached Kidd during the point guard’s second stint in Dallas, gave him an unsolicited endorsement for the job on Thursday, telling MacMahon that he believed it would be a great situation for both Kidd and Doncic.

Kidd’s exit from the Mavs in free agency in 2012 was a little messy – he changed his mind and went to New York after originally planning to re-sign in Dallas – his relationship with Cuban and the team has since been smoothed over, Woj and MacMahon say.

Assuming there are no last-minute snags in negotiations between Kidd and the Mavericks, Dallas will become the third team to hire a new head coach this offseason, joining the Pacers (Carlisle) and the Celtics (Ime Udoka). Searches are ongoing for the Magic, Pelicans, Trail Blazers, and Wizards. Those teams will have to remove Kidd from their list of candidates if he was under consideration — we know he at least interviewed with Orlando.

Rosters Announced For Olympic Qualifying Tournaments

Four qualifying tournaments to determine the final four teams in the men’s basketball pool at the Tokyo Olympics are set to tip off on Tuesday. In advance of the Olympic qualifiers, the 24 teams involved have officially set their 12-man rosters, according to a press release from FIBA.

More than two dozen current NBA players are participating in the tournament, and 11 of the 24 teams competing for Olympic spots have at least one current NBA players on their respective rosters. Of those clubs, Team Canada has the biggest contingent of NBA players — eight of the 12 players on Nick Nurse‘s squad finished the season on an NBA roster. Turkey is next with four NBA players.

The four qualifying tournaments will take place in Serbia, Lithuania, Croatia, and Canada. Only the winner of each six-team group will advance to Tokyo. Those four winners will join Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, Iran, France, Spain, Australia, and the U.S. in the 12-team Olympic tournament.

The teams that move onto the Olympics may tweak their rosters for Tokyo, depending on the availability of certain players. For instance, if Greece were to win its qualifying tournament, perhaps Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo – who remains active in the playoffs for now – would make an effort to join the team in Tokyo next month.

Here are the NBA players on the OQT rosters:

Belgrade, Serbia

Kaunas, Lithuania

Split, Croatia

Victoria, Canada

There are also many former NBA players among the 24 rosters, including Mario Hezonja (Croatia), Milos Teodosic (Serbia), Jan Vesely (Czech Republic), Timofey Mozgov (Russia), and Anthony Bennett (Canada).

To view the full rosters, be sure to visit FIBA’s official site and click through to each team from there.

Coaching Rumors: Wizards, Morrison, Cassell, Pelicans, Vaughn, Carlisle

We haven’t heard about many candidates linked to the Wizards‘ head coaching job since the team announced Scott Brooks wouldn’t be returning for the 2021/22 season. However, it sounds like Washington’s search is moving forward.

Celtics assistant Scott Morrison told Peter Yannopoulos of RDS (Twitter link) that he has interviewed for the Wizards’ head coaching job. Morrison also interviewed for the open position in Boston before the team decided to hire Ime Udoka. With Udoka likely to bring in some new assistants, Morrison’s future with the C’s is unclear.

Meanwhile, Brian Windhorst of ESPN said on his Hoop Collective podcast that Sam Cassell and Wes Unseld Jr. are considered two of the leading candidates for the Wizards’ job (hat tip to RealGM). Cassell is currently an assistant with the Sixers, while Unseld – who has previously been mentioned as a contender for the Washington job – is a Nuggets assistant.

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

  • Windhorst also said on his latest Hoop Collective podcast that Nets assistant Jacque Vaughn has emerged as a legit contender for the Pelicans‘ head coaching vacancy. “I’m not saying he’s going to get (the) job, because Charles Lee on the Bucks‘ staff is also going to be a strong candidate,” Windhorst said, per RealGM. “The word coming out of Chicago at the draft combine is that Jacque Vaughn, who is close to (Pelicans GM) Trajan Langdon… Jacque Vaughn is going to get a real serious look.” ESPN reported earlier in the week that both Vaughn and Lee were interviewing with New Orleans.
  • On that same Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon suggested that former Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle may have felt threatened in Dallas by assistant Jamahl Mosley‘s close relationship with Luka Doncic (hat tip to RealGM). Carlisle’s endorsement of Jason Kidd for the job could be viewed through that lens. “I think Rick understood the perception of how (the endorsement of Kidd) might impact who he didn’t endorse,” MacMahon said, adding of Carlisle and Mosley: “I don’t think those guys will necessarily send each other Christmas cards.”
  • Carlisle spoke to other teams with coaching openings before finalizing a deal with the Pacers, but Indiana was where the mutual interest was strongest, says J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (subscriber-only article). According to Michael, Carlisle and the Pacers didn’t even meet face-to-face, completing their four-year deal over the phone.

Jason Kidd Will Be Prime Candidate For Mavs’ Coaching Job

Former Mavericks star and current Lakers assistant Jason Kidd will be a “prime” candidate for Dallas’ open head coaching position, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).

As Stein notes, the Mavs are focusing for now on replacing former president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, so the head coaching search isn’t in full swing yet. But once the team’s front office is set, Kidd figures to be high on the list of contenders for the coaching job.

Kidd received an endorsement today from an interesting source: former Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle. Carlisle, who coached Kidd from 2008-12 in Dallas and recently stepped down after 13 years as the club’s head coach, told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon that he’d love to see Kidd get the opportunity to coach star point guard Luka Doncic.

“My hope is that Jason Kidd will be the next coach of the Mavs because he and Luka have so many things in common as players,” Carlisle said. “I just think that it would be a great situation for Luka, and I think it would be an amazing situation for Jason. I’m the only person on the planet that’s coached both of those guys and that knows about all of their special qualities as basketball players. To me, that just would be a great marriage, but that’s just an opinion.”

Although Kidd had a “somewhat messy” departure from Dallas during his playing days, things have been smoothed over since then, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Townsend suggests that Kidd has two key allies in Mavs owner Mark Cuban and newly-hired special advisor Dirk Nowitzki, which could help bolster his candidacy for the coaching job — assuming he’s interested in it.

Kidd has also been linked to the head coaching vacancies in New Orleans and Orlando. He was initially viewed as a strong candidate for the Portland job, but withdrew from consideration following a public endorsement from Damian Lillard. We’ll have to see if Carlisle’s comments have any impact on his potential pursuit of the Mavs job.

Mavs Notes: Finley, Front Office Search, Carlisle

Former Mavericks champion Michael Finley has emerged as a strong candidate to be named the team’s new head of basketball operations, writes Marc Stein of the New York Times. Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News also believes Finley is likely to become Dallas’ new president of basketball ops.

Finley spent eight seasons in Dallas as a player and was a two-time All Star for the Mavs. He’s currently the team’s VP of basketball operations, and Stein and Townsend both suggest that team owner Mark Cuban is more likely to stay in-house to replace longtime executive Donnie Nelson than to bring in someone new with the draft and free agency around the corner.

Stein also reports that the Mavs aren’t pursuing veteran executives such as Danny Ainge and Masai Ujiri for their front office opening. There’s an expectation that – even if Finley is promoted – the team would make at least one outside addition to its front office, but execs like Ainge and Ujiri would likely expect more autonomy than Cuban is willing to cede, Stein writes.

We have more on the Mavs:

  • Tim Cato of the Athletic provides a post-mortem on the Rick Carlisle era with the Mavericks, highlighting the coach’s adaptability as a tactician and thinker of the game, as well as his abrasive personality, including his rocky relationship with star Luka Doncic. Both star and coach seemed at times to bristle at each other, as Carlisle felt Doncic publicly showed him up and Carlisle was known for lashing out at players verbally, including several Doncic was close with. The piece also discusses more about his contentious give-and-take towards the end with Mavericks executive Haralabos Voulgaris. Cato concludes that the era was a successful one, culminating in a championship with longtime Mav Dirk Nowitzki, but in the end, it was time for both sides to move on.
  • The Mavericks will not seek any compensation from the team that hires Carlisle, tweets ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. Carlisle still had two years on his deal when he stepped down, but MacMahon writes that owner Cuban has no interest in complicating Carlisle’s job search and drawing out what has already been an ugly process. Carlisle and Cuban have a long-standing relationship and Cuban has expressed nothing but gratitude to Carlisle for his time as Mavericks head coach.
  • In case you missed it, a report earlier this week indicated that the Mavericks kicked the tires on Kelly Oubre at the trade deadline and could have interest in the forward again in free agency.

Olympic Notes: Beal, Booker, Brissett, Doncic

Team USA’s backcourt has been fortified by two All-Stars who pledged on Friday to play in the Tokyo Olympics.

Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal, the league’s second-leading scorer this season, has made a commitment, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Suns shooting guard Devin Booker, who finished 14th in scoring and will be playing in the upcoming Western Conference Finals, has also decided to participate, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and Warriors big man Draymond Green are among the other prominent players who have already chosen to play for Team USA.

We have more news regarding the Olympics:

  • Oshae Brissett will not play for Team Canada at the Olympics, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. The 22-year-old Brissett averaged 10.9 PPG and 5.5 RPG for the Pacers this season.
  • Luka Doncic had 10 points and 17 assists for Slovenia in a friendly game against Croatia on Friday, according to SportandoMario Hezonja scored 37 points for Croatia. The game was a tuneup for the FIBA Qualifying Tournament later this month.
  • In case you missed it, Jimmy Butler will not play for Team USA. Get the details here.