Mark Hughes

Pistons Notes: Weaver Hiring, Wood, Griffin

The Pistons‘ long pursuit of Troy Weaver finally paid off Thursday when he was hired to be the team’s general manager, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. A league source tells Beard that Detroit had strong interest in Weaver when team president/coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Jeff Bower were dismissed two years ago, but the Thunder wouldn’t grant permission for an interview.

Weaver, 52, spent more than a decade in the Oklahoma City front office and was instrumental in building a team that reached the NBA Finals. He was an advocate for drafting Russell Westbrook with the fourth pick in 2008, even though he wasn’t projected that high. Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem previously worked with Wasserman Media Group, which represented Westbrook.

“We’re rebuilding our roster and Troy brings a tremendous amount of experience. He’s one of those guys who has a knack for talent,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said in an NBA-TV interview. “A lot of the growth and building they did in Oklahoma City Thunder, he was a big part of that. … The next couple of years of developing our roster is a key time in our organization.”

There’s more from Detroit:

  • In addition to Tellem and Casey, Weaver spoke with senior adviser Ed Stefanski, owner Tom Gores and the Pistons’ assistant general managers during the interview process so the organization could get a “fully rounded view,” according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Weaver will be given free rein to hire more assistant GMs and support staff. Sources tell Edwards that Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson and Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes were both impressive in their interviews and received serious consideration for the job.
  • Re-signing Christian Wood should be Weaver’s top priority, states Ansar Khan of MLive. Wood will be an unrestricted free agent after a breakout performance over the last month of the season, but faces a market limited by financial uncertainty and a shortage of teams with cap space. Detroit owns Wood’s early Bird rights and can start his new deal at a little more than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which is expected to be about $9.7MM. The Celtics and Rockets both expressed interest in Wood at the trade deadline, Khan adds.
  • Weaver also faces an important decision on Blake Griffin, who still has two years and approximately $75.6MM left on his contract, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit News. Griffin was limited to 18 games this season because of a knee injury and at age 31, he doesn’t fit the team’s rebuilding timeline. Sankofa notes that Weaver was part of two franchise-altering trades last summer involving Paul George and Westbrook.

Thunder’s Weaver Among Favorites For Pistons’ GM Job

Thunder executive Troy Weaver has emerged as the frontrunner for the Pistons‘ general manager opening, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter). Stein reports that the Pistons are “actively working” to complete a deal with Weaver, while Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports tweets that both sides want to make it happen.

Weaver, who has been with the Thunder for more than a decade following a stint with the Jazz, holds the title of vice president of basketball operations after previously serving as the team’s VP/assistant GM. He’s Sam Presti‘s top lieutenant in Oklahoma City and has been a candidate for other top basketball operations jobs around the NBA in recent years.

Weaver was reportedly in the running for the Wizards’ general manager opening a year ago before the team decided to remain in-house, promoting Tommy Sheppard. Weaver also received interest from the Bulls this spring, but reportedly turned down a second interview because he had heard Chicago was zeroing in on Arturas Karnisovas.

We heard way back in May of 2018 that the Pistons were interested in pursuing Weaver, though nothing came of it at the time — the club instead hired Ed Stefanski as a senior advisor, making him the de facto head of basketball operations. Now, Weaver may be on track to work alongside Stefanski in Detroit’s front office, and could even eventually supplant him if Stefanski shifts to a background role, as has been speculated.

However, no deal is done yet, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggests (via Twitter) that there are a couple other executives who are also considered serious candidates for the Pistons’ job. Wojnarowski identifies Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes and Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson as contenders for the GM vacancy, adding that conversations between the Pistons and their top candidates will continue this week.

Hughes, who was a candidate this spring for the Bulls’ GM job that was eventually filled by Marc Eversley, has been with the Clippers since 2017, having previously served as the Knicks’ director of player personnel. Peterson was an assistant GM for several years in Atlanta before being hired away from the Hawks by Brooklyn last May.

In light of the multiple reports suggesting that the Pistons would make it a priority to conduct a diverse GM search, it’s worth noting that Weaver, Hughes, and Peterson are all black.

Pistons Notes: Prince, GM Candidates, Offseason

As the Pistons get their search for a general manager underway, Eric Woodyard of ESPN (Twitter link) hears from multiple sources that the team hasn’t requested to interview Tayshaun Prince. Currently the VP of basketball affairs for the Grizzlies, Prince was part of Detroit’s 2004 championship team and there was speculation he’d be a GM candidate, but he wasn’t on the team’s initial interview list, according to Woodyard.

As for candidates who might actually be on the Pistons’ list, sources tell Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (Twitter link) that former Phoenix GM Ryan McDonough, former Atlanta GM Wes Wilcox, and current Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes are among those receiving some consideration. However, Bondy cautions that the search will likely be “extensive,” so that list is far from exhaustive.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • With the Pistons’ season on the verge of coming to an end, Rod Beard of The Detroit News takes a player-by-player look at some of the offseason decisions facing the franchise. Only Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard, Sekou Doumbouya have fully guaranteed salaries for next season, though as Beard notes, it’s a safe bet that a few other players will be back.
  • In his latest mailbag, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com addresses the timeline for the Pistons’ GM search and how the team will handle not being part of the NBA’s resumption, among other topics.
  • Earlier this afternoon, we passed along word that the Pistons are becoming the 29th of 30 NBA teams to reopen their practice facility for individual player workouts — they’ll do so on Thursday.

Pistons Notes: GM Search, Kennard, Bone

The Pistons will focus on external candidates in their search for a new general manager, according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. The new GM will work alongside senior advisor Ed Stefanski to chart a course for the future of the franchise, while Malik Rose and Pat Garrity will be retained as assistant GMs.

Edwards identifies several potential candidates for the position: Pelicans assistant GM Bryson Graham, former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox, Jazz GM Justin Zanik, Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes, who was considered for the GM job in Chicago, and Thunder VP of basketball operations Troy Weaver. Edwards also suggests that University of Memphis assistant coach Mike Miller, who had Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem as an agent during his playing career, could be brought in as another assistant GM.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Rod Beard of The Detroit News agrees on Hughes and Weaver and offers a few other candidates who might be in play. Shane Battier grew up in the Detroit area and serves as VP of basketball development and analytics with the Heat, but Beard believes it would be difficult to talk him into leaving Miami. Chauncey Billups is a Pistons hero from his playing days and has been considered for other front office openings. Tayshaun Prince, who teamed with Billups on the 2004 championship team, became VP of basketball operations for the Grizzlies last year. Celtics assistant GM Michael Zarren has spent 14 years with the organization and has turned down other opportunities, but Beard believes the Pistons should contact him.
  • Working Luke Kennard back into the rotation would have been a priority if the season had continued, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Kennard, who had been battling tendinitis in both knees since December, was set to return in the Pistons’ next game when the hiatus was imposed. With Kennard about to enter the final year of his rookie contract, Detroit will have to decide soon whether to make a long-term commitment or try to trade him, and Langlois sees his shooting skills as an important element for a rebuilding team.
  • The Pistons may have other priorities at point guard that will prevent Jordan Bone from earning a roster spot next season, Langlois adds in the same piece. Derrick Rose has another year on his contract, and Langlois expects the team to find a veteran to complement him. Also, there will also be plenty of opportunity to fill the position in a draft that’s heavy on point guards. Bone saw limited time in 10 NBA games as a two-way player this season, but averaged 19.9 points per 36 minutes and shot 38% from 3-point range in the G League.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Avdija, Lakers, Clippers

Even if the NBA is able to resume its 2019/20 season and play some regular season games before the playoffs begin, a team like the Warriors may not be involved, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. In fact, one source who spoke to Slater this week predicted that there’s “basically zero chance” of Golden State playing another regular season game this summer, even if other teams do.

As Slater explains, it’s possible the NBA will establish a new end-of-season schedule that doesn’t include the league’s 10 worst teams or so. That would allow playoff teams to get back to game speed and could give some teams just outside the playoff picture an outside shot at a postseason berth. In that scenario, clubs like the Warriors – who have no chance to make the playoffs – wouldn’t be required to return under unique circumstances only to play a handful of meaningless games.

Slater notes that there are other paths the NBA could take that might also exclude a team like the Warriors. The league could set up a play-in tournament for the last couple postseason spots or could advance directly to the playoffs based on the current standings without rescheduling any regular season games.

As we wait to see if any of those options will be viable, let’s round up a few more notes from out of the Pacific…

  • The Warriors were among the teams that took “a long look” at Israeli prospect Deni Avdija in Europe this season, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area, who examines whether the young forward might be a fit in Golden State.
  • With Los Angeles’ shelter-at-home order in place through at least May 15, it’s not clear when the city’s NBA teams might be able to reopen their practice facilities. According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the Lakers have been in touch with the Los Angeles mayor’s office to explore whether it might be possible to open their facility before that stay-at-home order is lifted. As McMenamin details, the Lakers have a series of precautionary measures planned to ensure player safety and would establish a set schedule for when players are permitted to visit their practice facility.
  • As Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times writes, the Clippers are happy to retain assistant general manager Mark Hughes, who was one of several candidates to interview for Chicago’s open GM job. Greif takes an in-depth look at the role Hughes plays in Los Angeles and how he has become one of the most well-liked members of the Clips’ front office.

Bulls Receive Permission To Interview Three GM Candidates

Having officially hired Arturas Karnisovas as their new head of basketball operations, the Bulls are now in the market for a new general manager. With Karnisovas leading that search, the club has received permission to interview three candidates so far, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski, Chicago has been granted permission to speak to Sixers senior VP of player personnel Marc Eversley, Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes, and Magic assistant GM Matt Lloyd.

[RELATED: Bulls Part Ways With GM Gar Forman]

Those three executives were among the candidates initially identified by Wojnarowski for the job last Friday. At the time, Woj also said that Nuggets assistant GM Calvin Booth was a target, so his omission from today’s list is notable. There’s a belief that Denver will attempt to keep Booth after losing Karnisovas — he’s a candidate to be promoted to fill the Nuggets’ newly-opened GM role.

It remains to be seen whether Eversley, Hughes, and Lloyd are the Bulls’ top choices or whether the team’s search will continue to expand to include other candidates.

A source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link) that Heat assistant GM Shane Battier won’t be interviewing with the Bulls, since Chicago recognizes that Miami values him and won’t be letting him go. Cowley adds (via Twitter) that despite some chatter, Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon won’t be a candidate for the Bulls’ GM position either.

Cowley previously identified Mavericks VP of basketball operations Michael Finley and Thunder executives Troy Weaver and Nazr Mohammed as potential GM targets for Chicago. However, based on a subsequent report, it would be a surprise if Weaver has interest in the job.

Bulls Eye Several Assistant GMs For Their GM Job

Arturas Karnisovas, who is expected to be named the Bulls’ executive VP of basketball operations, will conduct interviews with a number of general manager candidates in the near future, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

The Nuggets’ Calvin Booth, the Sixers’ Marc Eversley, the Clippers’ Mark Hughes and the Magic’s Matt Lloyd are among several assistant GMs around the league under consideration, Wojnarowski adds. The Bulls’ office will start seeking permission from other teams to conduct interviews with everyone on their list, Wojnarowski reports in another tweet.

However, Booth could be promoted by Denver to replace Karnisovas, who emerged as Chicago’s choice as its top front office executive on Wednesday.

The Thunder’s Troy Weaver and Nazr Mohammed and the Mavericks’ Michael Finley are also candidates for the GM job, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets.

No matter which executive that Karnisovas chooses, current GM Gar Forman will lose his title. It’s uncertain whether Forman will be reassigned or simply let go by the organization. Karnisovas will decide Forman’s future, according to another Cowley tweet.

Longtime Bulls executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson is expected to remain in an advisory position with Karnisovas and ownership making the final decisions.

The Bulls were reportedly denied permission by the Thunder to speak with Weaver, OKC’s VP of basketball operations, during the search process for an executive VP. Whether the Thunder have changed their stance on Weaver remains to be seen. The Bulls did hold an informal interview with Mohammed recently for another front office job.

Clippers Hiring Mark Hughes As Assistant GM

The Clippers continue to revamp their front office, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that the team is hiring longtime Knicks executive Mark Hughes as an assistant general manager.

Hughes, formerly the Knicks’ director of player personnel, interviewed with the Hawks and Bucks earlier this offseason when those teams were retooling their own front offices. Hughes is said to have been heavily involved with the Knicks’ drafts over the last decade or so, and was highly regarded within the organization. However, he interviewed last month with the Clippers for their assistant GM job and now will join the team in that capacity.

The Clippers also recently reached an agreement with Thunder executive Michael Winger to become their new GM, and are also reportedly bringing aboard former Cavs exec Trent Redden as an assistant GM. There’s no indication that the deal with Redden has fallen through, so it appears Hughes is coming aboard alongside Redden, rather than in his place.

The Clippers began overhauling their front office earlier this summer when the team removed the president of basketball operations title from Doc Rivers, elevating Lawrence Frank to head of the basketball operations department.

L.A. Notes: Rivers, Clippers, Maggette, Lakers

After Friday’s announcement that Doc Rivers will surrender his front office role to solely focus on coaching, it was the crescendo to a tumultuous dual role for the NBA champion coach, Bill Oram of The Orange County Register writes.

Rivers, for four seasons, was tasked with both assembling a quality roster and then leading it to success on the court. As Oram writes, despite winning 50+ games each year with Rivers at the helm, the Clippers failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs. So, while Rivers is often viewed as one of the NBA’s elite head coaches, his career in the front office is “spotty,” Oram adds.

“Given final say on personnel moves, something Rivers coveted and chased all the way across the country to L.A., the career coach struggled annually to find the right mix of role players,” Oram writes about the man who led the 2007/08 Celtics to the NBA championship.

Despite the controversy that came with it, Rivers’ acquisition of his son, Austin Rivers, was a good move that yielded a quality role player for a team filled with superstar talent. Besides that, the obvious turmoil within the team became obvious, highlight by notable departures of J.J. Redick and Chris Paul this offseason. While Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan remain with the team, the direction of the Clippers with Lawrence Frank assuming Rivers’ former role and it will take a while before a prognosis on that move is available.

Read more about news surrounding the Los Angeles teams:

Pacific Notes: Gallinari, Williams, Ennis

Newly acquired Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari has broken his hand punching an opponent in an exhibition match with the Italian national team, a EuroHoops.net report (via NBA.com) reveals.

The 28-year-old recently picked up by the Clippers in a three-way sign-and-trade deal lashed out at Jito Kok of the Dutch national team and promptly left the game to visit the hospital, the report says.

Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, it was his thumb that Gallinari injured but the setback isn’t expected to keep him out of Clippers training camp. Surgery is not expected.

There’s more from the Pacific Division: