Mark Jackson

More On Clippers-Doc Rivers Breakup

The Clippers’ decision to part ways with Doc Rivers could be the riskiest coaching change in NBA history, Kevin Pelton of ESPN opines. The team is rolling the dice with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George potentially opting out and becoming unrestricted free agents after next season. L.A.’s collapse against the Nuggets can be attributed to poor shooting, Pelton adds, as the Clippers took higher percentage shots than the Nuggets but made substantially fewer of them.

We have more on Rivers and the Clippers:

  • The Clippers’ front office concluded that issues that had cropped up during the season surfaced under the stress of the playoffs, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports. That led to the assessment that Rivers had to be held accountable for the team’s collapse.
  • By severing ties with Rivers, the Clippers indeed are blaming him for their playoff flop, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated opines. Could Phil Jackson be the answer? Jackson is 75 but he’s had time to recharge his batteries and this wouldn’t be a long-term job anyway, Mannix notes.
  • Tyronn Lue and Jeff Van Gundy are reportedly two of the former head coaches the Clippers will consider. Dan Loumena of the Los Angeles Times speculates that the Clippers might also consider assistant coach Sam Cassell, Chauncey Billups, Mark Jackson, Stan Van GundyMike D’Antoni, Nate McMillan, Kenny Atkinson, Alvin Gentry, Jason Kidd and Becky Hammon.
  • Lue is the 3-2 favorite to get the job, according to Bet Online, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. Van Gundy is the second choice at 3-1 with Billups surprisingly listed as the third choice at 4-1.
  • Add the Rockets to the list of teams interested in Rivers, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The Pelicans and 76ers have already made contact.

And-Ones: Jackson, Holland, Box Scores, Video

Mark Jackson hasn’t coached since the Warriors let him go in 2014 but his desire to patrol the sidelines hasn’t waned. He told Marc Berman of the New York Post and other reporters he’d relish another chance to be a head coach.

“I truly look forward to having the opportunity to coach again,” the ESPN/ABC analyst said. “I had a blast at Golden State, built incredible relationships that will last a lifetime and I look forward to the challenge of coaching again.”

Jackson expressed similar feelings in an ESPN interview in May. However, he did not receive an interview in the Knicks’ coaching search before they chose Tom Thibodeau.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former Cavaliers guard John Holland has signed with Russia’s Unics Kazan, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Holland played in Israel last season. He saw action in 25 total games with Cleveland – all but one during the 2017/18 season – and averaged 2.2 PPG in 7.0 MPG.
  • Add a new line to NBA box scores due to the pandemic — NWT (Not With Team)-Self Isolating, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. That will apply to players who miss games due to the coronavirus or are in quarantine for a given reason. The league has also developed rules regarding player participation at the Orlando campus, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Teams must designate participation status in a league portal by 5 PM the day before games. In instances when teams are playing the second game of back-to-back, teams must submit player participation status five hours prior to tip-off.
  • More than 300 fans will be invited to appear live on the 17-foot video boards surrounding the court during each game of the restart, according to NBA press release. It will give participating fans the feeling of sitting next to one another at a live game without leaving the comfort and safety of their homes, the release adds. The league’s national broadcast partners, ESPN and Turner Sports, will have more than 30 cameras — including many in robotic form — repositioned closer to the court and showcase never-before-seen camera angles.

New York Notes: T. Johnson, M. Jackson, Thibodeau, Randle

It took four years, but Tyler Johnson is finally a member of the Nets and he’s thrilled about the opportunity, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks presented Johnson with a four-year, $50MM offer sheet in 2016, hoping to snare the young guard as part of a rebuilding project.

Johnson’s stock has fallen considerably since Miami chose to match that offer. He has been out of the league since the Suns waived him in February after a disappointing season following knee surgery. The Nets signed him last month to fill one of their many roster openings.

“Maybe I wasn’t at 100 percent. I was working through it, trying to get right,” Johnson said, adding that his knee is now fully healed. “But I didn’t have that pop, that bounce I used to have where I’d try to go up over the top of people. Who knows if that played a role in anything. I don’t put any blame anywhere but myself. At the end of the day I can only control myself. … Unfortunately it didn’t work out. But fortunately, I’m here. I find myself in a position where I can have a little bit of redemption.”

There’s more on the New York teams:

  • There may be hints that Kevin Durant is throwing his support behind Mark Jackson to be the Nets‘ next head coach, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his latest podcast. Windhorst notes that Rich Kleiman, Durant’s friend and business partner, has started tweeting frequently about Jackson, the former Warriors coach and current ABC/ESPN broadcaster.
  • Former player and current agent B.J. Armstrong believes Tom Thibodeau would be an excellent choice as the Knicks‘ head coach, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Armstrong represents Derrick Rose, who played for Thibodeau in Chicago in Minnesota and maintains a tight relationship with the coach. “I always admired how (Thibodeau) coached,’’ Armstrong said. “He brings the fire and the heat. And most importantly, he’s always prepared for the game. He loves the game. He had an excellent career in this league. He made a life commitment to the game. I’ll be really happy for him (if he gets the job).’’
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic looks at how the Knicks might be able to find a better role for Julius Randle if he remains with the team next season. New York is reportedly willing to trade Randle, but his salary may make that difficult in the current financial climate.

Knicks To Interview Spurs’ Will Hardy

The Knicks have received permission to interview Spurs assistant Will Hardy for their head coaching position, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Hardy, who has been with the Spurs since 2010, was initially hired as a basketball operations intern before becoming a video coordinator for the team. He was named an assistant coach in 2016 and was promoted to the front of the bench a year ago, following the departures of Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka. The 32-year-old Hardy is “well-regarded” within the Spurs’ organization, per Wojnarowski.

With Hardy joining the Knicks’ list of potential coaching candidates, we’re now up to at least eight who are expected to interview. Tom Thibodeau, Kenny Atkinson, and interim coach Mike Miller have long been considered candidates, with Mike Woodson joining the mix a couple weeks ago. On Wednesday, reports indicated that Udoka, Pat Delany, and Chris Fleming are also expected to interview for the job.

Although Ian Begley of SNY.tv has said that the Knicks will likely speak to eight-to-10 candidates during their head coaching search, he doesn’t rule out the possibility that the list of interviewees will continue to grow. Jason Kidd and Mark Jackson have fans within the organization, according to Begley, who says there’s also some interest in meeting with former Cavs and Lakers coach Mike Brown. Spurs assistant Becky Hammon has been identified as a name to keep an eye on as well, as Begley confirms.

Thibodeau has been viewed as the frontrunner for the job for several weeks, and Atkinson also has legitimate support within the organization. However, it’s possible one of the assistants the Knicks are interviewing will make a lasting impression on the club during the interview process.

New York is expected to conclude its search sometime before the season resumes in Orlando at the end of July, says Begley.

Knicks Notes: M. Jackson, Paul, Aller, Robinson

Former Warriors head coach Mark Jackson admits he dreams of getting another NBA coaching opportunity, but added that he won’t be upset if it doesn’t happen, writes Ian Begley of SNY.tv. During an appearance this week on ESPN’s First Take, Jackson talked about his experiences in Golden State and shared his opinions on other head coaches, including Steve Kerr and Tom Thibodeau.

[RELATED: Mark Jackson Says He Wants To Coach Again]

Jackson, who grew up in New York City and played for the Knicks, was a candidate to take over the team before David Fizdale was hired two years ago. Begley isn’t certain how strongly he would be considered if the Knicks decide to replace interim coach Mike Miller, but adds that Jackson still has supporters in the organization. Jackson is reportedly being considered by the Nets as well and has a strong relationship with Rich Kleiman, Kevin Durant‘s business partner and manager.

Begley also notes that Jackson wanted to hire his current broadcast partner, Jeff Van Gundy, who is also under consideration to become the Knicks coach, as his top assistant with the Warriors.

There’s more from New York:

  • The financial fallout from the NBA’s hiatus may make it easier for the Knicks to trade for a star such as Thunder guard Chris Paul, suggests Marc Berman of The New York Post. Paul was the favorite client of new president of basketball operations Leon Rose when he was an agent, Berman points out, and his huge contract might make him available. Paul remains an elite point guard at age 35, but is owed $41.4MM next season and $44.2MM in 2020/21. With the salary cap expected to fall, the luxury tax will be a greater concern than ever and sources tell Berman that some teams will be eager to move their larger contracts.
  • Newly-hired VP of strategy Brock Aller spent more than a month consulting with associates before deciding to leave the Cavaliers for the Knicks, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Cleveland general manager Koby Altman wanted Aller to stay with the organization where he spent the past 15 years, but Aller decided the chance to be part of a historic turnaround in New York was too good to pass up.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at center Mitchell Robinson to determine how much he can improve after two years in the league.

Mark Jackson Says He Wants To Coach Again

It has now been six full years since Mark Jackson last coached an NBA game, but the former Warriors head coach confirmed during a Tuesday appearance on ESPN’s First Take that he still has interest in returning to the NBA sidelines.

Asked by hosts Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman about the Knicks‘ head coaching job and the rumors linking him to the position, Jackson didn’t specifically address the possibility of replacing Mike Miller in New York. However, he joked that he appreciates “the chatter” and confirmed he’d welcome the opportunity to coach an NBA team again, whether or not that team is the Knicks.

“There are 30 NBA jobs. I don’t minimize myself to one,” Jackson said (video link). “I look forward to one day coaching again, it’s a dream of mine. … I had an incredible time in Golden State coaching for three years, developing incredible relationships, and having some success. And I look forward to the challenge of doing it once again somewhere.”

Jackson was hired by the Warriors in 2011, and after winning just 23 games in the strike-shortened 2011/12 campaign, he guided the team to 47- and 51-win seasons in the next two years, winning a playoff series in 2013. Golden State ultimately didn’t get over the hump until the following season, when Steve Kerr took over and led the team to the first of three titles in a four-year stretch.

Over the last several years, Jackson has been an analyst for ABC and ESPN. However, his name continues to pop up for certain high-profile coaching jobs. Besides being identified as a possible option for the Knicks, Jackson is also rumored to be on the Netspreliminary list of potential candidates.

Nets Notes: Lue, Kidd, Durant, Martin

Many around the league believe Tyronn Lue, who is rumored to be in the running to coach the Nets next season, would be the best fit for Brooklyn, as Eric Pincus writes for Bleacher Report. Lue previously coached Irving in Cleveland and the Lakers’ guard has a reputation for managing top talent well.

“He can handle egos,” one former executive told Pincus. “[They] need a guy with rings … Ty all day.”

Jason Kidd would be another choice, as he has won a ring in the past and has the respect of players.

“I think Kyrie and KD would need a championship coach (Lue) or a Hall-of-Famer (Kidd),” said another executive. “I think both (players) have personalities that are mercurial and require different aspects from their coaches.

“I like Kidd. He’s very charming … LeBron speaks highly of him…Some people around the league say that’s his game: Be very nice, then get in while your guard is down.”

Kidd previously coached the Nets, where he reportedly lobbied for a title that would place him above the team’s GM in the organization’s hierarchy. The franchise opted not to allow this to happen and Kidd ultimately moved to Milwaukee to coach the Bucks. However, it’s worth noting that ownership has changed in Brooklyn since Kidd’s most recent stint. Still, even if there are no leftover issues within the club, some believe the former point guard isn’t made out for the position.

“Kidd can’t coach,” a different Western Conference executive told Pincus.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Nets‘ new head coach could come down to Kevin Durant‘s preference, Pincus adds in the same piece. Durant and his manager, Rich Kleiman, are expected to have influence on the selection.
  • Durant and Irving might be “too new-school” for the team to bring in Mark Jackson as the coach, an executive tells Pincus (same piece). Regardless of who the Nets choose, a decision isn’t expected for quite some time.
  • Ajayi Brown of NetsDaily breaks down the game of Jeremiah Martin, 6’2″ scoring guard who had just received a two-way contract with the Nets prior to the league’s hiatus. Martin only played 16 minutes for the Nets but was making strides while playing for the franchise’s G League affiliate.

Lue, Kidd, JVG, Jackson Among Nets’ Coaching Candidates

Tyronn Lue, Jason Kidd, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mark Jackson are among the names on the Nets‘ developing list of potential head coaching candidates, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). According to Stein, interim coach Jacque Vaughn, who replaced Kenny Atkinson last month, will also receive consideration for the permanent job.

As Stein explains (via Twitter), the Nets aren’t expected to complete their search and name a head coach until the 2019/20 season has been completed or canceled, so presumably this list of candidates is preliminary and figures to evolve in the coming weeks and months.

Still, the names are worth noting, as are the ones noticeably absent. For instance, Stein says that Tom Thibodeau is believed to be “solely a Knicks candidate” for the time being, despite some rumblings linking him to the Nets.

There has been speculation that Brooklyn will target a veteran coach who would be comfortable leading a veteran roster that aims to be a title contender in 2020/21. As such, it makes sense that all the candidates identified by Stein have previous head coaching experience, with Kidd having already served as the Nets’ head coach once, albeit not under the current ownership or management group.

Currently, Kidd works as a Lakers assistant under Frank Vogel, while Lue is on Doc RiversClippers staff. Van Gundy and Jackson are analysts for ESPN and ABC.

Lue, who was said earlier this week to have interest in Brooklyn’s coaching job, would reunite with Kyrie Irving if he were to land the job. Citing that Irving connection, Stein adds (via Twitter) that Warriors assistant Mike Brown – another former Cavaliers coach – is another name to monitor.

Nets Notes: Atkinson, Durant, Irving, Jordan

In an in-depth story for The Athletic, Shams Charania and Alex Schiffer take a closer look at Kenny Atkinson‘s final days in Brooklyn, detailing how the Nets ultimately came to the decision to part ways with their head coach.

As Charania and Schiffer explain, a team meeting following last Wednesday’s blowout home loss to Memphis was an inciting event. During that “spirited” session, people in the room aired their grievances, with Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan among the players who were called out. Perhaps most importantly, Kevin Durant suggested that the Nets must improve certain habits and that they weren’t building the sort of culture traits that a legit title contender has.

According to The Athletic’s report, no directive from Kyrie Irving or Durant was ever given to replace Atkinson, but the Nets’ two new stars “never connected” with the incumbent head coach and there was a growing belief they weren’t interested in playing for him next season. A handful of other players were also believed to have started “disconnecting” with Atkinson, per Charania and Schiffer.

In Wednesday’s meeting, players didn’t hold back on critiquing Atkinson’s coaching style, expressing their “growing displeasure” with his communication tactics. Charania and Schiffer write that the aftermath of that meeting could have gone one of two ways. Atkinson could have become more motivated to fix those issues players had — however, sources tell The Athletic that the head coach instead came out of that session “dejected” and not wanting to let anyone “dictate his job.” He began to talk about leaving the job on his own terms, if necessary.

Atkinson and GM Sean Marks ultimately made the final decision to part ways late on Friday night and into Saturday morning, according to The Athletic.

Here’s more on the Nets and their coaching change:

  • Nets center DeAndre Jordan took exception to the idea of blaming Durant and Irving for Atkinson’s departure, calling those reports “bullsh–,” as Peter Botte of The New York Post writes. “I’m close with Kyrie, but Wilson (Chandler) is a new player, Garrett Temple’s a new player. We’re all new players,” Jordan said. “So if you’re going to say new players, put it on all eight of the new players.” Jordan added that he was “shocked” by the news, adding that Atkinson “did a great job with us.”
  • For what it’s worth, the Athletic report from Charania and Schiffer suggested that Jordan was among the players to express frustration to Atkinson last week, with sources indicating there had been a “season-long tension” relating to the coach’s decision not to start Jordan over Jarrett Allen. In Brooklyn’s first game under Jacque Vaughn, Jordan entered the starting lineup, signaling the “beginning of the end of the old Nets,” writes Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News.
  • Marc Berman of The New York Post explores whether Mark Jackson – who is expected to be a candidate for the Knicks‘ head coaching job this spring – may also be on the Nets’ list of targets, given Rich Kleiman‘s fondness for the former Warriors head coach.
  • As for Atkinson’s next move, one source with knowledge of the situation who spoke to Charania and Schiffer is confident that the former Brooklyn head coach won’t be out of work for long if he doesn’t want to be. “Kenny will be back coaching soon,” the source said. “He works too hard. Works his ass off. He will probably take the time away and replay the scenarios and relationships that went wrong — and come back stronger for the job he wants.”

The Latest On Kenny Atkinson

Kenny Atkinson‘s surprising departure as coach of the Nets on Saturday may have been instigated by his players, but it was a mutual decision, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Sources tell Lewis that Kyrie Irving bears much of the responsibility for the move, but Atkinson has understood for months that a change might be necessary.

“Kenny and I had these pretty frank conversations. And it wasn’t last night, 24 hours; there wasn’t one game,” general manager Sean Marks said. “This was a culmination of events over the course of the year. Kenny’s brutally honest, and the humility he showed to admit ‘My voice is not what it once was here. It’s time.’ This is a compromise that Kenny and I and ownership came up with; it was time. Kenny grinded and did everything he could, but it was time for another voice in that locker room, and it’s our job to find it.”

Marks and owner Joe Tsai gave Atkinson credit for helping to turn around a franchise that was among the league’s worst when he took over in 2016. He has the Nets on track for their second straight playoff appearance, but what the organization wants in a coach apparently shifted after last summer’s free agency bonanza that brought in Irving and Kevin Durant. Neither of them offered comment on Atkinson’s departure, but the players who did insist that they weren’t involved in the decision.

“I absolutely [had] no ‘Fire Kenny’ conversations with Sean, so I don’t know, not a part of that,” Spencer Dinwiddie said. “It’s not like I called Joe on the phone and was like, ‘Hey you making any moves?’ I like to think we’re cool, but not that cool.”

Lewis adds that one of the first actions from interim coach Jacque Vaughn was to talk to Irving and other players about what changes they would like to see.

“It’s a service business. I’m serving these guys. I’m just a vessel,” Vaughn said. “It’s today’s game and being able to adjust to that, getting the most out of talent on your roster, but also listening and hearing the voices of the No. 1, 2, 3, 4 guys on your roster. It’s crucial, and having that relationship is a must in today’s game.”

There’s more fallout from this season’s most surprising coaching change:

  • Irving would like to see the Nets hire Tyronn Lue, his former head coach in Cleveland, reports Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Currently an assistant with the Clippers, Lue took the Cavaliers to three straight NBA Finals, including two with Irving as his point guard. Irving didn’t like Atkinson’s “rigid” coaching methods and clashed with him almost immediately, sources tell Goodwill. Multiple sources also say Atkinson didn’t mesh with his two new stars and wasn’t looking forward to coaching them next season when both will presumably be healthy. “Oh, it was definitely mutual,” a league source said.
  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic talked to sources around the league and compiled a list of candidates to potentially become the Nets’ next head coach. Vaughn’s name is on the list along with some familiar candidates such as Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson and former Nets star Jason Kidd. A few possibilities without head coaching experience are Darvin Ham, Ime Udoka, Brian Keefe and Adam Harrington.
  • Atkinson may be the perfect choice to take over the cross-town Knicks, suggests Greg Joyce of The New York Post. New York is trying to rebuild with a collection of unproven young talent, much like Brooklyn was when Atkinson was hired there, and he is represented by Creative Artists Agency, which was run by new Knicks president Leon Rose“It seems like he’s very well respected within players, within the league — players he coached and players he didn’t coach,” said Knicks forward Julius Randle. “I know I respected him.”