Matt Lloyd

Southeast Notes: Hachimura, Magic, Huerter, Walker

Wizards power forward Rui Hachimura has returned to D.C. after a weeks-long excused absence due to personal reasons, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link). Hachimura, 23, averaged 13.8 PPG and 5.5 RPG in 57 games for Washington during the 2021/22 season.

Hughes notes that the 6’8″ third-year player, a 2019 lottery selection out of Gonzaga, will now have to wait to clear COVID-19 protocols. He missed several weeks with the Wizards during the club’s 2021/22 training camp/preseason. The team expects him to return within a few days.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic have announced several promotions within their front office, per a team press release. Matt Lloyd and Anthony Parker have been promoted to prominent roles for the club, with Lloyd upgraded to the title of vice president of basketball operations and Parker to assistant GM.
  • Hawks shooting guard Kevin Huerter appears to be confident he’ll receive a rookie contract extension before the October 18 deadline, following a terrific showing in the Eastern Conference playoffs with Atlanta, writes Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Kirschner notes that, during the 2021 offseason, Huerter had a left ankle procedure to treat long-term soreness that had afflicted him throughout the 2020/21 season. “I think both sides are saying the right things and want to get something done,” Huerter said. “I’m as confident as I’ve ever been. I think both sides want to get something done. It’s obviously just coming up with the right value.” The 23-year-old, drafted with the No. 19 pick out of Maryland in 2018, averaged 11.9 PPG, 3.5 APG, 3.3 RPG and 1.2 SPG in 69 games for Atlanta last year. He posted a shooting line of .432/.363/.781.
  • The Capital City Go-Go, NBA G League affiliate of the Wizards, will add rookie small forward Kyree Walkertweets Jordan Schultz of Boardroom. Schultz mentions that Walker could be considered for the Wizards’ open two-way player slot. The Wizards previously had been preparing to add Walker to their training camp roster and may still sign him to an Exhibit 10 contract to secure his NBAGL rights.

Southeast Notes: Young, Magic, Wizards, Biyombo

Unlike some other probable All-Stars who have expressed reluctance about playing in a potential March 7 All-Star Game in Atlanta, Hawks point guard Trae Young has said he would relish the opportunity to participate if he earns a second straight All-Star berth, according to Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I understand both sides,” said Young, who is averaging 26.7 PPG, 9.2 APG, and 4.0 RPG for the 11-12 Hawks. “Obviously, it’s in Atlanta, I’d love to be a part of it, if there is a game.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Magic assistant general manager Matt Lloyd spoke with Josh Robbins of The Athletic about how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Orlando’s scouting process. “We’ve gotten to the point with technology where we have so much to study,” Lloyd acknowledged. “Every game is on film… But there is still an advantage of being able to see how prospects look in person. There’s always going to be that one element of being in an arena or in a gym and being able to size players up to get some sort of sense of their real physicality, their size, their length and how fast they are.”
  • The Wizards have been performing better when $41.4MM point guard Russell Westbrook sits, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. In a somewhat alarming trend, Washington is 4-3 without Westbrook and 2-12 with him this season. Washington is 7.7 points per 100 possessions worse when Westbrook plays for the club this year.
  • Hornets center Bismack Biyombo is relishing his role as a mentor with a scrappy Charlotte team, according to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports. Biyombo has become a key advisor to rookie guard LaMelo Ball, the No. 3 pick in the 2020 draft. “I was telling LaMelo when I first got to the league I was his age because I came from overseas as well,” Biyombo said. “The transition, how far you grow from playing overseas versus when you see kids who come out of college, it’s totally two different mindsets.”

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.

Latest On Bulls’ Front Office Search

The Bulls have received permission to interview Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas, sources tell K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

Karnisovas was one of four men said to be on Chicago’s initial wish list for a top front office executive who will have full authority on basketball decisions. It’s not clear if the Bulls will get a chance to talk to any of those four potential candidates besides Karnisovas.

Pacers GM Chad Buchanan reportedly rebuffed the Bulls’ interest, opting to remain in Indiana. And there’s plenty of speculation around the NBA that the Heat will make an effort to retain assistant GM Adam Simon, according to Johnson (Twitter link).

As for the fourth candidate, Toronto’s Bobby Webster, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca writes that the Raptors may not grant the Bulls permission to speak to their general manager, who is under contract through 2021. With president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri and head coach Nick Nurse also set to have their contracts expire after next season, and many of their players coming off the books in the coming months, the Raptors face some long-term uncertainty and might not want to risk losing a rising young executive. There’s a sense they’ll tell Chicago that “this is not a good time,” according to Grange.

Even if they’re only able to speak to one of their initial four targets, the Bulls have a longer list of candidates, per Johnson (Twitter link), who names Clippers GM Michael Winger, Clippers assistant GM Trent Redden, Magic assistant GM Matt Lloyd, and Jazz GM Justin Zanik as possibilities.

Chicago has received permission to talk to Zanik, Johnson reports, so the Utah GM will join Karnisovas in taking part in the first round of Bulls interviews.

The Bulls will conduct those meetings electronically due to the coronavirus pandemic and reportedly want to make a hire prior to the draft and free agency.

Magic Await Permission To Talk To David Griffin

The Magic have submitted a formal request to the Cavaliers to speak with GM David Griffin, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Griffin is believed to be the front-runner to become Orlando’s president of basketball operations, with a report last month saying he will be offered the job when he becomes available.

The Cavaliers have not responded to the request, Wojnarowski adds, and have the option of holding onto Griffin until his contract expires at the end of June. With free agency starting July 1st, it’s possible that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert will deny the interview request as a stall tactic to see if Orlando turns to someone else.

Sources tell Wojnarowski that Gilbert hasn’t made a substantive offer to try to keep Griffin, who built the Cavaliers into a championship team after LeBron James returned in 2014. James has been an outspoken advocate of keeping the GM, but his public comments seem to have had little effect on negotiations.

The Magic are getting ready to start interviewing other candidates for the position, including Hall of Famer Kevin McHale and Bucks GM John Hammond, who still has a year left on his contract in Milwaukee. Interim Magic GM Matt Lloyd has already been through the interview process and is highly thought of in the organization, according to Wojnarowski.

Orlando launched a front-office shakeup when the season ended, firing GM Rob Hennigan and assistant GM Scott Perry. The Magic plan to put control of the front office in the hands of a president, who will then hire the next GM.

The team faces competition from the Hawks, who recently relieved Wes Wilcox of GM duties. Griffin is seen as a candidate in Atlanta, along with former Pistons executive Joe Dumars, Rockets VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, Knicks director of player personnel Mark Hughes and former players and current TV analysts Chauncey Billups and Brent Barry. Wojnarowski reports that the Hawks have received permission to interview Rosas and Hughes.

Magic Considering Kevin McHale As President

Hall of Famer Kevin McHale is among the candidates to become team president in Orlando, according to Sam Amick of USA Today.

The TNT analyst would bring plenty of experience to the position. He served as president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves from 1995 to 2008, and twice took over as the team’s coach. His last NBA job was as coach of the Rockets from 2011 to 2015.

The Magic are hoping to hire someone with previous GM experience to fill the president’s role. However, McHale is also being considered for a front office position in Minnesota.

Orlando also has strong interest in Cavaliers GM David Griffin, who is not signed beyond this season. That explains why the process has gone so slowly since Rob Hennigan was fired April 13th, as the Magic have hired a search firm but have not spoken to any candidates. Griffin isn’t expected to discuss the job in Orlando until Cleveland’s playoff run is complete.

Amick adds that interim GM Matt Lloyd remains a candidate to keep that post on a permanent basis.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Green, Millsap, Hornets

If the Magic can’t land one of the candidates they want for team president, they will try to get a big name to fill the GM role, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Interim GM Matt Lloyd remains a candidate to keep his job either way, but would probably be more secure if Orlando can get a high-profile president. The Magic are reportedly interested in Cavaliers GM David Griffin, whose contract expires at the end of the season. Former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie probably won’t be a candidate, as a source told Kyler that Hinkie is looking for an “ideal situation” and isn’t ready to return to the NBA. (Twitter link).

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic won’t try to keep free agent forward Jeff Green, writes Kevin P. Smith of Real GM in his offseason preview. Green spent a year in Orlando after signing with the team last July. He averaged 9.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in 69 games, mostly as a reserve. Smith thinks there’s a better chance that Orlando could try to keep fellow free agent Jodie Meeks if he agrees to an affordable price. In the draft, the Magic may take advantage of a field rich in point guards to find a replacement for Elfrid Payton.
  • Re-signing free agent forward Paul Millsap will be an offseason priority for the Hawks, tweets Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. The 31-year-old has been with Atlanta for the past four seasons, making the All-Star team in each one. He’s coming off a career-best scoring year at 18.1 points per game, along with 7.7 rebounds and a career-high 3.7 assists. “We are going to make every effort imaginable to keep him,” said Hawks owner Tony Ressler.
  • The Hornets face a tough offseason with no available cap room and probably the 11th pick in the draft, writes Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders. Charlotte’s best option to improve is through trades, with Greene mentioning Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Miles Plumlee as options because they all have deals that average less than $15MM annually. The Hornets also have a $1.7MM exception from the Troy Daniels deal that expires in mid-July.

Magic Have Interest In Cavs GM David Griffin

Having dismissed Rob Hennigan after the end of the regular season last week, the Magic are on the lookout for a new general manager, and one executive receiving interest from Orlando is the architect of the defending champions. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Magic have interest in Cavaliers GM David Griffin. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders had mentioned Griffin earlier this week as a potential target for Orlando.

[RELATED: Magic fire GM Rob Hennigan]

While the Magic have several candidates on their list of possible replacements for Hennigan, the idea of hiring Griffin intrigues president Alex Martins and the Magic front office, sources tell Wojnarowski. Griffin’s contract with the Cavaliers expires at season’s end, and an extension isn’t necessarily a lock for the GM whose roster won the 2016 NBA championship.

According to Wojnarowski, talks between Cavaliers ownership and Griffin have been “stalled for months,” and there’s an increasing belief around the NBA that Griffin could be lured away from Cleveland. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has been reluctant thus far to offer Griffin a contract on par with other championship-level executives around the league, sources tell Wojnarowski.

If the Magic do intend to seriously pursue Griffin, their search likely won’t be a quick one, since they’ll have to wait until the end of the Cavs’ playoff run to gauge Griffin’s interest in the job. In the meantime, the team is using Jed Hughes of the Korn Ferry search firm to gather information, while Martins has also been “significantly engaged” in identifying and vetting GM candidates, sources tell Wojnarowski.

As the Magic conduct their GM search, Matt Lloyd has been serving as the interim GM. Wojnarowski hears from GMs around the NBA that Lloyd is so well-respected by front office executives that those execs have been reluctant to make recommendations to the Magic, since they’re hoping Lloyd gets a chance at the full-time job.

Orlando has enough confidence in Lloyd, who is a candidate for the permanent job, that the team is willing to extend the search process and wait out the Cavs even if they make it to the NBA Finals, Wojnarowski writes. That would give Lloyd the opportunity to map out a plan for the draft and free agency.

Magic Notes: Skiles, Hennigan, Vogel, GM Search

In the wake of Magic GM Rob Hennigan’s firing on Thursday, CEO Alex Martins admits that former coach Scott Skiles may have been correct in their much-publicized feud, writes Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel. Skiles resigned last May after one year as coach because of repeated disagreements with Hennigan. Skiles didn’t like the roster that had been assembled and he thought the front office was undermining the coaching staff by coddling young players. Martins acknowledges that Skiles had a point, but wishes he hadn’t left the organization. “There were things Scott could have done better and one of them is that he could have been more patient,” Martins said. “We were clearly having those conversations [about the culture] and working toward solutions, but Scott didn’t want to be patient about it.”

There’s more news out of Orlando:

  • Head coach Frank Vogel hopes the new GM will try to build a contender around the talent that’s already on the roster, relays John Denton of NBA.com. Orlando has the NBA’s second-worst record over the past five years, and Vogel thinks fans have waited long enough for a winner. “I think our mindset is to win now and I’m hopeful that whoever we bring in here shares that approach,’’ Vogel said. “I think our fans have endured enough losing and it’s time to get this thing into the playoffs as quickly as we can. That’s my mindset.’’
  • The playoffs will have a role in determining how soon the Magic hire Hennigan’s replacement, Denton adds in the same story. Some of the candidates that Orlando has in mind can’t be contacted while their teams are still active. “The factor that is going to dictate [the pace of the search] is that there are some individuals that we’re interested in who [have teams that] are playing in the NBA playoffs and we’re not going to be able to talk to them until their teams are eliminated,’’ Martins said. “And I think it’s in our best interests to identify the right individual and talk to those who are involved in the playoffs. That’s what is going to dictate the majority of the timeframe.” Interim GM Matt Lloyd will handle draft preparation and other organizational moves until a new GM is hired.
  • Martins doesn’t want one person to serve as coach and president of basketball operations, tweets Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. There were rumors recently that the Magic might have interest in bringing back Doc Rivers in a dual role.