Maurice Cheeks

Bulls Name Coaching Staff Under Billy Donovan

The Bulls have added assistant coaches Maurice Cheeks, Josh Longstaff, John Bryant, Damian Cotter and Billy Schmidt to serve under recently hired head coach Billy Donovan, the team announced Saturday.

Chicago has also brought on Henry Domercant, Ronnie Burrell, Ty Abbott and Max Rothschild as player development coordinators.

Cheeks is the biggest name of the bunch to join the Bulls’ staff. The former 15-year NBA veteran most recently served under Donovan for five seasons with the Thunder in his second stint with the organization. A native of Chicago, Cheeks not only gets to reunite with Donovan after working closely for half of the past decade but he gets to return home.

In addition to a stellar playing career, the four-time All-Star brings a wealth of coaching experience as he was the head coach for the Blazers (2001-05), Sixers (2005-08) and Pistons (2013-14). In addition to his first Thunder tenure, Cheeks has also been an assistant coach with the Sixers.

Longstaff, 38, joins the Bulls after spending the previous two campaigns under Mike Budenholzer with the Bucks. The Maine native brings a strong coaching resume in his own right, which includes assistant coaching stops with the Thunder and Knicks. Longstaff also has G League head coaching experience with the Erie Bayhawks from 2017-18.

As for Bryant, Cotter and Schmidt, they bring varying degrees of experience of coaching within basketball. Bryant joins the Bulls after spending four years with the Sixers, two of those in an assistant coach capacity. Cotter has been an assistant coach in the G League with several organizations and Schmidt has most notably served as Thunder as a director of quality control the past five seasons.

Chris Fleming is the lone holdover from last year’s staff who remains with the club in an assistant coaching capacity.

Bulls Hiring Maurice Cheeks, Josh Longstaff As Assistants

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan has begun to fill out his new coaching staff, as Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that Maurice Cheeks will be an assistant under Donovan in Chicago. The team is also hiring Josh Longstaff away from the Bucks to be an assistant coach on Donovan’s staff, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Cheeks is a logical fit for the Bulls, having been an assistant under Donovan with the Thunder for the last five years. He’s also a Chicago native, so joining the Bulls will be a homecoming for him. In addition to his two stints in Oklahoma City as an assistant coach, Cheeks has been an assistant for the 76ers and served as a head coach in Portland, Philadelphia, and Detroit.

As for Longstaff, he’s another former Thunder assistant, though he worked for the team from 2010-14 and didn’t overlap with Donovan. Since then, he has been an assistant for the Knicks, the head coach of the G League’s Erie BayHawks, and – for the last two years – a member of Mike Budenholzer‘s staff in Milwaukee. He’ll get the opportunity to become a front-of-the-bench assistant in Chicago, Wojnarowski notes.

The Bulls announced last month that assistants Roy Rogers, Dean Cooper, Nate Loenser, and Karen Stack Umlauf wouldn’t be returning to the team. Although the club is revamping its coaching staff for Donovan, it sounds like there will be at least one holdover in Chris Fleming.

Bulls’ Donovan Overhauling Coaching Staff

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan has informed multiple assistant coaches still under contract with the team that they won’t be part of his staff for the 2020/21 season, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

Roy Rogers, Dean Cooper, and Nate Loenser won’t be returning to to the club after working on Jim Boylen‘s staff last season, Johnson reports. Karen Stack Umlauf has also been let go, per an official announcement from the Bulls.

“I appreciate the time that I was able to spend with Dean, Nate, Roy and Karen. I really want to thank all of them for their service and commitment to the Chicago Bulls,” Donovan said in a statement. “This is the tough side to our business, and I wish all of them the best moving forward.”

Rogers had only completed one season on his three-year deal and Loenser had his team option for 2020/21 exercised in the spring, but Bulls ownership continues to give the team’s new decision-makers the green light to make changes even if they’ll cost the organization some money, per Johnson.

It’s possible the Bulls will make additional changes to their coaching staff, but for now it sounds as if Chris Fleming is sticking around. Fleming worked with new Bulls executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas in Denver during the 2015/16 season, and Johnson has previously reported that there’s a “trust factor” between the two men.

It remains to be seen who will join Donovan’s revamped staff in Chicago, but Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times speculates that Maurice Cheeks could be a candidate. Cheeks is a Chicago native and has been an assistant under Donovan for the last five years in Oklahoma City.

Western Notes: Kings, Atkinson, Pelicans, Thunder

Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon reportedly informed the Kings on Wednesday that he will not be involved in their search for a new head of basketball operations.

With Langdon pulling his name out of the Kings’ search, that leaves Sachin Gupta, Adam Simon, Calvin Booth, Monte McNair, and Wes Wilcox as potential replacements for Vlade Divac. Jason Jones of The Athletic looks at each candidate’s resume, exploring why they would make sense for Sacramento.

As Jones points out, the Kings head into the offseason with four picks in the 2020 NBA draft, including the 12th overall selection, but do not have a lot of cap space. Therefore, whoever Sacramento chooses will have a tall task ahead of them to break the team’s 14-year playoff drought.

Here’s more from across the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans are one of the many teams looking for a brand new head coach after firing Alvin Gentry. One potential candidate who could be of interest to New Orleans is former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, according to William Guillory of The Athletic, who evaluates Atkinson’s fit in New Orleans. As Guillory details, Atkinson has a relationship with Langdon, who was the Nets’ assistant general manager, and could help further the development of New Orleans’ young roster like he did with Brooklyn.
  • After just missing out on the playoffs, the Pelicans hold the 13th overall selection in the 2020 NBA draft. But unlike the other teams in the lottery, New Orleans does not necessarily need its first-round pick and could use it to acquire veteran players. William Guillory of The Athletic draws up three trades that the Pelicans could execute to upgrade their roster. One trade Guillory created has the Nets giving up Taurean Prince and their 2020 first-rounder for Darius Miller, Nicolo Melli, and the No. 13 pick.
  • The Thunder will be looking for a new head coach after parting ways with Billy Donovan on Tuesday. Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman takes a deep dive into potential replacements, listing 50 possible candidates for OKC’s vacancy. Outside of the known options, Mussatto mentions multiple internal candidates, including Maurice Cheeks and Mark Daigneault.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Towns, Westbrook

The Jazz didn’t make any major headlines over the course of the summer, electing to stand pat on a roster that shocked the NBA world and emerged as a Western Conference contender. Heading into 2018/19, the club is as dangerous as ever, Chris Herring of FiveThirtyEight writes.

Of course the biggest hurdle for the Jazz will be to win ball games despite the fact that opponents won’t take them for granted. Now that the rest of the league is aware of what they’re capable, they’ll have to bring their best game every night out.

Herring wonders if Ricky Rubio will be able to continue to shoot the ball as well as he did in the second half of last season after a career of sub-par percentages. Similarly, he considers just how scary the team can be on the defensive end with a hopefully healthy Rudy Gobert in the lineup for a full season.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The fact that Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns hasn’t signed a five-year max rookie scale extension is “eyebrow raising,” Brian Windhorst of ESPN says (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). Per Windhorst, there has never been a player that hasn’t signed such an offer.
  • A recent feature on 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Maurice Cheeks paints the retired point guard and former Thunder assistant as a “Russell Westbrook whisperer.” Royce Young of ESPN details the coach’s impact on the early years of Westbrook’s career.
  • It’s never too early to start talking about next year’s free agent crop. Our 2019 NBA free agent rankings are now live. Two of the four most valuable potential acquisitions? Timberwolves stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler.

Ray Allen, 12 Others Selected To 2018 Hall Of Fame Class

Two-time NBA champion and 10-time All-Star Ray Allen was among 13 names selected by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for enshrinement as part of the 2018 Hall of Fame Class.

In his 18-year career, Allen set the record for most three-point field goals made with 2,973 and is ranked sixth on the all-time free throw percentage list with an .894 mark. Allen, 42, was drafted by the Bucks fifth overall in the 1996 NBA Draft and spent his first six-and-a-half seasons in Milwaukee. After a four-and-a-half year run with the then-Supersonics, Allen joined the Celtics, capturing his first of two NBA titles in 2008.

The University of Connecticut product joined the Heat for his final two seasons, capturing his second championship in 2013. Allen sank several clutch treys in Game 6 and Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals, leading the Heat to the title.

As we relayed earlier this week, Jason KiddSteve Nash, Grant HillMaurice Cheeks, and Rod Thorn were selected to the Hall of Fame. You can read detailed descriptions of their careers from our February report of 13 finalists being selected for the Hall of Fame.

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Smith,  four-time WNBA Champion Tina Thompson, long-time Maryland coach Charles “Lefty” Driesell, Dino Radja, Charlie Scott, Ora Mae Washington, and Rick Welts were also selected.

Nash, Kidd, Allen Headline 13 Hall Of Fame Finalists

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has announced 13 finalists to be considered for election to the Hall of Fame in 2018. The list includes six first-time finalists, including likely first-ballot hall-of-famers Ray Allen, Jason Kidd, and Steve Nash, as well as Grant Hill, three-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Smith and four-time WNBA Champion Tina Thompson.

Among the seven other finalists are four-time NBA All-Star Maurice Cheeks, two-time NBA Champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich, and five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber. Rounding out the list are long-time Maryland coach Charles “Lefty” Driesell, 28-year NBA referee Hugh Evans, two-time NCAA National Championship Coach of Baylor Kim Mulkey, and 10-time AAU National Champions Wayland Baptist University.

The Class of 2018 will be announced on Saturday, March 31 at a press conference in San Antonio prior to the NCAA Men’s Final Four. Let’s now take a look at some more information on the six former NBA stars up for election as players.

  • Steve Nash – Played in the NBA for 19 seasons, earning MVP honors in both 2005 and 2006. An eight-time All-Star and an All-NBA First Team member in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Nash also holds the NBA record for highest career free throw percentage (.904) and had four seasons with a shooting line of .500/.400/.900, the most in NBA history.
  • Jason Kidd – During his 18-year NBA career, he earned All-NBA First Team honors five times and was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team four times. He is a 10-time NBA All-Star while also ranking second on the NBA all-time steals list (2,684) and all-time assists list (12,091).
  • Ray Allen – A two-time NBA Champion, Allen was selected to the All-Star game 10 times during his 18-year career. He is still the all-time NBA leader in three-point field goals made (2,973) and is ranked sixth on the all-time free throw percentage list (.894).
  • Grant Hill – A 19-year NBA veteran, a seven-time NBA All-Star, and a member of the All-NBA First Team in 1997, Hill was also a member of two NCAA national championship teams (1991, 1992) at Duke and a gold medal recipient at the 1996 Olympic Games.
  • Chris Webber –Webber is a five-time NBA All-Star and the 1994 NBA Rookie of the Year. He earned All-NBA First Team honors in 2001 and averaged more than 20 points per game for nine consecutive seasons from the mid-90’s to the early 00’s.
  • Maurice Cheeks – A four-time NBA All-Star (1983, 1986-1988) and four-time NBA All-Defensive team selection, Cheeks was also a member of the 1983 NBA Champion Philadelphia 76ers.

And-Ones: Olympics, Cheeks, Raduljica, Draft

A 3-on-3 version of basketball could be coming to the Summer Olympics in 2020, according to Graham Dunbar of The Associated Press. The IOC executive board is expected to approve a list of medal events for the Games this week, and 3-on-3 basketball is a favorite to be added. A decision is expected to be announced Friday at a board meeting to discuss the host cities for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics. ”Now there is an urban cluster that has been created,” said FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann. ”The best urban team sport is 3-on-3 street basketball. It would certainly be a perfect fit.”

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • Thunder assistant coach Maurice Cheeks is OK after a health scare this week, relays The Philadelphia Inquirer. The former Sixers star was hospitalized overnight in Philadelphia after an undisclosed medical problem during a flight. He underwent several tests at the hospital before being released.
  • Miroslav Raduljica has severed ties with Olimpia Milano and could be returning to China next season, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The Serbian big man played for the Bucks in 2013/14 and the Timberwolves in 2014/15.
  • Getting fouled on a 3-point shot has become the most productive act in the NBA, writes Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com. Players who manage to get the call are averaging 2.5 points per play, as opposed to 1.1 on a regular 3-point attempt.

Wizards Notes: Brooks, Durant, Porter

The Wizards’ deal to hire Scott Brooks as their new coach was a safe move for the franchise, as he is likely to be a solid leader for the team, writes Jerry Brewer of The Washington Post. But the jury still remains out on how successful Brooks can be without Kevin Durant to aid him, Brewer adds, with the scribe also noting that Brooks was fired after a season that saw the small forward limited to just 27 games. It’s also remains to be seen how well Brooks will coexist with John Wall after the coach had his difficulties at times with Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, with many believing Brooks’ offense limited the point guard’s productivity, Brewer adds.

Washington may have to hope that Brooks doesn’t require the presence of Durant to succeed, as friends of the player have indicated that he doesn’t want to sign with the Wizards and deal with the pressure of being surrounded by family, friends and hangers-on from his native Washington. Here’s more from the nation’s capital:

  • Some possible candidates for Brooks’ coaching staff in Washington include Raptors assistant Rex Kalamian, Thunder assistant Maurice Cheeks and former Nets interim coach Tony Brown, David Aldridge of NBA.com relays (Twitter links).
  • Brooks is an ardent believer in the potential of 2013 No. 3 overall pick Otto Porter, Aldridge notes. Porter, 22, appeared in 75 games for the Wizards this season and averaged 11.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists, all of which were career highs.
  • The deal with Brooks is the culmination of the team’s moves the past few seasons, all of which were aimed at luring Durant to Washington D.C., writes J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic. The front office doesn’t view Brooks’ five-year pact as a risk, seeing the coach as a known quantity, Michael adds. Brooks should bring a fresh start to the team’s locker room, though he would be wise to add a disciplinarian to his coaching staff to help balance out his affable personality, the scribe opines.
  • Durant said today that he’s happy Brooks landed the new position but insisted he’s focused on the playoffs when asked if the move increased his chances of joining the Wizards, as Erik Horne of The Oklahoman relays.

Thunder Rumors: Durant, Donovan, Foye, Kanter

Heading into free agency, Kevin Durant is asked about a lot of NBA destinations, but he offered a simple answer of “It’s home” when he got that question about Oklahoma City, relays Royce Young of ESPN.com. Whether or not that offers a clue of Durant’s free agency intentions, it’s clear he has developed an affection for the city where he has spent the last eight years of his NBA career. “I’ve always felt that this place meant so much to me,” Durant said. “It has a special place in my heart and my family’s heart as well.”

There’s more out of Oklahoma City:

  • Billy Donovan has adjusted to the challenge of handling two superstars in his first NBA coaching job, writes Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Donovan had spent 21 years at the college level, and 19 at the University of Florida, before replacing Scott Brooks in Oklahoma City last summer. Donovan has the Thunder, who missed the playoffs in an injury-filled season a year ago, firmly in third place in the West with a 48-22 record. “I just think that there is sort of a down-to-earth part of him that allows him to come in and be excellent at inheriting a hell of a team,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said of Donovan. “That’s a hard job in different ways you look at it. Because it is so veteran and they have been used to success. I thought Scotty did a hell of a job with them, too. It’s not an easy job.”
  • Randy Foye, who was acquired from the Nuggets at the trade deadline, has helped rejuvenate the bench in Oklahoma City, according to Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman. Foye is a streaky shooter, but he has helped by limiting turnovers and playing strong defense on the perimeter. Strong bench play has also come from center Enes Kanter, whom the Thunder kept last summer by matching a five-year, $70MM offer from Portland.
  • Still recovering from hip surgery, assistant coach Maurice Cheeks is expected to return to the Thunder bench for home games beginning this week, Slater tweets. Donovan hopes Cheeks can take on full-time duty by the start of next month.
  • The Thunder have assigned forward Mitch McGary to Oklahoma City Blue in the D-League. He has played 22 games with the Blue this season, averaging 15 points and 9.1 rebounds.