Michael Finley

Bulls Notes: GM Search, Finley, Boylen

The Bulls remain on the hunt for a new general manager, and Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times writes that the interview process may carry through next week.

A since-deleted report on Thursday suggested that CAA agent Austin Brown was in serious talks to become Chicago’s next GM, but a source tells Cowley there’s no frontrunner at this point. Brown’s name is in the mix, per Cowley. Still, there has been no confirmation that he has even interviewed for the job yet.

Although no one has emerged yet as an obvious favorite – as new executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas did during his own interview process with the Bulls – Cowley’s source says that Mavericks VP of basketball ops Michael Finley “made a great impression” on Karnisovas. Finley reportedly interviewed for the GM position last week.

Here’s more out of Chicago from Cowley:

  • Since being hired by the Bulls, Karnisovas has spent plenty of time reaching out to as many of the club’s current players as possible, as well as meeting with “what’s left” of the scouting departments, says Cowley. Karnisovas is collecting information and opinions on what he has to work with in the front office and on the roster, a source tells The Sun-Times.
  • While many Bulls fans are impatient to learn the fate of head coach Jim Boylen, a decision on Boylen’s future is further down on Karnisovas’ list of priorities, Cowley writes. As Cowley has previously reported, Boylen remains optimistic that he’ll retain the job. He has been staying in touch with his players for updates and to have them study film clips and has “regularly” met with Karnisovas this month.
  • While letting go of Boylen and letting one of his assistants finish the season – if it resumes – could be one path Karnisovas considers, Cowley suggests it’s not likely. A source tells The Sun-Times there’s no obvious candidate to replace Boylen on an interim basis, since the assistants are “all viewed to have equal footing from an experience standpoint.”

Mavs Exec Michael Finley Interviews For Bulls’ GM Job

Mavericks vice president of basketball operations Michael Finley has interviewed for the Bulls’ general manager job, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets.

Finley is a Chicago native who has spent the last seven seasons in the Dallas front office after a long playing career. Mavs owner Mark Cuban indicated in a radio interview this week he’d allow Finley to talk to the Bulls.

Chicago’s newly-hired head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has promised an “extensive and diverse search” for a GM. Chicago had already been granted permission to speak to Sixers senior VP of player personnel Marc EversleyClippers assistant GM Mark Hughes, and Magic assistant GM Matt Lloyd.

Thunder executives Troy Weaver and Nazr Mohammed have also had their names bandied about as potential GM targets for Chicago. However, based on a subsequent report, it would be a surprise if Weaver has interest in the job. Karnisovas has already added J.J. Polk and Pat Connelly in the first steps toward assembling a new front office.

Southwest Notes: Aldridge, Finley, Rockets, Cash

Asked earlier this week by a fan which former teammate he’d like to add to the Trail Blazers‘ current roster, Damian Lillard named Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge. That tweet – sent from Portland’s official Twitter account – was soon deleted, but not before Aldridge replied to it with an eyeballs emoji.

Speaking to Michael C. Wright of NBA.com, Aldridge downplayed the significance of his response, but acknowledged that he wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to the idea of returning to Portland and finishing his career with the Trail Blazers. He also diplomatically didn’t rule out the idea of remaining with the Spurs for the remainder of his career.

“I think either one would be fine with me. I feel like I’ve made some good memories in San Antonio. I feel like I’m in a really good family in San Antonio. They understand me. I understand them. So, I like that,” Aldridge said. “I feel I have a lot of history in Portland. So, going back there to finish would be fine also. I’m perfectly fine with finishing my career in San Antonio riding it out until my next chapter, or if things have to change there, and if (the Spurs) decide to go young, then I wouldn’t mind going to (the Trail Blazers).”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Appearing on the McNeil & Parkins Show on 670 The Score in Chicago, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was evasive when asked whether the Bulls have asked to interview Michael Finley for a front office position. However, he said he’d grant Chicago permission to speak to Finley if asked. Finley was identified last week as a potential candidate for the Bulls’ GM opening.
  • As Kelly Iko of The Athletic details, the Rockets only played 14 games after trading away Clint Capela before this year’s trade deadline. That small sample size could be problematic, especially if the season doesn’t resume, since the Rockets will have to make offseason decisions based on whether or not they feel the center-less lineup is a viable approach going forward.
  • William Guillory of The Athletic examines the role that Pelicans vice president of basketball operations Swin Cash has played in her first year with the franchise and the impact she has had on the team’s young players.

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.

And-Ones: Wiseman, Schwartz, Andrews, Hall Of Fame

It’s unlikely that James Wiseman will fall below the top five in the June draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reports. The freshman center decided to leave Memphis on Thursday and sign with an agent to prepare for the draft.

Wiseman could have solidified his draft stock had he finished the college season on a high note after his 12-game NCAA suspension ended. However, he could have also slipped some if the Tigers had started losing games with Wiseman in the lineup. Givony continues. The lack of quality big men in a draft and the need of several lottery teams to add an impact big man could also help him, Givony adds.

We have more from around the basketball world:

Mavs Notes: Jordan, Doncic, Finley, Koponen

Many NBA observers were surprised to see the Mavericks pursue DeAndre Jordan again, three years after he spurned them in free agency by backing out a verbal agreement with Dallas to rejoin the Clippers. However, team owner Mark Cuban said it only took him and Jordan a matter of seconds to smooth things over, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com details.

“There’s like four guys I hold grudges with, and three of them are from grade school, maybe even before,” Cuban told MacMahon. “I just want to win. Look, only Dirk [Nowitzki] and J.J. [Barea] were there from that period anyway. All of our guys were like, ‘Go get him! Go get him!

“I talked to him on the phone and he’s like, ‘Everything behind us?’ I’m like, ‘Let’s go win.’ He goes, ‘Let’s go to war.’ Done.”

According to Cuban, the team and Jordan mutually agreed that a one-year deal was the best route to take, with both sides planning to use the 2018/19 season to assess the potential for a long-term fit. Cuban also noted that the Mavericks explored the possibility of adding DeMarcus Cousins, but felt like Jordan gave the club a better chance to “win now” than a player coming off an Achilles tear.

“You don’t want to put somebody in a position where they have to rush back, and the Warriors obviously don’t have to deal with that,” Cuban said. “I was happy for him. A lot of people talk trash about [Cousins], but we thought he would have been great. But I wanted to win now, and that’s what I told his guys.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Cuban also spoke to MacMahon about No. 3 overall pick Luka Doncic, whom the Mavericks owner called “the top player on our board.” Cuban added that “it wasn’t even close.”
  • Speaking of Doncic, the Mavericks have agreed to terms with Real Madrid on his buyout agreement, tweets international basketball reporter David Pick. Doncic should be on track to finalize his rookie contract and officially join the Mavs soon.
  • Mavericks executive Michael Finley received a promotion in the front office this week, according to Dwain Price of Mavs.com (Twitter link). Formerly Dallas’ assistant vice president of basketball operations, Finley was named the Mavs’ VP of basketball operations.
  • In a move that has been a formality for the last several years, the Mavericks removed Petteri Koponen‘s cap hold from their books this week, per RealGM’s official transactions log. Dallas still has the NBA rights to Koponen, a 2007 first-round pick, so in order to remove his cap hold each season, the team and player have to agree to that he won’t be signing with the Mavs for the current league year.

Atlantic Notes: Larkin, Celtics, Blake

Shane Larkin, who recently inked a two-year, $3MM deal with the Nets, believes his career was stalled by the Knicks‘ triangle offense during the 2014/15 season, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News writes. “[The triangle] just wasn’t the best fit for me,” Larkin said. “It’s a good system but I’m a pick-and-roll point guard. That’s how I got in the NBA, playing pick-and-roll in college. That’s how I got here and now being back in a system where I can play the pick-and-roll and just getting in the lane, create for others, shoot my floater, and do a bunch of other things.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets still haven’t made a decision regarding whether the team will attempt to negotiate a buyout with point guard Steve Blake or keep him on the roster, Bondy adds. “I know we have a lot of guys at the point guard position. That’ll be resolved hopefully in the next month, eliminate, so hopefully we won’t have as many going to camp,” GM Billy King said.
  • The Knicks signed Derrick Williams for less than initially thought, as he’ll get $8.8MM over two years, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • Thaddeus Young has a 15% trade kicker in his deal with the Nets, Pincus relays (on Twitter).
  • DeMarre Carroll‘s four-year deal with the Raptors comes to $58MM total, notes Pincus (Twitter link).
  • The Celtics have officially renounced their rights to Shaquille O’Neal, Stephon Marbury, Michael Olowokandi, Michael Finley, Carlos Arroyo, Nenad Krstic, P.J. Brown, and Scot Pollard, which in turn removes their cap holds, Pincus notes (Twitter links). These moves drop Boston below the salary cap line for the first time in nearly 20 years, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com writes. Boston also loses any form of Bird Rights to these players, though that is a mere formality since it is highly unlikely any of them would be suiting up for the team in the future.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Odds & Ends: Seattle, Finley, Heisley, Arenas

Addressing the media in London today, commissioner David Stern didn't share many new details about a possible sale of the Sacramento Kings, but he did confirm that the NBA hasn't been informed of any sale agreement with Chris Hansen's Seattle group, according to Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee. As Stern watches the Knicks and Pistons play at the O2 Arena, let's round up a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • Following up on his piece yesterday in which he argued the NBA should give Seattle an expansion team rather than moving the Kings, Tom Ziller of SBNation.com addresses the arguments against expansion.
  • Michael Finley's agent has been in touch with 5-10 NBA teams that have expressed some level of interest in his client, Finley tells BasketUSA.com (link via Sportando). It's not clear how serious any of that interest is, but it seems Finley is still attempting to make an NBA comeback.
  • Although he says he hasn't had any conversations with team owners who may be interested in selling, former Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley has expressed some interest in buying another NBA team, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. "At least some people around the NBA know I am interested," Heisley said. "David Stern called me and asked if that was the case, and told him, 'Yeah.'"
  • Gilbert Arenas will explore his NBA options upon returning from China this season, but suggests that he may play in the CBA again next year, according to a Hupu.com report (translation via HoopsHype).
  • In their latest Insider-only draft preview piece on ESPN.com, Chad Ford and Jay Bilas discuss the current frontrunner to be picked first overall in June.
  • In another Insider-only piece, ESPN.com's Chris Broussard talks to executives and scouts about John Wall's current stock.

Sefko On Mavs, Jefferson, Beaubois, Finley, Mayo

Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News frequently dips into his mailbag to answer reader questions, and today's responses are especially full of relevant info. He looks ahead to trades and free agent signings the Mavs could pursue over the next 12 months, and sizes up the return on some of the moves the team made this past summer. We'll round up the highlights here:

  • It's "very likely" the Mavs will be involved in a swap before the trade deadline, but nothing will go down before December 15th, when free agents who signed this summer become eligible to be traded. Whatever happens, it's unlikely to be a "monster deal," according to Sefko, who mentions Rodrigue Beaubois as a likely trade candidate. 
  • Sefko thinks the Mavs have interest in upcoming free agent Al Jefferson, despite his high price tag, believing he'd be a much more appealing target for the team than Josh Smith.
  • Sefko doesn't believe owner Mark Cuban was sincere when he said he wants to keep all of the team's new additions, and thinks the future of the team's coterie of guys on one-year contracts is up in the air.
  • Michael Finley had been working in the Mavs front office before his latest comeback attempt, but Sefko doesn't see a place for him on the playing roster.
  • O.J. Mayo's move from the Grizzlies to the Mavs has worked out well for both teams so far, Sefko observes.
  • It's unclear whether the Suns want to put Marcin Gortat on the market, but if they do, Sefko believes it would take a package of Mayo, Jae Crowder, and draft picks for the Mavs to land him.

Timberwolves Rumors: Williams, Finley, Roy

The Timberwolves got an unexpected lift on Wednesday when Kevin Love returned earlier than anticipated from the broken hand that had sidelined him for the last few weeks. Although reports suggested Love wouldn't be back until December, he looked to be in midseason form in his debut, racking up 34 points and 14 rebounds against the Nuggets. It wasn't enough to propel the T-Wolves to victory, but the team will get another shot to get its first win with Love on the court tonight vs. the Trail Blazers. In the meantime, here are a few rumblings out of Minnesota:

  • Derrick Williams tells Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Twitter link) that he was preparing to become a Trail Blazer this summer when rumors involving a Nicolas Batum sign-and-trade were swirling. Asked if he was just listening to speculation or if he had inside info, Williams replied, "I guess you could say inside information" (Twitter link).
  • With Michael Finley attempting to make an NBA comeback, the Wolves received a call from Finley's camp, but said no thanks, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
  • Brandon Roy's future is still to be determined, tweets Wolfson, who says the idea of possible retirement came up when Roy spoke to GM David Kahn last Friday.
  • Earlier this afternoon, we heard that the Timberwolves briefly signed Demetris Nichols and Troy Hudson before the season in order to hang onto the duo's D-League rights. Both players are now on the roster for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Minnesota's D-League affiliate.