Mike Brown

Pacific Notes: Westbrook, McNair, Christie, Lue

While many Lakers fans hope they’ve seen the last of Russell Westbrook in a Los Angeles uniform, the front office is proceeding as if Westbrook will remain a part of the team.

Head coaching candidates that the Lakers have interviewed have been asked to discuss how they would use the enigmatic point guard in their system, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports. It appears that maximizing Westbrook’s impact after his disastrous 2021/22 season is considered an important part of the job, Amick adds.

This could be an indication of Phil Jackson’s input on the Lakers’ search, since Jackson is known to have an affinity for Westbrook.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • In the same story, Amick writes that Kings general manager Monte McNair is entering the final season of his contract and there have been no talks about a possible extension. That leads to an awkward situation with their new coach, Mike Brown, having a significantly longer deal (four years) than the GM who played a major role in hiring him. McNair’s contract status was a concern for some of the coaching candidates Sacramento interviewed, Amick adds.
  • Among the priorities that the Kings established before hiring Brown was that the new coach would retain Doug Christie on the staff, Marc Stein reports in a Substack article. Sacramento is also hoping for an improvement mirroring the Timberwolves’ success with their young core to end a league-record 16-season playoff drought.
  • Klutch Sports has many high-profile athletes as clients — they’ve also got another prominent coach now in the Clippers Tyronn Lue. He’s signed up with the agency, Klutch tweets.

Pacific Notes: Wiseman, Lakers Draft, Brown, Kerr

Warriors center James Wiseman plans to play in the Summer League if he doesn’t suffer any more setbacks in his recovery from a right knee injury, Kerith Burke of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Wiseman was ruled out for the season in late March. “I’m never going to give up, no matter how hard it gets,” said Wiseman, the No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft. The big man has been doing stationary work but hasn’t returned to contact, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are bringing in six draft prospects on Tuesday, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. That group will include DeVante’ Jones (Michigan), Jeriah Horne (Tulsa), Kaodirichi Akobundu-Ehiogu (UT Arlington), Jamaree Bouyea (San Francisco), Jordan Usher (Georgia Tech) and Grant Golden (Richmond).
  • Kings fans will have to wait to hear from their new head coach. A press conference to introduce Mike Brown as Sacramento’s coach, which will also include GM Monte McNair, won’t occur until the Warriors are eliminated from the playoffs or win the championship, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee tweets.
  • Until then, the Kings can take comfort in Steve Kerr‘s endorsement of his associate head coach, Kendra Andrews of ESPN tweets“He’s an amazing coach and an amazing friend. Sacramento made a great choice,” Kerr said. “It’s a loss for us, but this is how it’s supposed to go.” Brown filled in for Kerr in Game 4 of Golden State’s playoff series against Memphis after Kerr tested positive for COVID.

Morant Out For Game 4; Kerr Enters Protocols

Ja Morant will miss Game 4 of the Grizzlies’ series against the Warriors on Monday, coach Taylor Jenkins told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk (Twitter link) and other media members during his pregame press conference.

Morant was expected to sit out. He suffered a knee injury in Game 3 and will continue receiving treatment. He’s considered day-to-day, which opens the door for a possible Game 5 return.

Morant finished Game 3 with a game-high 34 points, seven assists and three steals in 36 minutes. The Warriors’ Jordan Poole tugged on Morant’s right knee as he was swiping for the ball during the fourth quarter.

Tyus Jones will start in Morant’s place, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets.

The Warriors won’t have their head coach on the sidelines. Steve Kerr has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Associate head coach Mike Brown, who was officially named the Kings’ head coach on Monday but remains on Golden State’s bench through the playoffs, will serve as acting coach.

Kerr had been wearing a mask in recent days and his voice was hoarse during press conferences, Slater adds in another tweet.

Kings Hire Mike Brown As Head Coach

MAY 9: Brown has been officially named Sacramento’s new head coach, the team announced in a press release.

Mike has consistently demonstrated his ability to lead winning teams throughout his long and successful coaching career,” GM Monte McNair said in a statement. “He has worked with some of the best players in the NBA and is one of the league’s premier defensive minds. I am excited to bring his extensive experience to Sacramento.”


MAY 8: The Kings have agreed to hire Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown as the franchise’s next head coach, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Brown will sign a four-year contract, Wojnarowski reports.

Brown holds head coaching experience with the Cavaliers and Lakers from 2005-14. Prior to joining Cleveland, Brown spent time with Washington, San Antonio and Indiana as an assistant for eight years.

Brown’s record as an NBA head coach is 347-216 (.616), including a 272-167 (.620) mark during his first five years in Cleveland. During that stretch, he led the Cavs to eight playoff series victories, a Finals appearance, and a 42-29 playoff record.

Brown, the NBA’s Coach of the Year in 2008/09, has been with Golden State as an assistant on Steve Kerr‘s staff since 2016, which includes title runs in 2017 and 2018.

The Kings are coming off a season where they finished 30-52, which was the fourth-worst record in the Western Conference. They currently own the longest playoff drought in NBA history at 16 straight seasons.

Sacramento was said to be seeking a defensive-minded coach who has experience turning a lottery team into a playoff club. Brown meets that criteria.

The team chose Brown over former NBA coaches Steve Clifford and Mark Jackson, who were both finalists for the position.

The Hornets and Lakers now have the only vacant head coaching jobs in the league. Brown marks the Kings’ ninth head coach in the last decade.

Pacific Notes: Williams, Paul, Irving, Kings

There was a tense atmosphere at the Suns‘ practice on Saturday, which is just what coach Monty Williams wanted to see, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. With a chance to take a commanding lead in its series against the Mavericks, Phoenix fell behind for good midway through the first quarter of Game 3, leaving the players feeling like they missed an opportunity.

“When you’re a sore loser, you’re a sore loser,” Williams said. “That’s just the way it is. I don’t see anybody in the playoffs that’s like, ‘Man, I just love the way we lost today.’ I just don’t see that. … You hate losing and you bring it to the gym the next day. Your food doesn’t taste as good, there’s an attitude with it. But it also has to be channeled the right way.”

The Suns admitted that they focused too much on the officiating in Friday’s game. McMenamin cites a play where Devin Booker and Chris Paul were arguing an out-of-bounds call, which allowed Dorian Finney-Smith to get open for a three-pointer.

“We got out of character a little bit and that’s totally not us, being worried about the calls we’re not getting,” Deandre Ayton said. “At the end of the day, we’re not home. We’re not home at all, so we can’t really expect anything. The crowd is against us and it was loud in there so we just got to maintain focus and stick together more.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Paul had an uncharacteristic seven turnovers in the Suns‘ loss, per Greg Moore of The Arizona Republic. “If I don’t turn the ball over like that, I feel like it’s a different game,” Paul said. “Give (the Mavericks) a lot of credit, I feel like they came out and did what they were supposed to do.”
  • The Lakers had internal discussions about trading for Kyrie Irving before the Nets gave him permission to start playing part-time in early January, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Those sources didn’t say if L.A. decided to make an offer or if the team still has interest, but Begley doesn’t believe it will matter because Irving is likely to re-sign with Brooklyn this summer.
  • Kings owner Vivek Ranadive attended Saturday night’s playoff game, giving him a chance to see two of the finalists in his team’s head coaching search in action, notes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Mike Brown was on the sidelines as an assistant with the Warriors, while Mark Jackson was part of ABC’s broadcast team. Steve Clifford is the other finalist, and a source told Anderson that there’s nothing new on a potential decision.
  • If the Kings decide to hire Brown, he will remain with the Warriors as long as they’re in the playoffs, Anderson tweets.

Pacific Notes: Brown, Green, Clippers Tax Bill

Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown is prepared to accept the Kings head coaching job if they offer it to him, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reports.

The former Cavaliers and Lakers head coach sees Sacramento as a “good job,” according to his agent, Warren LeGarie“Mike is willing to take the job based on the fact that he knows he’ll be supported and have a chance to win,” LeGarie said.

Brown came to Sacramento on Thursday to meet with team representatives. The two other finalists for the job, Steve Clifford and Mark Jackson, had their second interviews with the Kings earlier this week.

The job is attractive to Brown in a number of ways.

“First and foremost, he likes the people who are working there,” LeGarie said. “He loves the arena. He thinks that’s a natural resource that will help attract players because you’ve always got to have a place where the fans are involved and the facilities are terrific. And he believes the team has enough talent to give them a real solid chance of becoming a playoff contender.”

We have more Pacific Division news:

  • Warriors forward Draymond Green has been fined $25K for directing an obscene gesture toward Memphis fans during Game 2, according to the NBA (Twitter link). Green flipped both middle fingers toward the crowd as he left the playing court for medical assistance after sustaining an eye injury during the first quarter on Tuesday.
  • Green practiced in full on Thursday and he expects to play for the Warriors in Game 3, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. His right eye remains swollen and he met with a plastic surgeon/ophthalmologist on Wednesday.
  • Robert Covington‘s agreed-upon two-year extension dramatically escalates the Clippers’ projected tax bill, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. That figure jumps from $17.8MM to $54.9MM.

Kings To Make Head Coaching Decision By Week’s End?

The Kings, who are completing a second round of interviews with the three finalists for their head coaching job, are expected to make a decision by the end of the week, sources tell Sam Amick of The Athletic.

According to Amick, Mark Jackson and Steve Clifford have completed their final interviews, while Mike Brown had an informal visit with Kings officials on Wednesday and will have his formal sit-down with the team on Thursday.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report stated earlier this week that Jackson appears to be team owner Vivek Ranadive‘s preferred choice for the position, and Amick has heard the same thing from sources close to the situation. However, the Kings insist Ranadive isn’t putting his thumb on the scale and that general manager Monte McNair will be given the opportunity to make the final decision, says Amick.

There have been recent reports indicating that McNair has been given more authority and power in the Kings’ organization than previous heads of basketball operations under Ranadive. Amick suggests that the team’s decision to let Joe Dumars walk rather than promoting him to a level above McNair is a signal that Ranadive is showing support for his GM.

One of three teams currently seeking a new head coach, the Kings appear on track to finalize a hire before the Hornets or Lakers complete their respective searches.

And-Ones: Coaching Candidates, Kirkwood, Garuba, Embiid

Suns assistant Kevin Young, Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee, Celtics assistant Will Hardy, Grizzlies assistant Darko Rajakovic, Heat assistants Chris Quinn and Malik Allen, and Warriors assistants Mike Brown and Kenny Atkinson are among the assistants around the NBA who are viewed as potential head coaching candidates by league insiders, according to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz (Insider-only link).

A number of the names on Arnovitz’s list have been linked to one or more of the NBA’s three current head coaching openings. Ham and Brown, for instance, all believed to be under consideration by all three of the Hornets, Lakers, and Kings.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Harvard senior guard Noah Kirkwood, who declared for the 2022 NBA draft as an early entrant, has decided to remain in the draft and go pro rather than using his final year of college eligibility, according to agent Ronnie Zeidel (Twitter link via Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports).
  • Rockets forward/center Usman Garuba said in an interview with Spanish outlet AS.com that he’s committed to representing Spain at this year’s EuroBasket competition, as Eurohoops relays.
  • In an intriguing bit of international basketball news, an RMC Sport report indicates that Sixers center Joel Embiid is exploring the possibility of obtaining French citizenship and representing France in future international events. Embiid was born in Cameroon, but has family from France and has never suited up for the Cameroonian national team.

Hornets Rumors: Jordan, Kupchak, Head Coach Candidates

The decision to fire former Hornets head coach James Borrego apparently came from owner Michael Jordan, not president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. This contradicts a report last month that Kupchak was the driving force behind the move.

Sources tell Fischer that Jordan was unhappy with Charlotte’s poor defense, which fell from 16th in 2020/21 to 22nd this season. The Hornets also gave up 144 points to Indiana in last season’s play-in tournament and then 132 to Atlanta this season, both blowout losses.

The Hornets are in the early stages of their search to fill the coaching vacancy, Fischer writes. Kupchak has been mulling over candidates and is acting as though he’ll remain in charge of the team’s basketball operations even though his contract expires after the season, sources tell Fischer.

The team has discussed finding someone to eventually succeed Kupchak for years, but the Hornets want him to remain in place for at least the short term, assuming the two sides can work out their difference of opinion regarding salary, which sounds like a formality.

Prior to Adrian Wojnarowski’s report that the Hornets will interview Mike D’Antoni, Kenny Atkinson, Darvin Ham and Sean Sweeney for their head coaching job, Fischer explored some possible candidates, including D’Antoni and Atkinson.

Like the Kings, the Hornets are also searching for someone with previous head coaching experience. League sources tell Fischer that former Rockets head coach D’Antoni, Warriors assistants Mike Brown and Atkinson, and Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse are potential candidates for the opening. Brown holds previous head coaching experience with the Cavaliers and Lakers and is a finalist for Sacramento’s job, while Atkinson was Brooklyn’s lead coach from 2016-20.

Fischer notes that D’Antoni has frequently been linked to the Sixers since Daryl Morey became president of basketball operations, but the team has consistently maintained that head coach Doc Rivers and the front office are aligned on their shared vision of the future. Rivers still is still owed an additional $24MM over three years following this season, so even if Morey did want to fire him, that would be a bitter pill for Philadelphia’s ownership to swallow, Fischer observes.

Echoing a report from Marc Stein, Fischer says one more name to keep an eye on for the Hornets is Jazz coach Quin Snyder, who still has one year remaining on his contract with Utah. Synder previously worked under Kupchak’s front office as a Lakers assistant and has ties to North Carolina — he played for Duke in college and was an assistant coach there prior to becoming Missouri’s head coach.

Snyder has repeatedly been linked to the Lakers‘ opening, but several sources tell Fischer that L.A. doesn’t appeal to Utah’s head coach.

Mark Jackson Frontrunner To Become New Kings Coach?

The Kings are interviewing the three finalistsMark Jackson, Steve Clifford and Mike Brown — for their vacant head coaching position this week, and it looks as if one might have the upper hand. League sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report that Jackson appears to be the frontrunner for the job and the favored choice of owner Vivek Ranadive.

Ranadive, who was the vice chairman of the Warriors when Jackson was their head coach from 2011-14, has long been an admirer of Jackson and pushed Sacramento’s front office to consider him for the lead assistant/associate head coach position that ultimately went to Alvin Gentry in 2020, sources tell Fischer.

It has been previously reported that the Kings are searching for a defensive-minded coach with previous head coaching experience, and all three finalists check those boxes. However, Ranadive is said to be looking for a vocal, public face for the franchise to create a day-to-day identity, according to Fischer, who notes that Jackson is popular among players.

A report last month indicated that LeBron James would be “enthused” to see Jackson as a candidate for the Lakers‘ vacancy, and sources tell Fischer that LaMelo Ball also favors Jackson for the Hornets‘ opening.

One major wrinkle to the notion that Jackson appears to be the favored choice of Ranadive is that the owner has repeatedly told colleagues around the league that general manager Monte McNair has full authority over the team’s basketball operations. Fischer points out that the decision to fire Luke Walton early in the season came from McNair, not Ranadive.

McNair appears to be leaning toward Brown as his top candidate for the position, multiple sources tell Fischer. Brown also has Warriors ties – he has been an assistant coach for Golden State for the past six years – and used to work with Kings assistant GM Wes Wilcox when the two were with Cleveland.

Fischer writes that if Jackson isn’t selected for the position, it could be partly because Joe Dumars left the organization to work in the league office — Dumars wanted to hire Jackson to become Detroit’s head coach in 2011. Dumors reportedly wanted more control over Sacramento’s front office, with McNair reporting to him instead of Ranadive, but the owner wasn’t interested in that arrangement.

As for former interim head coach Gentry, sources tell Bleacher Report that he’s been offered a role in Sacramento’s front office, but Gentry is looking into pursuing a job as a consultant, similar to the role Clifford recently held with the Nets.