Mike Woodson

Fallout From Failed Negotiations Between Lakers, Lue

Contract length was the main point of contention that prevented Tyronn Lue from becoming the Lakers’ next coach, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. L.A. was offering Lue $18MM over three years, which would line up with LeBron James‘ remaining commitment to the team. Lue was “insulted” that the Lakers viewed him as just a coach for LeBron and was seeking a five-year deal.

A source tells Shelburne that GM Rob Pelinka didn’t believe negotiations would collapse because Lue doesn’t have interest from any other teams (Twitter link). However, the Cavaliers still owe Lue about $10MM and he didn’t want to risk losing money by taking an offer that he considered below his market value. He also believes his experience coaching at a championship level warrants a longer commitment.

There’s more this morning on the Lue situation:

  • Talks also broke down because of the Lakers’ insistence on having the final say on Lue’s assistant coaches, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times. Lue was willing to make former Pacers and Magic head coach Frank Vogel his top assistant, sources tell Stein, but management wanted him to put Jason Kidd on the staff as well after he performed well in an interview. Stein also reports that two advisers to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss feared that the team would be giving James too much power by hiring Lue.
  • Former Lakers player Kurt Rambis, who now serves as an adviser, has expanded his power in the organization and is playing a critical role in the coaching search, relays Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
  • Buss made a mistake by letting Pelinka assume too much power after team president Magic Johnson resigned, contends Bill Oram of The Athletic. Lue was the only available candidate who has experience coaching James and was willing to sign up for another round, Oram notes, and Pelinka couldn’t get a deal done. He states that Buss should have found someone to serve as president of basketball operations and let him hire a GM and conduct the coaching search. Instead, she trusted the organization to Kobe Bryant‘s former agent.
  • The new coaching candidates — Vogel, Mike Woodson and Lionel Hollins, won’t inspire Lakers fans or help to satisfy James, who has just two years left before he can opt out of his contract, Oram adds. He also wonders how much ineptitude James is willing to put up with before he demands to be traded to a better-run organization.
  • Lue’s plans for the Lakers would have looked very similar to how he utilized James in Cleveland, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Lue believes LeBron is most effective in a structured offense where he has an order of options to follow depending on how the defense reacts. Under Luke Walton, the Lakers used more of a random approach where four players had the option to push the ball up court, while the others were instructed to fill lanes on the fast break. Lue told management he would have arranged the minutes for James and Brandon Ingram so that one was always on the court.

Tyronn Lue Won’t Be Lakers’ Next Coach

6:19pm: The Lakers will start fresh in their coaching search, with former NBA coaches Lionel Hollins, Frank Vogel and Mike Woodson to be considered, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

5:50pm: After a report of an impasse in contract negotiations between Tyronn Lue and the Lakers, both sides have decided to move on.

A team source tells Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times that the organization has determined Lue isn’t the “right long-term fit” (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times tweets that Lue and his representatives informed the Lakers that he has withdrawn his name from consideration, offering thanks to the team for including him in the interview process.

Lue turned down the Lakers’ offer of $18MM over three years, Turner adds (Twitter link). A source says Lue was asking for a five-year contract. Lue is still owed $10MM by the Cavaliers, points out ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and could lose money by agreeing to a deal that’s below his market value.

Lue was the top choice of Lakers star LeBron James, Wojnarowski adds, but Lakers brass was also sold on Lue for his experience in coaching in three NBA Finals, along with his title history as a player in L.A.

Sources tell Woj that GM Rob Pelinka and front office advisor Kurt Rambis were very impressed with Kidd when they interviewed him and were insisting that he become part of Lue’s staff. They view Kidd as a valuable mentor for Lonzo Ball and liked the way he developed young talent in Milwaukee. Sources don’t believe Lue was opposed to Kidd joining the staff, but the two men hadn’t discussed the possibility.

It’s not clear now if Kidd becomes the favorite to take the head coaching job or if the Lakers will start the interview process again. Along with Lue and Kidd, they talked to Sixers assistant Monty Williams, who will be the next head coach in Phoenix, and Heat assistant Juwan Howard.

Suns To Hire Mike Woodson As Top Assistant?

6:57pm: The Suns are interviewing Woodson in Phoenix to discuss the possibility of joining Kokoskov’s staff as the lead assistant but a decision has not been made, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

6:05pm: Mike Woodson will be the lead assistant for new Suns coach Igor Kokoskov, according to longtime Arizona radio host John Gambadoro.

Kokoskov and Woodson have a connection that goes back to the Pistons’ championship 2004 season, when both were on Larry Brown’s staff. Kokoskov became the first European-born NBA head coach when Phoenix hired him earlier this month.

Woodson became available when the Clippers decided not to bring him back. He had been a lead assistant on Doc Rivers’ staff since 2014. Woodson brings a valuable veteran presence to Kokoskov’s staff. Woodson has been a head coach with the Hawks (2004-10) and Knicks (2010-14), who also interviewed him last month for the job that eventually went to David Fizdale.

Woodson had a 315-365 record during the regular season as a head coach.

Mike Woodson Not Returning To Clippers

After serving as a top lieutenant for Doc Rivers in Los Angeles since 2014, Mike Woodson won’t be returning to the Clippers for the 2018/19 season, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). With Woodson out of the picture, the Clips will be seeking a “top-level, defensive-minded” assistant to replace him, Wojnarowski adds.

A veteran coach who has previously held the top jobs in Atlanta and New York, Woodson interviewed for the Knicks’ vacancy last month, but was never viewed as a serious contender to land that position. A reunion with the Knicks remains a distinct possibility, however, as Woodson indicated recently he’d be open to the idea of serving on David Fizdale‘s staff in New York. At the time, Fizdale was viewed as a frontrunner for the Knicks’ job, but hadn’t yet been hired.

Since formally being named the Knicks’ new head coach, Fizdale has reportedly started filling out his staff. Keith Smart and Nick Van Exel, two of Fizdale’s assistants in Memphis, are expected to join the Knicks as assistants.

As for the Clippers, it’s not clear yet who they’ll target as Woodson’s replacement, but it appears Rivers will return for at least one more year in L.A.

Knicks Notes: Fizdale, Woodson, Ntilikina, M. Bridges

Knicks coach David Fizdale is confident he can make New York a popular free agent destination again, but he knows it will take time and success, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Fizdale isn’t addressing questions about the top free agent on the market, LeBron James, whom he worked with for four years as an assistant coach in Miami, but he knows the city can be a strong selling point if the Knicks get competitive again.

“[Free agents] are not just going to go there to live in New York City,’’ Fizdale said. “You’re going there to be in a culture. When you start showing that through action, players are going to come. New York is a special place.”

During a series of media appearances, Fizdale promised that once that culture is instilled, the team will be able to attract “the right players here to take us to another level.’’

There’s more tonight out of New York:

  • During an appearance on MSG Network, Fizdale singled out Clippers assistant Mike Woodson as one of his most important influences, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN. Woodson, who hired Fizdale as an assistant in Atlanta, has expressed interest in joining Fizdale’s staff if Doc Rivers isn’t retained in L.A. “Mike Woodson was really the person who instilled a work ethic,” Fizdale said. “Understanding that no matter what’s going on around you, you have to bring a certain work ethic and really check your ego at the door because when you’re going through 13-win seasons, 26-win seasons [in Atlanta] and getting to places like that, there’s no room for ego.”
  • Fizdale is excited to begin working with last year’s first-rounder, Frank Ntilikina, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Ntilikina saw time at both backcourt positions last season, which isn’t an issue for Fizdale, who envisions “positionless basketball” with Ntilikina possibly sharing the court with fellow point guards Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke.
  • Fizdale made a couple of eye-opening comparisons during an appearance today on WFAN, Bondy tweets. He said he coached players like Mudiay before, citing Dwyane Wade and Tyreke Evans as examples, then compared Lance Thomas with Draymond Green.
  • Villanova’s Mikal Bridges would enjoy having Madison Square Garden as his home court if he gets drafted by the Knicks. In an interview tweeted by DraftExpressContent, Bridges says he enjoyed the surroundings during the Wildcats’ frequent trips to the Garden. “Great atmosphere, great venue, lot of great things happening here,” he said.

Juwan Howard Unlikely To Join Fizdale In New York

Heat assistant Juwan Howard isn’t expected to join David Fizdale’s staff with the Knicks, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now.

Fizdale may want to bring Howard aboard, but he remains under contract to the Heat. They would have to give him permission to leave, which Begley calls “highly unlikely.” Howard, who also interviewed for the head coaching job in New York, worked with Fizdale for several years in Miami, both as a player and a fellow assistant. He has been a Heat assistant since his playing career ended five years ago.

Begley confirms that Keith Smart, who worked with Fizdale in Memphis and Miami, is expected to join his staff. Another strong candidate is Clippers assistant Mike Woodson, who also interviewed to be the Knicks’ head coach and expressed a willingness this week to be part of Fizdale’s staff if he got the job.

Another possibility Begley mentions is Adam Johansen, a scout for the Grizzlies who also spent time with the Heat while Fizdale was there.

Woodson Willing To Serve As Assistant To Fizdale With Knicks

Mike Woodson is among 11 candidates who interviewed for the Knicks’ head coaching job, but he would be happy as an assistant if David Fizdale is hired, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Fizdale is reportedly among the favorites, along with Mike Budenholzer and David Blatt, as the Knicks get closer to a decision. Woodson is currently the top assistant with the Clippers, but Doc Rivers isn’t certain to return next season and Woodson said he would listen if offered a similar post under Fizdale in New York.

“I love David. I gave him his first job on the bench — I know he worked one season before in Golden State,” he said. “We’re very close. I’m sure he would call.’’

Fizdale, who is set to interview with the Magic, has also talked to the Hornets and Hawks, along with the Suns, who will fill their vacancy with Igor Kokoskov. Fizdale spent four seasons as Woodson’s assistant in Atlanta and they share an agent, so they have a good working relationship.

If Fizdale does come to New York, he may not have access to all the assistants he had in Memphis, which decided to keep interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff, Berman adds. That group is made up of Keith Smart, Bob Bender, Nick Van Exel, Greg Buckner and Adam Mazarei. Heat assistant Juwan Howard, who worked with Fizdale in Miami and interviewed for the Knicks’ opening as well, could be a candidate for Fizdale’s staff.

Woodson called his interview with Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry a “great meeting,” adding that “everyone’s just waiting.”

Knicks Interview Mike Brown, Aim To Hire New Coach Soon

The Knicks have completed their interviews for their head coaching vacancy, and will huddle this week to attempt to reach a consensus on Jeff Hornacek‘s replacement, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. According to Woj, the club hopes to have a new head coach hired by the end of the week.

As Wojnarowski details, the Knicks conducted one final interview in addition to the meetings that have already been reported, speaking to Warriors assistant Mike Brown about their head coaching position. That brings New York’s list of reported candidates to 11 names. They are as follows, in alphabetical order:

  1. David Blatt (former Cavaliers head coach)
  2. James Borrego (Spurs assistant)
  3. Mike Brown (Warriors assistant; former Cavaliers head coach)
  4. Mike Budenholzer (former Hawks head coach)
  5. David Fizdale (former Grizzlies head coach)
  6. Juwan Howard (Heat assistant)
  7. Mark Jackson (ESPN analyst; former Warriors head coach)
  8. Jay Larranaga (Celtics assistant)
  9. Kenny Smith (TNT analyst)
  10. Jerry Stackhouse (Raptors 905 head coach)
  11. Mike Woodson (Clippers assistant; former Knicks head coach)

Budenholzer and Blatt have generated the most buzz as potential targets for the Knicks, while Fizdale, Stackhouse, and Jackson were initially considered among the club’s top tier as well.

If the Knicks do name a new head coach this week, they’ll likely become the first team to complete a full-fledged search this offseason. The Grizzlies became the first team to hire a new permanent head coach last week, but they didn’t consider outside options, opting instead to promote J.B. Bickerstaff from the interim role.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks’ HC Search, Celtics, Embiid

Following up on Wednesday’s report that the Knicks will interview Kenny Smith for their head coaching position, Marc Berman of The New York Post classifies the TNT analyst as a long shot, suggesting that it may simply be a “courtesy interview,” unless Smith has interest in joining the coaching staff as an assistant.

A job as an assistant is also a possibility for Mike Woodson, according to Berman, who writes that there has been speculation about a scenario in which the Knicks hire Mark Jackson as their new head coach and bring aboard Woodson as Jackson’s top assistant.

The Knicks continue to go through the interview process, so it’s probably too early to suggest that the team is leaning toward a single candidate, but it still seems as if Jackson, David Fizdale, and David Blatt represent the top options for the club. Jerry Stackhouse was reported to be a part of the Knicks’ “top tier” of candidates too, but Berman’s sources suggest Stackhouse may be the top choice for the Magic.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Kyrie Irving blockbuster and the Celtics‘ lack of activity at the trade deadline generated most of the headlines during the 2017/18 league year, but Danny Ainge has done a nice job filling out the roster with under-the-radar acquisitions, writes Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com. Forsberg points to the signings of players like Aron Baynes, Shane Larkin, and Daniel Theis as moves that paid off for Boston.
  • While the Celtics have done an admirable job complementing their big veteran contracts with affordable rookie deals, the team will have to look ahead and consider which players are long-term keepers when their youngsters start getting second contracts, tweets Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports. As Mannix notes, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier will be up for raises soon, with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to follow down the road.
  • While the Sixers and Joel Embiid – who remains doubtful to play in Game 3 – would both love to see the franchise center on the court during the team’s first-round series against the Heat, his orbital bone injury is “no joke,” writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Given the risk of further damage to Embiid’s eye, the 76ers are right to play it safe with Embiid this year, in Pompey’s view. That’s especially true when considering Philadelphia’s long-term investment in the young big man — his maximum-salary extension goes into effect in 2018/19.
    (Note: Embiid has been upgraded to probable for Game 3 — 3:55pm)

Knicks Notes: Coaching Search, O’Quinn, Noah

The Knicks aren’t afraid to take their time as they look for their next coach, according to Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. Today was Mark Jackson‘s turn to interview with team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry in Los Angeles, one day after Jerry Stackhouse. News broke tonight that TNT analyst Kenny Smith will be interviewed Friday. Sessions are also scheduled for David Fizdale, Mike Woodson and David Blatt, and Isola states that more candidates could emerge.

Fizdale had an interview today with the Suns and seems to have emerged as the most popular coach on the market. He has a connection with James Jones, a former Heat player who now works in the Phoenix front office and is reportedly a strong advocate for Fizdale. The Knicks are attracted to Fizdale because he has experience with a winning organization in Miami and he has a strong connection to LeBron James, whom the Knicks haven’t given up hope of someday acquiring, Isola adds.

There’s more tonight from New York:

  • Jackson’s aversion to analytics may doom his chances with the Knicks, writes Gary Peterson of The San Jose Mercury News. Jackson had a reputation as an old-school coach with the Warriors and was often dismissive of modern techniques. “The [Golden State] analytics staff encountered more resistance than they anticipated,” said Erik Malinowski, author of a book on the building of the Warriors.
  • Backup center Kyle O’Quinn isn’t ready to make a decision on his player option, relays Jordan Lauterbach of Newsday. O’Quinn, who recently changed agents, will earn $4.26MM if he decides to opt in for next season. “I came into the season, I don’t want to say without a role, but knowing that anything can happen,” he said. “Whether it be trade talks or things like that, I think I handled it well by putting myself in a solid position where I could display what I could do.”
  • The Knicks should resist the temptation to stretch Joakim Noah‘s contract over the next five seasons, advises Bobby Marks of ESPN. Marks points to Deron Williams in Brooklyn and Josh Smith in Detroit as instances where teams have regretted compromising their long-term flexibility. Marks also recommends delaying an extension for Kristaps Porzingis to create more cap room for next summer.