Mike Woodson

Pacific Notes: George, Bogdanovic, Pachulia, Woodson

Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel tried to serve as a Lakers recruiter with guest Paul George Monday night, relays Scott Horner of The Indianapolis Star. George can opt out of his contract next summer and is rumored to have strong interest in playing in his hometown of Los Angeles. “We would really like him to become a Laker,” Kimmel said in his introduction, then asked George several questions about joining the team. George talked about his plans to work out with Kobe Bryant this summer and said the former Lakers star is “the biggest person in my house. Not even me.” He made sure to tell Kimmel, “I love Indy, though,” leaving some doubt about how his free agency might play out next year.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • Serbian star Bogdan Bogdanovic turned aside the latest question about whether he will join the Kings next season, according to Noel Harris of The Sacramento Bee. The inquiry came in an interview Monday with Turkish television. “I don’t like to talk about that during the season,” he said. “I have my goals here.” Bogdanovic has led his Fenerbahce Istanbul team to the Euroleague Final Four, earning all-league honors in the process. The Kings acquired his draft rights from the Suns in a trade last summer. “My interest is not only money,” he added. “I want to prove that I can play in the NBA. I don’t want to go there to sit on a bench.”
  • After being blasted by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for his role in injuring Kawhi Leonard, Warriors center Zaza Pachulia received some support from a former employer, writes Monte Poole of CSNBayArea. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban came to Pachulia’s defense, saying, “That’s not how Zaza plays.”
  • Clippers assistant Mike Woodson, who coached Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks, would be in favor of acquiring him this summer, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN.com. “I love Carmelo Anthony, that’s all I’m gonna say,” Woodson said in an interview with TMZ“… He was great for me.” Woodson took over the Knicks midway through the 2011/12 season and served as head coach through 2013/14.

Coaching Notes: Thompson, Ewing, Calipari, L. Brown

After 13 seasons at Georgetown, John Thompson III is out as the team’s head coach, the school confirmed today (Twitter link via Gene Wang of The Washington Post). With the Hoyas’ job now open, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical notes (via Twitter) that Hornets associate head coach Patrick Ewing has never had much interest in NCAA jobs, but it’s possible that the Georgetown job “gives him pause.” According to Wojnarowski (Twitter links), Ewing remains close and loyal to the Thompson family, and came close to landing an NBA job last offseason, so he may very well continue to focus on landing an NBA head coaching job.

Let’s round up a few more coaching-related odds and ends from around the basketball world…

  • Kentucky head coach John Calipari signed another extension with the Wildcats, according to school, which announced in a press release that the two-year amendment to Calipari’s current contract locks him up through March 30, 2024. Calipari’s name occasionally pops up in NBA head coaching rumors, but it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere anytime soon.
  • Another former NBA coach appears to be seeking out a college job, as Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets that Larry Brown is trying to align himself as an assistant as part of Mike Woodson‘s candidacy for Indiana University’s job. Indiana isn’t interested, per Wojnarowski.
  • Meanwhile, Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports reports that LIU-Brooklyn reached out to Brown about the school’s head coaching job, and the two sides are expected to meet soon. However, a source tells ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that the interest is from Brown’s side, and LIU-Brooklyn doesn’t consider him a “viable candidate.”
  • This could be the first NBA season in more than 50 years in which no team makes an in-season coaching change, which amazes Magic head coach Frank Vogel, as John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com details. “The fact that no one has, it’s a shock,” Vogel said. “It’s been overly volatile and unreasonably so, quite frankly, over the last five-to-10 years in particular. (No firings) is something that is great for our profession. I think teams need to understand that continuity is important. Everybody wants to win now, but there is strength in continuity.”

Latest on Dave Joerger, Kings

The sudden availability of Dave Joerger has shaken up the timing of the Kings’ coaching search, reports Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Joerger, who will meet with Sacramento officials today, is among roughly two dozen candidates to formally interview or speak with GM/executive Vlade Divac about the position. Voisin writes that Divac plans to choose three or four finalists in the next few days and present that list to the Kings’ front office. Divac had hoped to fill the vacancy before leaving for the pre-draft camp in Chicago later this week, but the dismissals of Joerger in Memphis and Frank Vogel in Indiana forced him to alter the schedule to take a look at both candidates. According to Voisin, Divac has also been trying to schedule a meeting with Spurs assistant Ettore Messina during downtime in the San Antonio-Oklahoma City playoff series. She lists Joerger, Vogel and Messina among the front-runners to be the Kings’ next coach, along with Mike Woodson and Nate McMillan. Portland coach Terry Stotts is a possible darkhorse if the Blazers aren’t willing to extend his contract.

There’s more news this morning on the Joerger front:

  • Dissension between Joerger and the Grizzlies had been building throughout the season, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Joerger, who had just one guaranteed year left on his Memphis contract, reportedly angered team officials when he called the roster “a little bit old” earlier this season. More recently, Joerger told Memphis-area reporters that he wouldn’t be talking them them until July because he wasn’t part of the group preparing for the draft. Joerger’s request to be allowed to interview for coaching positions in Sacramento and Houston apparently sealed his fate in Memphis.
  • Joerger’s meeting with the Kings seems like a “mere formality,” tweets TNT’s David Aldridge, who hears that the team is prepared to make a three-year offer worth $12MM.
  • The arrangement between Joerger and Sacramento is virtually a done deal, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, who adds that it would take a “screeching halt” for Joerger not to get the job.
  • Joerger made a wise career move by orchestrating his firing in Memphis, writes Tom Ziller of SB Nation. Owner Robert Pera never believed in Joerger and tried to undermine him from the time he replaced Lionel Hollins in 2013, according to Ziller. That’s why Joerger has been requesting permission to interview with other franchises, starting with the Wolves in 2014. Ziller points out that Joerger is now free to pursue an arrangement that will give him more money and security than he had with the Grizzlies.

Kings To Interview David Blatt

The Kings have scheduled an interview for early this week with former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Blatt was one of the first names connected to the Sacramento coaching vacancy and has been a rumored candidate for several jobs since Cleveland fired him in January.

Blatt met with the Knicks this week to discuss the possibility of replacing interim coach Kurt Rambis and was believed to be a candidate for the Lakers’ job before they hired Luke Walton. During his brief stay in Cleveland, Blatt led the Cavaliers to the 2015 NBA Finals and compiled an 83-40 record.

Blatt will be at least the fifth candidate to interview for the head coaching position, according to James Ham of CSNBayArea. Ham reports that Sam Mitchell, Mike Woodson, Kevin McHale and Vinny Del Negro have all gone through formal interviews.

Indiana assistant Nate McMillan may soon join that group, Ham reports, depending what the Pacers do in tonight’s Game 7 with the Raptors. McMillan has a 266-269 career record in 12 years as head coach of the SuperSonics and Blazers.

The Kings are also planning to interview Charlotte assistant Patrick Ewing, whose team was eliminated from the playoffs today. Ham says Mark Jackson of ESPN and Grizzlies assistant Elston Turner are also on the list to be interviewed.

Once the interviews are complete, GM/executive Vlade Divac plans to whittle the list down to three finalists that he will present to Sacramento management. Despite earlier reports that the Kings wanted to find a coach this week, Ham says there is no timetable. The organization has been without a coach since it fired George Karl after the season ended.

Kings Consider Henry Bibby; Morway Talks End

The Kings have reached out to former NBA assistant and USC head coach Henry Bibby about their head coaching vacancy, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee, who includes the information in a story about the team’s desire to meet with Warriors assistant Luke Walton. The team appears set to accelerate its coaching search, as Jones hears the Kings would like to make a hire by sometime next week (Twitter link), though that would require the team to drastically pare its wide-ranging list of candidates.

The Kings are meanwhile no longer engaged in talks with former Bucks and Pacers executive David Morway about a front office role that would have made him an assistant to Vice President of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac, sources tell The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). A deal with Morway was reportedly close as of late last month, when the Kings signed Divac to an extension. Sacramento has sought an experienced hand to pair with Divac, a front office neophyte.

Bibby, 66, joins a crowded field of Sacramento coaching candidates that also includes Grizzlies assistant Elston Turner, as Jones reported Tuesday. The Bee’s Ailene Voisin reported last week that Divac was inquiring about at least two college coaches, so perhaps Bibby is one of them. Still, the father of former Kings point guard Mike Bibby hasn’t been with USC since 2004, having more recently been an assistant for the Sixers, Grizzlies and Pistons. He was last on an NBA bench with Detroit for the 2013/14 season.

Walton appears much higher on Sacramento’s list of priorities, and while Voisin reported that Divac and Walton were expected to meet to discuss the job, Jones raises the possibility that Walton will decline to talk to the Kings about the vacancy. The team has already interviewed Sam Mitchell, Vinny Del Negro and, as Jones reports, Mike Woodson, whose meeting with the team had reportedly been imminent. The Kings intend to meet with Jeff Hornacek, too, as Jones wrote last week.

Kevin McHale is a serious contender and he and the Kings have had exploratory talks, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported earlier this week. The former Rockets coach is well-liked within the Sacramento organization and many consider him a front-runner for the job, according to James Ham of CSN California. The Kings would like to interview McHale, but, as of last week, he hadn’t decided whether he wants to talk, as Wojnarowski reported.

Mark Jackson, Brian Shaw, Ettore Messina, Ime Udoka, Nate McMillanMonty Williams, Jeff Van GundyPatrick Ewing, David Blatt and Jay Larranaga are the other reported candidates for the coaching job. Some people around the league think Kings assistant Corliss Williamson deserves an interview, Jones tweets, but it’s unclear if the team is considering him.

Pacific Rumors: CP3; Lakers, Kings Coaching Jobs

The Clippers suffered a devastating blow and the playoffs took another unexpected turn Monday when Chris Paul broke his right hand in Game 4 against the Trail Blazers, a Portland win that evened the first-round series. Paul is “most likely” out for the rest of the postseason, a source told ESPN’s J.A. Adande (ESPN Now link). A team source said much the same to Dan Woike of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). It’s possible a better prognosis will emerge after further tests, and the team will know more today, Adande and Woike report, but the Clippers are in rough shape. Blake Griffin is just “50-50” for the next game because of a sore left quadriceps tendon, coach Doc Rivers said, according to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com (Twitter link). It all adds up to a potential boost for the Warriors, who’ve lost Stephen Curry for at least two weeks with a sprained knee and will play either the Clippers or the Blazers in the next round, provided they dispatch the Rockets.

See more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers have reached out to Jeff Van Gundy about their coaching vacancy and he has interest, a source close to Van Gundy told Sam Amick of USA Today.
  • College coaches Roy Williams, John Calipari, Jay Wright and Tom Izzo are among the candidates the Lakers will consider, sources told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. Former Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek is also expected to be among those the Lakers will look at, ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst hears, as the website passes along in the same piece.
  • The Lakers felt they needed someone who’s on board with the modern NBA’s more perimeter-oriented style when they dismissed Byron Scott late Sunday, sources told Shelburne, and they would ideally like to hire a big-name coach on the upswing who has strong player development skills, a coaching source indicated to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
  • Vinny Del Negro‘s interview for the Kings head coaching job took place Monday, and Mike Woodson is expected to have his interview as soon as today, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. GM Vlade Divac has been in charge of the interviews and is expected to have the most influential say in the team’s eventual hiring, Wojnarowski adds.

Latest On Kings’ Coaching Search

Former Rockets coach Kevin McHale has emerged as a serious contender for the Kings’ vacant head coaching post, Marc Stein of ESPN.com relays. McHale and Sacramento executive Vlade Divac have engaged in exploratory discussions regarding the position, but the talks haven’t escalated to the point where a deal is imminent, Stein adds. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical first reported that Sacramento was interested in speaking with McHale as it looks to replace the fired George Karl.

The only official interview for the team’s vacant coaching slot thus far has been with former Timberwolves interim coach Sam Mitchell, though the team plans on sitting down with former Clippers and Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro later this week, Stein adds. Also said to be on the Kings’ list of candidates are former Hawks and Knicks coach Mike Woodson, former Warriors head man Mark Jackson, Pacers assistant Nate McMillan and former Suns coach Jeff Hornacek, the ESPN scribe notes. The Kings reportedly plan to interview Woodson and Hornacek. Sacramento apparently reached out to Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks prior to both men landing jobs last week and has also touched base with Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, Warriors assistant Luke Walton and former Cavs coach David Blatt, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee.

McHale, 57, had entered the 2015/16 season as the NBA’s fifth-longest tenured head coach, having taken over the Rockets in June 2011. Houston had a winning record in each of McHale’s full seasons, with last year’s 56-26 mark the best of his tenure. But a 4-7 start to the season as well as reported locker room issues led the Rockets to part ways with the former Celtics great. His .598 regular season winning percentage is the best of all-time among Rockets coaches. He was 193-130 in the regular season and 13-16 in the playoffs overall with the Rockets. McHale went 39-55 over two separate stints as coach of the Timberwolves in the 2000s, and he didn’t coach Minnesota in a postseason game.

Latest On Kings Coaching Search

THURSDAY, 5:34pm: McMillan intends to wait until the Pacers’ playoff run is over before interviewing for the Kings’ post, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.

6:50pm: There has been no official contact yet, but the Kings are also interested in former Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, reports Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter links). The interest is mutual, Amick says.

WEDNESDAY, 10:19am: Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton and Kings GM Vlade Divac are expected to meet to discuss Sacramento’s head coaching vacancy, likely after Golden State’s first-round playoff series with Houston, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Walton is “extremely fond” of Divac, who was briefly his Lakers teammate, and the location of Sacramento is increasingly appealing to Walton, who is fond of life in Northern California and has several close relatives in the Sacramento area, Voisin writes. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Monday that no team had asked permission to interview his top assistant, but Voisin reported Tuesday that Walton was among the coaches to whom the Kings had reached out.

Divac is especially interested in Walton, Spurs assistant Ettore Messina and NBA coaching veterans Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks, but he’s planned to speak with several others. Divac is inquiring about the interest of Monty Williams, Jeff Van Gundy, Spurs assistant Ime Udoka and at least two college coaches, among other names previously reported as Kings coaching targets, Voisin relays. The Kings are poised to interview Sam Mitchell, Vinny Del Negro and Mike Woodson, according to reports. Mitchell’s interview is to take place today, a source told The Bee’s Jason Jones.

Sacramento has natural appeal to Brooks, who’s from the nearby city of French Camp, California, but Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported last week that he’s not interested in coaching the Kings, with the Wizards apparently the front-runner for the former Thunder head coach. Thibodeau and Van Gundy, apparent co-favorites for the Timberwolves job, don’t want to coach Sacramento either, according to Wojnarowski.

The Kings have reached out to Messina, as Voisin reported previously, though Messina and fellow Spurs assistant Udoka are busy with the playoffs. Both were reportedly candidates for the Nets vacancy, with Udoka the apparent front-runner at one point before the job instead went to Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson, who also reportedly drew interest from the Kings.

Williams is a Thunder assistant but has been away from the team since his wife died in February. He won’t rejoin the team for the playoffs and, as The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater hears, he’s not expected to return to Oklahoma City for next season, either. Top free agent Kevin Durant has a close bond with Williams, the former Pelicans head coach.

Kevin McHale, Mark Jackson, David Blatt, Jeff Hornacek, Patrick Ewing, Nate McMillan and Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga are the other candidates in whom the Kings are reportedly interested. Sources who spoke with Marc Stein of ESPN.com have speculated that Heat assistant David Fizdale and former Cavs and Lakers coach Mike Brown could become Kings candidates as well.

Which of the many names mentioned here do you like best for the Kings? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Kings To Interview Sam Mitchell, Vinny Del Negro

8:05pm: The Kings’ first three interviews for their vacant coaching position will be with Jackson, Del Negro and former Wolves interim coach Sam Mitchell, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter).

TUESDAY, 2:50pm: The Kings are scheduled to interview Vinny Del Negro next week, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports, confirming a tweet from Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee that indicated as much. They’d like to interview Kevin McHale, but he hasn’t decided whether he’ll meet with the team, league sources told Wojnarowski, who earlier reported the team plans to interview Mike Woodson. The team is expected to meet with a handful of candidates for initial interviews before moving on to the next stage of its search, Wojnarowski hears.

Del Negro’s name emerged among several in the mix for the Kings job when Wojnarowski reported his candidacy last week. Sacramento reportedly contacted Del Negro for its vacancy in December 2014, shortly after firing Michael Malone, but since then, the Kings have had two head coaches, and Vlade Divac succeeded Pete D’Alessandro as the front office chief.

Sacramento has reached out to Tom Thibodeau, Scott Brooks, Ettore Messina, Luke Walton and David Blatt in addition to Del Negro and Woodson, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link), though Thibodeau and Brooks appear to be long shots, at best. Jeff Hornacek, Mark Jackson, Patrick Ewing, Nate McMillan and Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga are others in whom the team reportedly has interest as it seeks a replacement for the fired George Karl.

Experience appears to be a key for Divac as he looks at candidates, and Del Negro fits that bill. The 49-year-old is 210-184 in five seasons as an NBA head coach, split between the Bulls and the Clippers.

Kings To Interview Mike Woodson

The Kings plan to interview Clippers assistant Mike Woodson for their head coaching job, sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. The Clippers have granted permission for the interview to take place, Wojnarowski hears.

Sacramento reportedly has interest in several candidates, and the team is seeking an experienced replacement for the fired George Karl, as GM Vlade Divac indicated. The sense within the organization is that the team is willing to test the market for DeMarcus Cousins, as Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee wrote, but regardless of whether Cousins is around, whomever the Kings hire will face a daunting task. The franchise hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006.

Woodson ended an eight-year playoff drought for the Hawks in 2008, his win total improving in each of his six seasons as coach of Atlanta. He later coached the Knicks, guiding them to 54 wins in 2012/13, the team’s last playoff season. Still, the 58-year-old is just 315-365 in the regular season and 18-28 in the playoffs as an NBA head coach. The Magic interviewed Woodson last year before hiring Scott Skiles, and while another report suggested Woodson also interviewed with the Nuggets for the job that ultimately went to Michael Malone, that’s not entirely clear.

David Blatt, Vinny Del Negro, Jeff Hornacek, Celtics assistant Jay LarranagaKevin McHale, Mark Jackson, Patrick Ewing and Nate McMillan are others in whom the Kings reportedly have interest. They’re also apparently fond of Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks but understand they’re not likely to end up in Sacramento.