Mike Zarren

Wizards Notes: Robinson, GM Search, Satoransky, Green

The incident that led to Devin Robinson‘s dismissal from the Wizards was a fight with Jalen Mills of the Philadelphia Eagles outside a Washington, D.C., nightclub early this morning, reports Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The Wizards issued a statement after the altercation saying they won’t extend a qualifying offer to the two-way player for next season.

Robinson and Mills were both arrested after the fight, which D.C. police say began with a verbal altercation. They wound up trading punches outside the Opera Ultra Lounge at 2:56am, resulting in Robinson being taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The 24-year-old recently returned from a hip injury that sidelined him for two months. He appeared in seven NBA games this season and one last year. Robinson’s agent refused to comment on the incident.

There’s more Wizards news to pass along:

  • David Griffin’s decision to join the Pelicans removes the potential top candidate in Washington’s search for a new GM, according to Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington. Losing out on Griffin may improve the chances that senior VP of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard will be promoted to the GM’s role, but the Wizards won’t be in a hurry to make a move. Owner Ted Leonsis said he plans to reflect on the situation for about three weeks while consulting with a search firm.
  • Danny Ferry, who served as interim GM in New Orleans and is the son of former Bullets GM Bob Ferry, has been mentioned as a possibility for the Wizards, along with Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon, who was also a candidate for the Pelicans’ job. Nuggets president Tim Connelly, Thunder VP of basketball operations Troy Weaver and Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren may also receive consideration, but Standig doesn’t believe Zarren is likely to leave Boston.
  • No matter what happens with restricted free agent Tomas Satoransky, he’s sure of which position he wants to play, Standig relays in a separate story“I’m a point guard. I’m definitely a point guard. I will never be agreeing with someone that tells me otherwise,” he said. That’s where the Wizards used him after John Wall‘s season-ending injury and what his role projects to be if he returns to Washington with Wall possibly sidelined for all of next year. Standig states that management approached Satoransky about a long-term deal at mid-season, but he and his representatives preferred to test the free agent waters.
  • Jeff Green, who is headed for unrestricted free agency after signing a one-year deal last summer, enjoyed the chance to play in his hometown, he says in a video interview tweeted by the team.

Wizards Expected To Keep Scott Brooks As Coach

The shakeup in Washington won’t include head coach Scott Brooks, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic. The Wizards fired GM Ernie Grunfeld yesterday as the first step in what could be a massive housecleaning, but multiple sources tell Aldridge that Brooks’ job remains safe.

Brooks has a 124-118 record since taking over in Washington in 2016. He still has two years left on his five-year, $35MM contract, so there’s a financial incentive for the franchise to keep him around. This will be the first time the Wizards will miss the playoffs under his guidance.

“I’ve spent one-on-one time with Scott just to tell him I expect us to do, work hard and play hard and continue to give the fans their money’s worth,” owner Ted Leonsis said Tuesday.

There’s more today on the shakeup in Washington:

  • Nuggets executive Tim Connelly is believed to be the top candidate to replace Grunfeld, but the Wizards will strongly consider promoting VP of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard, confirms Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington. Leonsis told reporters that Sheppard, who has been with the organization for 16 years, will get a shot at the GM post. “I’ve told Tommy it’s not lip service, you’re highly regarded and there’s other teams that want to talk to Tommy and when the time comes, we will interview for the top job,” Leonsis said. Sheppard is also reportedly being considered for the Pelicans’ open GM spot.
  • League sources tell Standig that others names to watch in the GM search are Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren and Pelicans interim GM Danny Ferry. Other possibilities include former Cavaliers GM David Griffin and Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon.
  • Figuring out what to do with the backcourt will be the greatest challenge for the new GM, notes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. John Wall may miss all of next season with a ruptured Achilles while making $37.8MM in the first year of his supermax contract, while Bradley Beal will be eligible for a supermax of his own this summer if he makes an All-NBA team. If the Wizards decide to rebuild, Beal could find himself on the trade market.
  • Grunfeld’s most significant mistake was targeting Kevin Durant in free agency in 2016 and not having a backup plan ready when he signed with the Warriors, Aldridge contends in the Athletic piece. Grunfeld spent two years clearing cap space to make a run at Durant, who never gave the team serious consideration. That meant parting with solid players such as Nene and Trevor Ariza. Grunfeld tried to sign Al Horford after not getting a meeting with Durant, but then gave $64MM to Ian Mahinmi and $26MM to Andrew Nicholson.

Stein’s Latest: Lakers, GM Openings, Sixers

Marc Stein of the New York Times released his latest newsletter today (subscribe here) and it’s filled with a handful of nuggets on coaching and front office movement. We passed along the latest on the Timberwolves’ management earlier today. Here’s the rest of the highlights from Stein’s latest newsletter:

  • The Lakers have interest in nabbing Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle to the same position, Stein writes. Los Angeles is widely expected to let Luke Walton go at the end of the season.
  • Tyronn Lue is believed to be a top candidate for the Lakers‘ job, Stein hears from coaches within the league, citing Lue’s “presumed acceptance” from LeBron James. Lue coached James for two-and-a-half seasons in Cleveland, helping to bring the franchise its lone NBA championship.
  • Mike Zarren of the Celtics and Bucks executive Milt Newton are two names to watch out for with GM positions opening up, Stein hears. Zarren figures to be considered by the Pelicans (currently being run by interim GM Danny Ferry), and could also be a candidate for the Wizards, should owner Ted Leonsis decided to dismiss longtime executive Ernie Grunfeld.
  • The Sixers would be smart to keep the core of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, and Tobias Harris together if they win the Eastern Conference, though Stein believes the chatter to break them up will intensify if they fail to reach that goal. Both Butler and Harris will be free agents this summer.

Pelicans Rumors: Griffin, Front Office, Davis

Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin is among the possible preliminary candidates to replace Dell Demps as the Pelicans‘ GM, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren may also be a target for New Orleans, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Team owner Gayle Benson, who wants to find a pathway to sustainable success in a small market, intends to be aggressive in pursuing the “best available candidates” to run the club’s basketball operations, according to Wojnarowski.

[RELATED: Pelicans parting ways with GM Dell Demps]

Elsewhere in his full report on Demps’ dismissal, Wojnarowski relays that Benson is looking to take back control of the Pelicans from the “outside forces” she believes have tried to push the franchise in a direction that isn’t in the club’s best interests.

While Woj doesn’t get into specifics, it seems safe to assume that’s a reference to the efforts Anthony Davis‘ camp made to get him moved to the Lakers prior to the trade deadline.

Here’s more on the Pelicans and their front office shakeup:

  • The determination to fire Demps was made by Benson, making it the first major decision of her tenure as Pelicans owner, tweets Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune.
  • The Pelicans have known for weeks that Demps would likely need to be replaced, according to Scott Kushner of The Advocate, who says (via Twitter) that the club had initially hoped to wait until the end of the season to finalize its decision.
  • Kushner also suggests (via Twitter) that today’s move makes it clear that the Lakers/Davis saga leading up to the deadline was controlled by team ownership rather than Demps, since the club wouldn’t have let him make the final call on a decision of that magnitude if he was about to be fired.
  • Prior to Demps’ dismissal, Chris Mannix of SI.com dropped an interesting tidbit in a story about Davis and the Pelicans, citing sources who said that New Orleans may have been more open to dealing with the Lakers at the deadline if Davis’ trade request had been “handled quietly.”
  • Jordan Greer of Sporting News argues that – after Davis’ latest injury and Demps’ firing – the time is right for the Pelicans to sit AD for the rest of the season.

Community Shootaround: Sixers’ GM Job

Nine days after The Ringer published a fascinating report linking Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo to a handful of anonymous Twitter accounts that had seemingly revealed sensitive information about the franchise, Colangelo announced his resignation on Thursday, confirming that he and the club had agreed to part ways.

It was an extremely unusual way for a top executive to lose his job, but the upshot is that the Sixers have become the third NBA team this spring in the market for a new head of basketball operations. The Hornets hired Mitch Kupchak as their new GM and president of basketball ops, while the Pistons’ search remains active.

While Detroit’s list of candidates has included several executives who recently retired as NBA players and don’t have extensive front office experience, the early – and informal – list of options in Philadelphia looks a little heavier on former GMs and seasoned top lieutenants.

Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin has been cited most frequently, viewed as an ideal fit not just due to his résumé in Cleveland, but due to his connection to a certain Cav — LeBron James figures to be the Sixers’ top target in free agency this summer, so bringing aboard a GM LeBron liked could boost the team’s chances of landing him.

League sources have also identified Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren as a top candidate for the 76ers, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Zarren has received consideration for several GM jobs over the years – including the Philadelphia gig before Sam Hinkie was hired in 2013 – but has always opted to remain in Boston. His track record suggests he won’t leave the C’s, but the Sixers, armed with a pair of potential franchise players, a top-10 pick, and significant cap room, would be an extremely appealing landing spot.

O’Connor indicates that Sixers vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley and VP of basketball operations Ned Cohen are two internal candidates that may receive consideration for the position, and says Kiki VanDeWeghe‘s name has been floated as a possible target too. A former GM, VanDeWeghe currently works in the league office.

Malik Rose, who is said to be receiving interest from the Pistons for their front office opening, is a Philadelphia native, which could make him an appealing target for the Sixers. If the team wants to dip into Houston’s front office again, Gersson Rosas would be a strong candidate. The 76ers’ list of candidates may grow even further, though it’s probably safe to assume that Hinke – the club’s previous hire from the Rockets – won’t be returning to Philadelphia, despite the wishes of many Sixers fans.

What do you think? Which GM candidate would you like to see replace Colangelo in Philadelphia? Which candidate do you believe the Sixers will ultimately hire?

Head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Suns May Have Pushed Josh Jackson To Cancel Celtics Workout

There are rumblings out of Boston that the Suns may have encouraged Josh Jackson to skip his workout with the Celtics so he would be available for Phoenix with the fourth pick.

A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE passes along the theory that Suns GM Ryan McDonough, who spent 10 years in the Celtics’ organization, was behind Jackson’s decision to cancel a scheduled session with the team in Sacramento. McDonough joked about the situation Friday in Jackson’s introductory press conference, but later offered hints that there might be some truth to the allegations.

“Look, it is a competition,” he told reporters. “The Celtics were ahead of us at No. 3 and they could have selected whoever they wanted to. I think they got a very good player in Jayson Tatum, but that doesn’t mean [Jackson’s agent] B.J. [Armstrong] and I and … other members of my staff couldn’t talk and try to formulate the best plan to get a player we were really high on to a place we felt he really wanted to go and would be a great fit for him.”

McDonough pointed out that it wouldn’t violate any NBA rules if he and Armstrong had worked together to steer Jackson to Phoenix.

The Boston contingent, made up of president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, coach Brad Stevens and assistant GM and team counsel Mike Zarren, didn’t find out about the cancellation until their plane landed in Sacramento, which sparked some anger toward Jackson.

“Flew across the country, are you kidding me? I had to get up at 4 o’clock and fly back home,” Ainge said.

Jackson claimed he had a phone conversation with Stevens this week, but Ainge said on draft night that no one in the organization had direct contact with the Kansas forward, Blakely relays in a separate story. Some believe Jackson was bitter that the Celtics didn’t give him serious consideration when they had the No. 1 pick and he didn’t want to join the team after it traded back to No. 3.

“There was something that he didn’t want to play for the Celtics,” Ainge added.

Woelfel On Pistons, Colangelo, Zarren, Izzo

Gary Woelfel of the The Journal Times has updates on the Pistons front office and coaching searches as well as the future of the Bucks. We’ll hit the highlights here:

  • Former Raptors and Suns GM Bryan Colangelo and current Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren are the front-runners for the top Pistons front office job, Woelfel hears. There’s talk that Detroit is targeting an experienced GM to serve as a mentor for the front office career of Chauncey Billups, Woelfel says, speculating that Bucks GM John Hammond, a former aide to Joe Dumars in the Pistons front office, could be a candidate.
  • Tom Izzo appeared to leave some wiggle room when he said last week that he didn’t want to coach in the NBA next season, and some around the league tell Woelfel that the Pistons could re-emerge as a suitor for the Michigan State bench boss. The Timberwolves aren’t counting themselves out of the running for Izzo either, as we passed along earlier, and Woelfel seconds that sentiment.
  • League approval of the sale of the Bucks to Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry could come as soon as a little more than a week from now, according to Woelfel. The wait has nonetheless left many within the Bucks in limbo, as several coaches and executives have said they haven’t been notified whether they’ll have their jobs next season, Woelfel writes.
  • The cost of a new Bucks arena in Milwaukee will be anywhere from $420MM to $500MM, a source tells Woelfel. Edens, Lasry and Kohl have committed a combined $200MM toward the arena’s construction.

Pistons Considering Griffin, Zarren, Vandeweghe

With Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars’ announcement that he was “stepping aside”, the speculation as to who would take over his post began. The team intends to conduct a comprehensive search for their next GM, report Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amick of USA Today. According to the article, there are several names are on the Pistons’ radar.

The latest names to be mentioned in connection with Detroit are Cavaliers acting general manager David Griffin, Celtics assistant GM and team counsel Mike Zarren and NBA senior vice president of basketball operations Kiki Vandeweghe.

Other names connected with the search per the article, are Magic assistant GM Scott Perry, who is from Detroit and used to work for the team, Warriors assistant GM Travis Schlenk, and former Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo.

It was also reported earlier this week that Grant Hill, a former Pistons player who is now working for Turner Sports, is also a possibility for the post. The Pistons may also look into an arrangement similar to the one Doc Rivers has with the Clippers, the article notes. Rivers is both coach and senior vice president of basketball operations and works with vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks on personnel decisions.

The other wild card here could be former Pistons great Isiah Thomas, who was reported to be openly campaigning for the job, despite the team shooting down those rumors. There has also been talk that the team may want to hire Chauncey Billups for the front-office, but the exact role hasn’t been revealed.

Currently Pistons director of basketball operations Ken Catanella and assistant GM David George are preparing for the draft and free agency. They report to ownership executives Phil Norment and Bob Wentworth, both of whom are partners is Gores’ private equity investment firm, Platinum Equity, write Zillgitt and Amick.

Odds & Ends: Stern, Michael Curry, Zarren

Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld (via Twitter) hears that David Stern was an active participant in yesterday's vote over Sacramento/Seattle at the Board of Governors meeting. It's worth noting that despite an offer north of $625MM as well as the $115MM relocation fee that would have been included by the Seattle group, Stern was able to sway the vote in Sacramento's direction, even though it appeared that more owners were in favor of Seattle's offer (All Twitter links). Here are a few more miscellaneous tidbits from around the Association tonight:

  • Ken Berger of CBS Sports tweets that the 76ers are expected to interview lead assistant coach Michael Curry for their head coaching job next week. 
  • Steve Bulpett of BostonHerald.com hears that Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren turned down Philadelphia's offer to make him their general manager before the Sixers turned to Sam Hinkie
  • Although potential number one pick Nerlens Noel wouldn't be ready to start the regular season of his rookie campaign, the highly touted draft prospect is targeting a debut around Christmas, writes Jason Lloyd of Ohio.com.
  • Noel's injury is just one reason why teams might not be too high in landing the number one draft slot this year, writes Lloyd. In that same piece, Lloyd cites one league executive who thinks that a team might be better off drafting whoever falls to the third or fourth pick rather than handle the risk of drafting first overall. 
  • Georgetown's Otto Porter spoke glowingly about being a potential fit for the Cavaliers, writes Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer
  • Shabazz Muhammad opened up about the controversy surrounding his listed age and briefly told David Mayo of MLive.com about how he'd fare with the Pistons if they drafted him.
  • Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob says that he won't have a problem finding a replacement for Vivek Ranadive's current share with Golden State once the Sacramento situation is resolved, says Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News (via Twitter).  
  • Jerry Stackhouse is in Chicago and plans to meet with possible draftees tomorrow to brief them on the NBPA, tweeted Hoopsworld's Steve Kyler. 

Mike Zarren Withdraws From Sixers GM Search

One of the candidates to become the new 76ers general manager, Mike Zarren has removed himself from consideration for the position, according to Paul Flannery of WEEI.com (via Twitter). Zarren, assistant GM for the Celtics, has decided to remain in Boston, says Flannery.

Zarren was one of four candidates reportedly under consideration by the Sixers, along with former Hornets GM Jeff Bower, former Blazers executive Tom Penn, and current Rockets exec Sam Hinkie. With coach Doug Collins operating as the de facto GM in Philadelphia, John Hollinger of ESPN.com doesn't expect the Sixers to hire an "analytics guy," meaning Bower could be the choice (Twitter link).

For now, Rod Thorn continues to operate as the Sixers' president, but he's expected to transition into an advisory role when the club hires its new general manager.