Mike Zarren

Joe Dumars Won’t Be A Candidate In Kings’ Front Office Search

Last week’s shakeup left Joe Dumars in charge of the Kings‘ front office, but that’s not a role he wants to keep long-term, according to Sam Amick and Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Dumars has no interest in remaining Sacramento’s head of basketball operations and will not be a candidate in the upcoming search, the authors report. However, he will be included in the hiring process and will interview candidates along with owner Vivek Ranadive. The new GM will have full control of roster moves and will report directly to Ranadive, rather than Dumars.

The Kings haven’t determined what Dumars’ role with the franchise will be once a new GM is selected, which could become a “problematic component,” Amick and Charania add. There’s no timeline to fill the opening, so Dumars and assistant GM Ken Catanella could be making the draft and free agency decisions in October.

Mike Forde of Sportsology is expected to be the leader in the search for GM candidates. He formerly served as senior manager for Chelsea’s soccer franchise in the English Premier League, and his web site lists the Clippers, Spurs, Sixers and Nets as clients. He also worked as an adviser for the Wizards last spring after they fired Ernie Grunfeld as president of basketball operations.

When he hired Dumars, Ranadive reportedly envisioned a power-sharing arrangement in the front office with former GM Vlade Divac. However, Divac wasn’t willing to accept that and opted to resign, followed a day later by assistant GM Peja Stojakovic.

The authors note there is “significant interest” in the position around the league, despite concerns about what Dumars’ ultimate role might be. “A swell of support” has emerged for Knicks GM Scott Perry, who briefly served as VP of basketball operations in Sacramento before leaving for New York. Sources claim Ranadive and Perry are still on good terms and have remained in touch in the nearly three years since Perry’s departure.

Perry helped the Kings get an individual workout with De’Aaron Fox before the 2017 draft and improved the organization’s reputation through his close relationships with agents and executives. Perry still has a year left on his contract, but a source tells the authors he would be interested in returning to Sacramento as long as he’s guaranteed the final decision on personnel moves. The Kings would have to request permission from the Knicks to talk to Perry, which sources tell Amick and Charania they hadn’t done as of Tuesday night.

The authors list Clippers assistant GMs Mark Hughes and Trent Redden as other candidates to watch, along with Raptors GM Bobby Webster, Celtics VP of basketball operations Mike Zarren, Pelicans executive VP of basketball operations Trajan Langdon, Timberwolves executive VP of basketball operations Sachin Gupta, Spurs VP of basketball operations Brent Barry, and Rockets assistant GM Eli Witus.

Latest On Kings’ GM Search

The Kings appear likely to hire an executive search firm to help them find a new permanent general manager following Vlade Divac‘s departure, league sources tell Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. However, according to Anderson, several names have already been connected to the position as possible targets for Saramento.

Anderson identifies Spurs VP of basketball operations Brent Barry, Raptors general manager Bobby Webster, Knicks GM Scott Perry, Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren, Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, and Clippers assistant GM Trent Redden as executives who may be on the Kings’ preliminary list of candidates.

Sean Cunningham of ABC10, who singled out many of those same execs as ones to watch, mentioned veteran agent Bill Duffy as another possibility (Twitter link). However, Duffy indicated today that he currently has no plans to follow in the footsteps of Bob Myers, Leon Rose, and other agents who have made the move to a team’s front office.

“There’s no truth to me joining an NBA organization,” Duffy told Jason Jones and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). “I’m fully committed to my clients and their success.”

Joe Dumars, who is the Kings’ interim head of basketball operations, will be involved in the search for a new GM, though team owner Vivek Ranadive and COO Matina Kolokotronis are “viewed as the ultimate decision makers,” Anderson writes.

Anderson also notes that it will be interesting to see what sort of role Dumars ultimately retains in the front office, since Divac’s departure stemmed from Ranadive’s desire to have the former Pistons GM take on a larger role and to have the final say on the roster. Sources tell Anderson that some qualified candidates may be reluctant to fill Sacramento’s GM opening if it doesn’t come with full control over the roster.

Eastern Notes: LeBron, Celtics, Eversley, Pistons

Don’t rule out LeBron James finishing his career with the Knicks, The New York Post’s Marc Berman writes in his latest mailbag. James loves playing in Madison Square Garden and would like to play with his son Bronny, now 15, before he retires. If James plays long enough to suit up with his son, finishing out his career in New York could add to his legacy, Berman adds.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren told season ticket holders that the front office is well-prepared for any draft scenario, Celtics analyst Marc D’Amico tweets. Boston could have as many as three first-round selections. “Regardless of what happens, we’ll be very ready for the draft,” Zarren said.
  • New Bulls GM Marc Eversley is intrigued by the youth dotting the team’s roster but wants to figure why some of those players didn’t develop as expected this season, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reports. In particular, he wants to see if the team can get more out of power forward Lauri Markkanen. “Lauri is a modern-day stretch four,” he said. “I think he’s got a great stroke. He’s got a wonderful shooting touch. He regressed a little bit last year. I’d love to learn more about that.”
  • The Pistons need to prioritize not only acquiring talent but also high-character players, Keith Langlois of the team’s website writes. Getting the best players they can find with their lottery pick and cap space, regardless of what position they’ll play or how they’ll complement others on the roster, should be their approach going forward.

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.