Miles Simon

Lakers Notes: Rondo, Davis, Lineups, G League

While the Lakers have high hopes for guards Kendrick Nunn and Talen Horton-Tucker, both players are relatively young, so the decision to sign Rajon Rondo reflects the team’s desire to hedge its bets in the backcourt, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

Los Angeles may not lean heavily on Rondo, who will turn 36 during the 2021/22 season, but he gives the team a proven backup at the point in case Nunn and Horton-Tucker struggle at all. Rondo is also more of a distributor than Nunn and Horton-Tucker, who are score-first guards, so he could be a better fit in certain lineups and situations.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Within his article on the Rondo signing, Pincus cites a source who says Anthony Davis was frustrated at times last season with the looks he got in the post from Dennis Schröder compared to the ones he got from Rondo the year before. That may have been one factor in the Lakers’ decision to let Schröder walk in free agency.
  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic identifies five Lakers lineups he’s looking forward to seeing in 2021/22, including a switchable, center-less unit (LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Kent Bazemore, Trevor Ariza, and Horton-Tucker) and one in which LeBron is surrounded by shooters (Malik Monk, Wayne Ellington, Carmelo Anthony, and Marc Gasol).
  • The South Bay Lakers – Los Angeles’ G League affiliate – officially announced Miles Simon as the team’s head coach for the 2021/22 season. Simon has spent the last four seasons as an assistant on the Lakers’ staff and coached the team’s Summer League squad in 2017 and 2018.

Pacific Notes: Westbrook, Simon, Poole, Jackson, Leonard

The Lakers‘ addition of Russell Westbrook should ease the burden on LeBron James as a playmaker and scorer. The newest Laker sees that as his main role with the team, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes.

“Bron is one of the best players to play this game, and his ability to be able to kind of do everything on the floor allows me to be able to just figure it out,” Westbrook said. “I’m coming to a championship-caliber team and my job is to make sure that I’m able to make his game easier for him, and I’ll find ways to do that throughout the game.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are negotiating with Miles Simon to become the head coach of their G League team, the South Bay Lakers, ESPN’s Zach Lowe tweets. Simon would also retain a role on Frank Vogel‘s staff, Lowe adds.
  • The Warriors didn’t make a splashy move for a veteran guard and they’re looking at Jordan Poole to play a prominent role, particularly until Klay Thompson is ready to return to the starting lineup. according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “Being able to bring someone back of that type of caliber, it’s going to separate us,” Poole said of Thompson. “We don’t want to rush him back. Whenever he’s healthy and able to benefit, we will jump to another level as a team.” Poole, who averaged 12 PPG last season, is entering his third season.
  • Reggie Jackson‘s new contract with the Clippers includes a 15% trade kicker, Lowe reports in another tweet. Jackson received a two-year, $22MM deal to remain in Los Angeles.
  • Kawhi Leonard is expected to miss most or all of next season as he recovers from knee surgery. However, the Clippers won’t be able to apply for a $9.5MM disabled player exception for Leonard because he entered free agency and re-signed since suffering the injury, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.

Luke Walton: “No Interest” In Coaching At Arizona

Kings head coach Luke Walton isn’t interested in taking over at Arizona, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Two decades ago, Walton was a star player for the Wildcats, who created a vacancy by firing Sean Miller today.

“No, no interest,” Walton said. “I love Arizona. I think Sean Miller did an amazing job there in his time, but I have a job. I have a job that I love. I have a group I love working with, so I’m very committed to being here in Sacramento and keeping this going in the direction that we want it to go and getting this team back into the playoffs.”

Walton is in his second season running the Kings and still has two years and $11.5MM left on his contract. There was speculation about his future after Sacramento got off to a slow start, but a report last month indicated his job is safe, at least through the end of the season. The Kings have edged back into the race for a spot in a play-in game and are 12th in the West at 22-29.

Walton spent four seasons at Arizona from 1999-2003, playing for legendary coach Lute Olson. He earned First-Team All-Pac 10 honors two times.

Several other Arizona alumni have been mentioned as possible replacements for Miller, Anderson adds, including Lakers assistant coach Miles Simon, who has been with the team since 2017. Other rumored names include former NBA player and current Pacific head coach Damon Stoudamire and Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner.

Lakers Officially Announce Coaching Staff

The Lakers have officially announced the assistant coaches who will join new head coach Frank Vogel on the team’s bench this season.

As expected, former head coaches Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins are the headliners of the group. Their deals with the team were previously reported, as was Phil Handy‘s. Handy has appeared in five consecutive NBA Finals, having coached in Cleveland before joining the Raptors for the 2018/19 season.

The Lakers also confirmed the previously-reported hirings of former Lakers player Mike Penberthy and former Hornets player development coach Quinton Crawford, both of whom will be assistants. Miles Simon will be the only returning assistant from last season’s staff.

“I could not be more excited about the group we’ve assembled,” Vogel said in a statement. “Each of these guys brings a unique set of skills and experiences that will greatly impact the success of our players, as we look to build a championship-caliber team.”

The Lakers also announced that they’ve hired Greg St. Jean as a player development coach/advance scout and Dru Anthrop as the team’s head video coordinator/player development coach.