Milt Newton

Central Notes: Cousins, Vucevic, Holiday, Duarte, Hayes

DeMarcus Cousins won’t be asked to play major minutes for the Bucks, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic. The veteran center can give them 10-15 minutes a game and help lessen the load on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis, who have been manning the middle while Brook Lopez has been sidelined with a back injury. Cousins agreed on Sunday to sign a non-guaranteed deal.

Cousins took part in a workout led by assistant coach Darvin Ham on Saturday in Las Vegas, Marc Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated tweets. Bucks assistant GM Milt Newton and VP of Global Scouting Ryan Hoover attended the workout, and Cousins had a phone conversation with coach Mike Budenholzer afterward.

We have more info on the Central Division:

  • Nikola Vucevic hasn’t looked right since returning from a bout with COVID-19, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times opines. In his third game back on Saturday, the Bulls big man took only nine shots, scored seven points and committed three turnovers. The Heat paid special attention to him defensively. “I do think he’s getting his footing back under him,” coach Billy Donovan said. Vucevic’s 13.4 PPG are his lowest since his first season with the Magic in 2012/13, Cowley notes.
  • Justin Holiday has been giving advice to Pacers rookie Chris Duarte about his new bench role, Brendan Rourke of the team’s website writes. “When you’re young, you focus a lot on being the starter and doing stuff like that,” Holiday said. “I’m just trying to give him a different sight of how he can still help. He’s still just as valuable even though he doesn’t have that starting role.” Holiday has been inserted into the starting lineup in place of Duarte.
  • A four-game layoff to rest a sprained left thumb helped Pistons second-year guard Killian Hayes, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press writes. ‘”It was good for him to take it off, he’s feeling much better now,” coach Dwane Casey said of Hayes, who had six points and eight assists in 29 minutes against the Lakers on Sunday. “We’ll see if he can jumpstart it to do it again. He was playing pretty good, especially defensively.”

And-Ones: Big3, Giannis, Overtime Elite, GM Candidates

Jarrett Jack has joined the Suns’ coaching staff, but his playing career isn’t completely over. Jack hit the game-winning shot Saturday as the Trilogy defended its Big3 title, writes Jack Maloney of CBS Sports. Jack, who was named Co-Rookie of the Year in the summer three-on-three league, had 29 points in the championship game.

“Got a little emotional,” he said. “To be honest, man, this was crazy. This was my first time hitting a game-winner in front of my son. I’m happy for him to be a part of it. Our coach stuck with us through and through every week. We had a hell of a group man. I just want to shout out these guys, my teammates.”

Former NBA All-Star Joe Johnson was named league MVP for the second straight season (Twitter link). Other award winners were Kevin Murphy joining Jack as Co-Rookie of the Year, Isaiah Briscoe as Fourth Man of the Year and Larry Sanders as Defensive Player of the Year.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is considering a return to international basketball in the 2022 EuroBasket tournament, according to EuroHoops. He had to miss this year’s Olympic qualifying tournament because of the playoffs, and Greece failed to earn a spot in Tokyo. “Taking it day by day. But I can’t wait,” Antetokounmpo wrote in response to a tweet by FIBA previewing EuroBasket.
  • In a press release, Overtime Elite announced the signing of three more players — Jahzare Jackson, Jaylen Martin and TJ Clark. The league, made up of top high school prospects, now has 24 players for its inaugural season. OTE is also hoping to sign Kamari Lands, who recently decommitted from Syracuse, tweets Adam Zagoria.
  • The Bucks’ championship makes assistant general manager Milt Newton one of the top GM candidates in the league, per Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Newton has experience running a team in Minnesota and he helped build a title-winning roster in Milwaukee. Fischer also examines several other candidates who may be considered for the next GM openings.

Bucks’ Milt Newton Among Bulls’ GM Candidates

Bucks assistant general manager Milt Newton has emerged as another candidate for the Bulls‘ GM job, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (via Twitter). It’s not clear if Chicago has requested or received permission to speak to Newton, or if he has formally interviewed for the position.

Newton, hired by the Bucks in the summer of 2017, previously worked for the 76ers, Wizards, and the NBA league office, and was the Timberwolves’ general manager from 2013 to 2016.

If he does interview with the Bulls, Newton will join a list of GM candidates that includes Sixers senior VP of player personnel Marc Eversley, Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes, and Magic assistant GM Matt Lloyd, and Mavericks VP of basketball operations Michael Finley. A report last Tuesday noted that the Bulls had received permission to speak to Eversley, Hughes, and Lloyd, while a subsequent report confirmed that the club had also spoken to Finley.

According to Johnson, the Bulls’ first round of interviews is ongoing, and there’s an expectation it will lead to a second round of meetings with a smaller group of finalists. There has been no indication yet which candidates will advance to that stage.

The Bulls are seeking a general manager who will work under newly-hired executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas, who will be making the final basketball decisions in Chicago. Previous GM Gar Forman was let go when Karnisovas was hired.

Latest On Pelicans’ GM Search

The Pelicans continue to make progress in their search for a new general manager, according to Will Guillory of The Athletic, who reported this morning (via Twitter) that the team was starting to conduct in-person interviews. According to Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter), New Orleans interviewed former Cavaliers GM David Griffin today.

Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune (Twitter link) has confirmed that, in addition to Griffin, the following candidates are on the team’s list:

  • Interim GM Danny Ferry
  • Warriors assistant GM Larry Harris
  • Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon
  • Rockets VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas
  • Wizards interim GM Tommy Sheppard

Meanwhile, while his name doesn’t show up on Duncan’s list and hadn’t been previously reported, Bucks assistant GM Milt Newton is also in the mix for the GM job in New Orleans, tweets Jabari Young of The Athletic.

It’s not clear whether all of those candidates reciprocate New Orleans’ interest, or if they’ll all interview with the team. Several of them are believed to be options for some of the other clubs around the NBA who are seeking new heads of basketball operations, including the Wizards, so the Pelicans won’t necessarily be able to hire their top choice.

Still, it appears as if the franchise is moving quickly in the hopes of installing a permanent head of basketball operations sooner rather than later. A big offseason looms for the Pelicans, as Anthony Davis‘ future will almost certainly be decided in the coming months.

Wizards Notes: Grunfeld, Leonsis, GM Search

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said he alone made the call to relieve Ernie Grunfeld of his duties. “No one made this decision other than me,” Leonsis said (Twitter links via Candace Buckner of the Washington Post).

“My main goal is to right now as fast as I can bring in an outside firm to provide some services for us,” Leonsis said. “I want to do what’s called ‘best practicing.’ What do the best organizations look like? What do they spend?

“Maybe I made the mistake in the way we spent and invested out money. I have to be open-minded.”

Leonsis does not believe the organization will have issues attracting a top candidate for the GM gig, a sentiment echoed by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Resources and geography are among the reasons to expect the position to be highly sought after.

Here’s more from Washington:

  • Tommy Sheppard, the team’s interim GM, is a strong candidate for the position, per Leonsis. Sheppard is the senior vice president of basketball operations and has been with the organization for 14 years.
  • Leonsis called both Bradley Beal and John Wall shortly after making the move to notify them of the change, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports tweets.
  • Scott Brooks’ job status will be determined after a general manager is hired, Leonsis added (via Hughes in a separate tweet). The new GM won’t be restricted in terms of the direction the franchise goes in, as Leonsis is open to all ideas.
  • Hughes (in a full-length piece) identifies 10 possible candidates for the GM position, including Sheppard and former Cavs GM David Griffin. Hughes also speculated that Bucks assistant GM Milt Newton, who was with the Wizards from 2003 until 2013, could be a candidate for the position.

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.

Bucks Hire Milt Newton As Assistant GM

AUGUST 9: The Bucks have officially hired Newton as their assistant general manager, confirming that move and announcing several more front office changes today in a press release.

AUGUST 7: The Bucks are finalizing a deal with former Timberwolves general manager Milt Newton, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who reports that Newton is poised to join Milwaukee’s front office as an assistant GM.

Newton, who also previously worked for the Sixers, Wizards, and the NBA office, was the GM in Minnesota from 2013 to 2016. He was dismissed by the Wolves after president Flip Saunders passed away and team ownership made the decision to give Tom Thibodeau full control over basketball operations. Newton has been seeking a return to an NBA front office over the last year.

While Newton won’t get the opportunity to run the show in Milwaukee, he figures to work closely with new GM Jon Horst. A surprise hire this spring, Horst doesn’t have much experience as the lead man on basketball decisions, so the Bucks had been in the market for a veteran executive to share some of his responsibilities.

A report last month indicated that the Bucks had interviewed several candidates for the assistant GM opening, with a focus on executives who had previously served as a general manager or worked closely with a GM. Newton was named in that report as a “serious candidate” for the job in Milwaukee.

Although it has been a fairly quiet offseason so far for the Bucks, they’re currently the frontrunners in our poll from earlier today on which Central club has had the best summer — many of Milwaukee’s division rivals are believed to have taken a step backward in the last couple months.

Kings Seek VP Of Basketball Ops; Otis Smith Withdraws

JULY 28, 2:05pm: Otis Smith has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Kings’ job, a source tells Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). According to Turner, Smith met with the club twice this month, and still has interest in a front office role, but determined that Sacramento wasn’t the right fit for him.

JULY 26, 2:39pm: In the wake of Scott Perry‘s departure for the Knicks, the Kings are seeking a new vice president of basketball operations to report to Vlade Divac in their front office. And according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, team officials have met with former Magic general manager Otis Smith to discuss the job.

Smith, who appeared in 375 NBA games as a player between 1986 and 1992, transitioned into a front office role after his playing career ended, and eventually became the GM in Orlando in 2006. He held that position for six years, and has since worked out as a G League head coach and an NBA assistant with the Pistons.

Perry was believed to have played a major role in the Kings’ offseason this year after joining the franchise in April, following his dismissal from Orlando’s front office. Perry’s reputation around the NBA – and his solid work in Sacramento – attracted the attention of the Knicks, who sent cash and a second-round pick to the Kings in exchange for the right to hire Perry as their new GM.

With Perry out of the picture, the Kings had been expected to hire a new VP of basketball ops. In addition to Smith, Milt Newton and Troy Weaver were believed to be candidates, but they’re no longer in play, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. However, Jones adds (via Twitter) that former Lakers assistant GM Ronnie Lester is worth keeping an eye on.

Latest On Bucks’ Assistant GM Search

The Bucks are looking to add an experienced front office executive to pair with new GM Jon Horst, Gery Woelfel reports on his blog. Sources tell Woelfel that the team has interviewed several candidates with extensive front office experience for its open assistant GM position.

“They want someone who has either been a GM or who has worked closely with a GM,’’ a source tells the scribe.

Milwaukee has shown interest in former Cavs GM Jim Paxson. Paxson, who is currently a consultant for the Bulls, recently met with the Bucks about their open position.

Woelfel adds (in another post) that Milt Newton, who previously served as the Wolves GM, also met with the team and is a serious candidate for the position.

And-Ones: Newton, Oden, Execs, Camp Deals

Former Timberwolves general manager Milt Newton departed from the franchise last year, when Flip Saunders‘ passing led to an overhaul of the club’s front office and coaching staff. However, he remains interested in returning to an NBA front office, telling Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that he wouldn’t be opposed to an assistant GM role. No teams have approached him about executive positions since his departure from Minnesota though, according to Milton.

“A young guy like Milt should have teams calling him if not to be a GM, to be a part of their organization,” Former Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars told Spears. “He did a great job in Minnesota. He built a young team. He’s a great dude. He works well. He’s one of the best young talents in the league. What more can you ask for?”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former first overall pick Greg Oden has returned to Ohio State to finish working toward his college degree, a source tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). While the former Trail Blazers center is in Columbus, he’ll also help out at Buckeyes’ practices, says Rothstein.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders lists six top basketball executives who could find themselves on the hot seat at some point in the not-so-distant future if their respective teams don’t play well in 2016/17.
  • With training camps around the NBA having gotten underway this week, Bobby Marks of The Vertical delves into the training camp contract, explaining how they work and how different language in deals affects a players’ preseason earnings and injury protection (or lack thereof).
  • The Lakers‘ signing of Timofey Mozgov has received plenty of criticism this offseason, but Los Angeles won’t be the only team with buyers’ remorse this fall, according to Mitch Lawrence of, who identifies five other clubs that may come to regret their summer deals.