Bucks Rumors

Mavericks Notes: Carlisle, Doncic, Nelson, Forde, Finley, Green

There are quite a few head coaching job Rick Carlisle could pursue after parting ways with the Mavericks on Thursday. He may wind up with a team that still has a head coach. There have been rumblings that if the Bucks fire Mike Budenholzer, Carlisle could be his replacement, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. The rumors about Carlisle taking over an Eastern Conference playoff contender and becoming Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s coach have been circulating for weeks, Stein adds.

We have more info on the Mavs:

  • Prior to the news of Carlisle’s departure, Luka Doncic addressed the organization’s decision this week to remove Donnie Nelson as president of basketball operations and expressed his disappointment, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News relays. “It was kind of tough to me,” Doncic said during a press conference in Slovenia. “I really like Donnie. [I’ve known] him since I was a kid and he was the one that drafted me. It was tough to me, seeing that, but I’m not the one making decisions there.” Doncic is practicing with his national team for the Olympic qualifying tournament later this month.
  • Despite Nelson’s dismissal, Doncic still intends to sign a supermax extension before next season, Tim Cato and Sam Amick of The Athletic hear. Doncic strongly hinted after the season he would sign his rookie scale extension, which would be worth approximately $201.5MM over five years after making the All-NBA team two straight years.
  • The Mavericks have hired Mike Forde’s Sportsology, a consulting firm frequently used by NBA teams, to assist in the search for a new head of basketball operations., Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Nine NBA teams have either hired or promoted from within a new chief basketball executive in the past two seasons and three of those searches— Pelicans, Wizards, and Kings —were led by Forde, Yaron Weitzman of The Ringer notes.
  • Former Mavericks All-Star Michael Finley, currently VP of basketball operations, has emerged as a candidate to replace Nelson, Stein tweets.
  • The team’s decision to take Josh Green over Saddiq Bey in last year’s draft frustrated a number of key executives and scouts., Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman tweets. Green was selected at No. 18 and the Pistons snapped up Bey, who was named to the All-Rookie First Team, on the next pick. The Mavs’ analytics team wanted Green and won the debate.

Atlantic Notes: Portis, Durant, Embiid, Lowry

Bobby Portis played for the Knicks during the 2019/20 season and it’s not out of the question he’ll return for a second stint, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Portis is widely expected to decline his $3.8MM player option, which would make him an unrestricted free agent this summer. It wouldn’t be a shock if the Knicks were interested in the Bucks’ power forward, who averaged 11.4 PPG and 7.1 RPG this season. They declined a $15MM option on Portis last offseason but were open to him returning at a reduced price, Berman adds.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks desperately tried to convince Kevin Durant to join them in free agency and keep him away from the Nets, claims Matt Sullivan’s new book, “Can’t Knock the Hustle: Inside the Season of Protest, Pandemic, and Progress with the Brooklyn Nets’ Superstars of Tomorrow.” (hat tip to NetsDaily.com).  The Knicks even went so far as to urge Durant’s father Wayne Pratt — a Knicks fan — to intervene and convince his son to play with them. That approach backfired on them, as Sullivan detailed.
  • Joel Embiid’s injury history — the latest being his current knee ailment — could affect extension talks with the Sixers, Derek Bodner of The Athletic notes. Embiid has two years left on his current contract and could sign a four-year extension this summer. If he waits until next summer, he could get a five-year supermax extension if he qualifies — he’d have to make an All-NBA team again next season, win Defensive Player of the Year or MVP to get the supermax. However, with the injuries piling up, Embiid might want to lock into an extension sooner rather than later.
  • The Knicks, Sixers, Heat and Mavericks would seem to be logical destinations for the Raptors’ longtime point guard Kyle Lowry if he leaves Toronto. Eric Koreen of The Athletic takes a closer look at how Lowry would fit onto each of those teams.

Kyrie Irving Ruled Out For Game 6

Nets guard Kyrie Irving won’t play in Game 6 of the team’s series vs. the Bucks on Thursday, head coach Steve Nash told reporters today. According to Nash, Irving likely won’t even travel to Milwaukee with the team. The plan is for him to remain in Brooklyn for treatment (Twitter link via Malika Andrews of ESPN).

Irving suffered a sprained right ankle in Brooklyn’s Game 4 loss on Sunday and missed Game 5 on Tuesday. Even without the star guard available, the Nets pulled out a victory to take a 3-2 series lead.

James Harden, who logged 46 minutes on Tuesday in his return from a hamstring strain, played a key role in that Game 5 victory and seems to be feeling alright today, despite the massive workload. He’ll be available for Game 6, Nash said today (Twitter link via Adam Zagoria).

Landry Shamet saw a greater role in Game 5 with Irving out, playing a total of 28 minutes. Bruce Brown and Mike James are also candidates for a bump in playing time, but on Tuesday they saw just 13 and three minutes of action, respectively.

Pelicans Part Ways With Stan Van Gundy

11:08am: The Pelicans have officially announced Van Gundy’s exit, stating in a press release that the two sides mutually agreed to part ways.

“On behalf of Mrs. Gayle Benson and the Pelicans organization, I would like to thank Stan for the integrity and professionalism that he demonstrated during his time in New Orleans, as well as the commitment and work ethic he brought to our team,” Griffin said in a statement. “This was a difficult decision as I have tremendous respect for Stan both personally and professionally, but we agreed it is in the best interest of our team to move forward in a different direction. We wish Stan, Kim and their family all the best in the future.”

9:57am: Stan Van Gundy will not return to the Pelicans for the 2021/22 season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Andrew Lopez of ESPN, who report (via Twitter) that Van Gundy is out after just one year as New Orleans’ head coach.

Van Gundy and Pelicans executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin have met regularly since the end of the regular season to discuss the team’s future, and a divorce between the team and its coach began to feel like an inevitable outcome around the organization, tweets Wojnarowski.

Van Gundy, who previously coached the Heat, Magic, and Pistons, spent a couple years as an NBA analyst from 2018-20 before returning to the head coaching ranks in 2020, when he was hired by the Pelicans. He had a disappointing season in New Orleans, however — a team that entered the year with playoff aspirations finished with a 31-41 (.431) record, missing the play-in tournament.

Replacing Alvin Gentry on the Pelicans’ sidelines, Van Gundy emphasized improving the team’s defense, but failed to do so, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. New Orleans ranked 23rd in points allowed per 100 possessions, two spots worse than in 2019/20. The Pels also had trouble closing out games, losing 14 times when they held a double-digit lead.

Clark writes that Van Gundy struggled to connect with many of the Pelicans’ young players, who didn’t adapt well to the drastic shift from Gentry’s coaching style to Van Gundy’s. Sources tell NOLA.com that Van Gundy’s relationship with star forward Brandon Ingram was “strained” for much of the season.

Van Gundy joins Nate Bjorkgren, formerly of the Pacers, as the head coaches who were let go this spring after just one year on the job.

The fifth team to launch a head coaching search since the regular season ended, the Pelicans are expected to look both inside and outside of the organization as they seek Van Gundy’s replacement.

Several reporters – including Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, Will Guillory of The Athletic, and Marc Stein of The New York Times (all Twitter links) – say that current Pelicans assistant Teresa Weatherspoon is a strong contender for the position, while O’Connor also identifies Fred Vinson as a candidate.

As for external candidates, Wojnarowski names Bucks assistant Charles Lee, Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, and Nets assistants Jacque Vaughn and Ime Udoka as possibilities, noting that the Pelicans considered some of those coaches a year ago before hiring Van Gundy.

Van Gundy, meanwhile, could receive some consideration from the other four teams with head coaching openings, but may prefer to step away again after a trying season. A return to broadcasting is one possibility for the veteran coach.

NBA Announces 2020/2021 All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced the All-NBA First, Second, and Third Teams for the 2020/21 season, with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way as the lone unanimous selection for the First Team.

Antetokounmpo and Nuggets‘ MVP Nikola Jokic were the two top vote-getters, combining for 998 out of a possible 1,000 points, with Warriors guard Stephen Curry following shortly behind. Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic rounding out the top five.

The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Giannis scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Among the players who just missed the cut were Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (69), Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (44), Nets guard James Harden (41), Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (37) and Heat center Bam Adebayo (32). A total of 12 other players received votes. The full results can be found here.

Today’s announcement has major financial implications across the league. Tatum, who received more votes than Kyrie Irving but still fell 20 votes short of a final forward spot, will lose out on a projected $32.6MM on his rookie scale extension, as his next deal will start at 25% of the cap instead of the 30% he would have received if he’d been named to an All-NBA team. Likewise, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox and Adebayo will all receive starting salaries worth 25% of the cap on their respective extensions as a result of missing out on All-NBA honors.

Doncic, having been named to his second consecutive All-NBA First Team, will be eligible for a 30% extension that would be worth a projected $201MM+ and is almost certain to be offered this summer. Doncic has previously made clear his intentions to sign the extension when offered. It will go into effect for the 2022/23 season.

Embiid is now eligible for a super-max contract extension, which would run for four years, starting in 2023/24, and would be worth a projected $191MM, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. It’s unclear whether the Sixers will immediately put this extension on the table this offseason.

Bradley Beal‘s deal will not change with his first career All-NBA selection, as he is already eligible for a 35% contract extension on his next deal. Jokic, having been named MVP previously this week, also sees no change in his possible future super-max extension, which will be worth approximately $241MM.

Hoops Rumors readers accurately picked 12 of this season’s 15 All-NBA players in our poll. Devin Booker, Adebayo, and Tatum were your picks who didn’t make the official list.

James Harden To Play In Game Five

6:45pm: Harden will play in Game 5, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Nets head coach Steve Nash, when asked about Harden’s condition, had previously said that the decision would come down to Harden himself, tweeted Adam Zagoria of The New York Times.

I think it is James’ decision,” Nash said. “He’s been pushing, he wants to play but he’s got to go through his pre-game routine and see if he’s able.

12:21pm: Less than 24 hours after being ruled out for Game 5 of the Nets‘ series with the Bucks, star guard James Harden has had his status upgraded again. Having originally been upgraded to “doubtful” earlier today, Harden is now being listed as questionable, the team announced.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), Harden, who has been sidelined since Game 1 of the series due to a right hamstring strain, intends to play on Tuesday night, barring a pregame setback. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reported hours ago that the 31-year-old planned to go through today’s shootaround in the hopes of being cleared, says there were no issues during that session (Twitter link).

If Harden is indeed able to play, it will be a major boost to a Nets team that has lost two consecutive games and will be missing Kyrie Irving on Tuesday due to an ankle sprain.

Brooklyn has struggled to get its offense going in its last two games. The team scored just 83 points in a Game 3 loss. In Game 4, no one besides Durant and Irving (who played just 17 minutes) scored double-digit points. The series is now tied at two games apiece.

Harden missed over a month of action during the regular season due to an injury to the same hamstring before aggravating the issue during the first quarter of Brooklyn’s second-round series. The fact that he has now been upgraded from out to questionable for Tuesday’s game feels like a sign of the Nets’ desperation. Hopefully, if he does return tonight, Harden won’t tweak that hamstring again, potentially subjecting himself to an even longer absence.

James Harden Doubtful For Game 5

[UPDATE: Harden Upgraded To Questionable For Game 5, Plans To Play]

JUNE 15, 8:49am: Harden has been upgraded from “out” to “doubtful” for Game 5, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The Nets’ star still seems unlikely to play on Tuesday, but the team is now at least leaving the door open to the possibility.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter), Harden intends to test his hamstring during today’s shootaround in the hopes of receiving medical clearance.

JUNE 14, 4:19pm: All-Star Nets guard James Harden will join Kyrie Irving on the sidelines for Game 5 of Brooklyn’s second-round series against the Bucks, writes Malika Andrews of ESPN. Harden has missed all but 43 seconds of the series with a right hamstring strain, which he initially suffered late in the regular season. Head coach Steve Nash had told reporters earlier today that Harden was “working out.”

Irving sprained his right ankle in the Nets’ Game 4 loss on Sunday, and will miss at least Game 5. Though the point guard underwent an MRI today, the club didn’t provide an estimate for his recovery or return.

As Andrews notes, this will leave just forward Kevin Durant available among the Nets’ three All-Stars when the series returns to Brooklyn on Tuesday. The Bucks have rallied back to tie up the series at 2-2.

With both Harden and Irving out to start the second half of Game 4 on Sunday, Nash started point guard Mike James and forward Jeff Green alongside incumbent starters Durant, Joe Harris and Blake Griffin.

Across the six playoff games he was available for Brooklyn this season, Harden averaged 23.2 PPG, 8.8 APG, 6.2 RPG, 1.7 SPG and 0.8 BPG, while sporting a slash line of .556/.475/.909.

NBA All-Defensive Teams Announced

The NBA has officially announced the voting results for its two 2020/21 All-Defensive teams.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert, the Defensive Player of the Year for the third time in four seasons, and Sixers guard Ben Simmons were unanimous selections for the All-Defensive First Team. Both players made the First Team lists of all 100 tallied ballots, for a perfect total of 200 points. Votes are given to 100 media members.

This marks Gobert’s fifth straight appearance on the All-Defensive First Team, and the second consecutive All-Defensive First Team honor for Simmons.

Warriors forward Draymond Green garnered 176 points (including 80 First Team votes). Green was named Defensive Player of the Year in the 2016/17 season. This year’s nod is his fourth First Team honor, and his sixth total All-Defensive team.

Two Bucks players rounded out the All-Defensive First Team this season. Guard Jrue Holiday netted 157 points (65 First Team) and All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year, earned 135 total points (43 First Team). Antetokounmpo has just made his third straight All-Defensive First Team, and his fourth All-Defensive team overall. This is Holiday’s second All-Defensive First Team appearance and his third overall All-Defensive team.

[RELATED: Rudy Gobert Named Defensive Player Of The Year]

Two All-Defensive First-Teamers have unlocked contract bonuses associated with the honor. Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets that Gobert will receive a $500K bonus for the inclusion this season. Marks adds (Twitter link) that Holiday will pocket a cool $100K for making All-Defensive First Team. Holiday has other contract incentives associated with his team’s further postseason advancement.

The All-Defensive Second Team honorees are led by Heat stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, who each netted 111 points (37 First Team votes) apiece. Adebayo makes his second All-Defensive Second Team with the nod today. This is Butler’s fifth such honor.

Simmons’s Sixers teammates Joel Embiid and Matisse Thybulle also make the cut. It is the third All-Defensive team nod for Embiid and the first appearance for Thybulle. Clippers All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, a former two-time Defensive Player of the Year, rounds out the All-Defensive Second Team this season.

Here are the full voting results for the All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with each player’s point total noted in parentheses:

First Team:

Second Team:

Suns guard/forward Mikal Bridges, Hawks center Clint Capela, and Pacers forward/center Myles Turner were among the highest vote-getters who missed the cut for the Second Team. You can find the full voting results right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kyrie Irving To Miss Game 5 Due To Ankle Sprain

The Nets will be without point guard Kyrie Irving for Game 5 vs. the Bucks on Tuesday, head coach Steve Nash told reporters today. Irving suffered a sprained right ankle in Brooklyn’s Game 4 loss on Sunday.

Irving underwent an MRI on his injured ankle today, but the Nets aren’t prepared to offer an exact recovery timeline, according to Malika Andrews of ESPN, who tweets that Nash said today he has “no idea” whether Kyrie will be able to return before the end of the series.

The Nets have already been playing since the first quarter of Game 1 without their other All-Star guard, James Harden, who suffered a right hamstring strain. Nash had no concrete update on Harden’s status, telling reporters that he was “working out” today, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link).

[UPDATE: James Harden ruled out for Game 5]

If Harden remains unavailable for Game 5, the pressure will be on the Nets’ lone remaining star, Kevin Durant, to carry the scoring load, with the help of Joe Harris and Blake Griffin, among others. The club will also lean more heavily on guards Bruce Brown, Mike James, and possibly Landry Shamet.

The series is currently tied at two games apiece. Irving’s absence opens the door for the Bucks to potentially steal Game 5 in Brooklyn and set themselves up for a close-out Game 6 at home.

Nets Notes: Irving, Harden, Durant, Green, More

Although he’s not ruling out the possibility that Nets guard Kyrie Irving will be available for Game 5 vs. the Bucks, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (video link) suggested during a KJZ appearance on Monday morning that the team is bracing for Irving to miss at least that game, if not more, after spraining his ankle on Sunday.

With Irving and James Harden (hamstring) both potentially sidelined, the alarm bells are blaring for the Nets, who now find themselves in a 2-2 tie with Milwaukee, writes Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post. As Vaccaro notes, even if Irving and Harden are able to play again in this series, there’s no guarantee they’d be 100%, and ankle and hamstring injuries are easy to tweak.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • If Irving and Harden are out, Kevin Durant will bear the burden of trying to carry the Nets into the next round, as Ian O’Connor of The New York Post and Joe Vardon of The Athletic write in separate stories. Vardon compares the situation to LeBron James having to shoulder the load for the 2015 Cavaliers after Irving and Kevin Love went down with injuries.
  • The Nets at least got some good injury news prior to Game 4 on Sunday when forward Jeff Green was cleared to return. However, head coach Steve Nash admitted after the game that he ended up having to play Green more than he anticipated — and more than he would’ve liked. “I think (with) Kyrie going down, we used his versatility to try different things,” Nash said of Green, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. “I’m proud of him for playing. He wasn’t supposed to play today — a couple days ago. For him to ratchet it up and get out there was great.”
  • In a span of days, the Nets went from overwhelming title favorites to being in real danger of elimination in the second round, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, who says that Brooklyn is the latest club to “ram home” the point that winning a title in the NBA is extremely difficult.
  • The Nets and Bucks had differing views on P.J. Tucker‘s defense on Durant after Game 4, as Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes. Nash referred to Tucker’s approach as “borderline non-basketball physical at times,” prompting Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer to respond, “He’s just guarding him. If that’s not basketball, I don’t know what is.”