Nate Tibbetts

Thunder Notes: Weaver, Gallinari, Coaching Search

The Thunder‘s head coaching search now includes former Sixers and Nets assistant Will Weaver, sources tell Mitch Lawrence of SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter link). Weaver, who coached the Long Island Nets in 2018/19, currently serves as the head coach of the Sydney Kings in Australia’s National Basketball League.

In an episode of his Hoop Collective podcast earlier this month, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst linked Weaver to the Pelicans‘ head coaching search, noting that the veteran coach has a working relationship with New Orleans’ general manager Trajan Langdon. As Windhorst explains, the Pelicans’ decision to send 2019 second-round pick Didi Louzada to Sydney was related to Weaver’s presence there.

Relaying Windhorst’s comments last week, Matt Logue of The Australian wrote that “it is understood” that Weaver will interview for the Thunder’s open head coaching job.

While we wait to see if anything more concrete materializes between Weaver and two of the teams still seeking head coaches, here are a few more Thunder-related items:

  • An unrestricted free agent this fall, Danilo Gallinari published a tweet on Tuesday asking, “Where to next?” There’s still a chance Gallinari could return to the Thunder for the 2020/21 season, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman writes. However, Oklahoma City is believed to be mulling a rebuild and Gallinari’s Tuesday tweet suggests he’s preparing to play elsewhere next season.
  • Elsewhere at The Oklahoman, Mussatto continues to profile coaches who he believes could become candidates for the Thunder’s head coaching vacancy. In recent days, he has taken a closer look at Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts, Bucks assistant Charles Lee, Sixers assistant Ime Udoka, and Dayton head coach Anthony Grant.
  • In case you missed it last week, we previewed the Thunder’s major upcoming offseason decisions, including the possibility of a Chris Paul trade.

Pacers Identify 14 Head Coaching Candidates

The Pacers are set to begin a wide-ranging search for a head coach that will include more than a dozen candidates, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. As Wojnarowski details, Indiana is looking to interview the following candidates as the team seeks a replacement for Nate McMillan:

  • Former Kings and Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger
  • Timberwolves associate head coach David Vanterpool
  • Nets associate head coach Jacque Vaughn
  • Trail Blazers associate head coach Nate Tibbetts
  • Spurs assistants Becky Hammon and Will Hardy
  • Heat assistants Dan Craig and Chris Quinn
  • Mavericks assistants Jamahl Mosley and Stephen Silas
  • Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee
  • Sixers assistant Ime Udoka
  • Magic assistant Pat Delany

It remains to be seen whether the Pacers will be granted permission to speak with all of their potential targets. If they do, the team’s first round of virtual meetings would feature at least 14 interviews.

Many of the Pacers’ coaching candidates identified by Wojnarowski have been linked to other vacancies around the league. Vanterpool, Craig, Mosley, Silas, Ham, and Udoka, for example, are all believed to be interviewing for the Bulls’ job. Udoka and Ham have also been mentioned as potential 76ers candidates, as has Joerger. Vaughn was seriously considered for the Nets job before the team hired Steve Nash, while Hardy and Delany interviewed with the Knicks before they hired Tom Thibodeau.

[RELATED: 2020 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Others on Indiana’s list, such as Tibbetts and Hammon, have interviewed in past years for various NBA head coaching openings. Only a couple candidates – Quinn and Lee – haven’t received head coaching consideration in the past, as far as I can tell. Meanwhile, Joerger and Vaughn are the only names on the list with previous head coaching experience.

Mike D’Antoni has also been mentioned as a potential target for the Pacers, but he remains active in the postseason with the Rockets and there’s no guarantee he’ll leave Houston when his contract expires.

Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard has spoken about wanting to hire a head coach who takes a “modern approach” to the game and has the ability to connect with younger players. McMillan’s old-school approach to offense was believed to be one reason why Indiana made a change.

Western Notes: Russell, Suns, Beverley, Kings, Rivers, Blazers

The Timberwolves, led by D’Angelo Russell‘s close friend Karl-Anthony Towns, were confident about their ability to get a commitment from Russell in free agency and went into their Sunday meeting with him ready to make the trades necessary to make a deal work, sources tell Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Minnesota was just waiting for the green light from D-Lo to move forward on those trades, but the All-Star point guard instead opted to join the Warriors.

The Suns were viewed as a team that might try to get into the mix for Russell, who has another good friend – Devin Booker – in Phoenix. However, despite Booker’s campaign, Phoenix chose not to pursue the RFA guard, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. According to Rankin, the Suns “apparently felt Russell wouldn’t have been a good influence on Booker off the court.”

The Warriors, with their veteran leaders, apparently had no such qualms about D-Lo, who – by all accounts – matured considerably during his time in Brooklyn.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • After agreeing to sign a three-year, $40MM deal with the Clippers, Patrick Beverley tells Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times that he turned down a more lucrative offer from the Kings to return to L.A. “I got a bigger offer from Sacramento and I took $9-10 million less to come here,” Beverley said. “… It was the right decision. Of course, the human part of you wants to take as much money as you see, but all money isn’t good money. I did what was best for me and my family and I did what was best to stay on a winning team, and I feel like I made the right decision.”
  • Despite Beverley’s comments, Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link) hears that the Kings offered the veteran guard a guaranteed total of $35MM over three years, with a partial guarantee in year three. Theoretically, it’s possible that Beverley’s claim could still be accurate if that third-year partial guarantee was very small and he’s including the non-guaranteed money as part of Sacramento’s bid.
  • Before he agreed to return to the Rockets for the veteran’s minimum, Austin Rivers had offers in the range of the $5.7MM taxpayer mid-level exception, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. “Now that the league is wide open, I just saw an opportunity,” Rivers said. “You can’t really put a price on happiness. The goal was to come back to Houston all along. I think we have the team to beat.”
  • The Trail Blazers have announced Terry Stotts‘ coaching staff for the upcoming season, with Nate Tibbetts replacing David Vanterpool as the team’s associate head coach. Portland has also promoted Jim Moran to the front of the bench and hired former NBA guard Jannero Pargo as an assistant.

Grizzlies To Interview Tibbetts For Coaching Job

The Grizzlies have been granted permission to interview Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts for their head coaching vacancy, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Tibbetts has been on other teams’ lists recently during their head coaching searches. He was expected to be interviewed by the Cavaliers, but they chose Michigan coach John Beilein before that potential meeting. Tibbetts interviewed with the Suns before they selected Monty Williams. He was also one of four finalists for the Hawks job last summer that went to Lloyd Pierce.

Memphis, which parted ways with J.B. Bickerstaff after the season, has already interviewed at least three other candidates for the job — former Suns coach Igor Kokoskov, Jazz assistant Alex Jensen and Warriors assistant Jarron Collins. Memphis is also believed to have interest in Lithuania’s Sarunas Jasikevicius.

The Grizzlies are the only team that hasn’t filled its head coaching vacancy.

Cavaliers Hire J.B. Bickerstaff As Associate Head Coach

The Cavaliers have hired J.B. Bickerstaff as associate head coach, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. A target of multiple franchises this offseason for a coaching role (including the Sixers, Celtics, Lakers and Kings), Bickerstaff will be tasked with helping new head coach John Beilein make the transition to the NBA.

Bickerstaff, who will now be one of the league’s top paid assistant coaches, is a former head coach of both the Rockets (interim) and Grizzlies. He is also the son of former NBA coach Bernie Bickerstaff, who now serves as a Senior Basketball Advisor for the Cavaliers.

As we relayed last week, the Cavaliers also still plan to hire at least one other person to join Beilein’s staff, potentially from the pool of other candidates that interviewed for the head coaching position, including Alex Jensen (Utah), Jamahl Mosley (Dallas), Jordi Fernandez (Denver), and Nate Tibbetts (Portland).

Bickerstaff, Other Candidates Could Join Beilein’s Staff

New Cavaliers coach John Beilein is expected to meet with former Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff to gauge Bickerstaff’s interest in becoming his associate head coach, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Bickerstaff met with Cleveland’s front office and was also a candidate for the Lakers job before they hired Frank Vogel.

Bickerstaff may not be the only candidate the Cavaliers interviewed who could potentially join Beilein’s staff. They will likely hire at least one other from that pool, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports.

Cleveland stunned the basketball world on Monday by plucking the 66-year-old Beilein out of the college ranks and naming the University of Michigan head man as its head coach.

GM Koby Altman conducted an extensive search, interviewing at least 10 other candidates, mostly NBA assistants. Among that group, Alex Jensen (Utah), Jamahl Mosley (Dallas) and Jordi Fernandez (Denver) are candidates to wind up on Beilein’s staff, as is Nate Tibbetts (Portland), who was expected to get an interview until the Cavs focused on the Wolverines coach.

Beilein is on board with having seasoned NBA assistants on the bench, Vardon continues, but wants to chat with potential candidates to find out which would be the best fits.

Vardon also added these nuggets in his story:

  • There was already mutual interest between the Cavs and Beilein when assistant GM and West Virginia alum Mike Gansey visited his former college coach at the Final Four in Minneapolis on April 6. Beilein was not viewed as a leading candidate for the job at the time mainly because the Cleveland brass doubted Beilein would leave Michigan.
  • Altman and his staff quietly interviewed Beilein last week. Later in the week, Beilein met with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who lives in suburban Detroit. Beilein emerged as the Cavs’ choice after that meeting.
  • The youth and fluidity of the Cavs’ roster intrigued Beilein. It gives Beilein a chance to mold the team to his liking, as he’s done previously in his college stops.

Cavaliers Interview More Coaching Candidates

Members of the Cavaliers‘ front office are meeting with four candidates for their head coaching vacancy today in Denver, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

We told you earlier that Magic assistant coach Steve Hetzel had an interview, but GM Koby Altman and his staff also talked to Nuggets assistants Jordi Fernandez and Wes Unseld Jr.

Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool will interview tonight, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, while fellow Portland assistant Nate Tibbetts had a scheduling conflict and will hold his interview sometime after tomorrow’s Game 7. That will wrap up the first round of the coaching search, Fedor adds (Twitter link).

Cleveland has conducted the most wide-ranging interview process among the teams looking for a head coach. Spurs assistants Ime Udoka and Ettore Messina, former Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff, Jazz assistant Alex Jensen and Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley have all interviewed for the job.

Monty Williams Interviews With Suns

The Suns met with Sixers assistant Monty Williams on Friday, but didn’t make a job offer, reports Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. The meeting was described as “very positive,” Rankin adds, and Williams remains a top contender for the position.

He was the first candidate the Suns have interviewed since firing first-year coach Igor Kokoskov on Monday. The meeting was held in Toronto because the Sixers are there for the first two games of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The Lakers also interviewed Williams this week, along with former Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue.

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Williams, 47, has head coaching experience in New Orleans, where he worked for new Suns VP of basketball operations Jeff Bower. Williams compiled a 173-221 record in five seasons. Phoenix GM James Jones also has experience with Williams, who was an assistant coach with the Trail Blazers during the three seasons that Jones played there.

The Suns were scheduled to meet today with Portland assistants Nate Tibbetts and David Vanterpool.

Suns Get Permission To Interview Vanterpool, Tibbetts

A pair of Trail Blazers assistant coaches continue to receive interest from teams with head coaching vacancies. A day after word broke that Portland had granted permission to the Cavaliers to interview David Vanterpool and Nate Tibbetts, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports (via Twitter) that the Suns have also received permission to meet with the duo.

Vanterpool had previously been mentioned as a candidate to replace Igor Kokoskov in Phoenix, but this is the first we’ve heard of Tibbetts’ spot on the Suns’ list of potential targets.

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Sixers assistant Monty Williams remains the focus of the Suns’ coaching search, after the team received permission earlier this week to meet with him. However, both Vanterpool and Tibbetts are in position to become serious candidates for the head coaching openings around the NBA.

Vanterpool, who played basketball professionally up until 2007, became an assistant on CSKA Moscow’s staff following his retirement as a player. He joined the Blazers’ staff when Terry Stotts was hired in 2012.

As for Tibbetts, he joined Stotts’ staff in 2013 after spending two years as an assistant for the Cavaliers. Before his time in Cleveland, Tibbetts served as the head coach for the Tulsa 66ers and the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the G League.

Cavs To Interview Pair Of Blazers Assistants

The Cavaliers have received permission from the Trail Blazers to interview Nate Tibbetts and David Vanterpool in their search for a new head coach, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Both Tibbetts and Vanterpool were previously mentioned as potential targets for the role, as our Head Coaching Search Tracker shows.

Cleveland plans to conduct an interview with each candidate, but the franchise will be sensitive to Portland’s playoff run in the scheduling, writes Tom Withers of The Associated Press.

Tyronn Lue, who is in the running for the Lakers’ gig, began the season as the Cavs’ coach before the team fired him and handed duties over to Larry Drew. Drew was always seen as a stopgap coach, guiding the team through a season of injuries.

Heat assistant Juwan Howard and Mavs assistant Jamahl Mosley are among the candidates Cleveland is considering for the position. The franchise has no timetable to make a hire.