Pat Garrity

Central Notes: Stephenson, Love, Polinsky, Evans

The Pacers offered a better contract to swingman Lance Stephenson than he received from the Lakers, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said on Friday (Twitter link via Mark Monteith). Stephenson agreed to a one-year, $4.5MM deal from the Lakers. A phone call from LeBron James influenced Stephenson’s decision to choose L.A., Monteith adds. However, the Pacers declined Stephenson’s team option of $4.36MM prior to free agency, so it seems odd Pritchard then turned around and offered more in the open market.

In other news around the Central Division:

  • The Cavs don’t plan on tanking or trading their top remaining player Kevin Love, Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. GM Koby Altman said he’s intent on keeping the team competitive despite the loss of LeBron James“Kevin is an All-Star and you don’t get better by moving Kevin,” Altman said. “Kevin’s been incredible for us for four years and he wants to be here, and to me that’s a big part for guys that are here and the guys that we’re gonna acquire, is that they want to be here and be a part of this new chapter and culture that we’re creating.”
  • The Pistons have hired Nets executive Gregg Polinsky as their director of player personnel, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Pistons senior advisor Ed Stefanski and Polinsky worked together in Brooklyn, Wojnarowski adds. Polinsky had the same title with the Nets but his role will expand in Detroit. Pat Garrity and Andrew Loomis, who were assistant GMs under former team president Stan Van Gundy, will continue in their roles, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News. The Pistons could bring in another assistant GM to focus on analytics, Beard adds.
  • Tyreke Evans is content with coming off the bench for the Pacers, Monteith writes for the team’s website. Evans joined the Pacers on a one-year, $12MM deal. Pritchard didn’t have to coax Evans into being a sixth man. “Not one bit,” he said. “We told him, ‘Here’s your role, does that interest you?’ He said, ‘Yes, I’m in.’ I think in his mind he’s going, ‘Boy, I’ve been scoring a lot of points and doing a lot of good stuff against starters, this is going to be fun.'”
  • Tim Grgurich is likely to join Dwane Casey’s coaching staff with the Pistons, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Grgurich, 76, has a long career as an NBA assistant and most recently was a consultant with the Bucks.

Pistons Will Exercise Patience In Free Agent Market

The Pistons will wait until the big free-agent signings are made before trying to fill out their roster, new senior advisor Ed Stefanski told Rod Beard of the Detroit News. Salary constraints will likely prevent Detroit from being active during the early days of free agency. “We’ll see who’s out there in the second wave,” Stefanski said. In general, Stefanski doesn’t foresee much of a roster turnover due to the decisions made by the previous regime, headed by former coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy“The luxury-tax line is on us,” Stefanski said. “We’ll see what players are available. The team we have now is our team because we don’t have the flexibility at this time.” Re-signing veteran power forward Anthony Tolliver, an unrestricted free agent, will be difficult because of that lack of flexibility unless the Pistons can somehow clear cap space by moving a big salary.

Here’s more from Beard’s interview with Stefanski:

  • The Pistons feel they lucked out that Dwane Casey essentially fell into their laps during their coaching search. “We’re very happy to bring Casey on board; it was our first priority,” Stefanski said. “We’re very fortunate that the Coach of the Year was sitting out there without a job. It’s unusual in any sport that that caliber of coach is out there.”
  • All of Detroit’s draft preparation is complete, thus there’s no rush to hire a GM. The team doesn’t own a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. Assistant GM Pat Garrity remains in the running for a front-office position.
  • Casey met this week with many of his top players this week during summer workouts in California, including Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Stanley Johnson and Luke Kennard“He’s getting an idea of how each guy will play and have them work that into their individual (summer) workouts,” Stefanski said.

Central Notes: Irving, Bamba, Lee, Brown, Pistons

In a series of tweets before the Cavaliers went down 0-1 in their series against the Warriors, owner Dan Gilbert voiced his thoughts about Cleveland’s’ journey, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. The Cavs are back in the NBA Finals for a fourth straight season and team owner Gilbert said that trading Kyrie Irving was a crucial part of that.

Gilbert said that general manager Koby Altman‘s decision to deal Irving, and then restructure the roster at the deadline was critical in getting the team to this point.

“W/o either of these 2 bold moves orchestrated by Koby & the @Cavs front office, we would not be here w/ a good chance to bring another one home to CLE,” Gilbert wrote in one tweet. Gilbert also praised LeBron James, writing that “his impact is magical,” and also lauded the play of his support cast.

Much was made of the Cavaliers’ decision to part with Irving last summer as the point guard helped lead the team to an NBA title two seasons ago. James himself admitted to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he doubted the Cavaliers’ ability to compete after the team dealt Irving.

“Even if you start back to the summertime where I felt like it was just bad for our franchise just to be able to trade away our superstar point guard,” James said. “A guy that I had been in so many battles with over the last three years, and obviously I wasn’t a part of the communications and know exactly what went on between the two sides. But I just felt like it was bad timing for our team.”

Check out more Central Division notes down below:

  • Former Hawks assistant coach Charles Lee has signed a contract with the Bucks to join the staff of new head coach Mike Budenholzer, tweets Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • During a press conference before Game 1, NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the January police video that showed Bucks player Sterling Brown being arrested. Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports writes that Silver called the footage “horrific” and that he has been in contact with Brown.
  • After working out and interviewing with the Bulls, Texas big man Mohamed Bamba has made a compelling case to be drafted by the Bulls as the seventh overall pick, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes.
  • With the departure of GM Jeff Bower, assistant GM Pat Garrity is likely a strong candidate to land a key role in the Pistons’ front office, tweets Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Keith Langlois of NBA.com looks at the Pistons‘ search for a head coach and a general manager. With Ed Stefanski hired to oversee the hiring process, Langlois writes that Detroit should prioritize a head coach.

Central Rumors: Butler, Garrity, Griffin, Pacers

Jimmy Butler held a meeting with Bulls management on Monday to discuss the team’s direction, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Butler had only met with team officials briefly after the season, the tweet adds. Chicago isn’t looking to move the three-time All-Star swingman but will listen to any offers, Johnson wrote in an earlier story. Butler had been training in Los Angeles and will leave for Europe later in the month to train there, Johnson adds.

In other developments around the Central Division:

  • Pistons assistant GM Pat Garrity interviewed for the Hawks GM position and will soon interview for the Bucks‘ GM opening, according to Tony Paul of the Detroit News. Atlanta chose Warriors executive Travis Schlenk. Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy confirmed to Paul that Garrity will interview for the job formerly held by new Magic GM John Hammond.
  • There are several more hurdles to clear before the Pistons can move into a new downtown arena next season, the Detroit Free Press reports. The Detroit City Council on Tuesday will vote on a package of agreements that would allow the move, while the lease agreement with Little Caesars Arena has not been finalized, the report continues. The league also has to give its final approval. The franchise hopes to have all the elements completed in time for the annual July board of governors meeting in Las Vegas, the report adds.
  • Cavaliers GM David Griffin will seek a significant raise from owner Dan Gilbert, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com reports. Griffin is making less than $2MM annually, according to Vardon’s sources. The two sides have not yet discussed financial terms on a new contract for Griffin, whose current contract expires at the end of the month. The Magic and Hawks were denied permission to interview Griffin for front-office openings and the Bucks appear to be moving away from Griffin in their GM search, Vardon adds.
  • The Pacers will bring in six players for a pre-draft workout on Tuesday, according to the team’s website. That group includes Antonio Blakeney (LSU), Isaac Hamilton (UCLA), Zak Irvin (Michigan), Naz Long (Iowa State), Johnathan Motley (Baylor) and Rashawn Thomas (Texas A&M-CC). It’s a group of second-round hopefuls, headlined by Blakeney, a shooting guard ranked No. 85 by DraftExpress.

Bucks Ready To Start GM Interviews

The Bucks are finalizing their list of GM candidates with interviews expected to start Monday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Assistant GM Justin Zanik remains a strong candidate to replace John Hammond, who left to become GM of the Magic. Sources tell Wojnarowski that Zanik has strong support inside and outside the Bucks organization.

Others expected to interview for the position are Minnesota assistant GM Noah Croom, Indiana vice president of basketball operations Peter Dinwiddie, Detroit assistant GM Pat Garrity, Denver assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas and Memphis VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski. Many of the names were already known, but Croom is a new addition, Wojnarowski tweets.

Sources indicate that Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens will participate in the interviews. An original list of candidates was trimmed by a search firm.

Latest On Bucks’ GM Search

Milwaukee will begin formal interviews for its open GM position on Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports.

The team has been granted permission to speak with Blazer assistant GM Bill Branch, Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, and Pistons assistant GM Pat Garrity, according to Wojnarowski.

The scribe adds that the Bucks have reached out to the Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon about the opening. Hammon has been working under coach Gregg Popovich for three seasons.

Milwaukee previously reached out to Indiana and gained permission to speak with the team’s VP of basketball operations Peter Dinwiddie. Wojnarowski adds that the franchise also has permission to speak with Denver assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas, Grizzlies VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski and Hawks special advisor Wes Wilcox.

Justin Zanik, who is currently running the team as its assistant GM, remains a strong candidate for the position. Zanik is gathering “significant support” inside and outside the organization, Wojnarowski writes. He joined the team with the expectation that he would be the GM-in-waiting once John Hammond‘s contract expired. Hammond recently left the franchise to become Orlando’s GM.

Bucks Rumors: GM Search, Garrity, Simon, Kidd

A Wednesday report indicated that the Bucks have received permission to interview at least four executives from various teams around the NBA for their open general manager position. However, Milwaukee’s list of potential GM targets in longer than that. A source familiar with the team tells Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times that at least five other execs are under consideration by the Bucks, with about three dozen NBA officials having expressed interest in the job.

While Woelfel doesn’t specify any additional candidates, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical provides two more names, tweeting that Milwaukee has been granted permission to speak to Pistons executive Pat Garrity and Heat assistant GM Adam Simon. Garrity was said to be a candidate for the top job in Orlando before the Magic hired Jeff Weltman and John Hammond.

Woelfel has more info on the team’s GM search in his latest piece, so let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • Head coach Jason Kidd may be considered down the road for a top basketball operations role, but he’s not a candidate to take over that role in the short term, sources tell Woelfel. Still, Kidd will meet with the finalists for the position to ensure that they’ll have a good working relationship.
  • Assistant GM Justin Zanik is viewed as a strong candidate to be promoted to GM, but even if he doesn’t receive an official promotion, he’ll be well-compensated. According to Woelfel, Zanik’s contract includes a unique clause that stipulates his pay will be equal to that of the new GM.
  • Grizzlies VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski, one of the four candidates the Bucks received permission to interview, is viewed by several NBA officials as the frontrunner for the Bucks’ top job, reports Woelfel. Previous report have indicated that the relationship between Stefanski and Bucks consultant Rod Thorn is a strong factor working in Stefanski’s favor. The two men worked together in New Jersey and are longtime friends.
  • On Thursday, we examined five key questions facing the Bucks this offseason, including who will be calling the shots on personnel decisions.

5 Candidates To Replace Rob Hennigan As Magic GM

Interim GM Matt Lloyd is among the leading candidates to take over for Rob Hennigan in Orlando, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel.

Lloyd, who was named to the position after Hennigan was fired on Thursday, has been running the Magic’s scouting department for the past five years. He has also served as director of college scouting for the Bulls. Owner Alex Martins is keeping his list of potential Hennigan replacements confidential, but he has said Lloyd will be among those considered.

Robbins lists four other potential candidates:

  • Travis Schlenk — The vice president of basketball operations and assistant GM in Golden State, Schlenk has spent the past 13 years with the Warriors. He also worked as an assistant coach and video scout. Schlenk has ties to Orlando, breaking into the NBA in 1997/98 with the Magic’s basketball operations department.
  • Brian Wright — The assistant GM in San Antonio started as a summer intern with Orlando in 2006. He spent eight years with the Magic and served as director of college scouting before leaving to take an assistant GM’s role with the Pistons.
  • Pat Garrity — A former Magic player, Garrity is among the league’s rising stars in the front office. He is currently associate GM in Detroit.
  • Michael Zarren — Boston’s assistant GM was recently tabbed by ESPN as among the top candidates to land a full-time GM job. He is a Harvard Law School graduate and serves as lead in-house counsel for the Celtics.

Magic Fire GM Rob Hennigan

With their offseason now underway, the Magic have started making changes in their front office, firing general manager Rob Hennigan, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). The team also dismissed assistant GM Scott Perry, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link).Rob Hennigan vertical

“We appreciate Rob’s efforts to rebuild the team, but feel we have not made any discernible improvement over the last few years specifically,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said in a statement. “It’s time for different leadership in basketball operations.  We certainly wish Rob and his family well.”

Hennigan was considered to be on the hot seat for much of this season, as his flurry of moves a year ago failed to lead to tangible on-court improvement for the Magic. An eventful 2016 offseason saw Orlando trade for Serge Ibaka, then sign Bismack Biyombo, D.J. Augustin, and Jeff Green in free agency.

The franchise had playoff aspirations to start the year, but lost its opener to the Heat, and never got back above .500. Orlando’s spot in the standings prompted the team to flip Ibaka to the Raptors before February’s trade deadline, and Hennigan and the front office were widely criticized for giving up far more for Ibaka last summer than they got back for him at the deadline.

Hennigan’s seat likely became hotter in recent weeks after a photo taken by Patricio Garino‘s agent that showed an apparent list of Orlando’s offseason targets on a dry-erase board went viral. Hennigan insisted that the leaked white board wasn’t indicative of the Magic’s summer plans, and that it was just a list of possible options for the team, but it wasn’t a great look for a management group that was already under fire.

2016/17 was the fifth straight season that the Magic finished with a losing record, dating back to 2012/13, Hennigan’s first year at the helm. During Hennigan’s five years as Orlando’s GM, the team posted a 132-278 record (.322). The club has employed four different head coaches during that time, never winning more than 35 games in a season or earning a spot in the playoffs.

With Hennigan no longer in the mix in Orlando, the Magic have named Matt Lloyd as the interim general manager, the club confirmed (via Twitter). Lloyd will be in the mix for the permanent job, though he won’t be the only candidate considered.

According to Robbins, Magic officials have interest in Grant Hill as a potential president of basketball operations. Robbins adds that Pistons associate GM Pat Garrity and Warriors assistant GM Travis Schlenk could also be among the executives targeted by Orlando.

There were rumblings earlier this year that Doc Rivers could consider jumping to the Magic in a head coach/president of basketball operations role, but that seems like a long shot — Rivers dismissed the idea at the time. For now, Frank Vogel remains the head coach in Orlando, and he just finished the first year of a four-year contract, so a new GM may be reluctant to make a change unless the Magic are willing to eat a significant chunk of money.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Front Office Shakeups Ahead?

Disappointing seasons could lead to front office changes for at least five teams this summer, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.

The most obvious team headed for a shakeup is Sacramento, which reportedly wants to position someone above GM Vlade Divac and may have interest in former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie, despite an official statement denying it. There are also ongoing rumors of a rift between Vivek Ranadive and the minority ownership, which has grown frustrated with the way the team has been managed.

Kyler notes that Ken Catanella was hired as an assistant GM last summer, but wasn’t given the power that many expected him to have.

Change may also be coming to these organizations:

  • Orlando — The Magic seem ready to replace GM Rob Hennigan, with Pistons executive and former Orlando player Pat Garrity as the leading candidate to be offered the job. The Magic had hoped to be playoff contenders after signing Bismack Biyombo and trading for Serge Ibaka, but the new combination never worked out. Orlando is 14th in the East at 27-47, and Ibaka was shipped to Toronto last month. Kyler cites league sources who say several of the Magic’s lower level executives are expecting changes and have started contacting other organizations.
  • New Orleans — A recent report said coach Alvin Gentry and GM Dell Demps could both be fired without significant progress by the end of the season. Demps may have bought himself more timee with the DeMarcus Cousins trade, but the Pelicans have reached the playoffs just twice during his seven years at the helm. Louisiana native Joe Dumars is close to ownership and is reportedly being considered as a replacement.
  • Phoenix — The Suns will miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year, and many believe that owner Robert Sarver wants to turn things around quickly. Ryan McDonough has amassed an impressive group of young talent in his four years as GM, but that may not be enough to convince Sarver to keep him.
  • Atlanta — It’s unlikely that coach/executive Mike Budenholzer or GM Wes Wilcox gets replaced, but several staff additions are expected. The Hawks have been shaken by the loss of free agent Al Horford last season and the possible exit of Paul Millsap this summer, along with a late-season losing streak that may knock them out of the playoffs. More voices may be brought on to help Budenholzer and Wilcox with the decision-making process.