Paul Johnson

Pacific Notes: Paul, Clippers, Jackson, Kings’ Staff

Another ill-timed injury for Chris Paul imperils his chances of winning a championship, as ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne details. Paul has been hampered by a shoulder injury as the Suns have fallen behind the Lakers 2-1 in their opening-round series. “You control what you can control,” Paul said. “I know I do everything on a daily basis to prepare myself to be ready to play. When things happen, they happen. You’ve got to overcome it and get through it.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers face a gut check heading into Dallas this weekend with a 2-0 deficit in their playoff series, according to Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register. “When you’re down 2-0, it shows what you’re made of,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “Our toughness and all year, just trust, sticking together. And then this is going to show us (Friday) who we are and what we’re made of. So, I’m excited to see.”
  • Bobby Jackson has been named head coach of the Kings’ NBA G League affiliate, the Stockton Kings, according to a press release from the G League team. Jackson has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach/player development coach for the Kings under head coach Luke Walton.
  • The Kings announced staff changes within their basketball operations department via press release. Paul Johnson has been promoted to VP of player development, in addition to his current role as the Stockton Kings’ GM. Jonah Herscu has been named an assistant coach on Sacramento’s staff, while Penny Chatzis is the new director of team player development. Robbie Lemons has been named director of basketball operations.

Kings’ McNair Revamping Front Office, Hires Wilcox As Assistant GM

OCTOBER 14: The Kings have officially issued a press release confirming the new hires and titles detailed below. In addition to his director of basketball operations role, Johnson will also serve as the new general manager for the Stockton Kings, Sacramento’s G League affiliate.

According to the team, Wilcox will assist McNair in front office duties such as “roster construction, strategy and player evaluation,” Jabour will be responsible for overseeing the scouting department, and Johnson will lead Stockton’s front office in addition to contributing to aspects of the Kings’ basketball operations.

“I am excited to have Wes, Phil and Paul join the front office,” McNair said in a statement. “Wes’ background as an executive in the league combined with Phil’s veteran leadership through the scouting ranks and Paul’s proven experience in evaluating talent will be strong additions to the basketball operations group. Their diverse skill sets and unique perspectives will add valuable knowledge and innovative thinking as we focus on executing our vision of building a winning culture in Sacramento.”


OCTOBER 13: Less than a month after being hired, new Kings general manager Monte McNair is making major changes to the team’s front office, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The Kings are hiring Wes Wilcox as an assistant general manager, Phil Jabour as vice president of player personnel, and Paul Johnson as director of basketball operations, sources tell Wojnarowski.

Wilcox is the most noteworthy name among Sacramento’s new additions, having previously served as Atlanta’s general manager from 2015-17. He interviewed for the Bulls’ top basketball operations job and was a finalist for the Kings’ job this summer before the team opted to hire McNair. Prior to his stint in the Hawks’ front office, Wilcox worked for the Heat and Pelicans and spent several years with the Cavaliers.

Jabour arrives in Sacramento after having worked as the Sixers‘ director of scouting last season. He also previously held positions in the scouting departments in Orlando and Houston, overlapping with McNair during his time with the Rockets.

Johnson, meanwhile, was named the assistant GM of the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder‘s G League affiliate, just two weeks ago. However, his new director of basketball operations role in Sacramento represents a promotion.

McNair had been expected to fortify the Kings’ front office after the team parted ways with several executives this offseason. In addition to the departure of former GM Vlade Divac, assistant GM Peja Stojakovic resigned and G League GM Anthony McClish was let go. Sacramento is reportedly expected to retain assistant GM and salary cap expert Ken Catanella.

Thunder Promote Rob Hennigan, Will Dawkins, Others

Following the spring departure of vice president of basketball operations Troy Weaver, the Thunder have announced a series of promotions within their front office, including the filling of Weaver’s old role. Those promotions are as follows:

  • Rob Hennigan to VP of basketball operations
  • Will Dawkins to VP of basketball operations
  • Jesse Gould to VP of strategy and analytics
  • Wynn Sullivan to VP of strategy and design
  • Brandon Barnett to director of player personnel
  • Nazr Mohammed to pro personnel evaluator and GM of the Oklahoma City Blue
  • Paul Johnson to assistant GM of the OKC Blue

The Thunder also confirmed the previously-reported hiring of former Rivals.com analyst Corey Evans as an amateur scout.

“We are proud of the continued evolution of our Executive Team and the promotions of many long-tenured Thunder team members,” executive VP of basketball operations Sam Presti said in a statement. “These individuals have demonstrated a consistent commitment to our vision for Thunder basketball on and off the floor, and we are grateful for their contributions. The continued leadership development of our entire staff is essential to our focus of sustaining an elite basketball infrastructure.”

The promotions of Hennigan and Dawkins are most notable, as they appear poised to take on more senior positions in the front office following Weaver’s exit. Hennigan is in his second stint with the franchise, having left Oklahoma City to become Orlando’s GM for five years from 2012-17, while Dawkins has risen through OKC’s basketball operations department for over a decade after starting as an intern in 2008.

Mohammed’s new role is also worth noting. The former NBA center first joined Oklahoma City’s front office in December 2017 and has gone through an “extensive post-playing transition program for former players” during his three years as an executive, per today’s announcement from the team.