Paul Westphal

And-Ones: Westphal, Weber, Free Agency, Extensions

NBA commissioner Adam Silver released the following statement on the passing of Paul Westphal, who played 12 NBA seasons from 1972-1984 and lost his life on Saturday after a bout with brain cancer at age 70:

“Paul Westphal was a Hall of Famer and one of the great all-around players of his era. His toughness, skill and intellect made him a key contributor on the Boston Celtics’ 1974 championship team and a perennial All-Star with the Phoenix Suns. … He will be remembered for his generosity, leadership and love for the game, which defined his many years in the NBA. We extend our deepest condolences to Paul’s wife, Cindy, and their family.”

Westphal, a five-time NBA All-Star, played for Boston, Phoenix, Seattle and New York during his career. He later transitioned into coaching for over 30 years, most recently serving as an assistant with the Nets from 2014-16.

In honor of Westphal’s legacy, NBA teams observed a moment of silence before each of the scheduled games on Saturday.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Free agent guard Briante Weber has signed in France with BCM Gravelines, the team announced (Twitter link). Weber spent part of last season in France with Metropolitans 92, holding per-game averages of 12.2 points and 4.6 assists. He has made past NBA stops with the Grizzlies, Heat, Warriors, Hornets and Rockets.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic examines the free agent class of 2021, listing Kawhi Leonard as the consensus best player to potentially reach the open market. Leonard could decline a player option worth $36MM to test free agency next summer.
  • Danny Leroux of The Athletic explores the chances of any remaining contract extensions being finalized in 2020/21. Several veteran players are eligible to sign extensions with their teams, including Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Dennis Schroder (Lakers) and Mike Conley (Jazz).

Hall Of Famer Paul Westphal Passes Away

NBA Hall of Famer Paul Westphal has passed away, according to Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News (Twitter link).

Westphal, 70, was diagnosed with brain cancer in August.

During a playing career which lasted from 1972-84, Westphal played for the Celtics, Suns, SuperSonics and Knicks. He was a five-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA First Team selection. In his career, Westphal scored a total of 12,809 points for an average of 15.6 PPG, along with 3,591 assists for an average of 4.4 APG.

Westphal coached the Suns from 1992-95 and SuperSonics from 1998-2000. His last head coaching stint came with the Kings (2009-12). His last NBA assistant coaching stint was with the Nets from 2014-16. He had a 318-279 (.533) regular-season record as a head coach and 27-22 record in the playoffs. The Suns reached the NBA Finals in his first year as head coach.

Westphal was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.

Hoops Rumors offers its condolences to the Westphal family.

And-Ones: Edwards, Gillespie, Westphal, Williams

Georgia freshman guard Anthony Edwards is the lukewarm favorite to be chosen with the No. 1 overall pick this offseason but opinions about his game vary widely, as Sam Vecenie of The Athletic notes. In a poll of eight college coaches, some believe Edwards will be a perennial All-Star in the mold of Bradley Beal. One of the coaches that Vecenie spoke to believes he might be nothing more than an average role player. Edwards’ ability in pick-and-rolls makes him at least a top-five player in this class, Vecenie concludes.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Baylor power forward Freddie Gillespie has interviewed with half of the teams in the league, including his hometown Timberwolves, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets. Gillespie is considered a marginal second-round prospect. He’s currently ranked No. 73 overall by ESPN and 15th among players at his position.
  • Hall of Fame guard Paul Westphal has been diagnosed with brain cancer, former ESPN Sports Reporters host Mike Lupica tweets. The 69-year-old Westphal, who was inducted last year, also coached Phoenix, Seattle and Sacramento after his playing career ended in 1984.
  • Victor Williams has been named CEO of NBA Africa, according to a league press release. Williams, an investment banking executive with extensive experience growing businesses across the U.S. and Africa, will be based in the league’s Johannesburg office. In this newly-created role, Williams will oversee the league’s basketball and business development initiatives in Africa.

2019 Hall Of Fame Class Announced

Several former NBA stars are among the Class of 2019 for the Basketball Hall of Fame, writes Dave Campbell of The Associated Press. The announcements were made today at the site of the Final Four in Minneapolis.

Sidney Moncrief, Vlade Divac, Jack Sikma, Bobby Jones and Paul Westphal are the more modern players chosen for enshrinement, joined by Al Attles, Carl Braun and Chuck Cooper. Also headed to the Hall are coach Bill Fitch, former WNBA star Teresa Weatherspoon, the Tennessee A&I men’s team that became the first back-to-back national champions in any college division from 1957-59 and the Wayland Baptist University women’s team that strung together 131 straight wins in the mid-1950s and captured 10 AAU titles overall.

Weatherspoon was chosen by the Women’s Committee, Attles was selected by the Contributor Direct Election Committee, Cooper was picked by the Early African American Pioneers Committee, Divac was the choice of the International Committee and Braun was tabbed by the Veterans Committee.

“I’m overwhelmed by this honor,” Divac said in a statement released by the Kings. “As a young man, I never would have believed the opportunities afforded to me by this great sport. “Basketball has looked after me for most of my life, and I’ve always done what I can to give back to this special community.”

The enshrinement ceremony is set for September 6 in Springfield, Mass.

Hall Of Fame Unveils 13 Finalists

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced 13 finalists to be considered for induction this year, including four newcomers, according to a league press release.

The list includes eight players, four coaches, and a referee.

The new names under consideration are Marques JohnsonJack Sikma, Ben Wallace and Paul Westphal. The other players on the list include Bobby Jones,  Sidney Moncrief, Chris Webber and Theresa Weatherspoon.

The four coaches hoping for enshrinement include Leta Andrews, Bill Fitch, Eddie Sutton and Barbara StevensHugh Evans is the referee who made the short list.

Potential honorees are eligible on the ballot for Hall of Fame enshrinement after three full seasons of retirement.

The Class of 2019 will be announced at a press conference in Minneapolis at the NCAA Men’s Final Four in April.

Among the newcomers, Johnson’s resume includes reaching the All-Star game five times and being named 1979 national collegiate Player of the Year. Sikma, who played for the Seattle SuperSonics, was a seven-time All-Star. Wallace made four All-Star appearances and was named Defensive Player of the Year four times with the Pistons. Westphal, also a longtime coach in the league, was a five-time All-Star.

To make the Hall of Fame, a finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee.

New York Notes: King, Westphal, Murry

Former Nets GM Billy King was reassigned today and part of his new role will include advising ownership in the search for his own successor, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports. The situation is quite odd, considering King was pushed out of the job by owner Mikhail Prokhorov, Wojnarowski writes. It’s not unusual for an exiting executive to help in the search for a replacement, however. As Wojnarowski points out, former Nets GM Rod Thorn had played a part in hiring King upon Thorn’s departure from the Nets in 2010, but the difference in that example is that Thorn had resigned from his position and was not forced out, Wojnarowski adds.

Here’s more news from a busy day out of the Big Apple:

  • Respected and longtime coach Paul Westphal will no longer serve as an assistant coach for the Nets in the wake of Lionel Hollinsfiring earlier today, Westphal’s wife, Cindy, writes on Facebook (h/t Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily). After parts of 10 seasons as a head coach, Westphal had no desire to coach again until Hollins approached him to be his top guy with the Nets, Mike Mazzeo of wrote in 2014. Westphal’s loyalty to Hollins was too strong to allow him to stay with Brooklyn, Puccio writes.
  • The Knicks, who have reportedly been shopping for backcourt help, scouted shooting guard Toure’ Murry at the D-League Showcase event in Santa Cruz, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News tweets. Of course, it’s important to note that nearly every team is scouting someone at the event and that does not necessarily mean a deal is imminent, as Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor tweets. Murry is averaging 14.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game with the Texas Legends, the Mavs’ D-League affiliate. Murry, whom the Jazz mulled signing in December, played in 51 games with the Knicks in 2013/14, his rookie season.
  • It likely doesn’t matter whom the Nets hire as their next head coach because the organization is still paying for mistakes made in the early days of moving to Brooklyn, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post opines. The Nets’ history of acquiring flashy names such as Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson has had long-term consequences, Bontemps adds. There is no one in the organization that is capable of stepping into the general manager’s job at the moment, according to Bontemps.

And-Ones: Union, Douglas, Nets, Moreland

The contracts for six NBA players will become fully guaranteed if their teams don’t waive them by the end of Friday, and two more players will earn partial guarantees if they avoid getting cut. Draymond Green and Khris Middleton almost certainly won’t be cast aside between now and that deadline, but for the rest, the summer temperatures won’t be the only reason to sweat out the next few days. Here’s more from the NBA:

  • Players association VP Roger Mason Jr. insists that union leadership addressed concerns from membership regarding the hiring process for a new executive director and the departure of search committee leader Kevin Johnson, as Mason tells Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling. Discord had marked the union’s Monday meeting in which Michele Roberts handily won a vote to fill the executive director vacancy.
  • The Bulls had been targeting free agent Toney Douglas, but they’ve abandoned their pursuit after signing Aaron Brooks, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Former NBA head coach Paul Westphal highlights the assistant coaching hires that the Nets officially announced today. Brooklyn also brought on Joe Wolf, Jay Humphries and Mavs assistant Tony Brown. John Welch and Jim Sann are the only holdovers from last season.
  • The Warriors and Knicks were interested in undrafted forward/center Eric Moreland, according to Shams Charania of RealGM. Charania reported Tuesday that Moreland had agreed to join the Kings instead.
  • The Hawks invited summer league guard Stephen Holt to fall training camp, but he instead signed a deal with a German team, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

And-Ones: LeBron, Hollins, T’Wolves, Klimenko

During an interview on Jim Rome on Showtime, NBPA vice president Roger Mason said that the players would boycott next season if Donald Sterling is still in place, adding that he had spoken about it with Heat superstar LeBron James:

“If it’s not handled (by) the start of next season, I don’t see how we’re playing basketball…Leaders of the teams, they’re all saying the same thing, ‘If this man is still in place, we (are not) playing’…LeBron and I talked about it…He (isn’t) playing if Sterling is still an owner.” (interview transcribed by James Herbert of CBS Sports).

Here are some more noteworthy links to pass along this evening:

  • With Stan Van Gundy and Steve Kerr looking like distinct possibilities for the Warriors’ head coaching position, the team should shift their focus toward Lionel Hollins, says Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group. As we noted a few days ago, Hollins is scheduled to interview with Golden State on Thursday.
  • The Warriors are reportedly seeking an offensive-minded coach, and although Hollins’ defense-first mentality wouldn’t make him the most ideal fit for the job, Thompson hears that Hollins would look to bring on a respected offensive mind as one of his assistants, and would likely consider former Kings coach Paul Westphal for that particular position.
  • The Timberwolves haven’t had any contact with Kerr and don’t seem to be considering him for their head coaching opening, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.
  • Agent Bill McCandless says that draft prospect Artem Klimenko has reached a buyout agreement with Avtodor of the Russian Super League. The 7’1 center is scheduled to travel to the U.S. next week to work out for six to eight teams before the start of Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy (Twitter links via Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype).
  • 2013 summer league standout Jack Cooley will participate in mini-camp workouts with the Spurs, Nets, Cavaliers, and Jazz, says RealGM’s Shams Charania (Twitter link).
  • Elston Turner has received an invite to work out for the Warriors in June and will participate in the upcoming NBA Summer League, writes Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (H/T to Il Messagero).
  • Suns guard Archie Goodwin was arrested on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in his hometown of Little Rock, according to a report from the Associated Press. Goodwin recently completed his rookie season in Phoenix and will be due in court on June 3.