Aaron Miles

Pelicans Notes: Medical Staff, Zion, Ingram, Gates

Pelicans head of basketball operations David Griffin, who spoke last month about having made player health a priority this offseason, said on Monday that the changes to the team’s player care and performance department were made after consulting with players, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com.

As Clark details, Aaron Nelson has been relegated to an advisory role, while physical therapist Amy Atmore was hired as New Orleans’ director of rehabilitation. Director of performance and sports science Daniel Bove and head athletic trainer Tom Maystadt will join Atmore in leading the medical staff, while general manager Trajan Langdon will replace Griffin as the front office executive with the most responsibilities in that department.

“I think we have been humble enough as an organization to make a lot of changes in the areas we needed to,” Griffin said, according to Clark. “One of those areas is Trajan is actually going to be the one on a day-to-day basis who is the key component to the medical team from our front office staff. He’ll be the one handling that.

“I’m already excited by the changes that have been made here because of it. I think when you have a former player, they bring a certain level of passion to it. A big part of that is listening a whole lot more and being less dogmatic and willing to be flexible.”

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • Zion Williamson, of course, has been the Pelicans player most impacted by injuries in recent years, but the former No. 1 overall pick earned praise on Monday from Griffin for the adjustment he made to his approach this offseason. As Andrew Lopez of ESPN writes, Williamson heavily invested in his personal training staff, according to Griffin. “Zion is obviously in good condition,” Griffin said. “The thing I think is important is CJ (McCollum) and Brandon (Ingram), throughout their careers, have always employed people to take care of their body, to take care of their nutrition. They are really invested in their profession. This was the first summer where we’ve seen Zion take his profession seriously like that and invest in it off the court on his own in a way that I think is meaningful.”
  • Speaking to reporters on Monday, Ingram essentially confirmed a September report stating that he won’t pursue a contract extension prior to the season. Ingram could land a bigger payday by waiting until next year to extend his deal, especially if he makes an All-NBA team in 2024. “They handing a lot of people big money,” Ingram said, per Clark (Twitter link). “I’m trying to get some big money.”
  • Kaiser Gates‘ two-way contract with the Pelicans covers two seasons, running through 2024/25, Hoops Rumors has confirmed. Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link) first reported the terms of Gates’ deal.
  • The Pelicans issued a press release announcing a series of promotions and new additions to their coaching staff and front office. In addition to confirming the hiring of James Borrego as associate head coach and Aaron Miles as an assistant coach, the club announced several changes to its video team and named Dominic Samangy its basketball analytics coordinator. In the front office, Adam Barnes has been named the general manager of basketball operations for the Birmingham Squadron, New Orleans’ G League team, while Alex Kaufman has been named the Pelicans’ manager of player evaluation and basketball operations.

Pelicans Notes: Hawkins, Roster, Scoot, Miles

With the No. 14 pick in the lottery last night, the Pelicans opted to play it safe in drafting Connecticut shooting guard Jordan Hawkins. William Guillory of The Athletic considers the 6’5″ swingman, who won a title with the Huskies this past spring, the ideal new addition to the club heading into the 2023/24 season.

New Orleans had been floated in potential trade scenarios for the Trail Blazers’ eventual No. 3 pick Scoot Henderson, as the team has clearly been hamstrung by major injury issues plaguing star forwards Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

“He takes pride in what gets him on the court, and he understands what his game really is,” team president David Griffin said of Hawkins. “I think the winning nature of his background and the way he approaches the game really fits well with us. I know our coaching staff was really excited when they saw him work out.”

There’s more out of New Orleans:

  • Pelicans general manager Trajan Langon is not anticipating major personnel changes this summer after the team opted to hold onto its draft pick, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “I don’t foresee a whole lot of change between now and then,” Langdon said. “I think we are happy with our roster.” Griffin, meanwhile, offered a hint into what skills New Orleans is looking to add during the rest of the offseason. “We were looking for rim protection and shooting [in assessing draft candidates],” Griffin said. “We feel like we certainly addressed part of that [during the draft]. But I think as we go through, if we’re able to address that other portion, we would.”
  • New Trail Blazers point guard Henderson, the third pick in Thursday’s draft, explained his pre-draft meeting with the Pelicans, who reportedly had some interest in trading up to acquire him, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Henderson indicated that the encounter amounted to “just making sure I wasn’t missing on any opportunity or anything like that.”
  • The Pelicans continue to build out their bench for 2023/24 behind third-year head coach Willie Green. Marc J. Spears of Andscape reports (Twitter link) that New Orleans is expected to hire ex-Celtics assistant coach Aaron Miles, a former colleague of Green’s when both were assistants on the Warriors.

Rockets Rumors: Coaches, VanVleet, Lopez, C. Johnson, Brooks

The Rockets are in strong pursuit of Celtics assistant coach Aaron Miles, who worked under Ime Udoka until he was suspended by Boston before the 2022/23 season started, Kelly Iko reports in his latest mailbag for The Athletic. Sources tell Iko that Udoka, who was hired by Houston after the team declined its option on Stephen Silas‘ contract, is also looking for a non-Celtics assistant to join his staff.

Iko’s reporting came in the context of a reader asking about how adding multiple assistants might impact current Rockets assistants John Lucas II and Mahmoud Abdelfattah. Lucas has been running pre-draft workouts for the team, which seems like a strong sign he’ll be sticking around, whether it’s as an assistant or in some other capacity. As for Abdelfattah, Iko says the assistant coach has drawn “legitimate interest” from rival teams, and suggests he might have a new job if Udoka hires both targets he’s pursuing.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • They plan to be aggressive in signing veteran free agents with their projected $60MM+ in cap room. Houston is emphasizing a lead ball-handler first, with James Harden their top target, according to multiple reporters. But what happens if he stays with Philadelphia? According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has “often been linked” to the Rockets as a fall-back option.
  • Beyond a point guard, the Rockets are looking for help on the wing and in the middle, sources tell Fischer. They have been connected to Khris Middleton, but that seems unlikely now, as rivals believe he’ll stay with the Bucks. However, sources tell Fischer the Rockets are interested in his teammate, center Brook Lopez, who is set for unrestricted free agency if he doesn’t sign an extension first. Iko reported a few weeks ago that Lopez, who was runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year in 2022/23, could be among the Rockets’ targets.
  • Fischer also confirms Iko’s reporting that the Rockets like forward Cameron Johnson, but hears the Nets have signaled they plan to match any “realistic” offer sheet for the restricted free agent. Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks is another player the Rockets like, and Fischer suggests he might be a more practical option.

Coaching Notes: Vogel, Rockets, Nets, Pacers

The Suns didn’t fill their coaching vacancy until after the Sixers hired Nick Nurse, but sources tell Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic that Frank Vogel was the first choice in Phoenix all along. Nurse had an interview with the Suns and was among five finalists for the job, along with Vogel, Suns associate head coach Kevin Young, Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez and former Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers.

After dismissing Monty Williams following a second-round playoff ouster, Phoenix was interested in finding someone with championship experience, according to Rankin, which is why Vogel, Nurse and Rivers were all contacted. Vogel benefited from his reputation as a strong defensive coach, as the Suns are determined to improve on that end of the court. The final five candidates met with team owner Mat Ishbia and president of basketball operations and general manager James Jones, Rankin adds.

Vogel became the frontrunner for the job after an impressive interview, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. Reports that Devin Booker pushed for Young to get the head coaching job are “overexaggerated,” Gambadoro adds (Twitter link). Young opted to remain with the team as an assistant coach. Gambadoro also disputes a report that Phoenix offered the job to Nurse (Twitter link).

There’s more coaching news to pass along:

  • Three members of Ime Udoka‘s coaching staff with the Celtics will join him in Houston, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The Rockets are hiring Ben Sullivan, Mike Moser and Garrett Jackson, and Scotto states that they’re considering Boston assistant Aaron Miles, who has also received interest from other teams. Scotto adds that teams have also reached out to Celtics assistant Jarrell Christian, as head coach Joe Mazzulla is expected to rebuild his staff this summer.
  • Ronnie Burrell, who was named G League Coach of the Year with the Long Island Nets, will join Jacque Vaughn’s coaching staff in Brooklyn, Scotto tweets. Burrell has been with the G League team since 2019.
  • Former Pacers player Shayne Whittington has joined Indiana’s coaching staff, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.

Coaching Rumors: Rivers, Sixers, Rockets, Nets, Vogel, More

As the Sixers enter the offseason, there’s a sense that James Harden‘s and Doc Rivers‘ futures are linked, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne explained during an appearance on NBA Today (podcast link). The star guard will become a free agent if he declines his 2023/24 player option, while the head coach finds himself on the hot seat after another second-round playoff exit for Philadelphia.

“James Harden can become a free agent, which means you have to decide if you want to give him a four-year contract. Do you want to lock this in for the next four years?” Shelburne said (hat tip to RealGM). “That decision, from what I understand talking to people around the (Sixers), also now becomes tied to the decision about Doc Rivers. Because James Harden was not all that supportive of Doc Rivers in his press conference (on Sunday). I think behind the scenes, from what I’m told, one person said, ‘It would be hard for me to see James wanting to come back and play for Doc again.’

“This is going to be a situation where those two decisions are linked. As we go forward into this offseason and you have another second round exit, you have to decide if you want to lock in your future around (Joel Embiid and Harden). And then, if you’re doing that, what does that mean for Doc Rivers? Because the decisions seem to be linked.”

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype spoke to a handful of NBA executives and scouts at this week’s draft combine to get an idea of which head coaching candidates the Sixers might look at if they do decide to move on from Rivers.

Multiple execs identified Nick Nurse as a logical fit, according to Scotto, who says there’s also been a sense for some time that Mike D’Antoni would be an option due to his longtime relationship with Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey. A couple sources named Monty Williams as a possible target too, but he’s drawing interest from multiple teams and may have a more favorable opportunity available, Scotto notes.

Here are a few more coaching-related notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • As the Rockets look to fill Ime Udoka‘s coaching staff, it’s worth keeping an eye on Celtics assistants Aaron Miles and Ben Sullivan and Nets assistant Royal Ivey as potential targets, league sources tell Scotto.
  • The Nets are hiring Jay Hernandez as an assistant coach, according to Scotto. Hernandez worked in recent years as an assistant in Charlotte and was previously a member of Jacque Vaughn‘s staff in Orlando.
  • Will Weaver, a former NBA assistant who is currently coaching Paris Basketball, has drawn interest from multiple NBA teams this offseason, including the Nets and Raptors, reports Scotto.
  • If veteran coach Frank Vogel doesn’t get a head coaching opportunity this spring, he’ll be a popular target for teams seeking an experienced assistant. He has received interest from the Mavericks, according to Scotto, who adds that Vogel and Stephen Silas could be targets for the Celtics.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Miles, Madar, Sixers, Raptors

The Celtics are set to hire former guard Aaron Miles to their coaching staff, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link).

Miles’ NBA career was brief – he appeared in just 19 games with Golden State back in 2005 – but he spent nearly a decade playing in international leagues before transitioning to coaching in 2015. He was the head coach of the Santa Cruz Warriors from 2017-19 and has spent the last two seasons as a player development coach in Golden State.

New Celtics head coach Ime Udoka is putting together an interesting group of assistants in Boston. His staff will also reportedly include former Spurs assistant Will Hardy and another former NBA guard, Damon Stoudamire.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Israeli guard Yam Madar, who will play for the Celtics‘ Summer League team after being selected in the second round of the 2020 draft, is determined to show Boston he deserves a spot on the club’s regular season roster, as he tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Madar technically remains under contract with Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel for another season, so he and the Celtics would have to work out a buyout if he’s going to come stateside for 2021/22.
  • Rich Hofmann and Derek Bodner of The Athletic take a closer look at the Sixers‘ roster, determining which players are likely to stay and which may be gone by opening night in the fall. Hofmann and Bodner believe the odds of a Ben Simmons offseason trade are higher than 50/50.
  • In another story for The Athletic, John Hollinger and Eric Koreen discuss the Raptors‘ offseason, exploring the team’s options with the No. 4 pick, whether it makes sense to trade Pascal Siakam, and what free agency will look like for Kyle Lowry and Gary Trent Jr. While Hollinger would have no issue with Toronto drafting Jalen Suggs at No. 4, he suggests the team should look hard at Scottie Barnes and Alperen Sengun and consider the possibility of trading down.

Pacific Notes: Curry, Miles, Fox, Walton

Stephen Curry remains optimistic that the Warriors can retain their status as an elite team, Janie McCauley of The Associated Press reports. Despite losing Kevin Durant in free agency and Klay Thompson to a major knee injury, along with trading Andre Iguodala, Curry believes younger players and key additions are ready for the challenge.

“It’s just a change in dynamic all the way around,” the Warriors’ star guard said. “We’re excited about the opportunities, the challenges for the whole roster, because we’ve got a lot of guys that have the opportunity to really prove themselves and make a difference in our team. Obviously our core, ’til Klay gets back, we know how to win and we know how to play. We’re just going to do it a little differently.”

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors have named Aaron Miles as a player development coach, according to a team press release. He served as the head coach of the G League’s Santa Cruz Warriors for the past two seasons, posting a 57-43 record. Miles’ promotion was previously reported by 2 Ways & 10 Days. Kris Weems has officially been named the organization’s new G League coach.
  • Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox has caught everyone’s attention at the USA Basketball training camp with his quickness and Celtics guard Kemba Walker sees Fox’s jumper improving as well. “What impressed me the most is probably his shooting,” Walker told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and other reporters. “He has really been knocking it down. That is what is going to take him to that next level. Like for myself entering the league, the next step for me was my jump shot. That is what helped me get to the next level.” Whenever he consistently gets that, it will be over.” Fox shot 45.8% overall and 37.1% from long range in his second NBA season.
  • Luke Walton has already made a good impression with Kings players prior to training camp, as Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register details. Big man Marvin Bagley is one of the players that Walton has supervised during personal workouts. “He’s been there helping me out,” Bagley said of his new coach. “Been there for my workouts, telling me what I’m doing right, what I’m doing wrong, what I need to get better at. I think it’s gonna be an exciting year. I’m looking forward to playing for him as a head coach and getting into it.”

Pacific Notes: Castleberry, James, Evans, Warriors

Kawhi Leonard will have an ally on the Clippers’ coaching staff. His close friend Jeremy Castleberry will serve as an assistant under Doc Rivers, according to Jabari Young of The Athletic (Twitter link). Castleberry followed Leonard to Toronto after the Spurs traded him to the Raptors last summer. Castleberry played with the star forward in high school and at San Diego State. He was a player development coach in Toronto.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers will do some team bonding ahead of training camp. LeBron James is organizing a team minicamp in September, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link).
  • Jacob Evans, the Warriors’ first-round pick in 2018, is honing his skills as a point guard. The former Cincinnati guard talked about his development in a team website post. “It’s been a great transition, honestly,” he said. “Just learning the offense, trying to learn different reads out of it, some different sets, different looks and just trying to put myself in an aggressive attack mentality.” Evans appeared in 30 regular-season games and seven postseason games last season.
  • Kris Weems will be promoted to head coach of the Warriors’ G League affiliate in Santa Cruz, Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days reports. Weems has been an assistant with Santa Cruz the past two years under Aaron Miles, who will be promoted to Golden State’s staff, Johnson continues. Ryan Atkinson, Santa Cruz’s assistant GM since 2016, will be named the team’s GM. He previously served as president of basketball operations for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Warriors Notes: Durant, George, G League

After taking a pay cut this year to help the Warriors keep their roster intact, Kevin Durant cited Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki as other players who have been willing to accept less over the years in order to help their respective clubs build winning squads. Speaking to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, Durant suggested that outside observers wanted the rising cost of the Warriors’ roster to break up the team, and he wanted to do his part to make sure that didn’t happen.

“They were all underpaid and I knew at some point they’d want to get what they deserve,” Durant said of teammates Andre Iguodala, Stephen Curry, and Shaun Livingston. “So I just took a step back and let the chips fall where they may. Then I took it in my hands. I wanted to keep the team together and I thought it was going to help the ownership bring all the guys back. And on top of that, it’s my money. It’s my decision. I can do what the hell I want with it.”

Slater’s Q&A with Durant, which is worth checking out in full, also included a discussion of some revamped Western Conference contenders, the recruitment of Nick Young, and an offseason trip to India.

Here’s more out of Golden State:

  • After suggesting recently on Tim Bontemps’ podcast that he expects the Warriors to pursue Paul George in free agency next summer, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic does a little damage control, writing that he has no inside information on Golden State’s interest in George. As Kawakami explains, the Warriors are simply the type of franchise that will go after virtually any top free agent that fits their style of play, and George’s two-way skill-set and expiring contract fit that bill for 2018. The odds of the Dubs actually landing George are probably slim, Kawkami notes.
  • The Santa Cruz Warriors – Golden State’s G League affiliate – have named former University of Kansas standout Aaron Miles as their new head coach, the club announced in a press release. “Aaron has stood out as a leader at every stop in his playing career and as a collegiate assistant coach,” GM Kent Lacob said in a statement. “We are confident that he will be a tremendous fit for our team and our organization as we look toward the 2017/18 season and beyond.”
  • For more news, notes, and rumors on the Warriors, be sure to check out their team page.