Bill Duffy

And-Ones: Doncic, Lin, G League, Duffy

A panel of eight NBA scouts and executives polled by Tim Bontemps of ESPN nearly unanimously view LeBron James as the league’s best player, but voted Luka Doncic as the frontrunner for the MVP award in 2021.

“It’s hard to see Giannis winning three in a row,” a Western Conference scout told ESPN. “And I think there’s more of an opportunity for Luka to kind of put on an MVP show and do more on an individual basis.”

Bontemps also had those scouts and execs weigh in with their thoughts on the 2020 offseason, polling them on which teams had the most success upgrading their roster in either the short or long term — or both. Half the panelists picked the Lakers as the team that had the best offseason, with the Hawks, Thunder, and Sixers also receiving votes. Meanwhile, the Pistons, Rockets, and Bucks got votes for the worst offseason.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Free agent guard Jeremy Lin practiced this weekend with the G League Ignite ahead of their scrimmages on Tuesday and Thursday, league sources tell Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link). Lin wasn’t among the veteran players previously announced as part of the Ignite, but Zagoria suggests in his full story that the veteran is expected to suit up with the squad on Tuesday.
  • Dakota Schmidt of Ridiculous Upside is keeping tabs on which teams are expected to opt in and out of the G League’s proposed Atlanta-area bubble. With the NBA’s opening night just over a week away, it seems like a formal update on the plans for the NBAGL should be right around the corner.
  • After making a clerical error that cost client Anthony Carter approximately $3MM in 2003, agent Bill Duffy vowed to repay Carter in full and has made good on that promise, making the last of his payments to Carter this year, as Sopan Deb writes in an interesting story for The New York Times.

Latest On Kings’ GM Search

The Kings appear likely to hire an executive search firm to help them find a new permanent general manager following Vlade Divac‘s departure, league sources tell Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. However, according to Anderson, several names have already been connected to the position as possible targets for Saramento.

Anderson identifies Spurs VP of basketball operations Brent Barry, Raptors general manager Bobby Webster, Knicks GM Scott Perry, Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren, Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, and Clippers assistant GM Trent Redden as executives who may be on the Kings’ preliminary list of candidates.

Sean Cunningham of ABC10, who singled out many of those same execs as ones to watch, mentioned veteran agent Bill Duffy as another possibility (Twitter link). However, Duffy indicated today that he currently has no plans to follow in the footsteps of Bob Myers, Leon Rose, and other agents who have made the move to a team’s front office.

“There’s no truth to me joining an NBA organization,” Duffy told Jason Jones and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). “I’m fully committed to my clients and their success.”

Joe Dumars, who is the Kings’ interim head of basketball operations, will be involved in the search for a new GM, though team owner Vivek Ranadive and COO Matina Kolokotronis are “viewed as the ultimate decision makers,” Anderson writes.

Anderson also notes that it will be interesting to see what sort of role Dumars ultimately retains in the front office, since Divac’s departure stemmed from Ranadive’s desire to have the former Pistons GM take on a larger role and to have the final say on the roster. Sources tell Anderson that some qualified candidates may be reluctant to fill Sacramento’s GM opening if it doesn’t come with full control over the roster.

Central Notes: Holden, Kennard, Holiday, Bulls

As the Pistons close in on a GM, they are also looking at Nets director of player personnel J.R. Holden and Warriors assistant GM Mike Dunleavy as potential front office additions, SNY’s Ian Begley tweets. Presumably, Detroit would consider Holden and Dunleavy as candidates as assistant GMs.

However, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets that the Pistons plan to hire a GM first and allow that person to fill out the staff. Thunder executive Troy Weaver has reportedly emerged as the leading candidate in their GM search, though Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes and Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson are also in the mix.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Pistons swingman Luke Kennard is confident the knee tendinitis that cut short his season is no longer an issue, as he told Keith Langlois of the team’s website. Kennard didn’t play after Christmas but was just about to return when the pandemic struck  in March. The Pistons, who are not part of the league’s restart plan, may have to wait until December to play again. “I’m not really nervous about the time off,” Kennard said. “I know what I’m doing right now is going to allow me to stay healthy and get through a full season and be ready to go for all 82 games or whatever they decide.”
  • Pacers guard Aaron Holiday has signed with BDA Sports and will be represented by veteran agent Bill Duffy and Nima Namakian, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal tweets. Holiday is signed through at least next season. The Pacers hold an option worth approximately $4MM on his contract for the 2021/22 season.
  • Jim Boylen’s status as the Bulls coach remains up in the air even though front office changes have been made and Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times believes the franchise’s reputation has something to do with it, he said on 670 The Score (hat tip to NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman).(Rick) Carlisle, the Dallas coach, has made it very clear the disdain the Coaches Association and a lot of coaches have for the Bulls and the practices they have toward coaches. … They’re buying time because they have time to buy, but also I think it’s also a perception thing that they’re looking to change.”

Central Notes: Rose, Bulls, Markkanen, Turner

A minutes restriction has helped Derrick Rose stay healthy in his first season with the Pistons, but he believes he would be OK without it, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Rose, who has been on the court for 28 of Detroit’s first 34 games, is limited to about 27 minutes per night. It’s a decision made in conjunction with the medical staff to help preserve the 31-year-old guard, who has a long injury history.

“I feel good, but it’s not up to me with the minutes; it’s up to the coaching staff and the (training) staff to come up with it,” Rose said. “Of course, I want to be out there, but I guess they see something I don’t, and they’re worried about it — just being cautious with me.”

Coach Dwane Casey has been spreading the time out equally, playing Rose for about 6 or 7 minutes each quarter. He has excelled under the limitation, averaging 16.8 points and 5.9 assists per night and shooting nearly 33% on 3-pointers.

“I promise you, I would love to play him more and Derrick would love to play, but he can’t, I mean physically,” Casey said. “We don’t want to put him in that situation, his body in that situation. So according to the game, we have to be creative.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • A challenging January schedule could determine if the Bulls are sellers at the trade deadline, observes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Despite a 13-21 record, Chicago is only 1.5 games out of a playoff spot, but nine games during the month will be against teams with winning records. The Bulls are only 1-12 so far against teams .500 or better. Cowley notes that Kris Dunn and Denzel Valentine, who will both be restricted free agents this summer, could be moved if the team falls out of contention, along with Thaddeus Young, who has expressed unhappiness about his playing time.
  • The Bulls need to find more minutes for Lauri Markkanen, argues K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. With coach Jim Boylen using a 10- and sometimes 11-player rotation, Markkanen is averaging about two minutes per game less than last season.
  • Pacers center Myles Turner has a new agent, tweets Grant Afseth of Original Turner’s. A league source tells Afseth that Turner signed with Bill Duffy of BDA Sports Management.

Patrick McCaw Explains Why He Left Warriors

One of the more bizarre stories this season has been Patrick McCaw‘s odyssey. The Warriors wanted to re-sign the reserve guard but McCaw played hardball with them. He eventually signed a non-guaranteed offer sheet with the Cavaliers. His stay in Cleveland was brief and he later signed for the remainder of the season with the Raptors.

With his current team set to play his former team in the Finals, McCaw spoke at length with Marc Spears of The Undefeated about why he chose that path.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • McCaw wanted to have a bigger role. “I just wanted more. Not necessarily more playing time, but more opportunity for myself. I’m not discrediting the Warriors and what they chose to do. I just think being a young kid, you see all the younger guys competing and doing their thing and you feel like, ‘OK, I’m just that kid, or I could be doing exactly what he’s doing.’ ”
  • His agents at the time, Marlon Harrison and Bill Duffy, urged him to accept Golden State’s two-year, $4MM offer but the restricted free agent but he wouldn’t budge. “Maybe I could just go back and finish, just go back for a year, see what happens, see where it took me,” McCaw said. “I just felt like once it got past preseason, I was just adamant about not going back. I was just stuck right there.”
  • There was a perception that Cleveland did him a favor by signing him to the offer sheet that the Warriors didn’t match, only to release him shortly thereafter. But McCaw denies that. “I didn’t like how the media portrayed it, like we had something (else) lined up already,” he said. “Yeah, that wasn’t the case at all.”
  • The personal reasons cited for McCaw’s absence during most of the Eastern Conference Finals was due to a family tragedy. His older brother, Jeffrey McCaw, died.

And-Ones: Doncic, Seattle, Jeff Van Gundy, Draft

Seventeen-year-old Real Madrid star Luka Doncic has a new agent, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, who reports (via Twitter) that Doncic has signed on with BDA Sports, and will be represented by Bill Duffy. Doncic won’t be eligible for the 2017 draft, but the investment by BDA has a chance to pay off in a big way down the road — the Slovenian guard is considered one of the best European prospects in years, and is currently viewed as the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft.

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the basketball world:

  • Chris Hansen‘s efforts to build a new NBA- and NHL-ready arena in Seattle have been going on for more than five years, but the investor is still confident that it will eventually happen, according to an Associated Press report (link via USA Today). Hansen’s group has increased the private funding in its arena plan and re-submitted it to Seattle City Council, per The Associated Press.
  • Will ESPN and ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy ever return to the sidelines to coach an NBA team? His brother thinks it’s still a real possibility. “Yeah, with the right situation, absolutely. I don’t know if he will, but I definitely can see it,” Stan Van Gundy said, per Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times. “He misses parts of it (coaching), but he also has a real good job, so it goes both ways.”
  • Within his latest draft notebook for The Vertical, Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress passes along several interesting notes, writing that player agents aren’t enthusiastic about the NBA’s new two-way contracts and suggesting that 2017 will be a weak draft class for NCAA upperclassmen and international players.
  • Terrance Ferguson is the mystery man of the 2017 draft class, according to Neil Johnson of, who takes a closer look at the 18-year-old who is playing professional ball in Australia.

Bulls Notes: Noah, Gibson, Gasol, Valentine

Free agent center Joakim Noah is putting together a list of possible destinations and seems increasingly likely to leave Chicago, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Noah and his agent, Bill Duffy, are working though a priority list as they search for Noah’s next team, Cowley reports. In order, those are a winning team, a chance to start and finish games and a franchise that will support his foundation, Noah’s Arc. The Knicks’ prospects for landing Noah improved with the Derrick Rose trade, according to Cowley. The Wizards and Timberwolves, under the direction of former Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau, will also be contenders.

There’s more tonight out of Chicago:

  • The Bulls have been talking to a few teams about a trade involving Taj Gibson, Cowley writes in the same piece. The 31-year-old power forward will make $8.95MM next season in the final year of his contract. Cowley says the Bulls also seem likely to lose free agent center Pau Gasol, who will turn 36 soon and doesn’t want to be part of a rebuilding project.
  • Denzel Valentine‘s college coach says the No. 14 pick will be fine in the NBA despite concerns about the condition of his knees, relays K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. “I think he’ll be great for the Bulls,” said Michigan State’s Tom Izzo. “I know people are worried about the knees. I’m not saying he’s got 20-year-old knees, but the guy played in 144 of 148 games. He missed some practices when he had surgery on it, but that was it. I used to have to drag him out of games. He practiced. He worked out. He loves the game.”
  • Free agent point guard Brandon Jennings could help fill the void left by the loss of Rose, suggests Kendall Gill of CSNChicago. Jennings averaged 6.9 points and 3.5 assists this season in 48 games with the Pistons and Magic.

Draft Updates: Trimble, Thompson, Diallo

Maryland guard Melo Trimble didn’t have a standout showing at the combine, and remains undecided on whether to stay in the draft. He figures to wait until the May 25th deadline to make a decision, according to Adam Zagoria of Zagoria – who adds the Nuggets to the list of teams to meet with Trimble at the combine, and the Spurs and Hawks to the list of teams planning to work him out – hears from an NBA scout that Trimble’s best bet is to return to school to improve his game (Twitter link).

As Jeff Goodman of (Insider link) writes, Trimble acknowledges that his original plan was to enter the draft and hire an agent this year, but admits that he’s “up in the air right now.” An up-and-down sophomore year, in which he was plagued by hamstring issues, has complicated Trimble’s situation.

As we wait to see what Trimble decides, let’s round up several more draft notes and updates…

  • Ohio State big man Trevor Thompson has decided to withdraw from the NBA draft and return to school, he tells Goodman (Twitter link). As we noted when he declared for the draft in March, Thompson wasn’t viewed as a top-100 prospect and would have had a long climb to become draft-worthy.
  • In a piece for USA Today Sports, Derek Bodner identifies five prospects who improved their stock at the NBA combine in Chicago last week, including Kansas center Cheick Diallo. Diallo’s strong showing at the combine appears to have cemented his decision to remain in the draft — he is signing with Bill Duffy and BDA Sports Management for representation, according to Goodman (Twitter link). Zagoria has since confirmed that agreement (via Twitter).
  • Seton Hall guard Isaiah Whitehead tweeted on Sunday that he plans to make a decision by Thursday on whether or not to remain in the draft. Sources are telling Adam Zagoria of that Whitehead – who has workouts with Boston and Chicago on his schedule after Thursday – figures to remain in the draft, forgoing his remaining college eligibility.
  • Villanova junior Josh Hart said after a workout with Philadelphia on Monday that he’s “still 50-50” about keeping his name in the draft, and he’s “not sure when that will change,” per Marc Narducci of It sounds like Hart’s decision could go down to the wire as the May 25th deadline nears.
  • Florida State guard Malik Beasley, UNC power forward Brice Johnson, and Purdue big man A.J. Hammons have signed with ASM Sports for representation on and off the court, according to a report from SportsBusiness Journal.

And-Ones: Spurs, Celtics, Sixers, Pistons, Nuggets

Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili aren’t certain whether they’ll retire, as Michael C. Wright of details, but they’re not the only Spurs liable to hang it up in the wake of the team’s playoff elimination Thursday night. Andre Miller has strongly considered retirement, though he, too, hasn’t made up his mind yet, as he told Marc Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). San Antonio’s contract with the 40-year-old Miller expires at the end of next month while Duncan, also 40, and Ginobili, who turns 39 in July, have player options. David West also has a player option, and though he turns 36 over the offseason, the talk surrounding him isn’t of retirement but of the lack of regrets he has about sacrificing roughly $11MM to sign his two-year minimum-salary contract with San Antonio last summer, as Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio News-Express relays (Twitter links).

“It’s been a great experience,” West said of his season with the Spurs. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

See more from around the NBA:

  • The Celtics, Sixers, Pistons, Nuggets, Pacers and Trail Blazers all benefited this season from set-off rights, reducing their obligations to waived players who had guaranteed salary remaining on their contracts, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders details. Boston saved $620,306 from the money it owed David Lee because he signed a deal with the Mavs that paid more than $845,059, a figure equivalent to the one-year veteran’s minimum salary, Pincus writes. The Sixers saved $227,241 on JaVale McGee the same way. The Nuggets were spared $68,144 on Pablo Prigioni, the Pacers avoided paying $159,900 to Toney Douglas and the Trail Blazers shaved $327,064 from their bill for Mike Miller, according to Pincus. The Pistons saved $341,353 on Josh Smith, though that figure will be spread evenly over each season of the five-year obligation Detroit still has to him because the team used the stretch provision.
  • The Pistons also got cap relief for Aaron Gray, whom they owe $452,049 each season from 2015/16 through 2017/18, Pincus points out. Gray had to retire because of a heart condition, but a team can remove the cap hit for a player who had to retire because of a medical reason one year after his final game. Gray last played in 2014. Detroit still must pay the money to Gray, but it doesn’t count against the team’s cap, Pincus notes.
  • Agent Jason Glushon and the Wasserman agency mutually agreed to part ways, and Glushon will start his own agency, a source told Spears (Twitter link). Glushon has a short list of clients, with none more prominent than Hawks soon-to-be free agent Al Horford, who left Wasserman, Glushon and B.J. Armstrong to sign with Bill Duffy of BDA Sports last fall only to rejoin Wasserman a couple of months later. Jrue Holiday and Norman Powell are other Glushon clients.

Atlantic Notes: Colangelo, Okafor, Lee, Ross

The Sixers decided to hire Jerry Colangelo because they felt GM Sam Hinkie mishandled negative publicity surrounding Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor in recent months, Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher says in a video. Owners with minority stakes in the Sixers pressured primary owner Josh Harris to make the move, Bucher adds. It’s inaccurate to say that the hiring came about in part because of pressure from owners who complained to the league about the Sixers’ rebuilding and its negative financial ripple effects, league sources told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who writes at the bottom of a larger piece. Still, commissioner Adam Silver was indeed involved in the move, Pompey adds. See more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The NBA continues to investigate the recent incidents involving Okafor and it hasn’t decided whether it will mete out punishment on top of the two-game suspension the Sixers issued last week, league officials told TMZ Sports. Colangelo has a strong relationship with agent Bill Duffy, who represents Okafor, as Bucher points out in his video. “Based on what we currently know, we support the 76ers’ approach in this matter,” an NBA spokesperson said to TMZ Sports. “The league office is continuing to investigate the events of that night.”
  • David Lee doesn’t regret the trade that brought him to the Celtics and ended his time with the Warriors, even as Golden State has embarked on a 23-0 start, as Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group relays. Lee’s representatives reportedly cooperated with the Warriors as they sought a new home for him this summer. “This is a business, and because of the salary cap and things like that, it was time for me to move on, and that’s what I did,” Lee said. “It couldn’t have ended any better.” 
  • Terrence Ross is much the same player he was a few weeks after the Rudy Gay trade two years ago, and that’s perhaps the glaring issue for the swingman who signed a three-year, $31MM extension with the Raptors last month, writes Josh Lewenberg of His game grew more in the immediate wake of the trade than it has since, and inconsistency has plagued him, Lewenberg asserts.