Bob Hill

Pacific Notes: Bibby, World Peace, Russell, Suns

Kings coaching candidate Henry Bibby believes he can reach DeMarcus Cousins, comparing the star center’s volatile temperament to that of Zach Randolph, another once-mercurial big man who shed his label as a malcontent while playing under a Grizzlies coaching staff that included Bibby, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee details. Bibby, who is scheduled to interview for the job Monday, said he’d hire son Mike Bibby for his staff, telling Jones that they’d long ago repaired what had been a troubled relationship. Henry Bibby added that he’d run an offense reminiscent of the one his son directed as the point guard for the Kings in the early 2000s. “What I’m trying to get back is what Vlade [Divac] used to have up there, the old Sacramento Kings,” Bibby told Jones. “I want to get that back again, that excitement. They played as a team. They ran that corner offense, and that’s what I’d run. I’d put DeMarcus where Vlade was [on offense], and you play basketball with [Rajon] Rondo, [Ben] McLemore and guys like that.”

See more from the Pacific Division:
  • The video incident involving D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young reportedly drove a wedge between Russell and his teammates, but Metta World Peace said on ESPN’s “The Jump” this week that team chemistry wasn’t as fractured as reports made it seem. Andrew Joseph of For The Win has the transcription. “It wasn’t like that,” World Peace said. “It wasn’t that bad. … I can’t say exactly like what it was. … We gave [Russell] a little talk, because nowadays, it’s like the young players that’s coming into sports, they’re so immature these days. They make a lot of mistakes. So, you have to always be there to pick them up.”
  • The Suns have decided not to re-sign assistant coaches Bob Hill and Corey Gaines, as well as player development assistant Irving Roland, reports Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. It’s somewhat surprising to see the team decline to keep Hill, the former Knicks, Spurs, Pacers and SuperSonics head coach who joined the staff in February at the behest of Earl Watson. Phoenix removed Watson’s interim tag last month, formally making him the head coach.
  • Former Indiana University point guard Yogi Ferrell have predraft workouts for the Clippers and Lakers, among other teams, a source tells Adam Zagoria of (Twitter link).
  • I examined the offseason ahead for the Clippers earlier today.

Pacific Notes: Walton, Nash, Hill, Divac

Warriors assistant Luke Walton has hired the Wasserman Media Group to represent him in negotiations, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Walton is reportedly a top candidate for the newly created Knicks vacancy, but the prospect of Walton ending up in New York is a long shot, tweets Monte Poole of See more from the defending champs amid the latest from around the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors part-time player development consultant Steve Nash said he wouldn’t be closed to the possibility of working for the Suns in the future, but he’s not willing to become the team’s coach for now, calling the notion of the team’s apparent interest in him for its head coaching vacancy “a moot point at this point.” The two-time MVP made his comments on J.J. Redick‘s podcast for The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (audio link, scroll to 7:45 mark).
  • Interim Suns coach Earl Watson told new assistant Bob Hill when Hill was Watson’s coach on the SuperSonics from 2006 to 2007 that he’d like to coach with him someday, and that longstanding desire brought Hill back into NBA coaching after a nine-year absence, as Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic details. Hill still has some bitterness toward Spurs coach/president Gregg Popovich about Popovich’s decision to remove him as head coach of the Spurs nearly 20 years ago, Coro also relays. “I guess I didn’t do good enough. I don’t know. He wanted to be the coach,” Hill said of Popovich. “And as soon as he had an opportunity to get rid of me, he did it. It’s too bad. The league’s like that sometimes. You’re going to run into people like that sometimes and that’s part of life. It was a great experience. I’m happy I had that. It hasn’t affected my coaching. I continued to coach and always will.”
  • Kings GM Vlade Divac is only willing to make a trade if it’s a significant upgrade for the team, in spite of a report indicating that Sacramento is actively shopping many of its players, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee wrote today in a chat with readers.

Pacific Notes: Durant, Barnes, Scott, Jefferson

The Warriors are “the leaders in the clubhouse” for Kevin Durant, an NBA GM recently said to Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago (Twitter link), a comment that echoes the Tuesday report from Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports that Golden State would be Durant’s preferred choice if he leaves the Thunder. Wojnarowski heard that Durant isn’t leaning one way or another toward leaving Oklahoma City, but Goodwill’s report doesn’t indicate that Durant’s preference for the Warriors is contingent on a decision about the Thunder first. See more from Golden State amid news from the Pacific Division:

  • An “undercurrent of disenchantment” existed within the Warriors organization about the length of time it took for Harrison Barnes to return from a sprained ankle earlier this season, according to Monte Poole of Barnes, who missed 16 games with the injury, hasn’t shown enough to prove he’s worthy of a massive contract in restricted free agency this summer, Poole contends. The uncertainty over his future makes it easier to see why the Warriors drafted combo forward Kevon Looney last year, as Poole explains.
  • The second half of the season is essentially a referendum whether the Lakers retain Byron Scott for next year, sources close to the organization tell Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, who adds that Scott would help his cause if the team becomes more competitive and if the young players on the Lakers show signs of development. A lot of people around the league expect the Lakers will move on from Scott this summer, but the team says he’s definitely sticking around to the end of the season and will undergo an evaluation after that, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News said on NBA TV this week, as Harrison Faigen of SB Nation’s Silver Screen & Roll transcribes.
  • Power forward Cory Jefferson has returned to the Suns D-League affiliate following the expiration of his 10-day contract with Phoenix this past weekend, notes Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor (Twitter links).
  • The Suns have formally hired NBA coaching veteran Bob Hill as an assistant coach, the team announced. Wojnarowski reported Monday that the move would take place.

Suns Name Earl Watson Interim Coach

5:40pm: The move is official, the team announced.

5:04pm: The Suns have decided to name assistant coach Earl Watson as interim head coach, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Watson beat out other reported candidates Corey Gaines and Nate Bjorkgren for the temporary position that came open when the team fired Jeff Hornacek on Monday.

Watson, 36, is not far removed from his playing career. He was in the league as recently as the 2013/14 season, when he appeared in 24 games with the Trail Blazers. He will make his head coaching debut on Tuesday against the Raptors.

Watson’s first coaching job was last season, when he was hired by the Spurs’ D-League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, as an assistant. He joined Hornacek’s staff prior to this season. Watson appeared in 878 games during his 13-year playing career with six different franchises, averaging 6.4 points and 4.4 assists.

The Suns added a veteran coach to help out Watson by hiring four-time NBA head coach Bob Hill as an assistant, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets.

Watson will hire agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group as his agent, league sources informed Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link). Paul also represents several prominent players, including LeBron James and John Wall, as well as Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe.

(Dana Gauruder contributed to this report.)