Bryson Graham

Pelicans Expected To Name Bryson Graham As GM

The Pelicans are expected to promote assistant general manager Bryson Graham to be their new GM, sources tell Will Guillory and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Graham will be replacing Trajan Langdon, who is heading to Detroit to be the Pistons’ president of basketball operations. Michael Scotto of HoopsHype recently reported that Graham would likely be the top candidate for a promotion to GM if Langdon were to leave the organization. Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported similarly last summer.

Graham has been with New Orleans since 2010, initially starting as an intern and steadily working his way up the ranks through the team’s front office. He played college basketball for three years at Texas A&M before getting an NBA job.

“I think he’s really good,” one NBA executive said of Graham a couple years ago. “He’s smart, he works hard and he knows his s–t. (He) will be a GM in the next five years.”

Pistons Intend To Hire Trajan Langdon As Head Of Basketball Operations

The Pistons plan to hire Trajan Langdon away from the Pelicans to become their new head of basketball operations, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that the two sides are working toward finalizing a deal. That deal likely won’t be completed until next week, tweets Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press.

Langdon has spent the last five years as New Orleans’ general manager, serving as the second-in-command to executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin. According to Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link), officials within the Pelicans organization “rave about his talent evaluation skills.”

A former standout as a player at Duke, Langdon was drafted with the 11th overall pick in 1999, though he spent just three seasons in the NBA with the Cavaliers. He went on to become a star overseas, winning a pair of EuroLeague titles in 2006 and 2008 with CSKA Moscow. He made multiple All-EuroLeague teams, earned EuroLeague Final Four MVP honors in 2008, and was named top the EuroLeague’s All-Decade team for the 2000s.

After retiring as a player in 2011, Langdon got his first front office role in San Antonio, working as a scout for the Spurs from 2012-15. Before being hired by the Pelicans, he was an assistant general manager with the Nets for three years under Sean Marks.

Long viewed as a candidate to eventually run a front office, Langdon actually interviewed for the Pelicans’ top job in 2019 before being hired under Griffin. He later received consideration for head of basketball operations jobs in Sacramento and Washington.

After finishing the 2023/24 season with a 14-68 record, marking their fourth straight year at or near the bottom of the NBA’s standings, the Pistons confirmed in mid-April that they were seeking a president of basketball operations who would replace Troy Weaver as the front office’s top decision-maker.

Langdon was named last week as one of four frontrunners for the job, along with Scott Perry, Dennis Lindsey, and John Hammond. According to James L. Edwards and Shams Charania of The Athletic, Lindsey was the other finalist, and both he and Langdon met with team owner Tom Gores multiple times in recent weeks before the club made a decision.

The Pistons considered over a dozen candidates during their search process, per Edwards and Charania. Their list of possible targets reportedly included Timberwolves president Tim Connelly, who will have the opportunity to opt out of his contract with Minnesota this offseason. However, Detroit has decided to move forward with Langdon rather than waiting to see if Connelly will be available.

Previous reports indicated that the Pistons’ new front office executive will have the final say on Weaver – who remains with the franchise for now – as well as head coach Monty Williams. Like Langdon, Williams previously spent five years working in New Orleans, though their Pelicans stints didn’t overlap at all. Williams still has five years and $60MM+ left on his contract, but Gores is willing to eat that money if Langdon decides he wants to bring in a new coach, according to The Athletic.

As for the Pelicans, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype recently reported that assistant general manager Bryson Graham would likely be the top candidate for a promotion to GM if Langdon were to leave the organization.

New York Notes: Anunoby, DiVincenzo, Simmons, Graham

Forward OG Anunoby has been cleared to do some on-court work, but still isn’t doing any contact, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps (Twitter link) and other media members on Thursday.

Anunoby underwent elbow surgery earlier this month. At that time, he was ruled out for at least three weeks. He hasn’t suited up since Jan. 27.

Isaiah Hartenstein is returning to action against Golden State on Thursday evening after missing Tuesday’s game against New Orleans due to Achilles soreness. Jalen Brunson, who also sat out Tuesday due to neck spasms, will play tonight too, Steve Popper of Newsday tweets.

We have more on the New York teams:

  • Donte DiVincenzo‘s impact on the Knicks’ offense during this injury-filled stretch can’t be overstated, Popper writes in a subscriber-only story for Newsday. DiVincenzo is averaging 22.2 points and 3.2 assists this month.
  • The Nets’ Ben Simmons is sitting out against the Hawks on Thursday due to left leg soreness, Ian Begley of SNY TV tweets. Simmons has appeared in eight games this month, averaging 5.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 18.8 minutes.
  • With the Nets losing assistant general manager Jeff Peterson, who is heading to the Hornets as their head of basketball operations, Pelicans assistant GM Bryson Graham could be a candidate to replace him, according to Net Income. Graham is currently working under GM Trajan Langdon, who was also a candidate for the Hornets job.

Former Warriors Exec Bob Myers Likely To Get Job Offers

Bob Myers indicated that he wanted some time away from the game when he stepped down as president of basketball operations and general manager of the Warriors, but fans should expect to hear his name mentioned in connection to any openings that arise in the next few months, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

The most obvious team for Myers, according to Fischer, is the Clippers because of his longtime association with team consultant Jerry West and the working relationship they developed during their time together with Golden State. Myers spent more than a decade with the Warriors and helped to win four championships, so Fischer believes he’ll be among the first names that any team will call if it decides to shake up its front office.

Fischer identifies a few other former general managers who may be in line for a second chance, including ex-Utah GM Dennis Lindsey, who is currently working in the Mavericks‘ front office, Kings assistant GM Wes Wilcox, who has rebuilt his reputation after his experience in Atlanta, and former Orlando GM Rob Hennigan, who is VP of basketball operations with the Thunder.

Fischer passes along more information about rising stars in NBA front offices:

  • Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon was among the candidates to become the Wizards’ president of basketball operations and he’ll likely be considered for similar jobs in the future, Fischer writes. Raptors GM Bobby Webster, Cavaliers GM Mike Gansey and new Clippers GM Trent Redden all appear headed for team president roles someday, Fischer adds.
  • Jeff Peterson, the Nets‘ assistant GM, is considered one of the league’s best young executives, according to Fischer. Peterson interviewed for the Pistons’ GM slot in 2020, and Fischer hears that he’s viewed as one of the favorites to take over the Hornets if they decide to replace Mitch Kupchak, who’s in the final year of his contract. Pelicans assistant GM Bryson Graham could be first in line to replace Langdon if he leaves, but league sources tell Fischer that he might get an opportunity with another team before that happens.
  • Tayshaun Prince is a valuable member of the Grizzlies‘ front office and has received overtures about running other teams, according to Fischer. Among other former NBA players, Jameer Nelson has built a strong reputation in the Sixers‘ front office for his work with their G League affiliate, and Acie Law appears headed for a promotion with the Thunder after Will Dawkins was hired by the Wizards.
  • Fischer identifies CAA’s Austin Brown as an agent who might move into a front office role, noting that he was a candidate to run the Bulls in 2020. Fischer also singles out agents Jason Glushon and Todd Ramasar, along with Kirk Berger, a legal counsel with the players’ union.

Pelicans Notes: Playoff Race, B. Graham, Williamson

Passing the Lakers in the standings should be the motivating factor that drives the rest of the season for the Pelicans, writes Scott Kushner of NOLA.com.

As Kushner notes, moving ahead of the Lakers would be doubly beneficial for the Pelicans. For one, the two teams currently rank ninth and 10th in the Western Conference standings, and the No. 9 seed will host the No. 10 team in a win-or-go-home game in the play-in tournament next month.

Additionally, the Pelicans will receive the Lakers’ first-round pick if it lands in the top 10, so pushing the Lakers further down the standings would increase the likelihood of New Orleans getting that lottery pick. Currently, the Lakers have the NBA’s 11th-worst record.

The Pelicans will host the Lakers on March 27, then will face them in Los Angeles on April 1, so they’ll have a couple opportunities in the coming weeks to directly help their own cause.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • An assistant general manager in the Pelicans’ front office, Bryson Graham is viewed as a strong candidate to continue climbing the basketball operations ranks, either in New Orleans or elsewhere, writes Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. “I think he’s really good,” one NBA executive said of Graham. “He’s smart, he works hard and he knows his s–t. (He) will be a GM in the next five years.”
  • Graham tells Vorkunov that he’s thrilled to be an assistant GM in New Orleans, but his goal is to ultimately run a team. “I mean, I’m winning right now, just being in the door,” Graham said. “But for me to sit here and say that, ‘Oh, I don’t care about being the GM one day or being the vice president.’ Eh, that’s a bunch of bull. I want that opportunity. And I think everybody that’s in my shoes ultimately should strive, as long as it’s coming from a good place.”
  • With Zion Williamson eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, Keith Smith of Spotrac explores what the former No. 1 overall pick’s next contract could look like. As Smith observes, Williamson’s history of health issues, his “uneasy” relationship with New Orleans, and his incredible production when he has played will make the situation a fascinating one to watch.
  • In case you missed it, Williamson – who is back in New Orleans after rehabbing his foot injury elsewhere for much of the year – is expected to rejoin the Pelicans when the team returns home this week. The club’s road trip wraps up with tonight’s game in Memphis.

Coaching/Front Office Notes: Watson, Raptors, Kokoskov, Mavs, More

Former Suns head coach Earl Watson appears set to return to the sidelines for an NBA team, as Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports (via Twitter) that Watson is finalizing a deal to join the Raptors. Watson – who was pursued by multiple teams, according to Haynes – would be an assistant on Nick Nurse‘s staff. Watson hasn’t coached in the NBA since 2017, but Devin Booker has credited the former Phoenix coach for his accelerated development at the NBA level, Haynes notes.

Here are a few more notes on coaching and front office hires from around the NBA:

  • Veteran assistant Popeye Jones, who spent over a decade in the NBA as a player, will leave the Sixers to take a job on Michael Malone‘s staff with the Nuggets, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). Marc Stein first reported (via Twitter) that Jones – a former Nuggets player – was emerging as a strong candidate to be hired by Denver.
  • Turkish club Fenerbahce officially announced today that head coach Igor Kokoskov won’t return to the team next season. As previously rumored, the former Suns coach is on track to take a job on Jason Kidd‘s staff with the Mavericks, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. In Dallas, Kokoskov will get the opportunity to reunite with Luka Doncic, whom he coached on the Slovenian national team in 2017.
  • Speaking of the Mavericks, they’ve hired Nets salary cap strategist Andrew Baker for a senior role in their front office under new president of basketball operations Nico Harrison, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
  • Fischer also identifies Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson and Pelicans assistant GM Bryson Graham as two potential targets for the Celtics as they seek a general manager under new president of basketball operations Brad Stevens.

Pistons Notes: GM Search, Kennard, Bone

The Pistons will focus on external candidates in their search for a new general manager, according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. The new GM will work alongside senior advisor Ed Stefanski to chart a course for the future of the franchise, while Malik Rose and Pat Garrity will be retained as assistant GMs.

Edwards identifies several potential candidates for the position: Pelicans assistant GM Bryson Graham, former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox, Jazz GM Justin Zanik, Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes, who was considered for the GM job in Chicago, and Thunder VP of basketball operations Troy Weaver. Edwards also suggests that University of Memphis assistant coach Mike Miller, who had Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem as an agent during his playing career, could be brought in as another assistant GM.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Rod Beard of The Detroit News agrees on Hughes and Weaver and offers a few other candidates who might be in play. Shane Battier grew up in the Detroit area and serves as VP of basketball development and analytics with the Heat, but Beard believes it would be difficult to talk him into leaving Miami. Chauncey Billups is a Pistons hero from his playing days and has been considered for other front office openings. Tayshaun Prince, who teamed with Billups on the 2004 championship team, became VP of basketball operations for the Grizzlies last year. Celtics assistant GM Michael Zarren has spent 14 years with the organization and has turned down other opportunities, but Beard believes the Pistons should contact him.
  • Working Luke Kennard back into the rotation would have been a priority if the season had continued, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Kennard, who had been battling tendinitis in both knees since December, was set to return in the Pistons’ next game when the hiatus was imposed. With Kennard about to enter the final year of his rookie contract, Detroit will have to decide soon whether to make a long-term commitment or try to trade him, and Langlois sees his shooting skills as an important element for a rebuilding team.
  • The Pistons may have other priorities at point guard that will prevent Jordan Bone from earning a roster spot next season, Langlois adds in the same piece. Derrick Rose has another year on his contract, and Langlois expects the team to find a veteran to complement him. Also, there will also be plenty of opportunity to fill the position in a draft that’s heavy on point guards. Bone saw limited time in 10 NBA games as a two-way player this season, but averaged 19.9 points per 36 minutes and shot 38% from 3-point range in the G League.