Chad Iske

Nuggets To Make Several Scouting Hires

Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth is adding a number of professional and college scouts, Mike Singer of the Denver Post reports.

Jared Jeffries, who previously spent time in the Nuggets’ front office as director of player personnel, is returning to the organization as a college scout.

Drew Nicholas, who previously worked for the Sixers and Celtics, will be the director of scouting and oversee the department. Former Lakers assistant Mike Penberthy will be hired as a pro scout and shooting coach. Jarrett Stephens will depart the college coaching ranks to become a pro scout along with former Hornets assistant Chad Iske.

Todd Checovich, the former GM of the NBA G League’s Iowa Wolves, will be hired as a college scout and capologist.

The Timberwolves hired away Nuggets director of pro personnel Joe Connelly last week to head their scouting department.

Hornets Notes: Monk, Staff, Bacon, Parker

After undertaking a limited and somewhat disappointing role last season as a rookie, second-year guard Malik Monk has been told by the Hornets’ new coaching staff that he needs to make quicker, more decisive choices with the ball in order to maximize his talent and athleticism, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

Monk, 20, was selected 11th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft before suffering an ankle sprain that cost him summer league work before his first NBA training camp. Due in part to that lack of experience, Monk was in and out of the Hornets’ rotation all season long, finishing with an average of 6.7 points per game on 36 percent shooting from the field.

But despite whatever troubles he may have experienced during his rookie season, Monk will have plenty of opportunity to step into a bigger role this season, per head coach James Borrego.

“Malik Monk is a major player for us next (season)… I knew he was a shooter but being up close to him is impressive. This guy has a chance to be an elite shooter, a very consistent shooter. Someone we can play through for different stretches of a game.”

As for how Monk feels about Borrego and the new coaching staff, the good feelings seem to be mutual, with Monk saying, “I love them. They’re opening up the court for me and giving me a chance. That’s what I’ve been looking for.”

There’s more out of Charlotte this evening:

  • Speaking of the new coaching staff, the Hornets have officially hired Jay Triano, Chad Iske, Jay Hernandez, Ronald Nored, and Dutch Gaitley as assistant coaches under Borrego, per an official press release from the team.
  • Another young player the Hornets believe in is second-year player Dwayne Bacon, Bonnell notes in another piece. The new staff believes that Bacon, the 40th overall selection in last year’s draft, is both talented offensively and versatile defensively and that he will benefit from an increased pace of play.
  • As we relayed yesterday, the Hornets may be in the market for another guard to play alongside Monk and All-Star Kemba Walker, with free agent guard Tony Parker no longer necessarily a lock to return to San Antonio.

Hornets Notes: Monk, FA Targets, Coaching Staff

A disappointing 2017/18 put the Hornets in an awkward position, staffed with enough talent to compete for one of the East’s final playoff spots, yet financially compelled to blow things up and start fresh. This season stands to be different. In a recent interview with Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, newly appointed head coach James Borrego discusses his vision for the club heading forward.

The biggest change heading into 2018/19 is Borrego’s willingness to incorporate 2017 pick Malik Monk heavily in the team’s rotation. Whereas previous head coach Steve Clifford opted to play veterans over youth, Borrego sees Monk as “major player for the team” with the potential to be an elite shooter.

Borrego also notes that it’s a priority of the Hornets to add a ballhandler that can serve as the primary backup point guard to Kemba Walker.

There’s more out of Charlotte tonight:

Coaching Notes: Frank, Iske, Lucas, Pistons

The Clippers and assistant coach Lawrence Frank have reached an agreement that will see him promoted to executive vice president of basketball operations, reporting directly to team president and coach Doc Rivers, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports. Frank will be tasked with reorganizing the franchise’s front office, including building out the infrastructure of its scouting, sports science and long-term strategic planning, Wojnarowski notes.

Frank, 45, has been a two-time head coach in the NBA with the Nets and Pistons, and had been working toward a transition to the front office in recent years, the scribe notes. As Nets coach, Frank reached the Eastern Conference semifinals three out of his first four seasons on the job. He won 279 games as a head coach, including an 18-20 (.474) playoff record. Frank has been an assistant coach and defensive coordinator for the past two seasons with Los Angeles.

Here’s more coaching news from around the league:

  • The Pistons announced via press release that the team has named Jon Phelps as GM and Rex Walters as head coach of the Grand Rapids Drive, Detroit’s D-League affiliate. “We’re fortunate to be able to fill these two positions with guys we feel very comfortable with,” said coach/executive Stan Van Gundy.  “Jon was in Grand Rapids with the Drive the last two years so there’s familiarity and continuity there.  We’re confident he will continue to do a good job and transition well into this new role.  “Rex Walters brings a wealth of basketball knowledge and experience and has a passion for developing young players.  He’s spent some time with us here and already has a good understanding of how we operate.  We look forward to working with both of them.
  • The Wizards will be adding former Kings assistant Chad Iske to Scott Brooks‘ coaching staff in Washington, Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post relays (on Twitter).
  • Former Wizards assistant coach Roy Rogers has reached an agreement to join Mike D’Antoni‘s staff with the Rockets, Wojnarowski tweets.
  • Former NBA player and coach John Lucas is joining the Rockets‘ staff as the head of player development, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle relays.

Wizards Notes: Coaching Staff, Durant, Workouts

New Wizards head coach Scott Brooks is in the process of putting together his first coaching staff in Washington, and ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter link) has an update on some of Brooks’ targets. In addition to confirming the Wizards’ interest in Tony Brown, with whom the team is reportedly finalizing a deal, Stein reports that Brooks is targeting Chad Iske and Sidney Lowe for his bench.

Iske, a former Kings assistant who wasn’t retained when Dave Joerger took over in Sacramento last month, has also drawn interest from Memphis. As for Lowe, he most recently served as an assistant in Minnesota — before that, he was an assistant in Utah and a head coach at North Carolina State.

Here’s more out of D.C.:

  • Don’t count Jared Dudley among those who expect to see Kevin Durant return home and sign with the Wizards this summer. Dudley, a free-agent-to-be who spent the 2015/16 season in Washington, told Kevin Sheehan on ESPN 980 that he doesn’t envision Durant leaving the Thunder for the Wizards. “I realistically don’t,” Dudley said, per Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post. “I hope for the fans they do, because he’s from there, and he would bring such excitement. They’d be right behind Cleveland, right there with them to be able to contend. I don’t see it though.”
  • More from Dudley on why he doesn’t expect superstar free agents like Durant to land in Washington this offseason: “It’s the system the NBA built. In general, no star player’s leaving to go to another team. … The system’s built for these guys to stay. Guys like Kevin Durant, Al Horford — the Wizards most likely will be going after these players, as they should. Are they really going to leave that money on the table?”
  • The Wizards are bringing in prospects D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Georgetown), James Webb III (Boise State), Tyler Harris (Auburn), and James Robinson (Pittsburgh) in for a pre-draft workout today, league sources tell Michael Scott of Sheridan Hoops (Twitter link).
  • The Wizards are also keeping their eye on former Seton Hall and UConn guard Sterling Gibbs, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, who tweets that Washington is looking at Gibbs for a second time on Monday.
  • We recently took a closer look at the Wizards’ salary cap situation for the coming offseason.

Western Notes: Ingram, Bender, Iske, Waiters

The Lakers seem to have settled on Brandon Ingram as the No. 2 selection if Philadelphia takes Ben Simmons first, tweets international journalist David Pick. He reports that L.A. had interest in Croatian star Dragan Bender, but that has cooled.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Timberwolves are very interested in Bender at No. 5, according to Pick (Twitter link). Minnesota scouts Calvin Booth and Zarko Durisic have both watched Bender play.
  • The Grizzlies are considering former Kings assistant Chad Iske for a spot on David Fizdale’s staff, tweets Marc Stein of Iske was an assistant to George Karl in Sacramento, but wasn’t retained when Dave Joerger took over last month. Former Cavaliers and Lakers head coach Mike Brown already turned down a job with Memphis, Stein reports.
  • Dion Waiters‘ future in Oklahoma City may be tied to Kevin Durant‘s, suggests Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman. Waiters will be a restricted free agent this summer, and if Durant re-signs, the Thunder won’t be able to afford a significant player to replace Waiters. Therefore, OKC is likely to match whatever offer Waiters gets, which Slater believes will be in the $12MM to $16MM range annually. However, if Durant leaves, the Thunder may not want to commit that much to Waiters. If Waiters really wants to stay in Oklahoma City, Slater says he should be willing to let the Durant process play out before accepting an offer.
  • Center Greg Stiemsma will take part in a mini-camp run by the Jazz this week, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. Stiemsma last played in the NBA for Toronto during the 2014/15 season.
  • Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer had stories about a local legend as he worked out for the Jazz Saturday, according to Jody Genessy of The Deseret News“I used to play pickup with John Stockton all the time,” Wiltjer recalled. “This is his roots. It’s cool to be in this gym.” Syracuse shooting guard Malachi Richardson, who was also part of Saturday’s workout, sees a future for himself in Utah. “They’re definitely interested,” he said. “They wouldn’t have interviewed me [at the pre-draft combine]. They wouldn’t have me here if they weren’t interested. I’m definitely interested in coming here.”

Kings Notes: Joerger, Catanella, Assistants

New Kings coach Dave Joerger pledged today that he’d work in concert with GM Vlade Divac, in contrast to the discord between coach and front office that marked George Karl‘s Sacramento tenure and Joerger’s time in Memphis, as notes. The Kings haven’t made the playoffs in 10 years, but Joerger, who took the Sacramento job despite openings in Houston and Indiana, is optimistic about the future for Sacramento, observes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee“The team’s on the rise,” Joerger said. “There’s still some heavy lifting to do but some of the heavy lifting has been done. This is not a blow it up, let’s start all over again situation. We’re on the road to recovery.”

See more from Sacramento:

  • Miscommunication disrupted the process that led to the hiring of Ken Catanella as Kings assistant GM, several league sources told Zach Lowe of A confused narrative exists on whether Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace was a candidate, and it seemed former Bucks and Pacers executive David Morway was headed for the job before talks broke off.
  • Some of the candidates for the head coaching job pulled out before the search was over, while others simply used the team’s interest to bolster their resumes, according to Lowe.
  • The Kings dismissed assistant coaches Chad Iske and John Welch but will keep fellow assistants Nancy Lieberman and Corliss Williamson, as Jones and The Bee’s Ailene Voisin relay (Twitter links).
  • One of the candidates who interviewed for the head coaching job gave Jake Fischer of an anonymous rundown of the visit, providing insight on the team’s approach and telling Fischer that before Joerger emerged, the Kings originally planned to narrow the field to two finalists who would meet with Ranadive. That essentially jibes with earlier reporting from Jones, who heard the team intended to name three finalists.

George Karl Undergoes Cancer Treatment

2:18pm: Karl plans to return in time for Friday’s game, he tells Marc J. Spears of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter links). “It’s a simple procedure,” Karl said. “Almost done. I will be fine.”

12:57pm: Associate head coach Chad Iske, the lead assistant to Karl, would lead the team for Friday’s game if Karl isn’t available, according to James Ham of CSN California.

7:58am: George Karl will undergo a medical procedure today to treat cancer in his throat, he told Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. The 63-year-old who’s twice survived cancer will miss today’s practice, according to Jones, and it’s unclear when he’ll return to the team, which next plays Friday against the Magic. GM Vlade Divac said to Jones that the team won’t rush him back. Karl insists his condition is not serious, Jones notes. The team hasn’t named an interim replacement, though Corliss Williamson was reportedly poised to become interim coach in February, when the team nearly fired Karl.

Some around the Kings have had concerns about the effect that Karl’s health has had on his ability to coach, USA Today’s Sam Amick reported in February, shortly after the team nearly fired him. Players have had difficulty hearing Karl’s voice during games, according to Amick. Karl missed the second half of the 2009/10 season to recover from throat and neck cancer while he was coach of the Nuggets. He suffered from prostate cancer in 2005.

DeMarcus Cousins was animated as he delivered an apparent tirade to Karl on the bench during Sacramento’s loss Wednesday to the Cavs, before Karl publicly revealed his cancer and presumably before Cousins knew about it. Cousins felt Karl wasn’t supporting the players enough, similar to complaints from other players that the coach isn’t exhibiting passion during games and doesn’t stand up for them, but by the next timeout, Cousins and Karl acted as though the blowup hadn’t taken place, according to Sean Cunningham of KXTV-TV in Sacramento (All four Twitter links).

Sixers To Hire D’Antoni As Associate Head Coach?

MONDAY, 11:58am: The Sixers plan to have D’Antoni join their staff within the next few weeks, writes TNT’s David Aldridge in his Morning Tip column for

SUNDAY, 2:47pm: The Sixers confirmed that they are talking to D’Antoni about joining the team as an associate head coach, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer

SATURDAY, 8:39am: The Sixers and Mike D’Antoni are involved in discussions that could see the former NBA head coach join coach Brett Brown‘s staff as associate head coach, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. New team executive Jerry Colangelo and Brown have been speaking with D’Antoni about a role with the team that could begin later this month, Wojnarowski adds.

The move to hire D’Antoni, who has a longstanding relationship with Colangelo that includes time spent together with the Suns as well as USA Basketball, shows that the new executive is beginning to impose his influence on the franchise immediately, as the Yahoo scribe notes. The offseason departure of top assistant Chad Iske to the Kings left the concern that Brown needed to add more experience to his staff, Wojnarowski relays. The addition of the offensive-minded D’Antoni would certainly accomplish that, though how much of a difference he could make with the point guard situation in Philly so unsettled is debatable.

In many circumstances the move by a new executive to bring in one his former coaches would be a concern for the current head man. The team certainly alleviated many of those worries with the announcement on Friday that Brown and the team had agreed to a two-year contract extension. “Brett has been everything we anticipated – and more – both as a basketball coach and a partner in building this program,” GM Sam Hinkie said in the team’s official statement. “His tireless work ethic, his daily desire to consistently improve, and his resiliency line up with our core values as an organization. It was not difficult to come to the decision to formally say we want to work with Brett Brown even longer.

D’Antoni has been a head coach for the Nuggets, Suns, Knicks and Lakers, and he owns a career regular season mark of 455-426. He has a career postseason record of 26-33, and has twice made it to the Western Conference Finals, both with Phoenix. With D’Antoni desiring another head coaching position in the league, returning to an NBA bench could serve to increase his marketability, Wojnarowski writes. If D’Antoni can do for T.J. McConnell‘s career what he did for Jeremy Lin‘s when the duo were paired up in New York, he would certainly make a strong argument for another shot at leading a team, though that is merely my speculation, of course.

Kings Notes: Karl, Iske, Divac, Cousins

George Karl must return to his usual frenetic self to be successful as coach of the Kings, argues Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee, citing questions over how much the 64-year-old cancer survivor has left as the “overriding concern” within Kings ownership and the front office. Team officials and close friends of Karl have noticed his energy level has dipped since the start of the season, even though he insists otherwise, Voisin writes. People from inside and outside the organization have noticed lead assistant Chad Iske bearing heavy responsibility, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. See more on the Kings, who’ll try to snap a six-game losing streak tonight against the Pistons:

  • Some Kings players are pining for the defensive focus that former coach Michael Malone brought and have concerns about Karl’s defensive schemes, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. However, the players aren’t always defending with effort, Jones believes, citing a comment from Karl about “lazy” defense at times. “I never said they don’t like the system,” vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac said of the players. “They just didn’t buy in, yet.”
  • Divac said he called Tuesday’s team meeting, Jones notes in the same story. DeMarcus Cousins originally indicated it would be a players-only affair, though Omri Casspi said Cousins did share a text message with the players that reiterated his commitment to the team, as Jones relays. “[Cousins] was the one to send out a text to the players [Monday] night about how he cares about the team, wants to win and he feels like he has the right pieces here,” Casspi said. “So we’ve all got to step up.”
  • The team’s mood was remarkably lighter Tuesday following the meeting than it was in the locker room after Monday’s game, observes James Ham of “All problems are fixable,” Caron Butler said. “They all are. If they weren’t fixable, I don’t think I would be over here sitting, talking to you guys.”
  • The continued failure of the Kings to build a successful team around Cousins makes it worth pondering if Sacramento would be better off trading him and starting over, even though he’s a foundational star, SB Nation’s Tom Ziller opines.