Corliss Williamson

Pre-FA Updates: Toppin, Cavs, Niang, Strus, Draymond, Warriors, More

With just minutes before free agency begins and a flurry of contract agreements are reported, we have a few items to pass along:

  • The Pacers have emerged as the leading candidate to trade for Knicks forward Obi Toppin, league sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link). Ian Begley of, who confirms that the two sides have recently been in contact about a potential Toppin deal, says New York is seeking draft compensation and notes that Indiana could potentially acquire the forward and his $6.8MM expiring contract using cap room, so the Knicks wouldn’t have to take a player back.
  • A scenario in which the Cavaliers sign Georges Niang and acquire Max Strus – either via sign-and-trade or by signing him outright – is being viewed as “increasingly likely,” according to Stein (Twitter link).
  • The latest whispers Stein from has heard from his sources suggest Draymond Green may get a four-year, $100MM deal to re-up with the Warriors (Twitter link).
  • Former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker is back with the team that drafted him, at least for a few games in July. The Bucks announced today that Parker is on their Las Vegas Summer League roster.
  • The Timberwolves have hired former NBA forward Corliss Williamson as an assistant coach, they announced today in a press release. Williams was previously a member of coaching staffs in Sacramento, Orlando, and Phoenix.

Suns Rumors: Bridges, Free Agency, Coaches, Williams

The addition of Mikal Bridges gives the Suns a logjam at the forward spots and they still need to address their point guard situation, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes.

After the draft-night trade with the Sixers to acquire Bridges’ rights, the Suns now have five recent first-rounders – Josh JacksonT.J. WarrenDragan Bender and Marquese Chriss being the others – angling for playing time in the frontcourt. GM Ryan McDonough said he might add a stretch four in free agency, Bordow continues, so they could use that depth in a trade, with Chriss and Warren the most likely to be dealt.

Despite selecting Frenchman Elie Okobo with the first pick of the second round, the Suns still need another veteran at that spot, and McDonough confirmed they could pursue a floor leader in free agency, Bordow adds.

We have more on the Suns:

  • The Suns consider Bridges a “special player” and that’s why they were willing to deal the No. 16 pick and the Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-rounder for him, Bob Baum of the Associated Press reports. ‘‘We weighed the pros and cons of trading it heavily and carefully,” McDonough said. ”We were only going to put it in play if we had a chance to get a special player and that’s how we feel about Mikal.”
  • With $15-$20MM available to pursue free agents, the Suns will be proactive in free agency, Baum adds in the same piece. ‘We’re going to continue to be aggressive for the next couple of weeks in free agency,” McDonough said. “We’ve got some money to spend and we’re looking to spend it on the best players we can get.”
  • Joe Prunty, Corliss Williamson, Jamelle McMillan, Jason Staudt and Cody Toppert have officially signed up as assistants for new head coach Igor Kokoskov, Bordow tweets.
  • It’s hard to imagine the Suns will retain center Alan Williams on his current deal, Bordow adds in another tweet. Williams, whose $5.52MM salary is not guaranteed, would get a full guarantee if he’s still on the roster through July 6. He’d be a third-string center behind Deandre Ayton and Tyson Chandler if he sticks.

Pacific Notes: Thompson, Green, Clippers, Suns

The results of this year’s All-NBA voting will have an impact on a pair of Warriors, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes (Twitter links). If Klay Thompson had earned a spot on an All-NBA team, he would have been eligible for a super-max extension this offseason. If Thompson doesn’t sign an extension with the club in the coming months, he could still gain super-max eligibility in 2019 by being named to next year’s All-NBA squad.

Meanwhile, Draymond Green, who also missed out on All-NBA honors this year, would’ve been eligible for a super-max in 2019 if he’d made the First, Second, or Third Team. Like Thompson, he could gain eligibility by earning an All-NBA nod next season, though only one of those two players could actually sign an early super-max extension with the Warriors — teams are limited to two such contracts, and Stephen Curry has already signed one (Kevin Durant‘s next deal isn’t a factor in this equation, since it’s a different form of contract).

While it’s worth monitoring Thompson’s and Green’s eligibility for those contracts worth 35% of the cap, it seems unlikely that the Warriors would be willing to offer either player that sort of deal anyway. The Dubs and Thompson have reportedly engaged in talks on an extension that would be worth well below the max, and Green will be on the wrong side of 30 when his current contract ends.

Here’s more from around the Pacific division:

  • Determining DeAndre Jordan‘s future and getting value out of their two late-lottery picks are among the top items on the Clippers‘ offseason to-do list, Marks writes in his offseason preview for the club (Insider link). The point guard position is also something of a mystery, with Milos Teodosic holding a player option and Patrick Beverley returning from a major knee injury.
  • While it remains to be seen whether Mike Woodson will formally join the Suns‘ coaching staff, as rumored, the team has hired another assistant, bringing aboard Magic assistant Corliss Williamson. Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic has the story on the hiring of Williamson, who appeared in over 800 regular season games as an NBA player.
  • Addressing the small forward spot will be one of the Kings‘ top priorities this summer, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee, who rates the position a perfect 10/10 in terms of level of need.

Magic Fire Frank Vogel

The Magic are making a change at head coach, announcing today in a press release that they’ve parted ways with Frank Vogel. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report that Vogel has been fired.

“We would like to thank Frank for his contributions to the Orlando Magic,” president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said in a statement. “We appreciate the sacrifices he made as head coach and certainly wish him and his family well going forward.”

In addition to Vogel, lead assistant coach Chad Forcier and assistants Corliss Williamson and Jay Hernandez have also been let go by the Magic, per Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel.

Like Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek, who was also fired once the 2017/18 regular season came to an end, Vogel was hired just two years ago but found himself on the hot seat after his team overhauled its front office during the 2017 offseason. Having been brought aboard by former head of basketball operations Rob Hennigan, Vogel will be replaced by Weltman and new GM John Hammond, who will hire their own candidate in the near future.

After compiling a 250-181 record (.580) with five playoff appearances during six years as the head coach of the Pacers, Vogel was unable to replicate that success in Orlando. His team failed to reach 30 wins in either of his two seasons — overall, the Magic had a 54-110 mark (.329) during Vogel’s tenure.

The Magic will begin a search for a new head coach immediately. Previous reports have linked the franchise to various candidates with Toronto connections — Raptors assistants Nick Nurse and Rex Kalamian have been identified as possible targets for Orlando, and Raptors 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse has been cited multiple times as a viable candidate. Weltman was the general manager in Toronto before arriving in Orlando.

The Magic are the fifth NBA team known to be seeking a permanent head coach this offseason, joining the Suns, Grizzlies, Bucks, and Knicks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southeast Rumors: Wizards, Beal, Wade, Horford

As we heard on Tuesday, the Wizards – having conceded that they’re not in the mix for Kevin Durant – have shifted their focus to Ryan Anderson, viewing him as a top free target. ESPN’s Marc Stein follows up on that report today by suggesting that Anderson isn’t the only name near the top of Washington’s wish list. According to Stein (via Twitter), the names that keep coming up as prime targets for the Wizards this offseason are Anderson, Al Horford, and Nicolas Batum.

Stein also adds (in a second tweet) that that the Wizards are expected to “quickly” enter negotiations with Bradley Beal on a new contract, after extending him a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. That echoes a May report, which indicated the Wizards won’t waste time in offering Beal a long-term, maximum-salary contract when the new league year opens.

Here’s more from around the Southeast division:

  • A Tuesday report suggested that Dwyane Wade is open to talking to teams besides the Heat in free agency, since discussions with Miami haven’t progressed so far. However, a source who spoke to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel downplayed concerns about those negotiations, confirming that the two sides have indeed had preliminary talks so far.
  • With Al Horford‘s free agency just days away, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution examines the situation, writing that the big man would prefer to stay in Atlanta and re-sign with the Hawks, if the two sides can work out an acceptable contract.
  • The Magic announced today in a press release that they’ve finalized Frank Vogel‘s coaching staff, with Chad Forcier, Corliss Williamson, and David Adelman coming aboard as assistants.
  • Now that Serge Ibaka is in the mix, the Magic‘s next roster moves will be designed with ensuring that Ibaka wants to re-sign in Orlando when he reaches free agency a year from now, writes Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel.

And-Ones: Whiteside, Brown, Williamson, Griffin

Hassan Whiteside hopes to make a decision on his future on Friday, the first day teams can negotiate with free agents, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The 27-year-old center says several factors will affect his ultimate choice, but a sense of loyalty to the Heat won’t be among them. “I really don’t think it’s about loyalty,” Whiteside said. “I think it’s just about the best situation for myself and that’s what I think it is.” Whiteside said he had a “good” meeting with team president Pat Riley recently to discuss his future in Miami. “So it’s not that I’m really counting the Heat off or I’m counting on another team,” Whiteside said. “It’s just open.”

There’s more news tonight from around the league:

  • Former NBA head coach Mike Brown is a “strong contender” to become an assistant coach with the Warriors, tweets Marc Stein of Brown and Tyrone Corbin were believed to be the finalists for the position, but Corbin will join Earl Watson’s staff in Phoenix. Brown has a 347-216 record as head coach of the Cavaliers and Lakers.
  • The Magic interviewed Corliss Williamson Friday about becoming an assistant to new coach Frank Vogel, tweets Chris Mannix of The Vertical. Williamson is still a member of the Kings‘ coaching staff, so no decision has been made, tweets James Ham of CSNBayArea.
  • Cavaliers GM David Griffin doesn’t expect to make any major changes to the NBA champs this summer, Stein tweets. “We intend to keep this group together and see what we’re capable of,” Griffin said today during an appearance on ESPN Radio.
  • The Spurs will consider bringing over 6’10” Slovenian power forward Erazem Lorbek this summer, according to Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. San Antonio acquired the rights to the 32-year-old in a 2011 deal that sent George Hill to the Pacers. At one time, Lorbek was among the best big men in the Euroleague, but he sat out last season and the Spurs aren’t sure if he is in NBA shape.

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.

Kings To Interview Corliss Williamson

7:59am: The interview with Williamson will take place this week, sources told Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee.

9:58pm: Kings assistant coach Corliss Williamson will receive a formal interview for the head coaching job, tweets Marc Stein of The Kings are also conducting interviews this week with David BlattMark Jackson, Jeff Hornacek and Patrick Ewing for their opening, league sources told Stein (Twitter link).

Williamson has been an assistant coach with the Kings since the 2013/14. Prior to joining Sacramento’s staff, the 42-year-old Williamson was the head coach at Central Arkansas. Williamson began his playing career with the Kings in 1995 and played for five teams, winning a championship with the Pistons in 2004.

Willliamson would seem to be a long shot, considering all the big names under consideration for the position. He’s the only known candidate from George Karl’s staff.

Pacers assistant Nate McMillan is also expected to get an interview in the near future. Other possible contenders for the job, as Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors detailed last week, include Henry Bibby, Vinny Del Negro, Jay LarranagaKevin McHaleEttore Messina, Sam Mitchell, Brian Shaw, Elston Turner, Ime Udoka, Jeff Van Gundy, Monty Williams and Mike Woodson.

Blatt is also expected to interview with the Rockets, and he’s under consideration for the Knicks’ job.

Kings Notes: Divac, Cousins, Coaching Search

Kings GM and vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac will lead the effort to find George Karl’s replacement as head coach, according to Sam Amick of USA Today. Sacramento fired Karl earlier today after he compiled a disappointing 33-49 record in his first full season on the job. Divac said he will talk to former Kings coach Rick Adelman to get his opinion on possible candidates, and he plans to consult with Karl as well. “It’s a blessing to work with a guy [owner Vivek Ranadive] who is saving this franchise, building the new arena [that’s set to open in October] and letting me do my job the best I can,” Divac said. “So he has trust in me, and so far I’m so happy with my owner being behind me.” Along with hiring a coach, Divac is planning an addition to the front office, rumored to be former NBA executive David Morway.

There’s more news tonight out of Sacramento:

  • Divac is committed to keeping center DeMarcus Cousins despite ongoing disciplinary problems, Amick writes in the same story. Cousins clashed with Karl virtually from the time he was hired as coach, and the Kings suspended the center for a game in March, leading some to speculate that his time in Sacramento was nearing its end. “DeMarcus is our franchise player, and all heat is going to be on him,” Divac said. “Even my decision about George, [people are] all going to talk about DeMarcus. But it’s not true. He’s just one of the people we have, obviously the most valuable, and we are planning to build around him.” Cousins has two seasons and more than $32.5MM left on his current contract.
  • Divac wanted to fire Karl over the All-Star break, but opposition from minority owners stopped the move, tweets Marc Stein of
  • Sacramento’s “radioactive” coaching situation will scare big-name contenders away, predicts Chris Mannix of The Vertical. The columnist expects the Kings to contact Tom Thibodeau, Scott Brooks and Kevin McHale, but Mannix believes all three will steer clear of Sacramento. He adds that the Kings should have fired Karl in February and replaced him with Corliss Williamson. Instead, the front office got rid of assistant coach Vance Walberg, which further sabotaged Karl’s standing with the players.

Latest On Kings, George Karl

Assistant coach Corliss Williamson is more likely to be the head coach of the Kings by season’s end than George Karl is, barring a surprise, according to Chris Mannix of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. The front office has lost nearly all confidence in Karl and players have tuned him out, Mannix hears from league sources, echoing Vertical colleague Adrian Wojnarowski’s report from Saturday that once more cast Karl’s job security into public question. Many of the Kings players have heard through their agents that the team is actively shopping them, Mannix also writes.

It’s the latest round of upheaval in Sacramento, where team’s minority-share owners have looked into ways to seize control from owner Vivek Ranadive, sources told Mannix. They nonetheless have little means to stage a coup, Mannix adds. The turmoil surrounding the Kings has made the head-coaching job unattractive to potential candidates, the Vertical scribe writes, suggesting that well-regarded assistants Kenny Atkinson of the Hawks and Jay Larranaga of the Celtics aren’t particularly anxious to take the job if it indeed comes open.

Kings players are upset with Karl about ineffciency in practices and shootarounds, and about in-game moves that haven’t worked out, as Mannix details. Kings GM Vlade Divac said in November, amid the last round of rumors surrounding Karl’s job security, that Karl would remain coach through season’s end. Former Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro said the same about interim coach Tyrone Corbin last season, but the team replaced Corbin with Karl over the 2015 All-Star break. That’s when the Kings gave Karl a contract that reportedly pays him $3.25MM this season and $5MM next season. He has a $5MM salary for 2017/18 that’s partially guaranteed for $1.5MM, as Wojnarowski also reported at the time.

The Kings have lost seven out of eight games and gave up 46 points in the first quarter Sunday in a loss to the Celtics. Sacramento is four and a half games behind the eighth-place Jazz in the Western Conference.

What’s the solution for the Kings? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.