Dan Burke

Pistons Notes: Ivey, Williams, Burke, Potential Trades

The Pistons‘ offseason coaching change and Cade Cunningham‘s return from injury have resulted in a new role for second-year guard Jaden Ivey, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Ivey was used as a starter as a rookie and was given the freedom to handle the ball and create plays. He’s started just three of the 12 games he’s played under new coach Monty Williams and he’s being asked to adjust to playing off the ball.

“Every day is a new opportunity,” Ivey said. “Just be the best version of yourself. Nothing that I want in life is going to be easy. I’m going to have to work for everything. That’s the mindset I want to carry every single day is that I’m going to work hard for all the things I want in life. Let God take of everything. Just continue to work, put my head down. Nothing is easy in this league.”

The Pistons targeted Ivey to be an important part of their future when they selected him with the fifth pick in the 2022 draft, and Williams stressed that the organization’s view of him hasn’t changed. Ivey’s athleticism combined with an ability to finish at the basket and an effective three-point shot make him difficult to defend. Williams is urging him to be patient and is impressed by how he’s adjusting to the new role.

“He’s a developing player with a lot of talent,” Williams said. “He’s got his head in there every day, learning and growing in a new system. It’s Year 2, second coach, that can be a lot on anybody. I’ve enjoyed his spirit. He hasn’t run from all the stuff (that) has been new and sometimes overwhelming.”

There’s more from Detroit:

  • The Pistons will tie a franchise record with 14 straight losses if they can’t beat Washington tonight, per Mike Curtis of The Detroit News. Williams said he wasn’t aware that the team is danger of reaching the record, as he’s been more concerned with player development and trying to eliminate the mistakes that are causing the team to lose.
  • Williams provided an update on assistant coach Dan Burke, who has been away from the team since October 30, Curtis adds. Williams said he couldn’t provide any details because it’s a “personal situation,” but he confirmed that Burke is still part of the coaching staff.
  • The Pistons aren’t in the market for a “panic trade,” league and team sources tell James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, but he talked to a few of his colleagues about the kind of deals the front office might pursue if things don’t change. He considers potential trades with the Warriors involving Andrew Wiggins, the Raptors involving OG Anunoby and the Knicks to get back their first-round draft pick, which is top-18 protected in 2024.

Pistons Notes: Williams, Assistants, Gores, Youth

After his wife Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer during a playoff run with the Suns this spring and he was subsequently fired by the team, Monty Williams was reticent to latch on with a new club right away. Lisa’s health ultimately delayed Williams’ decision to agree to a deal with the Pistons, and that delay led to some additional contract perks, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic.

“I had a situation, personally, in my family that needed attention,” Williams said during his introductory press conference this week. “I talked to my wife about whether or not we should talk about that publicly, but that was a huge part of my decision-making. The patience that (team president Troy Weaver) and Mr. Gores (Pistons owner Tom Gores) had with me as we navigated that told me a lot.”

Edwards reveals that, beyond a record-setting salary, the added perks Detroit allocated to Williams included a “health and welfare fund” which would help the Williams family pay incurred healthcare costs that their insurance would not finance and access to a private jet to spend more time with Lisa, who will be receiving care in Phoenix.

As Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press writes, after being let go by the Suns, Williams was considering taking a year off from coaching to spend more time with his family.

There’s more out of the Motor City:

  • Williams will be bringing much of his former Phoenix bench with him to the Pistons, in addition to some new assistants. In another article for The Free Press, Sankofa unpacks what Detroit’s fresh batch of assistant coaches will bring to the table. Stephen Silas, the head coach of the Rockets from 2020-23, is set to serve as Williams’ lead assistant. Former Suns assistant coaches Brian Randle, Steve Scalzi and Mark Bryant will be joined by ex-Sixers assistant Dan Burke. Jamelle McMillan (son of Nate McMillan) and Spencer Rivers (son of Doc Rivers) will be player development coaches under Williams. Sankofa hints that some other recent assistant coaches under former Pistons head coach Dwane Casey could stick around in the Williams regime.
  • Gores emphasized the import of securing Williams’ services to help guide his rebuilding club back to NBA relevance, writes Mike Curtis of The Detroit News. “It was critical,” the Pistons’ owner said. “It’s a really important time. It was also about these players over here. They literally have trusted us and were holding their own practices and they have their own fortitude. They really were able to stay together and there was a moment when Troy and I, we were together and we said, ‘Those young men are relying on us.’ We had, I wouldn’t call it a yelling match at all, but we just talked about how important it was to deliver to our players.”
  • Sankofa notes in an additional piece that Williams is encouraged by the investment his new young players already appear to have in his abilities. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a press conference for a coach and all of the players show up,” Williams said. “That’s what I see. A hunger, a desire. They all want it. It really gets to you when you think about it. I could go on and on about what I’ve seen on film. I’ve also talked to them about what we need. We need to do some things a lot better. They’ve all been willing, they’ve all been receptive.”

Pistons Notes: Williams, Weaver, No. 5 Pick, Assistants

One factor in why Monty Williams ultimately decided to coach the Pistons is because he has “great respect and belief” in general manager Troy Weaver‘s ability to evaluate and recruit talent, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic reports in his latest mailbag.

Edwards was responding to a reader’s question regarding how much input Williams will have on the roster this offseason. In short, Edwards writes that while Williams’ opinion will be taken into account, Weaver will have final say on personnel decisions.

Edwards also hears Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson — twin brothers who are ranked Nos. 4 and 5 on ESPN’s big board — were spotted in Detroit last week, so it’s safe to assume they were there working out for the Pistons, who don’t publicly disclose who they’re hosting during the pre-draft process. Still, Edwards downplays the significance of their attendance, as the Pistons will certainly be working out several other potential top-10 picks — they currently control the fifth pick.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • Within the same mailbag, Edwards says he has been consistently told that owner Tom Gores is willing to be a taxpayer if and when the time comes. Edwards also thinks the Pistons would be open to trading the fifth pick if the right opportunity arises.
  • A couple of legendary former college coaches, Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim, previously worked with Williams on Team USA. Both spoke glowingly of their former colleague, according to Mike Curtis of The Detroit News (subscriber link). “Monty and I are very special friends,” Krzyzewski told Curtis. “I love him and I think the world of him. He’s an outstanding coach and he’s an outstanding person. His ability to relate to the players was just fantastic. His knowledge of the game — he’s just a good teacher and he’s a team player. He’s very humble, not about him. It’s about what the team is doing, and I think the world of him. He helped me so much during that time.” Krzyzewski is now a special adviser in the NBA’s league office.
  • “Several” Suns assistant coaches, including Mark Bryant, are expected to join Williams’ staff in Detroit, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Dan Burke, a longtime assistant with the Pacers who has been with the Sixers the past three seasons, is also expected to join the Pistons, sources tell Fischer.

Celtics Notes: Cassell, Lee, Mazzulla, Brown

Sam Cassell was the perfect choice to fill the role of lead assistant to Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Cassell held the same position on Doc Rivers’ staff with the Sixers and was universally liked throughout the organization, Weiss adds.

After losing Damon Stoudamire to Georgia Tech in March, Boston needed an ex-player on its bench who could relate to the team’s stars as well as those who rarely play, Weiss notes. He states that Cassell was responsible for keeping James Harden focused in Philadelphia and helped to develop Tyrese Maxey.

The Celtics have a lot of open spots to fill on the coaching staff, especially if Ben Sullivan, Mike Moser, Garrett Jackson and possibly Aaron Miles are joining Ime Udoka in Houston, as rumored. Weiss suggests that Boston might consider other Sixers coaches such as Dave Joerger, Dan Burke and Jamie Young, who spent several years with the Celtics as an assistant to Rivers and Brad Stevens, along with Jerome Allen, who coached under Dwane Casey with the Pistons.

There’s more from Boston:

  • Charles Lee, who was one of the finalists for Detroit’s head coaching job, is under consideration to join the Celtics as an assistant, tweets Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. However, Lee “remains involved in several situations,” Fischer adds.
  • Former Celtics boss and current Jazz CEO Danny Ainge is a strong supporter of Mazzulla after watching his first year as a head coach, per Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe. Ainge says the players never quit on Mazzulla, despite accusations after Game 3 of the conference finals, and he adapted and learned as he made his way through the playoffs. “You see Joe’s toughness and stubbornness,” Ainge said. “He’s a relentless worker. He has a passion to learn. Joe is a leader, and I think this was a difficult situation with the high expectations the team had coming in. I don’t think there’s anybody there that doesn’t believe that Joe is better than Ime (Udoka) as a coach.”
  • Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com talks to several rival executives and coaches who believe the Celtics should keep Jaylen Brown and re-sign Grant Williams. “I hear fans up there are debating whether to give Brown the super-max, but at some point the numbers don’t really matter,” one general manager said. “First of all, the guy is one of the better players in the league. Start there. I know people are all upset about his last game, and sure he was bad, but that was a team-wide collapse. Just take a step back and look at where he is and what he can do. The guy can play.”

Pistons Hire Brian Adams As Assistant Coach

JANUARY 4: The Pistons have announced the addition of Adams to their staff in a press release, the team’s PR department tweets.

DECEMBER 31: The Pistons are adding another assistant coach to their ranks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports that Brian Adams is joining Monty Williams‘ staff.

After working as a video coordinator for several years in Boston under Doc Rivers, Adams served as an assistant coach with multiple NCAA programs, including Harvard. He eventually joined the Clippers’ staff as a coaching associate under Rivers in 2014 and was named the head coach of Los Angeles’ G League affiliate in 2018.

Adams left the Clippers organization along with Rivers in 2020 and became an assistant on the Sixers’ staff from 2020-23 before departing Philadelphia following Rivers’ dismissal this past offseason.

Adams subsequently accepted a job as the head coach of Taipei in Taiwan’s T1 League for the 2023/24 season, but according to Wojnarowski, he’s returning stateside and joining the Pistons on their upcoming Western Conference road trip, which begins on Monday and runs through January 7.

As Woj notes, the Pistons have been missing a member of Williams’ bench for nearly the entire season, with assistant Dan Burke away from the club for personal reasons. Williams said just over a month ago that the veteran coach was still part of his staff, but the hiring of Adams is a sign that Detroit may not expect Burke back anytime soon.

Doc Rivers, Michael Malone Enter COVID-19 Protocols

Two more NBA head coaches have entered the health and safety protocols and won’t be on the sidelines for their respective teams in the short term.

Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that Sixers coach Doc Rivers has entered the protocols, while Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link) hears from a source that Nuggets coach Michael Malone has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in the protocols.

In Philadelphia, assistant Dan Burke will take over for Rivers as the 76ers’ acting head coach, according to Wojnarowski. Malone will be replaced in Denver by assistant David Adelman for the time being, says Singer.

The list of head coaches in the protocols continues to grow — Frank Vogel, Billy Donovan, Monty Williams, Chauncey Billups, and Mark Daigneault are also currently affected. Rick Carlisle and Alvin Gentry were in the protocols earlier in the month but have since resumed coaching the Pacers and Kings, respectively.

In addition to placing Rivers in the health and safety protocols today, the Sixers also had two more players enter — Myles Powell and Tyler Johnson are now in the protocols and have been ruled out for Thursday’s game vs. Brooklyn, tweets Wojnarowski.

Eastern Notes: Schofield, Magic, Cavs, Heat, Pacers

Word broke last Thursday that the Magic intended to sign Admiral Schofield to a 10-day contract using a hardship exception, but two days later, we learned that the deal had fallen through.

As Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN explains (via Twitter), there were “inconsistencies” in Schofield’s COVID-19 testing that held up his signing and forced the Magic to move on. Orlando ended up bringing back Donta Hall, while Schofield was eventually confirmed to be negative for the coronavirus, per Wojnarowski.

It’s a tough break in what has been a difficult season for Schofield. After spending his rookie season with the Wizards, the 24-year-old was traded and waived in November, struggled in the G League after being selected first overall in the NBAGL draft, and – barring a last-minute signing – ultimately won’t end up playing any NBA games in his second professional season.

Here are a few more notes from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Joe Vardon of The Athletic argued on Monday that the Cavaliers made a mistake by signing Anderson Varejao to a ceremonial contract rather than trying to develop a young prospect using that roster spot, but Evan Dammarell of Forbes says the Cavs have already proven this season that they’re capable of developing young talent, based on the growth of youngsters like Dean Wade, Lamar Stevens, and Mfiondu Kabengele. While I’m not sure that’s a convincing case to not try to develop another player, it’s worth noting that Varejao was signed using a short-term hardship exception — if the Cavs had opted for a prospect instead, they wouldn’t have been able to sign that player to a multiyear contract.
  • Victor Oladipo (knee) still isn’t traveling with the Heat on their current road trip, but the recent return of Tyler Herro to the backcourt has given the team a boost, writes Khobi Price of The Sun Sentinel.
  • Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files makes the case for why letting veteran assistant coach Dan Burke go was the worst move of the Pacers‘ 2020 offseason, while J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star suggests that Pacers swingman Kelan Martin – who began the season on a partially guaranteed contract – has earned more playing time.

Central Notes: LaVine, Sexton, Pacers Defense, Green

Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine has cleared the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and could be back on the floor as early as Thursday against the Hornets, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago.

“I think he’s excited to be back playing,” Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said of the All-Star guard. “I think for him getting in the gym [upon being cleared] was good.”

LaVine’s return may prove to be too little, too late for the struggling Bulls. Chicago has gone 4-7 without him. Sporting a 26-39 record, the Bulls are currently 4.5 games behind the ninth-seeded Pacers, four games behind the tenth-seeded Wizards and a half-game back of the No. 11-seeded Raptors. The team has eight contests left to play.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton is aware of critical chirps from his detractors, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Fedor notes that Sexton wants to address his critics with his play. “They feel like I’m not doing good at something, I’m going to make sure I prove them wrong,” Sexton said. “They say I can’t be a point guard. Now these next stretch of games I’m going to go out there and show them I can do both — run the team and score the ball as well, and be efficient with it. I pretty much just take the criticism and run with it, and just have them look crazy down the stretch.”
  • The defensively-challenged Pacers are certainly missing their anchor on that end of the floor, injured center Myles Turner, but also the tactical maneuvering of former head coach Nate McMillan and assistant coach Dan Burke, opines Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star.
  • Recently-acquired Bulls wing Javonte Green showed flashes of promise in what was ultimately a 106-94 losing effort against the Sixers on Monday. Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic wonders if Green could be a potential long-term rotational addition for Chicago.

Eastern Notes: Harden, Cavs, Embiid, Burke, Snell

James Harden has reportedly added the Bucks to the teams he’d be willing to play for but acquiring the perennial All-Star guard would be very complicated even if Milwaukee wants him, as Eric Nehm of The Athletic points out.

Milwaukee can’t move nearly half of its players on guaranteed contracts since the club added six players via trades or free agent signings. Most of those players aren’t eligible to be dealt until late February. The Bucks’ proximity to the hard cap also makes it nearly impossible to trade multiple players for Harden unless a third party is involved or Houston tosses in some minimum salary players.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • While the league has trended toward smaller lineups in recent seasons, the Cavaliers could go with a jumbo lineup at times, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Coach J. B. Bickerstaff plans to utilize Larry Nance Jr., Kevin Love and Andre Drummond in certain situations. “We expect there are going to be times where we throw that big lineup out there,” Bickerstaff said.
  • Sixers center Joel Embiid has bonded with assistant coach Dan Burke, who ripped him as a Pacers assistant last season. Burke claimed then that Embiid “gets away with a bunch of (stuff).” Embiid doesn’t harbor any grudges, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “I think he’s a great guy,” Embiid said. “We’ve actually been very close since we got here. I think him and the whole coaching staff is going to kind of look at me to kind of be the driving force of the defense.”
  • Tony Snell is currently not with the Hawks, since he’s self-isolating, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic tweets. He hasn’t tested positive for COVID-19 but was deemed a close contact to someone who did. Snell was acquired from the Pistons this offseason.

Sixers Officially Announce Coaching Staff

The Sixers have officially announced Doc Rivers‘ new coaching staff, confirming today in a press release that Dave Joerger, Sam Cassell, Dan Burke, Popeye Jones, and Brian Adams have been hired as assistants. All five assistant coach additions were reported in the past few weeks.

In addition to those five hirings, the 76ers are retaining Eric Hughes as an assistant, hiring Pete Dominguez as a coaching associate, and giving Todor Pandov the role of assistant coach/performance director.

“After taking this job, one of my top priorities was forming the best staff in the NBA,” Rivers said in a statement. “I’m thrilled with the way it came together as this group boasts years of valuable NBA experience, both playing and coaching, and each member brings a championship-level mindset to the table. I’m confident in my staff’s ability to best support our players and look forward to getting into the lab with our team as soon as we get the green light.”

Joerger, Cassell, and Burke are the most notable additions to Rivers’ staff. Joerger is a former NBA head coach, having compiled a 245-247 (.498) record with the Kings and Grizzlies from 2013-19; Cassell is a veteran assistant who was a member of Rivers’ staff in Los Angeles and received some head coaching buzz this year; and Burke is a highly respected defensive specialist who spent the last two-plus decades in Indiana.