Dave Joerger

Cavaliers Notes: Nori, Garland, Allen, Mitchell, Mobley

Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori is among the candidates scheduled for an in-person meeting with Cavaliers officials this week to discuss their head coaching vacancy, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Fischer also cites Pelicans associate head coach James Borrego and Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, who were identified as finalists for the job in a report by Chris Fedor earlier today.

Fischer hears that the Cavs are continuing to hold interviews via Zoom as well, with Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant and Bucks assistant Dave Joerger included in that group.

Nori has been an NBA assistant since 2009 and spent time in Toronto, Sacramento, Denver and Detroit before coming to Minnesota in 2021. He took on many of head coach Chris Finch‘s duties when Finch was immobilized due to knee surgery following the Wolves’ first-round playoff series.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers’ next coach will likely inherit a team with its current core intact, Fischer adds. Although Cleveland has received “a wealth of interest” in Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen on the trade market, sources tell Fischer that the front office isn’t expected to consider offers for them or for Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley. Expectations are growing that Mitchell will agree to an extension this summer, according to Fischer’s sources, while Mobley is still viewed as a vital part of the organization’s future.
  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst also hears that trade talk regarding Garland has cooled off around the league. In an interview with ESPN Cleveland (video link), Windhorst said potential suitors were discouraged by a recent statement from general manager Koby Altman. “There are now teams that are sort of backing off, saying, ‘Well, maybe Garland is not gonna be available,'” Windhorst said.
  • With Borrego reportedly a finalist for both the Cavaliers and Lakers, Ethan Sands of Cleveland.com compares the two franchises and asks which situation is better. He notes that both teams have an urgency to win right away and share an uncertain future regarding their best player as Mitchell is pondering an extension while LeBron James has until June 29 to decide whether to exercise a $51.4MM player option for next season.

Latest On Cavaliers’ Head Coaching Search

The Cavaliers‘ lengthy head coaching search appears to be nearing a resolution, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscription required), who reports that the team has narrowed down a group that initially consisted of about 10 candidates to four or five finalists who will have in-person interviews.

Fedor doesn’t name all four (or five) of those finalists, but confirms that Pelicans assistant James Borrego met with head of basketball operations Koby Altman and other Cavaliers officials on Tuesday and that Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson will follow suit this week, likely either Wednesday or Thursday.

While Atkinson was identified as the potential frontrunner early in the process, Fedor says Borrego has been considered the “leader in the clubhouse” since last week. A Tuesday report out of New Orleans suggested the Pelicans are bracing for the loss of Borrego, who is also a candidate for the Lakers.

Borrego and Atkinson both check two important boxes for the Cavaliers, Fedor notes — they have prior head coaching experience and they’re more offensive-minded coaches. Maximizing the club’s offensive production is a priority after its offensive rating (114.7) ranked just 16th in the regular season and plummeted in the playoffs (104.7).

However, Cleveland isn’t simply zeroing in on offensive specialists. A source tells Fedor that at least one of the team’s finalists is better known for his defensive acumen, signaling that management is focused on finding the best overall fit, regardless of a candidate’s specific strengths and weaknesses.

Here’s more from Fedor on the Cavs’ search:

  • Although Cleveland would like to have a new head coach in place before the June 26 draft, that’s considered a “moving target,” according to Fedor, who says the primary goal is to simply get the hire right, no matter how long it takes.
  • There are several ties between the Pelicans and Cavaliers, with top executive David Griffin and big man Larry Nance Jr. among those in New Orleans who have roots in Cleveland. Those links have made it simpler for the Cavs to gather first-hand reports on Borrego. Everyone has spoken positively about the Pelicans assistant, Fedor writes, citing sources who have described Borrego as “humble, innovative, engaging and diplomatic” and as someone who is willing to “learn and listen.” Those qualities have come across in the Cavs’ multiple meetings with Borrego.
  • Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen, who played for Atkinson in Brooklyn, have shared “approving” feedback with the Cavaliers about their former head coach, per Fedor.
  • Dave Joerger, Micah Nori, David Adelman, Johnnie Bryant, and Chris Quinn are among the other candidates who have been involved in the Cavaliers’ search, though it’s unclear which of them are finalists. As Fedor points out, Joerger is the only one in that group with period head coaching experience, which could be a factor given the pressure to win right away.

Cavs Receive Permission To Interview David Adelman

The Cavaliers have requested and received permission to meet with Nuggets assistant David Adelman about their head coaching vacancy, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Adelman, 43, is Michael Malone‘s top assistant in Denver and has served as acting head coach in a handful of instances when Malone was unavailable. He has drawn praise from Nikola Jokic and Aaron Gordon for his coaching acumen.

The son of longtime NBA head coach Rick Adelman, David began his coaching career at the high school level before being hired by the Timberwolves in 2011. He was in Minnesota for five seasons, spent the 2016/17 campaign with Orlando, and arrived in Denver in 2017.

Adelman has received head coaching consideration from the Lakers and Hornets this offseason after having previously interviewed with the Raptors when they were seeking a head coach last spring.

As our head coaching search tracker shows, Adelman is the sixth candidate reported to be interviewing with the Cavaliers, who are conducting a head coaching search after parting ways with J.B. Bickerstaff. Cleveland’s other interviewees include Kenny Atkinson, James Borrego, Johnnie Bryant, Micah Nori, and Chris Quinn.

A recent report stated that the Cavs could end up talking to upwards of about 10 candidates, so additional updates on contenders for the job could still be forthcoming. Former NBA head coach and current Bucks assistant Dave Joerger is expected to meet with the team, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who says Mavericks assistant Alex Jensen could get an interview too.

The Cavs have done plenty of background work on Terry Stotts, but one source describes him as a long shot for the job, says Fedor. Sources also tell Cleveland.com that the club isn’t expected to talk to Frank Vogel, who was dismissed last month by the Suns.

Stein’s Latest: Redick, Cavaliers’ Coaching Search, M. Brown, Kleber

J.J. Redick has several assistants in mind if he becomes the Lakers‘ next head coach, sources tell Marc Stein (Substack link). The ESPN broadcaster is believed to be the frontrunner to land the job, and Stein cites this latest rumor as more evidence that L.A. is leaning toward hiring Redick.

According to Stein, Redick hopes to add Celtics assistant Sam Cassell and Pelicans assistant James Borrego, who both interviewed for the head coaching job and were described by The Athletic as “the initial leading targets” along with Redick two weeks ago.

Redick would also like to land Mavericks assistant Jared Dudley, who finished his career with the Lakers in 2021, Stein’s sources say. Dudley reportedly built strong relationships with LeBron James and Anthony Davis during that time.

Stein offers more inside information from around the league:

  • Terry Stotts is among the head coaching candidates being considered by the Cavaliers, according to Stein’s sources. If Cleveland plans to keep Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland together, it could be beneficial to hire Stotts, who was successful in Portland with a similar small backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson is considered to be the leading candidate to replace J.B. Bickerstaff, but Stein confirms that Borrego, former Cavs coaching consultant Dave Joerger and Knicks associate head coach Johnnie Bryant are among the other names under consideration. Bryant previously worked with Mitchell in Utah. Atkinson has reportedly received endorsements from Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert, whom he coached in Brooklyn.
  • Mike Brown’s salary demands and the Kings‘ lack of postseason success have led to a stalemate in extension talks, Stein adds. Both sides recently agreed to table negotiations on a new deal, which means Brown could enter next season as a lame-duck coach. He has a four-year contract, but the final season is a mutual option, which means he and the team would both have to opt in.
  • Stein hears that the Mavericks remain optimistic about a potential Maxi Kleber return if they reach the NBA Finals. The versatile big man has been sidelined since separating his right shoulder May 3 in the final game of the first-round series against the Clippers.

Eastern Notes: Atkinson, Cavs, Wizards, Wagner, Hawks, More

Discussing the Cavaliers‘ head coaching search this week on an episode of the No Cap Room podcast (YouTube link), Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports described Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson as the candidate who “seems to be the leader in the clubhouse right now.” Atkinson has also been linked to another coaching search this spring, according to Fischer.

“Kenny Atkinson was definitely a name involved in the Wizards‘ search,” Fischer said. “… There was definitely expectation around the league that Kenny’s next job would be one of those more developmental teams on the up-and-up, which in theory Cleveland still kind of is, but there are obvious expectations there now. So that would be a much different circumstance – probably a better circumstance, I would say – for Kenny Atkinson, to shed that ‘I’m a rebuild guy’ label.”

Fischer confirms that James Borrego of the Pelicans and Johnnie Bryant of the Knicks are a couple more assistant coaches who are candidates for the Cavaliers’ job, citing Bryant’s connection to Donovan Mitchell dating back to their time in Utah together.

According to Fischer, former Sacramento head coach Dave Joerger is another candidate who will receive consideration from Cleveland. Joerger was hired by the Bucks as an assistant coach after Doc Rivers joined the team earlier this year.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Magic forward Franz Wagner won’t soon forget his performance in Orlando’s Game 7 first-round loss to Cleveland (six points on 1-of-15 shooting), but his goal is to turn it into a learning experience rather than beating himself up about it, writes Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. “That’s going to stick with me all summer,” Wagner said. “Hopefully, I can use it as motivation and fuel that the right way.” As Beede observes, Wagner will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, and while the Magic will likely look to lock him up, it remains to be seen whether the team is prepared to go up to the max to get something done before the 22-year-old’s fourth NBA season.
  • In a 2024 draft class considered to lack star power, whichever player is selected with the No. 1 overall pick will benefit from not being asked to single-handedly turn a franchise around. As Marc J. Spears of ESPN pointed out on the Hawks Report podcast (link via Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), the No. 1 pick will be joining a Hawks roster that features more talent than a typical club drafting in that spot. Even if Atlanta trades one of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray this offseason, the team would still have one former All-Star in its backcourt, along with promising 22-year-old Jalen Johnson at forward.
  • The WNBA’s Board of Governors unanimously voted this week to approve an expansion franchise for Toronto, while the NBA’s Board of Governors voted 29-1 in favor of the move, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Unsurprisingly, as Wojnarowski details, the only opposing vote belonged to the Knicks, who sued the Raptors last season and remain engaged in a legal battle with their Atlantic rivals. Raptors chairman Larry Tanenbaum is spearheading Toronto’s new WNBA franchise.

Bucks Notes: Coaching Staff Changes, Giannis, Lillard, Beverley

The Bucks have parted ways with assistant coaches DJ Bakker, Sidney Dobner, and Josh Oppenheimer, sources confirmed to Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report first broke the news.

All three coaches were assistants under Adrian Griffin who finished the season with the Bucks after Griffin was dismissed in January and replaced by Doc Rivers. As Nehm notes, Rivers brought in a few new assistants after his arrival in Milwaukee, resulting in a super-sized coaching staff, so it seemed likely that changes would be coming this offseason.

Following the changes, the Bucks now have seven assistants on their staff, per Nehm: Dave Joerger, Rex Kalamian, Joe Prunty, Patrick Mutombo, Vin Baker, Trevor Gleeson, and Pete Dominguez. With new head coaches filling their staffs around the NBA it’s possible Rivers’ staff will undergo more tweaks before the 2024/25 season tips off in the fall.

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • Rivers said that he usually takes a bit of a break at the end of his team’s season, but that’s not the plan for his first offseason with the Bucks. The veteran head coach “can’t wait to get started” on preparations for 2024/25, as Ben Steele of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relays. “This summer is a very important summer for us. I have a lot of work to do,” Rivers said. “I’m going to take a break at some point, but not right away. Right now, I have some work to do that I have to get things right to make sure we’re ready for next year.”
  • Last offseason, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez entered the summer as free agents and Damian Lillard wasn’t acquired by the Bucks until late September. This year, with all the team’s core players under contract, Giannis Antetokounmpo is looking forward to a greater level of stability, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We’re not questioning and trying to figure out how it’s going to look moving forward. You know and now that you know, you just gotta work, strategize to the best of your abilities,” Antetokounmpo said. “Dame’s going to be here. Khris is going to be here. Brook (is) going to be here. Bobby (Portis is) going to be here. I hope I’m here. And then we go and try to find out what we have.”
  • Within the same Owczarski story, Antetokounmpo said he plans to visit Portland this offseason to spend some time with Lillard. “Go work out together, talk, sit down, just spend time,” Giannis said. “It doesn’t have to be basketball. Just spend time together. I’ve done it with Khris in 11 years. I’ve done it with Brook. It’s just what you gotta do.”
  • On the latest episode of his Pat Bev podcast, veteran guard Patrick Beverley said that before he repeatedly fired a basketball at Pacers fans in the last game of the Bucks’ season, he was called a word that he’d never been called before, per The Associated Press. However, Beverley acknowledged that his actions were “still inexcusable.” He was suspended for four games by the NBA. “That should have never happened,” he said of the incident. “Regardless of what was said, that should have never happened. Simple as that.”

And-Ones: Snell, Cureton, Allen, Trade Market

Tony Snell was unable to find an NBA team to sign him heading into the weekend, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reports.

Snell had a February 2 deadline to sign a contract for the remainder of the season. That would have allowed him to accrue a 10th year of service for the Players Association’s retiree benefits program, which would cover healthcare for his whole family. He has two young sons who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Multiple teams would have signed Snell to a 10-day contract if that was all that was required to satisfy Snell’s 10th season, Fischer adds. However, the criteria for accruing a year of service is stricter for the retiree benefits plan — a player needs to play at least 50% of the season’s games or sign a rest-of-season contract by Feb. 2.

Snell, who is currently playing the NBA G League’s Maine Celtics, did not play in an NBA game last season.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA player and Pistons community ambassador Earl Cureton died unexpectedly on Sunday morning at the age of 66, the Pistons’ PR department tweets. A 12-year NBA veteran, Cureton was part of two championship teams — the Sixers in 1982/83 and the Rockets in 1993/94. Cureton also played three seasons with the Pistons and spent time with the Bulls, Clippers, Hornets and Raptors.
  • Jerome Allen will be the head coach for the USA AmeriCup qualifying team for its February games against Cuba, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. He replaces Dave Joerger, who returned to the NBA as a Bucks assistant under Doc Rivers. The USA team is looking to qualify for the 2025 FIBA AmeriCup. Allen had been an assistant with the Pistons the past two seasons.
  • There’s increased speculation that this year’s trade deadline will be relatively quiet, according to Mark Medina in a Sportsnaut.com story. Medina notes that many of the big names on the trade market before and during the season have already been moved. It’s unlikely any star players will be traded and a majority of teams don’t have a lot of incentive to make a bold move before the offseason.

Dave Joerger, Rex Kalamian Set To Join Bucks’ Coaching Staff

The Bucks and new head coach Doc Rivers are on track to add two veteran assistant to their coaching staff, according to reports from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links).

Dave Joerger and Rex Kalamian are finalizing deals to become Bucks assistants.

A former NBA head coach in Memphis and Sacramento, Joerger was an assistant under Rivers in Philadelphia from 2020-23. He didn’t return to the Sixers for the 2023/24 season after Rivers was let go by the franchise.

Kalamian didn’t work with Rivers in Philadelphia, but was part of his staff with the Clippers from 2018-20. A longtime assistant coach at the NBA level, Kalamian has also spent time with the Nuggets, Timberwolves, Kings, Thunder, Raptors, and Pistons over the past couple decades. He had been working this season as a pro player personnel scout with the Nets.

Rivers has yet to be officially announced as the Bucks’ new head coach following Tuesday’s dismissal of Adrian Griffin, but he reportedly has an agreement in place with the team, which should be formally confirmed soon.

A report on Wednesday indicated that Rivers and general manager Jon Horst would work together to finalize new additions for Milwaukee’s coaching staff.

Eastern Notes: Embiid, Joerger, Bucks, Rozier, Heat

When Sixers star Joel Embiid scored 30-plus points for a 21st consecutive game on Monday, he didn’t just eke past that threshold — he more than doubled it, eclipsing Wilt Chamberlain‘s franchise record of 68 points by racking up an eye-popping 70 in a victory over San Antonio, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

The performance increased Embiid’s season-long scoring average to 36.1 points per game. James Harden (2018/19) is the only other player to average that many points in a single season since Michael Jordan did it in 1986/87.

Having already missed 10 games in 2023/24, Embiid isn’t a lock to reach the 65-game minimum required to qualify for end-of-season awards. But as long as he plays enough, he looks like the clear frontrunner to win a second consecutive MVP award.

“I keep telling everybody, we cannot take this for granted,” Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey said. “Not just as teammates, not as an organization, but as fans … even if you’re not a fan of Philadelphia, if you’re just a fan of basketball, you can’t take Jo for granted, man. What he’s doing right now is special.

“… He’s doing so much out there. And you know, the kicker is he’s on the other end, he’s anchoring the defense as well. He’s not taking any nights off on defense. So, you know, we appreciate him, and everybody else should appreciate him, as well.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Dave Joerger, who spent three seasons on Doc Rivers‘ staff in Philadelphia, is receiving consideration to join the Bucks as an assistant, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Rivers and Bucks general manager Jon Horst are expected to work together to finalize any additions to Milwaukee’s coaching staff, tweets Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT.
  • Examining the Terry Rozier trade between the Heat and Hornets, John Hollinger of The Athletic wonders if this deal is a sign that there won’t be any blockbuster trades completed at the deadline. As Hollinger explains, Miami’s front office typically prefers to use its assets to go star-hunting on the trade market, so if the the Heat were willing to give up a first-round pick for Rozier, they may have felt as if no impact players will become available at the 11th hour.
  • Elsewhere at The Athletic, Jared Weiss and William Guillory take a closer look at what the Heat‘s Rozier acquisition means for the teams at the top of the East. As The Athletic’s duo points out, there’s a good deal of overlap between Rozier’s and Tyler Herro‘s skill sets, so it may be a challenge to play them together in the postseason when their relative lack of size makes them susceptible to being hunted on defense.
  • In a comprehensive Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks breaks down the trade deadline for the 15 Eastern Conference teams, outlining the assets at their disposal and what sorts of deals might make sense for each club.

And-Ones: McClung, Comanche, Maluach, Draft, Team USA

Although he’s not currently under contract with an NBA team, Mac McClung has been invited by the NBA to take part in the 2024 Slam Dunk Contest and defend his title, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

McClung remains undecided, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link), though he says many people believe the G League guard will accept the invitation.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • C.C. McCandless of FOX5 in Las Vegas has obtained the arrest report for former Stockton Kings player Chance Comanche and shares several disturbing new details about the alleged plot to kidnap and kill Marayna Rodgers, who police believe was killed on the night of December 5, when the Kings‘ G League team was in town to face the G League Ignite. Comanche – one of two suspects facing an open murder charge – disclosed several details in an interview with investigators, including identifying on a map where Rodgers body was buried, which allowed detectives to locate her remains.
  • Standout prospect Khaman Maluach, a 7’2″ center from South Sudan, has elected to graduate high school in 2024 and will be eligible for the 2025 draft, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN. The 17-year-old is still weighing his options for the 2024/25 season, including attending a U.S. college or taking a professional route like the G League Ignite or Australia’s Next Stars program.
  • In the latest 2024 mock draft from Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports, Alexandre Sarr is the first player off the board, while USC’s Isaiah Collier – the top prospect on ESPN’s top 100 – drops to No. 8.
  • USA Basketball has announced its coaching staff for the AmeriCup qualifying team that will begin competing in February. Dave Joerger, previously reported to be the head coach for the U.S. squad, will be joined by veteran assistants Jerome Allen and Melvin Hunt, per a press release.
  • Australia’s national team is in advanced talks to play exhibition games against the U.S. and Serbia ahead of the 2024 Olympics in Paris, reports Olgun Uluc of ESPN. Team USA already has a pair of exhibition contests against South Sudan and Germany on its July schedule.