David Morway

Jazz Notes: Gay, Front Office Changes, Vaccination Rate, Training Camp

Speaking to reporters at the team’s Media Day this week, forward Rudy Gay explained his interest in joining the Jazz this summer after spending four seasons as an effective tweener forward with the Spurs.

“I’ve played with [All-Star point guard Mike Conley] before, and it’s always good to know a guy on the team,” the 6’8″ Gay said of the decision, according to Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune (via Twitter).

Gay also mentioned that Jazz head coach Quin Snyder delivered a heck of a pitch in an effective 45-to-60-minute recruitment discussion, per Walden. Utah inked the 35-year-old to a three-year, $18.6MM deal this summer, with a player option for the 2023/24 season. In his 15th NBA season, Gay averaged 11.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 1.4 APG. He also boasted solid shooting splits of .420/.381/.804 across 63 games.

There’s more out of Utah:

  • The Jazz have recently announced a series on front office changes, per Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). The most significant change among these transitions is assistant general manager David Morway‘s decision to become the club’s senior basketball advisor, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic. Morway, who played a big role in recruiting the aforementioned Gay to Utah, reportedly opted to change his role in an effort to spend more time with his family, Jones adds (Twitter link).
  • In some exciting health news for the Jazz, general manager Justin Zanik stated that Utah’s entire organization is vaccinated during his Media Day presser, per Tony Jones of The Athletic (via Twitter).
  • The Jazz were off and running for their first day training camp for the 2021/22 season, according to Sarah Todd of The Deseret News“We didn’t spend too much time on teaching much stuff,” Conley reflected following the club’s first practice. “Normally in training camp you spend a good amount of time just walking around and going through detail after detail. With the vets we brought in … we’re allowed to just skip all that and just go straight to live action or working on different things that can expedite our situation as a team. So having that kind of group is huge.” The Jazz were the top seed in the West for the 2020/21 season, but were knocked out in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. This revamped club, boasting more frontcourt flexibility and hoping for better health from its All-Star backcourt of Conley and Donovan Mitchell in the playoffs, appears hopeful to prove itself all over again.

Jazz Add David Morway, Justin Zanik To Front Office

The Jazz have issued a press release announcing a handful of changes to their front office, confirming that they’ve hired David Morway and Justin Zanik as assistant general managers. The club also promoted Steven Schwartz to director of basketball operations.

Utah’s agreements with Morway and Zanik were initially reported earlier this summer by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Morway has nearly two decades of experience in NBA front office, having originally joined the Pacers in 1999. He was promoted to general manager by Indiana in 2008 and spent four years in that position before resigning. He subsequently joined the Bucks as an assistant general manager and then spent the 2016/17 season as a basketball operations consultant for the Jazz.

As for Zanik, his return to Utah represents a reunion for him and the Jazz — Zanik held an assistant general manager position with the franchise until 2016, when he left to join the Bucks. Milwaukee appeared to be grooming Zanik as the eventual replacement for general manager John Hammond, but the club passed over him earlier this summer following an unusual GM search, opting to promote Jon Horst instead. Zanik left the franchise in the wake of that decision.

Morway and Zanik will work under GM Dennis Lindsey in Utah’s revamped front office.

Northwest Notes: Westbrook, Crawford, Singler, OKC

Russell Westbrook can sign a supermax Designated Veteran Player Exception deal with the Thunder worth over $235MM over six years, which would make him the highest paid player in NBA history. However, money is not the determining factor over Westbrook’s future, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes.

For starters, uncertainty surrounding the Thunder’s roster in future seasons makes Westbrook signing a longterm contract uncertain — despite the Thunder being optimistic it will get done. As Horne explains, Westbrook does not have the option to sign another shorter-term pact like he did last year, signing a three-year, $85.7MM extension. As Horne mentions, under the new collective bargaining agreement, Westbrook cannot extend his current deal unless it’s a five-year max: meaning it’s max or nothing.

The reigning Most Valuable Player has set himself up to be paid handsomely — whether it is this offseason or next, when he can hit free agency and pursue other options. Westbrook will earn $28.5MM in 2017/18 but that could prove to be chump change if and when he signs a longterm max deal.

Below are additional notes surrounding the Northwest Division:

  • In separate piece for The Oklahoman, Horne suggests that Kyle Singler may be an optimal candidate for the stretch provision. The 29-year-old has averaged less than four points per game in Oklahoma City in two seasons and is owed $9.66MM over the next two seasons. To save cap space, the stretch provision could stretch out Singler’s salary over seven seasons and open up a roster spot for the Thunder, Horne notes.
  • Once again for the Oklahoman, Horne answers four key questions surrounding the Thunder. Among the burning questions include when 2017 draft pick Terrance Ferguson will sign, if and when the Thunder hires a new assistant coach, if any additional moves will be made, and Westbrook’s aforementioned contract dilemma.
  • Newest member of the Timberwolves, Jamal Crawford, pursued a deal with an up-and-coming contender rather than a perennial championship contender. The 37-year-old briefly spoke to the Star Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda about his decision to sign with Minnesota, stating that it “made sense on every level.”
  • Michael Rand of the Star Tribune looks at five potential free agent signings for Minnesota. On the list are three players who have connections to head coach Tom Thibodeau (C.J. Watson, Mike Dunleavy, and Tony Allen) and two productive veterans (Anthony Morrow and Andrew Bogut).
  • Justin Zanik and David Morway are joining the Jazz as high-ranking front office executives, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Ryan McDonald of Deseret News breaks down the move and provides information on both men and their ties to Utah.

Southeast Notes: Spoelstra, Heat, Millsap

Whenever the time comes that Heat president Pat Riley decides to step down, head coach Erik Spoelstra will be eager to fill the position. Spoelstra recently spoke with Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on his podcast.

The short answer would be, I’m a Pat Riley disciple. He’s always pushed me and nurtured me for the next step,” he said, adding that through both good and bad, the Heat feel like a family. The coach tempered expectations that anything imminent could happen, however.

But, yeah, Pat’s going to go on hopefully for a while though. I think he’s younger now than when he was coaching. […] I want this to be the set up that it is. I feel involved, I’m in every meeting that deals with the [Heat] organization and personnel.

Spoelstra has served as the head coach of the Heat since 2008 and was an assistant coach for ten years before that.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Though they may have ultimately lost, Dennis Schroder‘s performance in the first round of the postseason shows just what the Hawks see in him, writes Michael Lee of The Vertical. “Dennis’ competitive spirit and his competitive nature, I think we’re always going to bet on that first,” head coach Mike Budenholzer said.
  • With their cap space set to shrink in 2018/19, this is the last chance for the Heat to land a major free agent, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post writes. Gordon Hayward, Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap could be possible options.
  • Although it appears they’ll offer Cavaliers general manager David Griffin their president of basketball operations position, John Hammond and David Morway are also on the Magic‘s short-list, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • It’s reasonable to expect Paul Millsap to opt out of his contract this summer but the Hawks forward hasn’t made any decisions about where he’ll go just yet, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes.
  • The Wizards won’t need a seventh game to close out the Hawks but even if they did, center Ian Mahinmi wouldn’t have played in it, J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes. The big man had said that he hoped he would be able to recover from a strained calf in time to play in the first round.

Eastern Rumors: Rondo, Bosh, Waiters, Magic

It was an up-and-down first year in Chicago for Rajon Rondo, who found himself in the starting lineup at times, and on the bench at other times. However, with the Bulls in the playoffs and holding their own so far against the No. 1 Celtics, Rondo said today that he hopes the club picks up its option on his contract for next season, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.

“I like where I’m at. I think we have a really good team,” Rondo said of the Bulls. “We made a big trade halfway through the season. All the things this year with 45 different lineups, we still made it to the playoffs.”

Rondo’s deal calls for a salary worth more than $13MM next season, but currently only $3MM of that figure is guaranteed. As Johnson notes, the veteran point guard said today that he’d like to be back with the Bulls even if Dwyane Wade opts out of his contract this summer.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Appearing on Larry King Now on Sunday, Heat big man Chris Bosh – who missed the entire 2016/17 season due to blood clot issues – reiterated that he hasn’t closed the door on attempting an NBA comeback. Bosh also said that he doesn’t have any real interest in coaching basketball after he officially retires as a player. Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel has the details and the quotes from Bosh.
  • James Johnson referred to Miami as “home” on Monday, and the Heat‘s other key free agent, Dion Waiters, also also expressed a desire to stay put this offseason, as Shandel Richardson of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. Still, Waiters acknowledged that he “can’t predict the future,” so it remains to be seen what his free agency holds.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders examines the Magic‘s search for a new general manager, noting that current Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard and former Pacers exec David Morway have both been mentioned by league sources as possible candidates for the Magic. Orlando head coach Frank Vogel worked with both Pritchard and Morway in Indiana.
  • Asked by Raul Barrigon of HoopsHype about his upcoming free agency, Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko suggested that he’s “not closing any doors,” but he isn’t sure yet what his future holds.

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 ESPN.com 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 ESPN.com. 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 SI.com 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 Consider Henry Bibby; Morway Talks End

The Kings have reached out to former NBA assistant and USC head coach Henry Bibby about their head coaching vacancy, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee, who includes the information in a story about the team’s desire to meet with Warriors assistant Luke Walton. The team appears set to accelerate its coaching search, as Jones hears the Kings would like to make a hire by sometime next week (Twitter link), though that would require the team to drastically pare its wide-ranging list of candidates.

The Kings are meanwhile no longer engaged in talks with former Bucks and Pacers executive David Morway about a front office role that would have made him an assistant to Vice President of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac, sources tell The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). A deal with Morway was reportedly close as of late last month, when the Kings signed Divac to an extension. Sacramento has sought an experienced hand to pair with Divac, a front office neophyte.

Bibby, 66, joins a crowded field of Sacramento coaching candidates that also includes Grizzlies assistant Elston Turner, as Jones reported Tuesday. The Bee’s Ailene Voisin reported last week that Divac was inquiring about at least two college coaches, so perhaps Bibby is one of them. Still, the father of former Kings point guard Mike Bibby hasn’t been with USC since 2004, having more recently been an assistant for the Sixers, Grizzlies and Pistons. He was last on an NBA bench with Detroit for the 2013/14 season.

Walton appears much higher on Sacramento’s list of priorities, and while Voisin reported that Divac and Walton were expected to meet to discuss the job, Jones raises the possibility that Walton will decline to talk to the Kings about the vacancy. The team has already interviewed Sam Mitchell, Vinny Del Negro and, as Jones reports, Mike Woodson, whose meeting with the team had reportedly been imminent. The Kings intend to meet with Jeff Hornacek, too, as Jones wrote last week.

Kevin McHale is a serious contender and he and the Kings have had exploratory talks, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported earlier this week. The former Rockets coach is well-liked within the Sacramento organization and many consider him a front-runner for the job, according to James Ham of CSN California. The Kings would like to interview McHale, but, as of last week, he hadn’t decided whether he wants to talk, as Wojnarowski reported.

Mark Jackson, Brian Shaw, Ettore Messina, Ime Udoka, Nate McMillanMonty Williams, Jeff Van GundyPatrick Ewing, David Blatt and Jay Larranaga are the other reported candidates for the coaching job. Some people around the league think Kings assistant Corliss Williamson deserves an interview, Jones tweets, but it’s unclear if the team is considering him.

Kings Sign Vlade Divac To Extension

Mar 16, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings former center Vlade Divac speaks with the press after being named Vice President of Basketball and Franchise operations at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Szczepanski / USA TODAY Sports Images

12:01pm: The extension is official, the team announced.

“My commitment to the Sacramento Kings goes back to my days as a player and I’m grateful to continue playing my part in creating a winning future for the Sacramento Kings,” Divac said in the team’s statement. “I know that we have what it takes to be a successful franchise and I look forward to continuing to improve and build on the progress that we’ve made.”

10:05am: The Kings are putting the finishing touches on a multiyear extension for Vlade Divac, who runs the front office as GM and vice president of basketball operations, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The team is also close to adding an experienced front office hand, with former Pacers and Bucks executive David Morway the leading candidate for that role, Stein adds. The team doesn’t have a deal with Morway yet, USA Today’s Sam Amick cautions, nonetheless suggesting that he’s the only candidate and that it’s only a matter of time before he joins the team (Twitter link). Presumably, he’d report to Divac.

It’s been a bumpy ride for Divac, who’s in his first job as an NBA executive, as he’s reportedly struggled to grasp salary cap concepts and the Kings have fallen short of their goal of the postseason this year. Ranadive has reportedly mulled replacing him with John Calipari on occasion, but the extension for Divac appears to cut off the idea that Calipari, who’s insistent on a dual coach/executive role, would join the organization. Divac decided against firing coach George Karl in February after nearly doing so, but the team is widely expected to search for a new coach this summer, Stein writes, pointing out that Sacramento hired Karl before bringing in Divac last year.

Turmoil surrounding DeMarcus Cousins has been the primary storyline for the Kings under Divac, with Karl reportedly going behind Divac’s back to negotiate potential trades, though Divac has insisted on several occasions that he doesn’t intend to trade the center. Divac and Cousins grew close, though Divac was enveloped in Cousins’ tirade against Karl earlier this month.

Divac’s time in the Kings front office appeared to begin innocuously when the team named him vice president of basketball and franchise operations a year ago. It wasn’t publicly known until a month later that Divac’s arrival usurped GM Pete D’Alessandro‘s player personnel power, though Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee noted when the hiring took place that Divac was above D’Alessandro on the organizational chart. Still, Divac and owner Vivek Ranadive were the only ones in the Kings brass who knew the implications of the move for a few days after it took place, as SB Nation’s Tom Ziller reported.

D’Alessandro left the Kings this past summer for a job with the Nuggets, and assistant GM Mike Bratz has essentially been the only seasoned voice in the Sacramento front office since then. The Kings gave Divac the GM title in late August following the departure of D’Alessandro. Morway would bring more than a decade of experience under Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh in the Pacers front office as vice president of basketball administration and later GM. Morway resigned from the Pacers in 2012 and joined the Bucks as assistant GM in 2013, but Milwaukee declined to renew his contract last year.

It’s not the first time Morway has been connected to the Kings. He reportedly interviewed for the GM job in 2013 before it went to D’Alessandro. More recently, the Kings interviewed former Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks for the role that Morway is apparently poised to fill, but Marks made it clear that the Kings job wouldn’t be a good fit for him, Amick tweets.

Bucks Sign John Hammond To Extension

4:58pm: The extension is official, the Bucks announced, confirming that it carries through 2016/17.

12:12pm: The Bucks are extending the contract of GM John Hammond through the 2016/17 season, a source tells Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). Hammond’s deal was to expire at the end of this coming season. However, the team isn’t retaining assistant GM David Morway, Gardner also reports (on Twitter).

“A great deal of our team’s success and progress is due to the vision and hard work of John,” Bucks owner Wes Edens said, according to Gardner. “He’s assembled a talented and competitive roster and we’re very pleased that he will continue to lead basketball operations.”

Hammond was quoted in a statement about the end of Morway’s time with the team, as Gardner relays. That suggests Hammond played a role in the decision not to bring him back.

Questions have surrounded Hammond’s power in Milwaukee since Edens and partners Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan purchased the franchise last year. Lasry told Chris Mannix of SI.com in December that he preferred a committee approach and indicated that coach Jason Kidd‘s voice carried just as much weight. The extension means Hammond’s contract will end at the same time as Kidd’s, Gardner notes. Lasry admitted last summer that it was a mistake to keep Hammond out of the loop when the team brought Kidd into the organization. The new owners were non-committal about Hammond when they first bought the team in the spring of 2014, and it was around that time that they held preliminary talks about potential replacements for Hammond and Morway, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe reported then.

Still, the 61-year-old Hammond has remained, and the team’s bounceback season in 2014/15 that included a playoff berth this spring, plus the surprise signing of marquee free agent Greg Monroe, surely had much to do with the team’s willingness to work out an extension. Hammond won the league’s Executive of the Year award in 2010, after his second season in charge of the front office, but the Bucks have yet to equal the 46-36 mark they put up that year, and they haven’t moved past the first round of the playoffs under Hammond’s watch, either.

Morway had spent the last two years in his role with the Bucks after coming over from the Pacers, where he served under Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh, who held the title of president of basketball operations.

Do you think an extension for Hammond is the right move? Leave a comment to let us know.

Lowe’s Latest: Kidd, Blatche, Hammond, Profits

Departing Nets coach Jason Kidd planned to eventually fire most if not all of the team’s front office as he sought control of the club’s basketball operations, several league sources tell Grantland’s Zach Lowe. The Grantland scribe has plenty more revelations on Kidd’s shocking change of address as well as insight on revenue and profitability for several NBA franchises. We’ll hit the highlights here:

  • Kidd suggested to Nets ownership at midseason that they replace GM Billy King, though he didn’t pitch himself for the job at that point, Lowe writes. The Bucks sought permission to talk to Kidd earlier this month, and when the Nets hesitated to respond, Kidd made his push to assume control of Nets front office.
  • The Nets publicly termed Andray Blatche‘s midseason absence a product of “personal reasons,” but it was instead because Kidd had essentially suspended him out of concerns over the big man’s conditioning and preparation, according to Lowe. Kidd’s move impressed Nets brass, Lowe adds.
  • The jobs of Bucks GM John Hammond and assistant GM David Morway are safe for the time being, Lowe hears, adding that those two nonetheless had no knowledge of ownership’s negotiations with Kidd.
  • The Nets are projected to have lost a league-high $144MM this year, Lowe reports. The Wizards are next on that list, projected to have lost just $13MM.
  • The Bucks are set to make about $18MM from the league’s revenue sharing program and $3MM from luxury tax payouts, making up for the $6.5MM the team is projected to have lost this year.
  • The Hornets are projected to have lost almost $34MM while taking in only about $22MM in revenue sharing income. The Pistons are set to tally $26MM in losses and recoup only $10.6MM.
  • The Lakers lead the league with a $100.1MM projected profit, followed by the Bulls at $61MM, Rockets at $40.7MM, Celtics at $33.1MM and Thunder at nearly $29MM. The Spurs, Jazz and Nuggets also are in line to profit.
  • The high-revenue Knicks are expected to have lost $3.5MM.