Elston Turner

Northwest Notes: Giddey, Jazz, Hornacek, Wolves

The Thunder plan on having guard Josh Giddey available on Saturday – and going forward – while the NBA looks into allegations that he had an improper relationship with a minor, head coach Mark Daigneault told reporters this afternoon (Twitter video link via Andrew Schlecht of The Athletic)

“Just with the information we have at this point, that’s the decision that we’ve made,” Daigneault said when asked why the team feels comfortable keeping Giddey active. “It’s really not even a decision, to be honest with you.”

A Thunder spokesperson later clarified that Daigneault meant the decision on Giddey’s availability isn’t within his jurisdiction and is in the league’s hands, according to Joel Lorenzi of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Of course, Oklahoma City could decide on its own to hold Giddey out, but it sounds like the team will continue playing him while the investigation is ongoing unless the NBA advises otherwise.

“It’s obviously a league matter at this point,” Daigneault said. “So the ball’s in their court on that.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • There’s good news and bad news for the Jazz on the injury report for Saturday’s game vs. New Orleans, tweets Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. Utah will be without its top two scorers, as forward Lauri Markkanen has been ruled out due to left hamstring soreness while Jordan Clarkson will be unavailable due to an illness. However, the Jazz appear likely to have their starting center back in the lineup, as Walker Kessler, who has missed the last seven games due to a sprained left elbow, has been upgraded to probable.
  • Former Jazz guard Jeff Hornacek remains involved with the organization behind the scenes as a coaching consultant. In a story for The Salt Lake Tribune (subscription required), Larsen explores what that role entails and the impact that Hornacek has had on head coach Will Hardy. “He’s been a really, really good friend and confidant and in some ways like a mentor for me in this role, because he also knows what it’s like to be a head coach and a first-time head coach,” Hardy said. “There are tough moments during the season where sometimes he just offers a ‘Hang in there, you’re doing what you should be doing.’ It’s just a tough stretch over 82 games and so he’s been a really calming influence for me.”
  • The Timberwolves had high hopes that their 2022 trade for Rudy Gobert would help create an elite defense. The results were mixed last season – Minnesota narrowly cracked the top 10 in defensive rating – but it has all come together for the team so far in 2023/24, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune, who takes a closer look at the parts Gobert, head coach Chris Finch, and top defensive assistant coach Elston Turner have played in building one of the league’s best Ds.

Wolves Notes: Simmons, McDaniels, Coaching Hire, Offseason

The Timberwolves sitting idly by as three power forwards to whom they’d previously been linked switched teams, all while the club has a conspicuous question mark at the four spot, could be a byproduct of their continued pursuit of disgruntled Sixers point guard Ben Simmons, writes The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski.

The Wolves’ interest in the 25-year-old is one of the league’s worst-kept secrets, and Krawczynski writes that even though it’s possible the Wolves don’t have the assets required to land Simmons, the chance at landing him, however small, could potentially have outweighed the appeal of making a more marginal upgrade.

Krawczynski adds that he’s told by those around the league that if there’s any decision-maker who would ignore the optics and noise and keep pushing until he gets the deal he wants, it’s Daryl Morey. That said, the sense Krawczynski gets is that, given the improbability of Damian Lillard demanding a trade before the season, teams are content to wait and let the Sixers situation get worse, knowing eventually Morey will have to make a decision.

We have more news from the Wolves:

  • There are still questions as to whether rookie standout Jaden McDaniels is better suited to playing small forward or power forward, Krawczynski writes in the same piece. McDaniels’ defense was a major high point for the Wolves last season, but at 6’9″ and 185 pounds, he gives up a lot of size and doesn’t solve the team’s rebounding issues. Part of his role going forward will be determined by whether the team takes an offense-first or defense-first approach to the starting lineup, Krawczynski says.
  • The Wolves issued a press release today announcing some new hires. Among the names: Assistant Coach Elston Turner. According to Darren Wolfson of SKOR North, Turner had previously interviewed for the team’s head coach job and comes with a reputation as a defensive-minded coach.
  • The Timberwolves didn’t get better this summer, writes Zach Harper in his Offseason Review for The Athletic, which is why he gives them a D+ grade for their moves, or lack thereof. Harper adds that their avenues to success involve monster defensive performances from their role players (McDaniels, Patrick Beverley, RFA Jarred Vanderbilt) and the hope that the team’s record of 13-11 with D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns playing together is the real deal.

Southwest Notes: Chandler, Conley, Mavericks, Erman, Turner

Sources tell Tim MacMahon of ESPN that veteran big man Tyson Chandler is a likely target for the Rockets in their search for a center to backup starter Clint Capela.

Chandler, who turns 37 later this year, had an effective 2018/19 season with the Lakers as a defender, rebounder, and veteran mentor. Per MacMahon, he is known as a good locker room guy and has a strong relationship with Rockets’ point guard Chris Paul from their days as teammates with the New Orleans Hornets.

There’s more from the Southwest Division this afternoon:

  • The Grizzlies will retire No. 11 in honor of longtime franchise point guard Mike Conley, per an official release from team owner Robert J. Pera.
  • After missing out on Danny Green, owner Mark Cuban says that the Mavericks 2019 free agency is probably done except for an opportunistic situation like a potential offer sheet to restricted free agent Delon Wright, reports Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
    • The Mavericks have since agreed to acquire Wright via S&T.
  • Should they change their mind about free agency, the Mavericks no longer need to worry about the cap hold for Petteri Koponen after the league office permitted Dallas to remove the hold amount for the 2019/20 season (per RealGM transactions log).
  • According to Scott Kushner of The Advocate, associate head coach Darren Erman is leaving the Pelicans coaching staff. Per Kushner, Erman remains a candidate for other NBA coaching jobs.
  • Elston Turner has officially been hired as the Rockets new lead assistant coach under Mike D’Antoni, per a press release from the team. Turner previously worked for the Rockets under Rick Adelman and has spent the last three seasons in Sacramento working for the Kings under former head coach Dave Joerger.

Western Notes: Lakers, Katsikaris, Sikka, Turner, Samanic

After re-adjusting the Anthony Davis trade, the Lakers find themselves with approximately $32MM to spend in free agency. With Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and others available, Los Angeles figures to use the newfound space to pursue one of those premier players.

Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus examined how the team may approach free agency with $32MM at their disposal. Pincus labeled Leonard as the only player who may be worth the sizable investment for the Lakers. Otherwise, the team would be better off spreading the available money around to create a more balanced roster.

Among Pincus’ breakdown includes hypothetical deals – mimicking the 2017 Heat’s trick of signing several players to unlikely incentives – for D’Angelo Russell and a slew of veterans. Whichever way the Lakers elect to go, Pincus notes that pursuit, and possible acquisition of Leonard, remains a realistic outcome.

Check out more Western Conference notes below:

  • After spending one season with the Jazz as an assistant coach, Fotis Katsikaris is headed to Spain to become the new head coach of Herbalife Gran Canaria, as first reported by Eurohoops. Katsikaris is the second Jazz assistant coach to depart this offseason as Antonio Lang recently joined the Cavaliers’ staff.
  • The Spurs are set to bring their 2019 first-round pick, Luka Samanic, stateside after reaching an agreement with his former team Petrol Olimpija Lubiana to release him, according to Sportando. The Croatian forward averaged 8.2 PPG and 5.0 RPG last season.
  • Elston Turner is set to return to the Rockets as a lead assistant coach, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. Turner previously spent four years as an assistant with the Rockets under Rick Adelman.
  • The Timberwolves announced the hiring of Robby Sikka as vice president of basketball performance and technology. Per ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter links), Sikka is giving up consulting gigs to focus solely on Minnesota. “Robby’s background and skillset strongly aligns with our desire to be a modern, player-centric organization,” said Timberwolves’ president Gersson Rosas said. “In his new position, Robby will play a key role in the integration of medical, technology, analytics and player development with the goal of improving basketball performance and player wellness.”

Western Notes: Capela, Brunson, Kings, Roberson

Clint Capela‘s thumb injury could cost him a $2MM bonus, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes. The Rockets center has a 2,000-minute criteria tied into the team reaching the Western Conference Finals and for a defensive rebounding percentage above 30%. He has another bonus for attempting 150 or more free throws and a free throw percentage above 65%. He is currently shooting 62.6% from the line. Through 42 games, Capela has played 1,436 minutes. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Mavericks rookie Jalen Brunson and veteran Devin Harris will pick up the minutes vacated by backup point guard J.J. Barea, who suffered a torn Achilles on Friday, according to Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. Brunson played 30 minutes against the Warriors on Sunday but Harris will see his role expand as well. “He’s going to be ready and he’s going to be there for us,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Harris.
  • Kings assistant coaches under Dave Joerger are having their options for next season picked up by the front office, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets. That group includes Bryan Gates, Elston Turner, Bob Thornton, Jason March, Duane Ticknor, Larry Lewis, Bobby Jackson, Phil Ricci and Dan Hartfield. It’s a way of aligning the contracts of the staff with Joerger’s deal. The surprising Kings are currently a game above .500.
  • Kings GM Vlade Divac warned members of the executive board to stop meddling in the team’s affairs, Sam Amick of USA Today reports. Divac made the pronouncement during a conference call with 13 members of the  executive board, along with lead owner Vivek Ranadive. Divac has been frustrated by internal complaints and used the forum to demand respect, Amick adds.
  • Thunder shooting guard Andre Roberson remains sidelined indefinitely, coach Billy Donovan told Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman and other media members. “He’s worked hard, he’s doing all he needs to do but he’s still in the rehab process.”  Roberson suffered a season-ending left knee injury last January and suffered a setback in late November when an MRI revealed an avulsion fracture in the knee.

Dave Joerger To Resume Coaching Kings Within Week

After suffering a health scare during Sunday’s game in San Antonio, Kings head coach Dave Joerger has been cleared to return to the team’s sideline, the team announced today in a press release. Joerger is expected to resume coaching the Kings sometime within the next week.

Joerger experienced some light-headedness during the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Spurs and had to take a knee on the sideline. He returned home to Sacramento and underwent a series of precautionary medical evaluations and tests this week, with the results suggesting that he’s in “fine health,” according to the Kings.

Assistant coach Elston Turner will assume interim head coaching duties until Joerger is ready to return, beginning with Tuesday night’s game in New Orleans. Sacramento’s next game will be at home on Friday, so it’s possible Joerger will be good to go for that contest.

Western Notes: Caldwell-Pope, Wolves, Bertans

The Lakers were motivated to sign shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope because he shares the same agent as LeBron James, sources indicated to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. Caldwell-Pope was inked to a one-year, $18MM contract after the Pistons cut ties with the restricted free agent this summer. Rich Paul represents both Caldwell-Pope and James. Signing Caldwell-Pope allows the Lakers to keep the lines of communication open with Paul and show how they run their organization, among other benefits, McMenamin continues. James is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract next summer and become an unrestricted free agent.

In other nuggets regarding the Western Conference:

  • The Timberwolves will host some free agents this week, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets. Wolfson didn’t name the free agents who are visiting but added that the club has grown antsy waiting on decisions from free agents Shabazz Muhammad and Dante Cunningham. Muhammad is reportedly mulling a contract offer from the Lakers, while the Pelicans and Bucks are also pursuing Cunningham.
  • Spurs forward Davis Bertans suffered a finger injury in Latvia’s loss to Serbia during the Eurobasket tournament, Kurt Helin of NBCSports.com tweets. Bertans’ finger isn’t broken, according to X-rays, so it shouldn’t affect his status for the NBA’s regular season.
  • Kings assistant Elston Turner and his family were displaced from their suburban Houston home by Hurricane Harvey, Ailene Voison of the Sacramento Bee reports. Turner gives his account of evacuating his home and describes the havoc and damage caused by the hurricane. He’s been uplifted by the support of the Kings’ brass and coaches, Voison adds.

Coach Rumors: Rockets, Borrego, Pacers, Kings

As the Rockets continue to scour the market for their next head coach, Spurs assistant James Borrego appears to have emerged as a serious candidate for the job. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein (via Twitter), Borrego, who interviewed with Houston on Monday, will have a second meeting with the team later this week. That second interview will include owner Les Alexander, Stein reports.

Borrego’s second meeting with the Rockets doesn’t come with any guarantees, as Houston is also believed to be considering Magic assistant coach Adrian Griffin, Sixers assistant Mike D’Antoni, and Hornets assistant Stephen Silas for its head coaching opening. Still, Borrego remains in the mix for now.

Let’s check in on a few more coaching updates from around the NBA, courtesy of Stein…

  • After promoting Nate McMillan from an assistant coach job to replace Frank Vogel as head coach, the Pacers will have at least one opening on their bench, and the team is in pursuit of Bill Bayno, says Stein (Twitter link). A longtime coach at a variety of levels, Bayno most recently served as an assistant for the Trail Blazers, Timberwolves, and Raptors.
  • Bayno isn’t the only potential assistant being targeted by Indiana. Sources tell Stein (Twitter link) that the Pacers have also expressed interest in hiring Nick Van Exel. The former NBA guard, who coached the D-League’s Texas Legends this past season, is believed to be drawing interest from teams besides Indiana, Stein adds (via Twitter).
  • Dave Joerger is attempting to put together his staff for his first year as the Kings‘ head coach, and Stein tweets that the ex-Grizzlies head coach is targeting Elston Turner and Bryan Gates. Turner, who was mentioned as a candidate early in Sacramento’s coaching search, was a part of Joerger’s staff in Memphis, while Gates spent the 2015/16 season as a Timberwolves assistant.

Latest On Kings, Dave Joerger

12:48pm: The deal would indeed be a four-year arrangement with a team option on the fourth season, sources tell Wojnarowski, so the reports on contract length now align (Twitter link).

11:29am: The Kings hope they’ll finalize a deal with Joerger today, Stein hears (Twitter link).

MONDAY, 7:56am: Joerger is just one of three finalists, Divac said, according to Voisin (Twitter link). The identity of the other finalists is unclear. The Kings plan to meet with each of the finalists in the coming days and hope to make a decision by the end of the week, reports Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee.

The deal the Kings and Joerger are discussing involves a team option on the fourth season, Stein writes. That would seem to account for the difference between the three- and four-year offers Stein and Wojnarowski referred to earlier.

SUNDAY, 11:55pm: A meeting with owner Vivek Ranadive set for Monday is the last obstacle between Dave Joerger and a deal to become Kings coach, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. The team flew Joerger and his family to Sacramento, and the sides have made significant progress toward a three-year deal worth about $4MM a year, Wojnarowski hears, though sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com that they’ve been discussing a four-year arrangement for the same annual salary (Twitter link).

Regardless, GM Vlade Divac still plans to compose a list of finalists, and that’s the message that the team has communicated to its candidates even since Joerger’s arrival for today’s face-to-face with Divac, reports Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee, (Twitter links). That suggests Sacramento hasn’t ruled out hiring someone other than Joerger just yet. Joerger, too, has held mutual interest with the Rockets, as USA Today’s Sam Amick noted earlier, and his plan was to wait to hear from Houston before making a decision, according to TNT’s David Aldridge, but whether the Rockets are still in the picture for him after today’s meeting with Divac is unknown.

Joerger spoke at length with Divac today and would have the authority to hire his own assistants, though doubt exists about whether he wants to bring his Grizzlies staff with him, as Wojnarowski details. Still, it’s expected that Joerger would hire Grizzlies assistant Elston Turner, and he’d also likely to bring aboard Bill Bayno, a longtime college and NBA assistant who wasn’t with the Grizzlies, according to Wojnarowski. Turner has already interviewed with the Kings, as Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee noted earlier, but it’s unclear if that was for an assistant job or the head coaching job.

Kings Rumors: Blatt, Turner, Messina, Cousins

The Kings plan to speak with Spurs assistant Ettore Messina this week, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). It’s not entirely clear whether it’ll be a formal interview, as San Antonio has just begun its second-round series against the Thunder, though the series will be in hiatus between tonight’s Game 2 and Friday’s Game 3. Sacramento reportedly reached out to Messina weeks ago, suggesting that the Spurs have granted Sacramento permission to at least contact their assistant. San Antonio granted the Lakers permission for an interview, and one was scheduled for the gap between Games 2 and 3 of the Spurs-Thunder series before the Lakers called it off and hired Luke Walton instead, a league source told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. The European coaching legend apparently holds particular appeal to Kings GM Vlade Divac.

See more from the California capital:

4:06pm update:

  • David Blatt‘s interview with the Kings is today, as USA Today’s Sam Amick hears, advancing a Sunday report from Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
  • Elston Turner is a candidate for the job of lead assistant for the Kings, Amick tweets, which suggests that he isn’t in the running for the head coaching job. Turner, a Grizzlies assistant, emerged among the many in the mix for Sacramento last week, and Memphis has reportedly granted the Kings permission to interview him.

10:26am update:

  • DeMarcus Cousins indicated that he’d prefer to stay with the Kings as he spoke in an interview with Carmichael Dave of CBS Sacramento (audio link; scroll to 6:24 mark). People in the Kings organization reportedly believe Divac will test the trade market for Cousins this summer. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve grown an attachment to the city, like, the way these people treat me, the love they give out to me, and vice versa,” Cousins said to Dave. “I feel like I have an attachment, and it’s something that I do owe to this city. I want to be the person to bring this city back to the glory days. I want to grow myself and this city all together. I want to bring us back to those glory days. So, that’s where I’m at with it. This is like a personal vendetta for me.”
  • Seth Curry said he wants to return to the Kings next season and that it would be difficult to do otherwise, but he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of moving on as he spoke at a basketball camp in India to Akash Khanna of Follow Your Sport. Curry reportedly intends to turn down his player option and hit free agency this summer.
  • Curry also told Khanna that he doesn’t want to sign with the Warriors and play with brother Stephen Curry, preferring to compete against him instead. The Currys were teammates with Golden State during the 2013 preseason.