Gary Sacks

Pacific Notes: Hill, Young, Collison, Clippers

The Lakers believe George Hill could provide backcourt depth, improve their outside shooting and serve as a locker room veteran, writes Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News. The 31-year-old free agent met with L.A. officials on Monday, although no deal was reached. Hill could be used as a backup to rookie point guard Lonzo Ball or could be shifted to shooting guard. He averaged a career-high 16.9 points with the Jazz last season and shot .403 from 3-point range.

In their quest for backcourt help, the Lakers also met with Dion Waiters on Sunday and have had several phone conversations with Rajon Rondo. L.A. has spoken to several coaches and players who have worked with Rondo to see how he might handle a mentor’s role with Ball.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • The Timberwolves are the latest team to reach out to Lakers guard Nick Young, Medina notes in the same story. They join the Warriors, Thunder and Pelicans, who have also been linked to the 10-year veteran. Young revived his career this season, becoming a full-time starter and averaging 13.2 points per game.
  • The Clippers, Knicks and Magic all contacted Darren Collison before he agreed to a two-year deal with the Pacers Monday night, tweets Sean Cunningham of ABC 10 in Sacramento. The Kings made no effort to keep Collison, he adds.
  • A proposed three-team trade that would bring Danilo Gallinari to the Clippers would push the team closer to the repeater tax, posts Bobby Marks on ESPN Now. Adding Gallinari would give L.A. 10 players under contract with $110.4MM in guaranteed salary. The Clippers would hit the repeater tax if their salary tops $119M, so they will have to be careful in assembling the rest of their roster.
  • Gary Sacks has resigned as Clippers assistant GM, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Sacks’ contract expired Friday.

Clippers Hire Dave Wohl As GM

The Clippers have reorganized their front office, pushing Gary Sacks out of his position as General Manager, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (Twitter links).  Dave Wohl, a longtime league exec and assistant coach, will take over as GM with Sacks being bumped down to assistant GM.

In other changes, Doc Rivers has ascended from senior VP of basketball operations to president of basketball operations.  Kevin Eastman, an assistant on Rivers’ staff, will move into the VP of basketball ops role.  Rivers has had final say on personnel say on personnel matters since he was hired last summer in his coach/executive role and while it’s not explicitly outlined in the press release, that will presumably stay the same.

I am extremely excited to work closely with Kevin, Dave and Gary in their new roles as we continue to move the culture of the Clippers forward,” Rivers said in the press release.  “Our goals are not only to become a championship team, but a championship organization as well. I feel with the new structure of the Basketball Operations Department, we have taken a positive step in that direction.

Wohl becomes General Manager of the Clippers after working as the team’s Director of Professional Scouting last season.  Wohl has more than four decades of NBA experience under his belt, including a stint as an assistant coach for the Wolves from 2009-2011 and serving as the Assistant GM of the Celtics from 2007-2009.  He has also worked in various capacities for Orlando, Miami, Sacramento and the Lakers in addition to serving as the head coach of the Nets from 1985-1988.

Candidates Emerge For Cavs GM Job

9:27pm: A new name has been mentioned as a possible candidate to replace Chris Grant. Alex Kennedy of Basketball (via Twitter), has heard that TNT analyst Kenny Smith might be considered for the position. Smith had previously had discussions with the Kings about their vacant GM job over the summer. Smith hasn’t commented yet, but when the Kings job was in play, he stated, “Honestly, I’ve been looking at both — coaching, and a lot of things have been coming these last couple of years, and this time I’ve been taking it serious. My kids are at an age where I feel comfortable. And the other years, the kids were just too young. I didn’t want to be in it. But I just started taking it serious.”

2:57pm: Interim GM David Griffin is expected to have a shot at keeping his job long-term, writes Ken Berger of, but there are already other candidates. The Cavs have performed a background check on Knicks director of pro personnel Mark Hughes, and Cleveland is also expected to reach out to Raptors executive vice president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman, Berger reports. Berger’s sources also indicate Clippers executive vice president of player personnel Gary Sacks could become a candidate.

Weltman was a finalist for the Suns GM post this summer before Phoenix picked Ryan McDonough instead. He has family ties to the Cavs, for whom his father, Harry Weltman, served as GM in the 1980s. Berger suggests that Sacks could be anxious to seek greater control than he has with the Clippers, who took away some of his powers when they hired Doc Rivers.

Berger also expects the Cavs to pursue Phil Jackson, given owner Dan Gilbert’s affinity for splashy names, but that appears to be merely an educated guess. Berger names a handful of other qualified candidates, though none of them are formally linked to the job.

Doc Rivers To Have Final Say On Clips Personnel

It appears Clippers coach Doc Rivers will have the final say within the team's basketball operations department, according to Gary Sacks, the team's vice president of basketball operations. Rivers was given the title of senior vice president of basketball operations upon his hiring this week, and as Phil Collin of the Los Angeles Daily News points out, that title indicates that Rivers is one spot above Sacks on the team's organizational hierarchy. Sacks said he believes Rivers "will have the final say," though everyone in the front office will contribute to decision making.

Sacks, who had taken over the role of primary decision maker in September, also said his role would remain the same, though I assume he's simply talking about his capacity as someone who works on player personnel. Former coach Vinny Del Negro had played a role in the Clippers front office prior to the team's decision not to renew his contract this spring. Sacks, Del Negro, and team president Andy Roeser formed a triumvirate that collaborated on the team's moves last summer after former GM Neil Olshey left for the Blazers.

As coach and primary front office decision maker, Rivers assumes a role similar to that of Mike Dunleavy, who was in charge of Clippers personnel decisions in the final two years of his coaching tenure, in 2008/09 and 2009/10. 

Clippers Add Gerald Madkins To Front Office

The Clippers have hired Gerald Madkins as director of basketball operations, reports Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Madkins comes from the Hornets, where he was director of player personnel the last two seasons. Turner says Madkins will work alongside recently hired vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks, though it's unclear exactly what role he'll play in the team's decision-making. 

Prior to joining the Hornets, Madkins spent two years as director of scouting for the Rockets, and also worked in the scouting departments of the Sonics and Knicks. In all, his NBA experience totals 10 years. He played parts of three seasons with the Cavaliers and Warriors in the 1990s.

Sacks, the Clippers' former director of player personnel, was promoted to his current position earlier this month after spending the summer as part of a three-man management team that replaced GM Neil Olshey, who left to become Blazers GM in June. Sacks is believed to have been acting as de facto GM since his promotion, though coach Vinny Del Negro and team president Andy Roeser, the others in the management trio, still have voices in front office decision-making. Blake Griffin was vocal about his support for Sacks prior to the promotion.

Clippers Promote Gary Sacks

The Clippers have officially named Gary Sacks the team's vice president of basketball operations, according to a team release. While Sacks, the Clips' former director of player personnel, won't formally hold the title of general manager, he'll essentially assume the GM role for the club. As Dave McMenamin of tweets, Los Angeles will move forward with a three-man brain trust of Sacks, president Andy Roeser, and coach Vinny Del Negro.

"Gary has been a valuable and loyal member of our organization for the past 18 years," said Roeser in the team's statement. "His recent role this very productive summer, as well as his many contributions during the course of his tenure made it clear that he is the right person to lead our basketball operations department."

Sacks' promotion had been expected for the last few weeks, after he helped lead the way on the Clippers' offseason moves. Blake Griffin, who signed a long-term extension to remain with the Clips earlier this summer, expressed his support for Sacks last week:

"He did an unbelievable job, Gary Sacks did, along with Coach Del Negro. I think they both kind of teamed up and I think we have a lot of respect for Gary. As far as the players go, we have a lot of respect for him and everything he’s been able to do. I know a lot of us are pulling for him to get that GM job and definitely hope he gets it."

Blake Griffin Talks Health, Paul, Billups, Sacks

Blake Griffin recently spoke to Arash Markazi of and appeared on Fox Sports Radio to discuss his rehabilitation from last month's arthroscopic surgery, the Clippers' offseason moves, and his thoughts on the team's open general manager position. Here are a few of Griffin's notable comments, courtesy of ESPNLA and Sports Radio Interviews….

On his own recovery:

The surgery wasn't one of those things that took a long time (to recover from). It was just a matter of getting my strength back and we really took our time with it. I could have been back even earlier than that. I just needed to get the swelling out of the knee. That was the biggest battle. There's nothing that needs time to repair or heal. It was just reducing the swelling and getting the strength back in my leg and once I got that, I was out on the court every day."

On how injured teammates Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups are progressing:

"I talked with Chris yesterday and I think he'll be back for sure before the start of the season. Chauncey, I'm not sure. He looks great. He's been in working out and I've seen him the past couple days. He looks really good. He looks like he's ahead of schedule but at the same time, it's not worth it to rush it for him because we do have guys who can fill that void until he is 100% healthy."

On the Clippers' summer additions:

"I was very excited about them. A lot of the guys, we picked up Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom and all of those guys are going to be great for us. Got a nice mix of veterans and guys that have a lot of experience winning games in the playoffs so I think that will be great for our young guys, myself included to kind of learn from them."

On the offseason moves by L.A.'s "other" team:

"It's huge for L.A. basketball. It's great for the Lakers and great for the NBA in general to have all those players on the same team. It's going to be fun to play against them and I'm looking forward to playing against them. It's going to bring a lot of excitement but they still have to play just like everybody else."

On Clippers director of player personnel Gary Sacks and the job he did this summer:

"He did an unbelievable job, Gary Sacks did, along with Coach [Vinny] Del Negro. I think they both kind of teamed up and I think we have a lot of respect for Gary. As far as the players go, we have a lot of respect for him and everything he’s been able to do. I know a lot of us are pulling for him to get that GM job and definitely hope he gets it."

Odds & Ends: Griffin, Sacks, Harden, Davis, Nash

Blake Griffin believes the Clippers have become a "free agent destination," and he thinks player personnel director Gary Sacks is the right man to pursue them from the GM's chair, according to comments he made to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Sacks, along with team president Andy Roeser and coach Vinny Del Negro, have shared the GM duties since Neil Olshey jumped to the Blazers, but Griffin made it clear which one he wants to assume the job full-time. "With the moves that the front office made — and now with Gary Sacks, who hopefully steps into that GM role — that made it easy for me and I think this is the place where everybody wants to come," Griffin said. "I think Gary has a great relationship with all the players and the players like him. If he is finally named GM, I think that's just the icing on the cake of having a franchise that is complete." We've got more weekend rumblings right here:

  • James Harden believes Serge Ibaka deserved his four-year extension from the Thunder, and while saying he's unsure if he and the team will reach a similar accord this summer, Harden expressed a desire to stay in Oklahoma City, where he feels at home with his teammates, as he told the Spanish website (translation via HoopsHype).
  • Hornets No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis dishes about his time with the U.S. Olympic team, his similarities to Kevin Garnett, and his thoughts on playing with Eric Gordon in a Q&A with Joe Brescia of The New York Times.
  • Doug Smith of the Toronto Star examines the relationship between Lakers point guard Steve Nash and Blazers assistant coach Jay Triano, who are teaming up to lead the Canadian national team as GM and head coach, respectively.
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel looks at whether it's worth it for the Magic to wait to make a big splash in free agency until 2016, when Kevin Durant becomes a free agent. Putting aside the connection Durant has with Magic GM and former Thunder executive Rob Hennigan, that seems like an awfully long time to wait.

Bloom On Clippers, Olshey, Del Negro

Earl Bloom of the Orange County Register has a new column that touches on the Clippers' offseason following the departure of GM Neil Olshey.

  • Bloom believes the loss of Olshey isn't as big a blow for the future of the Clippers as it had been made out to be, praising the job Vinny Del Negro, Andy Roeser, and Gary Sacks have done in his place.
  • The veteran pieces the Clippers have brought in this offseason, including Jamal Crawford, Willie Green, Grant Hill, Lamar Odom, Ryan Hollins, and Ronny Turiaf, could prove to be very valuable, writes Bloom.
  • Bloom would not be surprised if one of Del Negro, Roeser, or Sacks succeeds Olshey as general manager, pointing to the fact that Mike Dunleavy previously pulled coach/GM double duty for the Clippers.

Gary Sacks Is Frontrunner For Clippers GM Job

Clippers personnel director Gary Sacks has emerged as the frontrunner for the club's General Manager position, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).  In late June it was reported that Sacks was gaining support from within the organization to take over the job.

Sacks now appears to be in position to take over the job vacated by Neil Olshey when he broke his agreement with Los Angeles to take over as the Blazers' GM.   Former Nuggets GM Kiki Vandeweghe received an interview for the position back in June and Clippers president Andy Roeser has also had preliminary conversations with Jim Paxson, Larry Harris, Jeff Weltman, and Tony DiLeo.