Igor Kokoskov

Hawks Officially Announce Quin Snyder’s Coaching Staff

The Hawks have issued a press release confirming several new additions to Quin Snyder‘s coaching staff, most of which have been previously reported.

Those additions are as follows:

  • Igor Kokoskov, the former head coach of the Suns and most recently a Nets assistant.
  • Ekpe Udoh, a former NBA center who played for Snyder in Utah from 2017-19 and recently retired as a player.
  • Bryan Bailey, who worked as an assistant on Snyder’s staff in Utah.
  • Mike Brey, the longtime head coach at Notre Dame.
  • Brittni Donaldson, a former assistant with the Raptors and Pistons.
  • Antonio Lang, a Cavaliers assistant who worked under Snyder in Utah from 2014-19.
  • Sanjay Lumpkin, a former Jazz player development coach.

The Hawks are also bringing back Steven Klei and Jeff Watkinson, two more former Jazz assistants who joined Snyder’s staff in March.

Additionally, Reggis Onwukamuche – a former College Park Skyhawks player and Jazz video room staffer – is joining the team as a player development coach, while Bryan George – formerly an assistant coach for ASVEL in France – has also been formally added to the player development staff in a video coordinator role.

Snyder replaced Nate McMillan as the Hawks’ head coach midway through the 2022/23 season, so ’23/24 will be his first full year on the team’s bench. As such, it’s no surprise that he was given the opportunity to revamp his staff and replace several of McMillan’s old assistants this spring.

Hawks Hiring Igor Kokoskov As Assistant Coach

MAY 26: Kokoskov has signed a contract with the Hawks to become the top assistant on Synder’s staff, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowsi (Twitter link).

MAY 22: The Hawks are nearing a deal to hire Igor Kokoskov as an assistant coach, league sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link). Michael Scotto of HoopsHype was the first to link Kokoskov to Atlanta.

As Stein writes in his latest article at Substack, Kokoskov is expected to be the top assistant under head coach Quin Snyder, who was hired mid-season after Atlanta fired Nate McMillan. Kokoskov worked with Snyder for three years in Utah from 2015-18.

Kokoskov, who is Serbian and became a U.S. citizen in 2010, became the first head coach born and raised outside of North America when the Suns hired him in 2018/19. He was dismissed following the season after the club went 19-63.

The 51-year-old has extensive NBA experience, having served as an assistant coach for 20 years with the Clippers, Pistons, Suns, Cavs, Magic, Jazz, Kings, Mavericks, and most recently with the Nets in ’22/23. He’s known as a creative coach with an emphasis in player development.

In addition to his NBA coaching jobs, Kokoškov has been head coach of the Georgian, Slovenian and Serbian national teams, leading Slovenia to a EuroBasket gold medal in 2017. He also was the head coach of Turkish club Fenerbahçe in ’20/21.

And-Ones: Wembanyama, EuroLeague, Coaching Rumors, Bronny

Before he becomes the No. 1 pick in next month’s draft, Victor Wembanyama is enjoying a farewell tour of France, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. The 7’3″ phenom drew 15,000 fans to his game Sunday in Paris, and they responded with loud cheers to every positive thing he did.

Reynolds notes that Wembanyama’s Boulogne-Levallois team typically plays in a high-school-sized gym with crowds of about 4,000. But with Wembanyama as an attraction, the late-season games have been moved to Accor Arena, which is on par with an NBA facility.

“I have the impression that the people here were real basketball fans who bought their tickets in advance,” Wembanyama said after entertaining the crowd with 25 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. “It’s nice.”

The 19-year-old center is considered a generational talent who will make next week’s lottery one of the most anticipated since the event began in 1985. The Pistons, Rockets and Spurs have the best odds to land the top pick at 14% each.

Wembanyama indicated that he’s paying close attention to the procedure, tweeting Sunday in French, “Ten days before knowing my future team. It’s really a crazy thing.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The EuroLeague has reached an agreement to have its games streamed on ESPN 3, according to BasketNews. The rights deal will cover the remainder of this year’s playoffs and all of the 2023/24 season. “I am delighted that all U.S. basketball fans will have the possibility to watch all EuroLeague games on ESPN platform,” said Alex Ferrer Kristjansson, Euroleague Basketball marketing and communication senior director. “Globalization is a cornerstone for sports market growth in general and basketball in particular. We are confident that all U.S. basketball fans will appreciate the diversity of our stories and the experience that the EuroLeague delivers during the whole season.”
  • Michael Scotto of HoopsHype passes along some information on NBA coaching staffs in his latest column. Scotto reports that Bryan BaileyAlex JensenIgor Kokoskov and Antonio Lang are candidates for Quin Snyder‘s staff with the Hawks; G League head coach Scott Morrison will join Will Hardy’s staff with the Jazz; and David Adkins likely won’t return as the Trail Blazers‘ director of player development next season. Sources also tell Scotto that Will Voigt is a candidate to become the head coach of either the Blazers’ or Spurs‘ G League affiliate.
  • Fans shouldn’t pre-judge Bronny James because of however they feel about his father, states Joe Vardon of The Athletic, who agrees with LeBron James that USC is getting “a great kid.”

Nets Coach Jacque Vaughn Won’t Retain Three Assistants

Nets coach Jacque Vaughn is shaking up his coaching staff, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Igor Kokoskov, Brian Keefe and Tiago Splitter will not be retained. Kokoskov, the former Suns head coach, is the most notable name in that group. He joined the staff last offseason after a stint with the Mavericks.

Keefe was added to the Nets’ staff in the summer of 2021. He was recently under consideration for the Pistons’ head coaching opening. Splitter, a former NBA center, has been on the Nets’ staff since April 2018.

Brooklyn was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by Philadelphia.

Vaughn took over as the Nets’ head coach following Steve Nash‘s dismissal in November and had his interim label removed about a week later. Vaughn inherited Nash’s assistants and will now surround himself with a staff of his choosing.

Vaughn agreed to a multi-year extension in February that is expected to keep him under team control through the 2026/27 season.

The three coaches that Vaughn is letting go will likely land on their feet soon. There are a number of teams undergoing coaching changes, which will open up more assistant jobs around the NBA as the new head coaches assemble their staffs.

New York Notes: Robinson, Toppin, Grimes, Kokoskov, Sharpe

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson, newly re-signed to a generous four-year, $60MM contract in free agency this summer, has been everything New York could have hoped for — at least, during his team’s preseason run, per Steve Popper of Newsday. Popper notes that, with Robinson on the hardwood, New York was a plus-64 across the club’s four preseason contests.

“I think all aspects of his game, he’s put a lot of work in,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s gotten better. The rebounding, the shot-blocking, he’s getting more comfortable with the ball. The finishing. The pressure on the rim. That set the tone from the start.”

“One thing about Mitch, he’s really special to work with,” Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson said. “He works hard. He’s a great guy off the court. We got to build a lot of chemistry over the past couple of weeks. I think how we’ve built the chemistry off the court, on the court we’re really in sync. So I look forward to kind of staying in that sync with him. He’s special. I just really enjoy his presence off the court, on the court obviously.”

There’s more out of the City That Never Sleeps:

  • In some encouraging Knicks health news, young reserves Obi Toppin and Quentin Grimes should be available for New York in time for the team’s season opener on Wednesdayagainst the Grizzlies, writes . Toppin, dealing with a turned ankle, and Grimes, rehabbing a sore left foot, were held out of practice today, but head coach Tom Thibodeau remains confident they’ll be healthy in time for the first game that counts. “I think they’ll be fine,” Thibodeau said. “This is part of the program. Obi was more precautionary. It was just [that] he tweaked it.” 
  • New Nets assistant coach Igor Kokoskov has emerged as the team’s point man when it comes to game-planning its offense, according to Net Income of NetsDaily. Brooklyn’s fresh approach on that end of the floor is more open-ended and team-friendly, and is a credit to the input of Kokoskov, per Net Income.
  • 6’11” second-year Nets reserve center Day’Ron Sharpe has been making a case for frontcourt rotation minutes with a prolific preseason, reports Peter Botte of The New York Post. The big man out of North Carolina posted averages of 13.0 PPG and 9.0 RPG, in just 21.5 MPG, during Brooklyn’s final two games of its preseason. “I think he looks physically better,” head coach Steve Nash reflected. “I think I’ve told you before we’ve worked really hard with the young guys … and DayDay took a step.”

New York Notes: Nets Assistants, Grimes, Hartenstein, Brunson

The Nets have added Igor Kokoškov, Adam Caporn and Trevor Hendry as assistant coaches on Steve Nash‘s staff, per a team press release.

Kokoškov has extensive NBA experience, having served as an assistant coach for 20 years with the Clippers, Pistons, Suns, Cavs, Magic, Jazz, Kings, and most recently with the Mavericks last season. He was the head coach of the Suns for one season, in 2018/19.

In addition to his NBA coaching jobs, Kokoškov has also led the Georgian, Slovenian and Serbian national teams. He was the head coach of Turkish club Fenerbahçe in ’20/21. Marc Stein reported last month that Kokoškov was expected to join Brooklyn.

Caporn was the head coach of Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, last season. A native of Australia, Caporn played college ball at Saint Mary’s before joining the NBL for six seasons as a pro. He has extensive experience in player development and is currently an assistant with the Australian national team, helping the Boomers win a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Hendry has been the Nets’ head video coordinator for the past four seasons. He’s been with the organization since 2014, serving in a variety of roles in the basketball operations department prior to becoming video coordinator.

Here’s more from New York:

  • Knicks guard Quentin Grimes has a simple goal for Las Vegas Summer League, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. “Really come out here and dominate,” Grimes said after the team’s first practice at Cox Pavillion. “I feel like I played well last year. Just coming in this year being a second-year guy, I know what to expect, I know how the games are. Just go out there and try to dominate every time offensively and defensively.” The 25th pick of the 2021 draft, Grimes averaged 6 PPG and 2 RPG while shooting 38.1% from three-point range and playing solid defense in 46 games (17.1 MPG) as a rookie last season. Grimes dealt with a dislocated knee cap towards the end of last season, but he says he’s fully healthy now, per Braziller.
  • Fred Katz and Law Murray of The Athletic take a look at what the Knicks can expect from center Isaiah Hartenstein, who agreed to a two-year, $16.7MM deal with New York in free agency. A strong passer and play-maker, Hartenstein could unlock easy baskets for players like Grimes, Immanuel Quickley, Evan Fournier and RJ Barrett, according to Murray, who says Hartenstein was underutilized offensively by the Clippers last season. Although he isn’t the most athletic player, Murray notes that Hartenstein rotates well on defense and uses his length to effectively defend the paint. Hartenstein posted impressive per-36 averages of 1.5 steals and 2.3 blocks per game last season.
  • Signing Jalen Brunson is a make-or-break move for Leon Rose‘s tenure as president of basketball operations, argues Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Begley details Rose’s 2021 offseason moves, which were considered low-risk at the time, yet the Knicks were forced to package various draft assets to move off the salaries of Kemba Walker, Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks in order to create cap space to sign Brunson. Sources tell Begley that one rival team was willing to trade a second-rounder to acquire Burks, but the Knicks ended up giving away two second-round picks and $6MM to Detroit to move Burks and Noel. Rose’s CAA connections haven’t led to sustained success to this point, per Begley, and signing Brunson needs to work out considering all the assets the Knicks gave up.
  • Part of the reason Brunson decided to sign with the Knicks is because he thought he’d have a better chance at becoming an All-Star in the East than the West, Marc Stein writes in his latest article for Substack. As Stein relays, Brunson is the first player in league history to receive a nine-figure contract from a new club without making an All-Star team, per ESPN Stats & Info (Twitter link).

Atlantic Notes: Boeheim Brothers, Knicks, Horford, White, Kokoskov

The Knicks recently worked out a pair of brothers — Buddy Boeheim and Jimmy Boeheim — ahead of the NBA draft, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. The Boeheim brothers are the sons of Jim Boeheim, who’s served as head coach at Syracuse since 1976.

“They’re getting an opportunity,” Boeheim said of his sons. “They worked hard all their life. They’ll do workouts and see where they stand in the whole picture. It’s fun for them.

“We’ll see where they can go — anywhere from the NBA to G-League to overseas. Nobody knows. I told them: Just keep your head down, work hard, go through workouts and get on a summer league team and see what happens there.’’

Both Boeheims played for their father at Syracuse last season. Buddy averaged 19.2 points per game on 41% shooting last season, while Jimmy averaged 13.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest. The Knicks own the No. 11 and No. 42 picks in the draft this year.

Here are some other notes from around the Atlantic:

  • Jayson Tatum praised veteran big man Al Horford for his leadership with the Celtics this season, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe tweets. Horford is in his 15th NBA campaign. “Al is the best teammate ever, just a consummate professional,” Tatum said. Horford also made the NBA Finals for the first time in his career this year.
  • Celtics guard Derrick White briefly responded to Draymond Green‘s comments following Game 1, as relayed by Brian Robb of Masslive.com. Green pointed out that White, Marcus Smart and Horford combined to shoot 15-of-23 from deep in the game and seemed confident it wouldn’t happen again. “I mean, we knew what their game plan was going in, so it’s just up to us to make shots,” White said. “I mean, it is what it is. He said what he said. Just going into Game 2, just have the right mindset and whatever it takes to help us win games.” Green turned out to be right in Game 2, as White, Smart and Horford combined to shoot just 2-of-7 from deep.
  • Brian Lewis of the New York Post explores what Igor Kokoskov could bring to the Nets. Brooklyn is expected to hire Kokoskov, who holds a relationship with Steve Nash and recently coached with Dallas, as an assistant coach.

Kokoskov Expected To Join Nash’s Staff With Nets

Former NBA head coach Igor Kokoskov is apparently on the move again.

The Nets are expected to hire Kokoskov as one of Steve Nash’s top assistants, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link). Kokoskov was on Jason Kidd‘s staff with the Mavericks this season.

Brooklyn is looking to change things up after its first-round flameout.

Kokoskov was hired in September to join Kidd in Dallas. He was coming off a stint as the head coach of EuroLeague team Fenerbahçe. Kokoskov has served as an assistant for eight different NBA teams over the last two decades and was the Suns’ head coach for the 2018/19 season.

Mavs Officially Announce Jason Kidd’s Coaching Staff

The Mavericks issued a press release on Tuesday evening officially announcing Jason Kidd‘s coaching staff, confirming a handful of previously-reported hires.

Igor Kokoskov is perhaps the most noteworthy addition, fresh off a stint as the head coach of EuroLeague team Fenerbahçe. Kokoskov has served as an assistant for seven different NBA teams over the last two decades and was the head coach in Phoenix for the 2018/19 season. Reports in July indicated that Kokoskov was expected to join Kidd’s staff.

Fourteen-year NBA veteran Jared Dudley, whose agreement with the Mavs was reported last week, was also officially announced as an assistant coach.

Kokoskov and Dudley will be joined by Sean Sweeney, who worked with Kidd during his previous head coaching stints in Milwaukee and Brooklyn, and Greg St. Jean, who worked alongside Kidd with the Lakers over the last two seasons.

Kristi Toliver, fresh off her 12th season as a WNBA player, will also be an assistant coach on Kidd’s staff, with Darrell Armstrong, God Shammgod, and Peter Patton rounding out the group. Armstrong, Shammgod, and Patton are holdovers from Rick Carlisle‘s coaching staff.

Coaching/Front Office Notes: Watson, Raptors, Kokoskov, Mavs, More

Former Suns head coach Earl Watson appears set to return to the sidelines for an NBA team, as Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports (via Twitter) that Watson is finalizing a deal to join the Raptors. Watson – who was pursued by multiple teams, according to Haynes – would be an assistant on Nick Nurse‘s staff. Watson hasn’t coached in the NBA since 2017, but Devin Booker has credited the former Phoenix coach for his accelerated development at the NBA level, Haynes notes.

Here are a few more notes on coaching and front office hires from around the NBA:

  • Veteran assistant Popeye Jones, who spent over a decade in the NBA as a player, will leave the Sixers to take a job on Michael Malone‘s staff with the Nuggets, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). Marc Stein first reported (via Twitter) that Jones – a former Nuggets player – was emerging as a strong candidate to be hired by Denver.
  • Turkish club Fenerbahce officially announced today that head coach Igor Kokoskov won’t return to the team next season. As previously rumored, the former Suns coach is on track to take a job on Jason Kidd‘s staff with the Mavericks, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. In Dallas, Kokoskov will get the opportunity to reunite with Luka Doncic, whom he coached on the Slovenian national team in 2017.
  • Speaking of the Mavericks, they’ve hired Nets salary cap strategist Andrew Baker for a senior role in their front office under new president of basketball operations Nico Harrison, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
  • Fischer also identifies Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson and Pelicans assistant GM Bryson Graham as two potential targets for the Celtics as they seek a general manager under new president of basketball operations Brad Stevens.