Irv Roland

Northwest Notes: Alexander-Walker, Edwards, Markkanen, Jazz Staff

Nickeil Alexander-Walker was basically a throw-in to the deal that brought Mike Conley to the Timberwolves in February but he has emerged as a playoff starter, Chris Hine of The Star Tribune writes.

Alexander-Walker moved into a more prominent role after Jaden McDaniels broke his hand during the regular season finale. Alexander-Walker has shadowed Jamal Murray during a portion of the series against the Nuggets and contributed a couple of key three-pointers in Game 4. He’ll be a restricted free agent at the end of the season and hopes to stay with the Timberwolves.

“They gave me a chance,” he said of the Timberwolves. “I’ve been working very, very hard, relentlessly and sometimes I’m too hard on myself, for an opportunity. So for me to get that, I would love to come back. I believe in this group. Believe that we can figure it out together and do something special.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Anthony Edwards carried the Timberwolves to an overtime victory in Game 4 with 34 points but he wasn’t impressed with himself, ESPN’s Andrew Lopez relays. “I played terrible if you ask me,” Edwards said. “I took three bad threes, three terrible possessions, and I (darn) near shot us out the game. I didn’t play that good.”
  • After being named the league’s Most Improved Player, Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen wants to find more ways to improve, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic. “I haven’t accomplished anything,” Markkanen said. “I’ve said this before, but I’m not trying to stop here. I’m just beginning. I want to get better this summer and make that next leap. I want to lead this team to the playoffs. Having this kind of season feels good, but I want to keep continually getting better. That’s my mindset.”
  • Jazz head coach Will Hardy is tweaking his staff as he heads toward his second season with the franchise. He is not retaining assistant coaches Alex Jensen and Irv Roland, Jones tweets.

Northwest Notes: A-Rod, Jazz Staff, Russell, Murray

Alex Rodriguez said he has been welcomed around the NBA, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Rodriguez is part of the Timberwolves’ ownership group and will eventually become the majority owner along with business partner Marc Lore.

“I mean, I come at it from a different perspective, being in baseball for about a quarter of a century, and now it’s interesting to take my experience from Major League Baseball, from broadcasting and now being here as an owner,” Rodriguez said. “It’s been great. The NBA has welcomed me with open arms.”

He has been especially impressed with the league office.

“Team ownership is 365, 24/7,” Rodriguez said, “I knew that (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver and his team were great, but they’re even better than what they project. His senior management team, all the way through, they’re really incredible, they add tons of value. And I think they’re great at welcoming people, whether you’re a player, media, owner, executive into the room, and they know how to do that better than anyone.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • New Jazz coach Will Hardy might retain holdovers Bryan Bailey and Irv Roland on his staff, Tony Jones of The Athletic reports. It was previously reported that Alex Jensen and Lamar Skeeter could remain on the staff. The Jazz are also in the market for a top assistant, Jones adds.
  • D’Angelo Russell is eager to get an extension this offseason, as he told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic“Obviously every player wants an extension, and you want to be in a position to do that,” the Timberwolves guard said. Russell, who has been the subject of trade rumors, added that his representation has had some dialogue with Minnesota’s front office. He’s also eager to play with the frontcourt duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert. “For myself, I’ve always realized that if you put a shooter and a roller next to me, I can make the game easier for everyone around me,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to bringing that to the team.”
  • Load management will be the way the Nuggets handle Jamal Murray coming off his major knee injury, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports tweets. Murray’s minutes will be limited to the 20-30 minute range at the start of next season and he’ll also have some games off.

Jazz Notes: Championship Window, Roland, Snyder, Ranking

The clocking is ticking on the Jazz to deliver a championship, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News writes. They have become a luxury tax-paying team and made some major front office changes along the way. The additions of Rudy GayHassan WhitesideEric Paschall and rookie Jared Butler should make them deeper, but they also have some players near the end of their careers and All-Stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are on max extensions, Todd notes.

We have more on the Jazz:

  • Irv Roland has been added to Quin Snyder’s coaching staff, according to a team press release. Roland was on the Rockets’ staff from 2017-19. He began his career with the Celtics in 2004, assisting with video analysis. In 2005, he joined the New Orleans Hornets, also in the team’s video department, and worked there until 2010. He was also an assistant with the Suns from 2013-17.
  • Conventional wisdom would suggest that Snyder won’t ride his rotation players as hard as he did last year, when the club finished as the top seed but struggled through an injury-marred postseason, Todd speculates. It will intriguing to see if Snyder changes that philosophy and if the main players will buy into it, she adds.
  • The Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen has been rankings teams heading into training camp and places the Jazz at No. 4. Feigen notes the team didn’t make any major offseason moves, other than re-signing Mike Conley.

Rockets Notes: D’Antoni, Harden, Paul, Staff Changes

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said talks regarding a contract extension are in an advanced stage, he told Mark Berman of Fox 26 Sports. D’Antoni, who has one season left on his four-year, $16MM contract, believes he can go an additional two or three years.

News that the two parties were negotiating an extension came to light last weekend.

“I don’t do it (negotiate). That’s my agent. He takes care of that stuff,” D’Antoni said. “They’ve been discussing it for a long time now. It just hasn’t been a couple weeks. It’s been awhile that they’ve been talking. So they’ll figure it out.”

We have more on the Rockets:

  • D’Antoni was caught off-guard by a report that James Harden and Chris Paul had a verbal altercation in the locker room after the team was eliminated by Golden State, he told Berman. “It was definitely blown out of proportion,” D’Antoni said. “Those are discussions that (happen with) every good team that has a lot of alpha dogs and we do. Those are things that (happen) in the locker room and on the floor, time outs and everybody’s trying to compete and win a championship. That happens all the time. So it was nothing out of the ordinary at all. It kind of took me a little bit by surprise. I was shocked. Just wow, okay, it just didn’t happen.”
  • The Rockets fired player development assistant coach Irv Roland, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. That’s quite significant, since he has been Harden’s trainer since 2016 and also has a tight relationship with Paul, David Aldridge of The Athletic tweets.
  • The organization also mutually parted ways with assistant Roy Rogers, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Rogers wanted more than a one-year offer, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. Assistant Mitch Vanya and video coordinator John Cho were also let go, Feigen adds.
  • Despite the extension talks, the staff shakeup has made some people in the coaching community wonder if the team’s brass is trying to convince D’Antoni to leave, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. The Rockets also parted ways with associate head coach Jeff Bzdelik last week.