J.J. Redick

Suns Notes: Legarza, Nurkic, Clippers’ Offseason

The Suns have added Vince Legarza as an assistant coach, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports.

He has a history with new head coach Mike Budenholzer. Legarza was an assistant in Milwaukee in Budenholzer’s final season there in 2022/23 but wasn’t retained when the Bucks hired Adrian Griffin as their new head coach going into this season.

Legarza was an assistant with the Jazz for four seasons (2018-22) and a player development coach with the Timberwolves for three seasons (2015-18).

The Suns didn’t retain any assistants from Frank Vogel’s staff and are having a tough time filling out a new coaching staff, Rankin adds.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • With severe cap limitations, Jusuf Nurkic may be the Suns’ most likely trade candidate, according to Gerald Bourguet of Gophnx.com. Nurkic has two years left on his four-year, $70MM contract. By attaching draft assets, Bourguet writes, the Suns might be able to find an upgrade at his position. Bourguet explores 20 potential trade ideas involving Nurkic.
  • In his first mailbag since the beginning of the season, The Athletic’s Law Murray answers a number of questions involving the Clippers. Among the topics is free agency, Kawhi Leonard‘s health, James Harden, Josh Primo and the usage of the team’s younger players going forward.
  • ICYMI, J.J. Redick has some prominent assistants in mind if he gets the Lakers’ head coaching job.

Stein’s Latest: Redick, Cavaliers’ Coaching Search, M. Brown, Kleber

J.J. Redick has several assistants in mind if he becomes the Lakers‘ next head coach, sources tell Marc Stein (Substack link). The ESPN broadcaster is believed to be the frontrunner to land the job, and Stein cites this latest rumor as more evidence that L.A. is leaning toward hiring Redick.

According to Stein, Redick hopes to add Celtics assistant Sam Cassell and Pelicans assistant James Borrego, who both interviewed for the head coaching job and were described by The Athletic as “the initial leading targets” along with Redick two weeks ago.

Redick would also like to land Mavericks assistant Jared Dudley, who finished his career with the Lakers in 2021, Stein’s sources say. Dudley reportedly built strong relationships with LeBron James and Anthony Davis during that time.

Stein offers more inside information from around the league:

  • Terry Stotts is among the head coaching candidates being considered by the Cavaliers, according to Stein’s sources. If Cleveland plans to keep Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland together, it could be beneficial to hire Stotts, who was successful in Portland with a similar small backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson is considered to be the leading candidate to replace J.B. Bickerstaff, but Stein confirms that Borrego, former Cavs coaching consultant Dave Joerger and Knicks associate head coach Johnnie Bryant are among the other names under consideration. Bryant previously worked with Mitchell in Utah. Atkinson has reportedly received endorsements from Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert, whom he coached in Brooklyn.
  • Mike Brown’s salary demands and the Kings‘ lack of postseason success have led to a stalemate in extension talks, Stein adds. Both sides recently agreed to table negotiations on a new deal, which means Brown could enter next season as a lame-duck coach. He has a four-year contract, but the final season is a mutual option, which means he and the team would both have to opt in.
  • Stein hears that the Mavericks remain optimistic about a potential Maxi Kleber return if they reach the NBA Finals. The versatile big man has been sidelined since separating his right shoulder May 3 in the final game of the first-round series against the Clippers.

Lakers Notes: Coaching Search, Redick, LeBron, Bronny, Russell

After conducting an initial round of meetings with several head coaching candidates, the Lakers are expected to move onto the next stage of their search process before the end of the month, Shams Charania of The Athletic said during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday (Twitter video link). According to Charania, the team is expected to dig deeper into basketball discussions during those second meetings after getting to know the candidates in the initial interviews.

“They’re finishing up their first round of interviews this week,” Charania said. “Next week, I believe, they’re going to start their second phase in this process, getting more conversations with candidates — more, maybe, basketball-centric conversations. I think a lot of it (up until) now was surface level.”

Having previously described J.J. Redick as the presumptive favorite for the job, Charania reiterates that “everyone around the league” believes the ESPN analyst and former NBA sharpshooter is the frontrunner. According to Charania, Redick was the first candidate to get a face-to-face meeting with the Lakers, who talked to him for “an extended period of time” at last week’s draft combine in Chicago.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Agent Rich Paul previously told Charania that LeBron James isn’t pushing for his podcasting partner Redick to become the Lakers’ head coach. Speaking to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, LeBron’s agent went into more detail on that subject. “This is a Lakers decision. I always advise LeBron or anybody for that matter not to really position yourself in a manner of which you have a hand so strong in a decision that could come back to bite you down the road,” Paul said. “… I think for him being so good for so long, people just think he controls the team. There’s no controlling of the team. And J.J. is a friend. We respect J.J. I know LeBron and J.J. have the podcast. I did J.J.’s podcast. Me and J.J. talk hoops all the time. He does know hoops. But just because they have a podcast—the Lakers have to make a decision for now and later. And whatever that decision is, that’ll be an organizational decision. It’s as simple as that.”
  • Paul also reiterated a point he made earlier in the spring, telling Haynes that steering Bronny James to the Lakers so that he can play with his father isn’t a goal. “LeBron said he wanted to play with his son. Bronny can’t do anything about that,” said Paul, who represents both players. “And that’s nothing we should push back on. If he wants to play with his son, that’s that. But again, I have a job to do representing Bronny and LeBron. … If it aligns where he can play with his dad, great. Am I necessarily focused on that? No, not at all. I’m focused on a team-plan investment and a seriousness as it pertains to fit and opportunity.”
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report breaks down the potential paths for D’Angelo Russell and the Lakers this offseason, examining five different ways the offseason could play out for the veteran guard. Russell could pick up his player option to either stay in Los Angeles or to accommodate a trade, or he could decline that option, which would set him up to re-sign with L.A., leave in a sign-and-trade deal, or leave outright. According to Pincus, many people in the industry believe the Lakers want to upgrade their roster around LeBron, Anthony Davis, and Austin Reaves, which could mean Russell ends up elsewhere, whether that happens via free agency or trade.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Lakers’ Coaching Search, M. Brown, Suns

After being eliminated in the play-in tournament, the Warriors know they’ll have to improve their defense to get back into title contention, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. That may include roster changes to bring in players who are more defensive-minded.

“It’s not just about scheme and personnel,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s also about how much better the rest of the league is. And how much different things are with the shooting and the pace. It’s just much, much harder to guard. There’s a reason the offensive ratings have skyrocketed. But there’s no doubt we’ve got to be better defensively. We were good at a lot of things. We were. We were, not surprisingly, excellent when Draymond (Green) was healthy.”

Suspensions and injuries caused Green to miss 27 games this season, which had a sharp impact on the team’s defensive numbers. Poole points out that the Warriors had a 113.5 defensive rating with Green, which would have ranked 11th in the league. It fell to 121.1 when he wasn’t available, the worst mark in the NBA.

“But we can’t just say, ‘Well, as long as Draymond’s healthy we will be fine defensively,'” Kerr added. “We’ve just got to be better. I’ve got to do a better job. Our staff has got to do a better job. We have to assess everything.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are moving slowly in their head coaching search and are getting acquainted with several candidates they didn’t interview before hiring Darvin Ham two years ago, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (video link). He cites examples such as Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori, Heat assistant Chris Quinn, Pelicans assistant James Borrego and ESPN broadcaster J.J. Redick. Wojnarowski expects a lengthy hiring process, saying, “There’s no obvious choice, there just isn’t. There’s no star coach out there available.”
  • Mike Brown has proven he deserves an extension in his first two seasons as head coach of the Kings, contends James Ham of The Kings Beat (subscription required). Brown is entering the last year of his contract, and Ham believes the team should take care of him soon to avoid any speculation about his future.
  • Suns CEO Josh Bartelstein, who played a role in purchasing the franchise’s former G League affiliate when he was working for the Pistons, helped to unveil its replacement today, notes Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. The Valley Suns give Phoenix a G League partner for the first time since 2021 when the Northern Arizona Suns were sold to Detroit and renamed the Motor City Cruise. “Ironically enough, I was the one on the other side buying the team from the Suns and getting it to Detroit, and now three years later, I’m here,” Bartelstein said. “It’s really, really important. I mean, the G League is a staple of many NBA franchises.”

Lakers Meet With J.J. Redick, James Borrego, Sam Cassell

The interview portion of the Lakers‘ head coaching search is underway, according to Jovan Buha and Shams Charania of The Athletic, who report that the team has had formal meetings in recent days with ESPN analyst J.J. Redick, Pelicans assistant James Borrego, and Celtics assistant Sam Cassell.

The Lakers also intend to meet with Micah Nori (Timberwolves assistant), David Adelman (Nuggets assistant), and Chris Quinn (Heat assistant), per Buha and Charania.

Of those three, Nori is the only one whose team’s season isn’t over. He has also taken on a larger role on Minnesota’s bench during the postseason due to a knee procedure that has rendered Wolves head coach Chris Finch immobile during games, so scheduling an interview with him will be a little trickier than lining up meetings with Adelman and Quinn.

The Athletic previously referred to Redick, Borrego, and Cassell as the Lakers’ “initial leading targets” in their head coaching search. Since then, multiple reports have indicated that people around the NBA view Redick as the frontrunner for the job.

League sources tell Buha and Charania that the Lakers are “infatuated” with Redick’s potential as a head coach, despite his lack of experience. They view him as a “Pat Riley-like coaching prospect” who could thrive both in the short and long-term, The Athletic’s duo adds.

Redick co-hosts a podcast with Lakers star LeBron James, resulting in speculation that his relationship with LeBron is driving his candidacy in Los Angeles. However, James’ agent Rich Paul has insisted that’s not the case, as we relayed this morning. Redick also reportedly received consideration for the Hornets’ coaching job earlier this spring and interviewed with the Raptors in 2023.

Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney have also been mentioned as possible Lakers candidates in recent weeks, but neither was mentioned in The Athletic’s latest report.

Pacific Notes: LeBron, Lakers, Jackson-Davis, Beal

The idea that LeBron James will be a driving force in choosing the Lakers‘ next head coach is inaccurate, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who said during an appearance on FanDuel’s Run it Back show on Monday that the star forward has had no involvement in the process so far (Twitter video link).

“I’m told LeBron James is not involved in the Lakers’ head coaching search,” Charania said. “… (He) has made it clear this is the organization’s decision. He’s had no conversations with the Laker about J.J. Redick, his podcast partner. He’s had no conversations with J.J. about that position as well.

“I did speak to (James’ agent) Rich Paul this morning. He said, ‘LeBron James and J.J. Redick, they do a podcast together. That does not mean that he wants J.J. Redick as his head coach.’ He’s leaving it up to the organization.”

Previous reports have indicated that the Lakers will more heavily weigh Anthony Davis‘ future and input as they decide on a new head coach, since the expectation is that Davis’ time in Los Angeles will extend beyond that of James, who will turn 40 later this year.

Charania reiterated that point during his Run it Back segment, noting that Davis has “built a rapport” with James Borrego. While Charania cites Davis and Borrego overlapping during their stints with the Pelicans, it’s worth noting that Borrego left New Orleans for Orlando during the 2012 offseason, which is when Davis was drafted, so any overlap was very brief. Borrego returned to the Pelicans in 2023 as an assistant on Willie Green‘s staff.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • In a column for The Los Angeles Times, Bill Plaschke makes it clear he’s not a fan of the idea of the Lakers hiring Redick, writing that it would “not only be one of the oddest Lakers coaching hires in a long list of them…but it might also be the first talk-show driven head coaching hire in NBA history.”
  • Warriors guard Brandin Podziemski, who was named to the All-Rookie first team on Monday, believes his teammate Trayce Jackson-Davis should have joined him in receiving All-Rookie recognition, writes Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. Jackson-Davis narrowly missed earning a spot on the second team, finishing 11th among vote-getters, a single point behind Grizzlies forward GG Jackson. “Just to see from a guard’s perspective (Jackson-Davis’) impact on our games and how he helped us win games this year, I think maybe the voters should take winning into more of an account,” Podziemski said. “It sucks to see him not make it. I think he was well deserving of it.”
  • Could Bradley Beal thrive in a point guard role the same way that Jrue Holiday did under new Suns head coach Mike Budenholzer in Milwaukee? Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic weighs that question, considering just how important it is for Phoenix to add a true point guard this offseason.

Lakers Rumors: Mitchell, Redick, LeBron, Reaves, Bronny

As the Lakers weigh their offseason options, one path they will seriously consider is packaging players and draft picks to attempt to acquire a third star to play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Within the last year, star guards like Trae Young, Dejounte Murray, and Zach LaVine have been mentioned as possible targets for Los Angeles, but Jovan Buha of The Athletic (YouTube link) says another name will likely be at the top of the team’s wish list entering the summer.

“If the Lakers go down the three-star path, and it’s still unclear — I think they’re going to kick the can down the road and see the possibility and see what the asking price is. There are teams that can outbid them if they get into a bidding war,” Buha said in an episode of Buha’s Block. “But if they do go down that road and at least explore it, (Cavaliers guard) Donovan Mitchell would be the preferred guy.”

There’s no guarantee that Mitchell will be available this summer, since the Cavs hope to sign him to a long-term extension. If Mitchell turns down that offer and ends up on the trade block, the Lakers would have plenty of competition for the five-time All-Star and wouldn’t necessarily be able to offer the best package, as Buha notes. L.A. would be able to offer up to three first-round picks alongside perhaps guard Austin Reaves, forward Rui Hachimura, and other salary-matching pieces.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Echoing previous reports, Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times says people around the NBA view J.J. Redick as the favorite in the Lakers’ head coaching search. Opinions on Redick’s potential as a coach are split, with some high on his upside due to his understanding of the game and his ability to clearly communicate ideas, while others “see nothing but inexperience” or believe his business relationship with LeBron James would have a negative impact on the locker room, Woike writes. Sources tell The Times that one reason Redick is viewed as a frontrunner is a widespread belief that he’ll have “incredibly strong” interviews.
  • Within that same L.A. Times story, Woike explores the likelihood of LeBron remaining with the Lakers (his sources believe it’ll happen), discusses the team’s top trade targets (he says none of Young, Murray, LaVine, and Brandon Ingram were seriously linked to the Lakers at the combine), and mentions the team’s ongoing fondness for Reaves. According to Woike, the Lakers regard Reaves highly as a “prospect for the future” on a team-friendly contract.
  • Shams Charania of The Athletic is among the reporters to stress that drafting Bronny James won’t offer a team any assurances of having a shot at his superstar father. “It would not surprise me in the coming weeks if a team does reach out to (agent) Rich Paul – or anyone else around Bronny James, (including) LeBron James himself – and says, ‘Hey, if we draft Bronny James, would you come as well, LeBron?'” Charania said on the Up & Adams Show (Twitter video link). “And the answer to that is going to be no, as of right now. That’s not a given, that’s not something that’s going to be preordained.” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said earlier in the week that Paul has made a concerted effort to dispel the idea that his father-and-son clients need to play together.
  • The Lakers announced on Friday (via Twitter) that they’ll host three preseason games outside of Los Angeles in the fall. The Lakers will play the visiting Timberwolves on October 4 and the Suns on Oct. 6 at Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs before facing the Warriors on Oct. 15 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Latest On Lakers’ Head Coaching Search

The Lakers have received permission to interview several assistants from around the NBA for their head coaching job, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links). Wojnarowski reports that Los Angeles has been granted permission to talk to the following candidates:

  • Nuggets assistant David Adelman
  • Pelicans assistant James Borrego
  • Celtics assistant Sam Cassell
  • Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori
  • Heat assistant Chris Quinn

A report on Tuesday from The Athletic indicated that Borrego, Cassell, and J.J. Redick are the “initial leading targets” in the Lakers’ search for Darvin Ham‘s replacement. Because Redick is working as an analyst at ESPN/ABC, L.A. obviously wouldn’t need to seek permission from a rival team to meet with him.

Kenny Atkinson of the Warriors and Sean Sweeney of the Mavericks are the other assistants who have been linked to the Lakers’ open head coaching position. Their omissions from Wojnarowski’s report don’t necessarily mean they’re no longer on Los Angeles’ radar, since Woj’s list isn’t necessarily exhaustive. But Atkinson and Sweeney don’t appear to be among the frontrunners at this point.

Of course, Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue has been mentioned as the candidate who would be atop the Lakers’ wish list if he were available, but there’s still no indication that the Clips will grant their cross-town rivals permission to talk to Lue, who is under contract for one more year and is expected to discuss an extension this offseason.

In his latest Substack story, Marc Stein also checks in on the Lakers’ coaching search, writing that he’s gotten the “distinct vibe” from insiders gathered at the draft combine in Chicago that if there’s an early favorite for the job, it’s Redick. Several people in coaching circles, Stein says, believe it will be Redick’s job to lose in the interview process.

However, Stein has also heard from league sources that Cassell is a “legitimate candidate to watch.” Like Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Cassell is represented by Klutch Sports. Additionally, Stein notes, the veteran assistant has a reputation for connecting with star players.

If Cassell doesn’t get the Lakers’ job or another head coaching position, the belief is that Doc Rivers will aggressively push to bring him to Milwaukee to join his Bucks coaching staff, Stein reports. Cassell previously served as an assistant under Rivers with both the Clippers and 76ers.

With only one other team (the Wizards) currently in the market for a head coach and Redick expected to finish out the playoffs with ESPN/ABC, there’s an expectation that the Lakers’ search may end up extending well into June, Stein adds.

Sam Cassell Among Lakers’ Head Coaching Candidates

Celtics assistant Sam Cassell is among the candidates to become the Lakers‘ next head coach, according to Shams Charania and Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who describe Cassell, James Borrego, and J.J. Redick as the team’s “initial leading targets.” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday that Borrego and Redick are “names to watch” in Los Angeles’ head coaching search.

A former All-Star and three-time champion as an NBA player, Cassell transitioned to coaching in 2009. He spent five seasons as an assistant with the Wizards before spending the next decade coaching under Doc Rivers, including stints with the Clippers from 2014-20 and the Sixers from 2020-23. He was hired by the Celtics as Joe Mazzulla‘s lead assistant last spring.

According to reports from both Charania and Buha at The Athletic and Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the Lakers’ initial round of head coaching interviews is expected to focus on candidates the franchise doesn’t know as well and hasn’t previously vetted. After speaking to those candidates, the Lakers will move on to talking to the ones they’re more familiar with before eventually narrowing the full group down to a smaller pool of finalists, per ESPN.

In addition to Borrego, Redick, and Cassell, potential candidates like David Adelman, Kenny Atkinson, Micah Nori, Chris Quinn, and Sean Sweeney have been linked to the Lakers. Here’s more on the search:

  • Sources tell Charania and Buha that the Lakers are seeking a coach who can command the locker room and hold players accountable. Their ideal candidate would also “tirelessly game-plan and provide a level of structure and organization,” according to The Athletic. Wojnarowski and McMenamin add that the term “grinder” keeps coming up in Rob Pelinka‘s conversations with people around the league about what he’s looking for.
  • While the Lakers are hoping to have LeBron James around for at least one or two more seasons, they’re “placing a premium” on finding a head coach who can maximize Anthony Davis‘ talents, per Charania and Buha. “This should be more of a hire about AD than LeBron,” one source told The Athletic.
  • Longtime Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is serving as a useful “unofficial resource” for the Lakers during their search process, multiple sources tell The Athletic. Krzyzewski has a level of familiarity with a number of the candidates L.A. is considering, including former Blue Devils sharpshooter Redick.

Woj: James Borrego, J.J. Redick “Names To Watch” In Lakers’ Coaching Search

The Lakers will intensify their search for a new head coach at this week’s Draft Combine in Chicago, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (video link), who identifies James Borrego and J.J. Redick as “names to watch” in that process.

Borrego currently serves as lead assistant for the Pelicans and helped the team develop a top-10 offense by utilizing Zion Williamson as a point forward, Wojnarowski notes. Borrego was the head coach in Charlotte from 2018-22, compiling a 138-163 record in four seasons. He also went 10-20 as interim coach in Orlando at the end of the 2014/15 season and spent time as an assistant to Gregg Popovich in San Antonio as well.

Redick is a member of ESPN/ABC’s top broadcasting team and has become a prominent media figure since retiring as a player in 2021. Although he doesn’t have any coaching experience, he benefits from a close relationship with Lakers star LeBron James, who serves as his co-host on the “Mind of the Game” podcast.

Lakers officials are expected to begin contacting rival teams this week to request permission to interview their assistant coaches, Woj adds. A report on Saturday identified Timberwolves assistant Micah NoriNuggets assistant David AdelmanMavericks assistant Sean Sweeney, and Heat assistant Chris Quinn as potential candidates, but Nori, Adelman and Sweeney are all still involved with playoff teams.

L.A. will likely conduct a “long search” and interview numerous candidates before hiring its next coach, according to Wojnarowski.