Jay Triano

Pacific Notes: Wainright, Ross, Warriors, Sabonis, Vezenkov

Suns forward Ish Wainright was active for a 50th game on Thursday and has now maxed out the games-played limit on his two-way contract, confirms Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Wainright can remain on his two-way deal for the rest of the season, but he’ll be ineligible to be activated for another regular season or playoff game unless he’s promoted to the 15-man roster.

As Rankin notes, the Suns do have an open spot on their 15-man squad, so promoting Wainright is one option the club should seriously consider. But Phoenix could also decide to use that final roster spot on a veteran on the buyout market — the team was linked on Thursday to Kevin Love, for instance. If the Suns sign a vet like Love, that wouldn’t leave room for Wainright unless another player is waived.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • The Suns have already added one veteran who reached free agency after negotiating a buyout. Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports takes a closer look at that newest Sun, exploring what Terrence Ross can bring to the team.
  • Tim Kawakami of The Athletic examines where things stand for the Warriors entering the All-Star break and considers whether this season represents a last stand for Golden State’s dynasty. As Kawakami writes, last week’s trade of James Wiseman for a win-now role player (Gary Payton II) signals that the team’s much-discussed “two-timeline plan” has essentially fallen by the wayside.
  • In a Q&A with Sam Amick of The Athletic, veteran center Domantas Sabonis spoke about the Kings‘ resurgence, playing through a thumb fracture, and why this year’s All-Star nod means more to him than his previous two. “A lot of stuff was said when the trade happened,” Sabonis said. “(Kings executives) Monty (McNair) and Wes (Wilcox) trusted me to come here and start changing the franchise around. And it’s not just me — there’s obviously a lot of pieces. … But I was kind of that first piece, and there was a lot of responsibility. As a player, as a competitor, being named an All-Star on the West Coast, having been on the East Coast, I feel like it just means more because of everything that came with it, you know?”
  • Kings assistant coach Jay Triano headed to Europe this week to scout draft-and-stash prospect Sasha Vezenkov, according to Stavros Barbarousis and John Rammas of Eurohoops. Sacramento holds the NBA rights to Vezenkov, who is having a terrific season in Greece for Olympiacos.

Kings Officially Announce Mike Brown’s Coaching Staff

The Kings have finalized their coaching staff for Mike Brown‘s first season in Sacramento, according to a press release from the team.

As previously reported, former Nuggets assistant Jordi Fernandez is joining the Kings as associate head coach after working with Brown on the Nigerian national team. Jay Triano, Doug Christie, Luke Loucks, and Leandro Barbosa will also be assistant coaches on Brown’s staff, as anticipated.

Dutch Gaitley and Lindsey Harding will be assistants as well, with Gaitley serving as director of player development. Harding and Deividas Dulkys, whose hiring was previously reported, will be player development coaches.

Robbie Lemons (senior director of coaching analytics and strategy), Charles Allen (head video coordinator/special assistant to the head coach), and Garrius Adams (assistant video coordinator) will fill out the staff, which Brown referred to as a “diverse and talented group.”

Roy Rana, Mike Longabardi, and Rico Hines are among the veteran assistants on former head coach Alvin Gentry‘s staff who won’t be returning to Sacramento for the 2022/23 season. Longabardi joined the Hawks, Hines joined the Raptors, and Rana got a job coaching a team in Japan.

Kings Finalize Contracts With Three Assistant Coaches

The Kings have finalized contracts with Doug Christie, Jay Triano and Luke Loucks to be assistant coaches under Mike Brown, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. All three hires were reported last month by veteran writer Marc Stein and Andscape’s Marc J. Spears, but the deals weren’t completed until Friday, sources told Anderson.

Christie, 52, played 15 seasons in the NBA, including a five-year run with the Kings. He’s the lone holdover from Luke Walton‘s staff in 2021/22, Christie’s first season as an NBA assistant, and Stein reported that retaining Christie was a priority for Sacramento’s brass.

Triano, 63, is the former head coach of the Raptors and Suns. He also coached the Canadian national team from 1998-2004, and most recently served as an assistant in Charlotte under James Borrego, who was fired in April.

Loucks, 32, played college ball for Florida State prior to making several international stops. During the ’21/22 season he worked for Phoenix in basketball strategy and personnel evaluation, and he previously worked with Brown in Golden State and with the Nigerian national team.

Sacramento announced on May 18 that former Nuggets assistant Jordi Fernandez will be Brown’s associate head coach, so the Kings have now finalized deals with four coaches on Brown’s staff.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Triano, Wiggins, Looney, Ayton

The Kings are expected to hire former Toronto and Phoenix head coach Jay Triano as part of Mike Brown‘s new coaching staff, according to veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein (Twitter link). Triano, who also coached the Canadian national team from 1998-2004, most recently served as an assistant in Charlotte under James Borrego.

Brown can’t yet devote his full attention to his new job with the Kings, since he’ll still be a part of Steve Kerr‘s staff in Golden State until the Warriors’ playoff run ends. However, Brown’s coaching staff is starting to come together. Holdover Doug Christie is expected to remain in his assistant role, and Jordi Fernandez is coming aboard as Sacramento’s associate head coach.

Let’s round up a few more items from around the Pacific…

  • James Ham of The Kings Beat explores the Kings‘ options with the No. 4 pick, outlining how moving up three spots on lottery night increased the number of directions Sacramento could take with that selection.
  • Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins headlines a list of potential extend-or-trade players this summer, according to Danny Leroux of The Athletic, who explains that Wiggins is one of several veterans who could become a viable offseason trade candidate if he and the team don’t work out a contract extension.
  • After injuries sidelined him for 56 of 137 contests from 2019-21, Warriors center Kevon Looney is proud of the fact that he was able to play in all 82 games in 2021/22, as he tells Mark Medina of NBA.com. “People were putting the injury label on me,” Looney said. “I take pride in being a tough guy and doing all the dirty work. So, to be a guy that was not healthy messed with my mentals.”
  • Evan Sidery of BasketballNews.com takes a closer look at Deandre Ayton‘s future with the Suns, which appears increasingly uncertain as his restricted free agency nears.

Nets Notes: Coaching Staff, Arena Workers, J. Smith

It has been five weeks since the Nets hired Steve Nash as their new head coach, but there haven’t been many updates since then on who will be part of Nash’s coaching staff beyond Jacque Vaughn, who is expected to remain in Brooklyn as the associate head coach.

According to Alex Schiffer of The Athletic, current Nets assistant Adam Harrington is also likely to be retained, given his connection to Kevin Durant — Harrington briefly served as the Thunder’s shooting coach during Durant’s time in Oklahoma City.

A source tells Schiffer that the Nets had some interest in trying to add former Suns coach Igor Kokoskov as an assistant. However, Kokoskov recently agreed to become the head coach of EuroLeague team Fenerbahce and prefers to remain with his new club in Turkey, per Schiffer.

Schiffer also names Jay Triano, Royal Ivey, and Phil Handy as possible candidates for the Nets’ staff, though Ivey has received interest from multiple teams. As for Handy, Schiffer recently heard from a source that the veteran assistant is happy working on Frank Vogel‘s staff with the Lakers, but would be open to other opportunities.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Nets owner Joseph Tsai intends to pay his Barclays Center employees – who lost work due to the coronavirus pandemic – through the rest of the year, Brian Lewis of The New York Post confirms. The decision, originally reported by The Atlantic Yards Report, may cost Tsai in the neighborhood of $10MM.
  • Maryland power forward Jalen Smith is the No. 20 prospect on ESPN’s big board, which could put him in play for the Nets at No. 19 in this year’s draft. As Lewis relays in a separate story for The New York Post, Smith is intrigued by the idea of being selected by Brooklyn and becoming teammates with a superstar he grew up watching. “Just being able to play with KD, that’s a dream come true,” Smith said. “Obviously growing up watching him so much and pretty much just learning from him, being the same size as him, just being able to get so much from him that he’s done in the league and continue to work and just compete against him would be tremendous and a good thing for me and my skills.”
  • In case you missed it, we previewed the Nets’ upcoming offseason in a feature last week.

Raptors Notes: Nurse, Leonard, Anunoby

Fresh off his team’s Game 6 victory over the Bucks which sent Toronto to the Finals, Raptors coach Nick Nurse has apparently achieved another honor. He will coach Canada’s national team at the FIBA World Cup in China, Peter Yannopoulos of TSN tweets.

Canada Basketball, which hasn’t officially confirmed the coaching change, began courting Nurse prior to the postseason, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

Nurse, who was an assistant for Team Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, would replace Hornets assistant Jay Triano as Canada’s coach, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets.

We have more on the newly crowned Eastern Conference champions:

  • Toronto president Masai Ujiri had a strong response for Kawhi Leonard during their first meeting after the blockbuster trade with San Antonio last season, as Michael Lee of The Athletic details. Leonard asked Ujiri why he made the trade despite Leonard’s intention to opt out of his contract after the season. “Because you’re the best player in the league,” Ujiri told Leonard. That bold gamble has paid off, Lee notes.
  • The Raptors are optimistic that OG Anunoby will play at some point in the Finals, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun tweets. Anunoby has not played since an emergency appendectomy last month. The last appearance by the reserve small forward was April 9th. The gaps in-between games should also help Leonard, who is dealing with a leg injury, Wolstat adds.
  • Nurse’s G League success — he won championships with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Iowa Energy — prepared him well for the Raptors gig, Adam Johnson of 2Ways10Days.com details in a story originally posted prior to the season.

Hornets Notes: Monk, Staff, Bacon, Parker

After undertaking a limited and somewhat disappointing role last season as a rookie, second-year guard Malik Monk has been told by the Hornets’ new coaching staff that he needs to make quicker, more decisive choices with the ball in order to maximize his talent and athleticism, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

Monk, 20, was selected 11th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft before suffering an ankle sprain that cost him summer league work before his first NBA training camp. Due in part to that lack of experience, Monk was in and out of the Hornets’ rotation all season long, finishing with an average of 6.7 points per game on 36 percent shooting from the field.

But despite whatever troubles he may have experienced during his rookie season, Monk will have plenty of opportunity to step into a bigger role this season, per head coach James Borrego.

“Malik Monk is a major player for us next (season)… I knew he was a shooter but being up close to him is impressive. This guy has a chance to be an elite shooter, a very consistent shooter. Someone we can play through for different stretches of a game.”

As for how Monk feels about Borrego and the new coaching staff, the good feelings seem to be mutual, with Monk saying, “I love them. They’re opening up the court for me and giving me a chance. That’s what I’ve been looking for.”

There’s more out of Charlotte this evening:

  • Speaking of the new coaching staff, the Hornets have officially hired Jay Triano, Chad Iske, Jay Hernandez, Ronald Nored, and Dutch Gaitley as assistant coaches under Borrego, per an official press release from the team.
  • Another young player the Hornets believe in is second-year player Dwayne Bacon, Bonnell notes in another piece. The new staff believes that Bacon, the 40th overall selection in last year’s draft, is both talented offensively and versatile defensively and that he will benefit from an increased pace of play.
  • As we relayed yesterday, the Hornets may be in the market for another guard to play alongside Monk and All-Star Kemba Walker, with free agent guard Tony Parker no longer necessarily a lock to return to San Antonio.

Canada Basketball Unveils 18 Training Camp Invites

Canada Basketball has announced its preliminary 18-man roster of players who have been invited to participate in training camp and exhibition play ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers next month, reports Josh Lewenberg of The Sports Network.

Among the 18 named individuals, eight played in the NBA last season – Khem Birch (Magic), Chris Boucher (Warriors), Dillon Brooks (Grizzlies), Cory Joseph (Pacers), Jamal Murray (Nuggets), Kelly Olynyk (Heat), Dwight Powell (Mavericks), and Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers).

The preliminary roster also includes former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, as well as three other G League players – Aaron BestOlivier Hanlan, and Kaza Kajami-Keane.

The remaining six players are former first-round pick of the Magic, Andrew Nicholsonformer college standouts’ Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim, Baylor’s Brady Heslip, and Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos, as well as brothers Phil Scrubb and Tommy Scrubb.

As also highlighted by Lewenberg, notable absences include Trey Lyles (Nuggets), Nik Stauskas (Nets), and most glaringly, Andrew Wiggins (Timberwolves). Per Lewenberg, multiple sources indicated that one factor in Wiggins’ decision to decline Canada Basketball’s invitation is his strained relationship with national team head coach Jay Triano, who left Wiggins on the bench during the final moments of a qualifying game for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Hornets Hire Jay Triano As Assistant Coach

MAY 24: The Hornets have officially hired Triano as an assistant, the team announced today (via Twitter).

MAY 20: Jay Triano has agreed to join the Hornets as a top assistant under new head coach James Borrego, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. It was reported earlier this week that Charlotte was considering Triano for their coaching staff.

Triano, 59, coached all but three games for the Suns last season after Earl Watson was dismissed. With Triano at the helm, Phoenix went 21-58. He was a candidate for the permanent job in Phoenix before the Suns hired former Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov.

Aside from his stint as interim coach this past season, Triano brings previous head coaching experience from his stint with the Raptors from 2008-2011.

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer noted that it’s common for first-time head coaches, such as Borrego, to bring in experienced head coaches to round out their staff. Steve Clifford, who the Hornets fired after the regular season, had former head coaches Bob Weiss and Eddie Jordan on his staff in Charlotte.

The Hornets are in the midsts of an organizational overhaul of sorts. The team recently brought in Mitch Kupchak as the new general manager in addition to replacing their head coach.

Hornets Considering Jay Triano For Coaching Staff

As first relayed by international basketball journalist David Pick, the Hornets are reportedly in discussions to hire former Suns’ interim head coach Jay Triano to new head coach James Borrego‘s coaching staff.

In a story for The Charlotte Observer, Rick Bonnell adds that the Hornets wouldn’t comment earlier today when asked about Triano, but that the report makes sense given the fact that it’s common for first-time head coaches in the NBA like Borrego to hire former head coaches to their staff as a resource.

An example cited by Bonnell is this past season’s head coach for the Hornets, Steve Clifford, having both former Spurs, Hawks, Clippers, and Sonics’ head coach Bob Weiss and former Kings, Wizards, and Sixers’ coach Eddie Jordan on his staff in Charlotte.

Triano, 59, coached all but three games for the Suns last season after Earl Watson was fired and was a candidate for the permanent job in Phoenix before the Suns hired former Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov.