Jerry Stackhouse

Coaching Rumors: Nurse, Bucks, Lue, Young, Stackhouse

Nick Nurse has been busy interviewing this offseason after being dismissed from the Raptors, and is reportedly a finalist for a couple different coaching vacancies, including Milwaukee’s.

While Nurse has “strong support” within the Bucks, Ian Begley of SNY.tv hears from sources who say that support isn’t unanimous among the “key stakeholders” in the organization.

Nurse, who won a championship with Toronto in 2018/19, is also a finalist in Phoenix and interviewed with Philadelphia. The other two reported finalists for the Bucks are Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin.

Here are a few more coaching rumors from Begley:

  • Begley is the latest to report that Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, who is still under contract, is expected to stay with L.A. and not be made available for any openings this spring. The Suns were among the teams rumored to be interested in Lue, which Begley confirms.
  • Assistant coach Kevin Young is considered a strong candidate for the the Suns‘ coaching vacancy after an impressive interview, per Begley. Marc Stein previously reported that Young had a legitimate chance to be promoted, with an endorsement from star guard Devin Booker. Aside from Nurse and Young, Jordi Fernandez, Frank Vogel and Doc Rivers are considered by some reporters to be finalists for the Suns.
  • According to Begley’s sources, the Pistons did background research on Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse, but Begley doesn’t specify whether or not he actually interviewed. Stackhouse was rumored to be a coaching candidate for the Raptors and was mentioned as possible candidate for Detroit. A longtime former NBA player and assistant coach, Stackhouse has been with Vanderbilt since 2019. Kevin Ollie, Charles Lee and Jarron Collins are reportedly the finalists for the Pistons’ coaching job.

Raptors Notes: P. Mutombo, Stackhouse, Nurse, Offseason

Reporting in the wake of Nick Nurse‘s dismissal on Friday indicated that Ime Udoka would be one of the candidates the Raptors seriously consider to become their next head coach. Shams Charania of The Athletic confirms Toronto’s interest in Udoka and adds a couple more names to the team’s possible list of targets, writing that Patrick Mutombo and Jerry Stackhouse may receive consideration.

Mutombo, currently an assistant on Monty Williams‘ staff in Phoenix, was on the Raptors’ coaching staff from 2016-20 and coached the team’s G League affiliate (Raptors 905) from 2020-22 before joining the Suns last offseason.

Stackhouse also has an existing relationship with the Raptors, having been an assistant with the team in 2015/16 and the Raptors 905 head coach from 2016-18. He spent a season as an assistant coach with the Grizzlies in 2018/19 and has been the head coach at Vanderbilt since 2019. Stackhouse has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Pistons’ head coaching vacancy, though there has been no indication that he’ll interview for that position.

Here’s more on the Raptors and their newly opened head coaching job:

  • Some people in the Raptors organization were surprised by Friday’s news on Nurse, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca, who says Nurse and team president Masai Ujiri met four teams in the nine days after Toronto’s season ended. That level of communication is unusual for a team about to let go of a head coach, but Ujiri felt the Raptors needed a new voice and Nurse “welcomed the change,” says Lewenberg.
  • Raptors management had some questions about Nurse’s style of communication, Lewenberg writes, noting that the head coach had a habit of calling out players publicly without talking to them privately first. Following a bad loss in December, Nurse held closed-door meetings with some players and staffers that Lewenberg hears were “intense” and “confrontational.” Nurse also had a “tense” relationship with one assistant coach after telling him not to accompany the team on a road trip in January, Lewenberg adds.
  • Observing that several Raptors players improved individually, but not collectively, Ujiri said on Friday that he expects to make changes in Toronto this offseason beyond hiring a new coach, per Lewenberg. “I think changes are going to be made on all fronts,” Ujiri said. “We’re going to address that with the team. We saw how different players on our team would rise, would do well, but we never did it collectively. Maybe that could be fit. Maybe that could be system, sometimes role orientation, sometimes accountability – all the things we are going to really look at it how our roster is built. We believe in the players we have. Whether it’s tweaks or major changes, we’re definitely going to look at everything.”

Hornets Rumors: Jordan, Kupchak, Head Coach Candidates

The decision to fire former Hornets head coach James Borrego apparently came from owner Michael Jordan, not president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. This contradicts a report last month that Kupchak was the driving force behind the move.

Sources tell Fischer that Jordan was unhappy with Charlotte’s poor defense, which fell from 16th in 2020/21 to 22nd this season. The Hornets also gave up 144 points to Indiana in last season’s play-in tournament and then 132 to Atlanta this season, both blowout losses.

The Hornets are in the early stages of their search to fill the coaching vacancy, Fischer writes. Kupchak has been mulling over candidates and is acting as though he’ll remain in charge of the team’s basketball operations even though his contract expires after the season, sources tell Fischer.

The team has discussed finding someone to eventually succeed Kupchak for years, but the Hornets want him to remain in place for at least the short term, assuming the two sides can work out their difference of opinion regarding salary, which sounds like a formality.

Prior to Adrian Wojnarowski’s report that the Hornets will interview Mike D’Antoni, Kenny Atkinson, Darvin Ham and Sean Sweeney for their head coaching job, Fischer explored some possible candidates, including D’Antoni and Atkinson.

Like the Kings, the Hornets are also searching for someone with previous head coaching experience. League sources tell Fischer that former Rockets head coach D’Antoni, Warriors assistants Mike Brown and Atkinson, and Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse are potential candidates for the opening. Brown holds previous head coaching experience with the Cavaliers and Lakers and is a finalist for Sacramento’s job, while Atkinson was Brooklyn’s lead coach from 2016-20.

Fischer notes that D’Antoni has frequently been linked to the Sixers since Daryl Morey became president of basketball operations, but the team has consistently maintained that head coach Doc Rivers and the front office are aligned on their shared vision of the future. Rivers still is still owed an additional $24MM over three years following this season, so even if Morey did want to fire him, that would be a bitter pill for Philadelphia’s ownership to swallow, Fischer observes.

Echoing a report from Marc Stein, Fischer says one more name to keep an eye on for the Hornets is Jazz coach Quin Snyder, who still has one year remaining on his contract with Utah. Synder previously worked under Kupchak’s front office as a Lakers assistant and has ties to North Carolina — he played for Duke in college and was an assistant coach there prior to becoming Missouri’s head coach.

Snyder has repeatedly been linked to the Lakers‘ opening, but several sources tell Fischer that L.A. doesn’t appeal to Utah’s head coach.

Knicks Reportedly “Obsessed” With Masai Ujiri

The Knicks are “obsessed” and “enamored” with Raptors executive Masai Ujiri as the next man to run the franchise, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. A front office shakeup is expected in the wake of yesterday’s firing of head coach David Fizdale, especially considering the poor track record of team president Steve Mills.

Begley speculates it would take “significant money and full autonomy” to land Ujiri, who is already in a comfortable spot after building a championship team. Even if the Knicks are willing to grant that, Ujiri may not want to work for a controversial figure like James Dolan, and he is signed with Toronto until 2021, a contract he said in October that he plans to honor.

Echoing a report we shared last week, Begley states that the Knicks believe Ujiri could be drawn to New York City to provide a larger platform for his charitable work with the Giants of Africa Foundation. However, there was similar speculation about Washington, D.C., a few months ago when the Wizards were restructuring their front office, and Ujiri opted to stay in Toronto.

There’s more Knicks news to pass along:

  • Despite a 4-18 start and six straight losing seasons, the Knicks’ front office job is still viewed as appealing around the league, Begley adds in the same story. The team has drafted well under general manager Scott Perry and has held on to its first-round picks. The Knicks also retained cap flexibility by signing seven players to short-term contracts this summer after failing to land their top targets in free agency.
  • A few players got to say goodbye to Fizdale before he left the team, Taj Gibson tells Begley (Twitter link). Gibson said Fizdale was emotional during the departure, adding, “Guys loved him.”
  • Mark Jackson, a former Knicks guard and ex-head coach of the Warriors, is a 5-1 favorite to be the next head coach, relays Adam Zagoria for Forbes. The oddsmakers at BetOnline.ag have Kenny Smith second at 6-1 and Italian coach Ettore Messina at 7-1. Next in line are three college coaches, Michigan’s Juwan Howard, Vanderbilt’s Jerry Stackhouse and Villanova’s Jay Wright.
  • Interim coach Mike Miller thanked Fizdale and the Knicks organization during today’s pre-game press conference (video link from Vorkunov). Neither Mills nor Perry has addressed the media since the firing became official, and nobody from management has commented apart from an unattributed statement that was released Friday.
  • Former NBA player Keith Bogans has been named to Miller’s staff, the Knicks announced on Twitter.

Raptors Notes: Leonard, Green, Gasol, Siakam

Last summer’s trade that landed Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green from the Spurs not only shook up the Raptors‘ roster, it brought two players with championship experience to a franchise that didn’t have any, writes Steve Popper of Newsday.

Leonard and Green, who will both be free agents this summer, were teammates on San Antonio’s title-winning team in 2014. They helped to calm any nerves in Game 1 by scoring the Raptors’ first six points.

“I didn’t notice that until you mentioned it to me,” Green said. “We got out running, able to run our offense how we’ve been doing most of the year. When we’re in our transition that’s when we’re at our best. [It’s] very important, especially playing against three-time, four-time, whatever champions. So many times they’ve been [to the Finals]. You’ve got to protect home court. It’s what we fought for all year. Can’t give them any type of life or confidence and keep taking advantage of the advantage that we have.”

There’s more tonight from Toronto:

  • Marc Gasol is making his first NBA Finals appearance after nearly a decade in Memphis, but he tells Jim Slater of Yahoo Sports that he’s not in awe of the experience. “My brain doesn’t function that way,” Gasol said. “You’re playing basketball like you did your whole life and it’s the most fun. You got to stay poised during the whole game so your brain can’t go anywhere else but every possession.”
  • Pascal Siakam, the hero of Game 1 with a 32-point performance, has a background unlike any other NBA player’s, notes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Siakam was introduced to the game as a teenager in his native Cameroon when he attended a Basketball Without Borders camp to visit his sister, whom he hadn’t seen in five years. “I didn’t even know if I really dreamed of being at this level,” Siakam said. “I couldn’t even think about this moment because it wasn’t reachable for me.”
  • Former Raptors assistant and G League head coach Jerry Stackhouse said he felt like a “proud papa” watching Siakam’s outburst, relays Frank Isola of The Athletic. Stackhouse, who accepted a job at Vanderbilt in April, also worked closely with Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell, who have played important roles in Toronto’s playoff run. “It’s a good advertisement for the league,” Stackhouse said. “That’s what the development league is supposed to do. Those were three guys with a lot of pride who all worked hard. They earned it.”

Jerry Stackhouse Turned Down NBA Interviews

Jerry Stackhouse turned down interviews with two unnamed NBA teams before taking the Vanderbilt head coaching job, he said during his introductory press conference, as relayed by Adam Sparks of the Nashville Tennessean.

Stackhouse served as an assistant coach with the Grizzlies this season.

“I can’t say there are too many college situations that I was looking to go to with my trajectory being what it was in the NBA,” Stackhouse said. “I was on pace to sit down and talk about a head coaching job in the NBA this offseason already with a couple of teams. I had those interviews lined up.”

Stackhouse replaced Bryce Drew, who was fired after the season. Vanderbilt went winless in 18 Southeastern Conference games.

Stackhouse had his share of interviews last summer for NBA head coaching openings. He was a candidate for the Charlotte, New York and Toronto jobs. He doesn’t have college coaching experience but has been in the professional ranks since retiring as a player after 18 years in the league. He was an assistant under Dwane Casey with the Raptors and coached their G League affiliate, Raptors 905, to two championship finals.

Vanderbilt’s athletic director Malcolm Turner, who like Stackhouse is a North Carolina alum, is the former president of the G League. Turner convinced him to take over the downtrodden program.

“I’m ready to anchor down,” Stackhouse said. “As a head coach, I want to teach. It doesn’t matter at what level that I got in. People felt like I was on a trajectory in the NBA. But when I had an opportunity to come here and meet with (Turner), it was an opportunity that I couldn’t resist.”

Vanderbilt Hiring Jerry Stackhouse As Head Coach

APRIL 5: Stackhouse has agreed to become the new Vanderbilt head coach, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that the two sides reached an agreement on a six-year contract.

APRIL 1: Grizzlies assistant coach Jerry Stackhouse is negotiating a contract to become Vanderbilt’s head coach, Jon Rothstein of SI.com tweets.

Nothing has been finalized but all indications are that Stackhouse will take over the Commodores’ program. Stackhouse would replace Bryce Drew, who was fired after the season. Vanderbilt went winless in 18 Southeastern Conference games.

Stackhouse joined Memphis’ staff last summer after interviewing for the head coaching jobs at Charlotte, New York and Toronto. He doesn’t have college coaching experience but has been in the professional ranks since retiring as a player after 18 years in the league. He was an assistant under Dwane Casey with the Raptors and coached their G League affiliate, Raptors 905, to two championship finals.

Vanderbilt’s athletic director Malcolm Turner is the former president of the G League.

Hornets assistant Ronald Nored was also a candidate for the Commodores’ job, Evan Daniels of 247Sports tweets.

Coaching Moves: Sixers, Raptors, Pelicans, Suns

 The Sixers have named Connor Johnson as their G League coach, the team announced in a press release. Johnson will coach the Delaware Blue Coats after working the past four seasons working with the 76ers coaching staff. The newly-named Blue Coats will play in the new 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington. Johnson was Philadelphia’s director of player development and coaching administration last season.
In other coaching-related news around the league:
  • The Raptors were denied permission from the Pelicans to hire Chris Finch as an assistant coach, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. New Raptors coach Nick Nurse was an assistant under Finch on Great Britain’s Olympic team in 2012 and was hoping to bring his well-regarded knowledge of offensive schemes to Toronto, Stein adds in another tweet.
  • The Pelicans did lose one of their assistants as Jamelle McMillan, son of Pacers coach Nate McMillan, joined Igor Kokoskov’s staff with the Suns, Marc Spears of ESPN tweets. The younger McMillan is just 29 years old.
  • The Raptors hired Jama Mahlalela as head coach of their NBA G League affiliate, Raptors 905, the team’s media relations department tweets. Mahlalela, who has five years of experience as an NBA assistant, replaces Jerry Stackhouse. Stackhouse, who led the team to consecutive G League Finals, joined the Grizzlies’ staff after being interviewed for multiple NBA head coaching jobs.

Southwest Rumors: Potapenko, Cousins, Mavs Draft, Rockets

Vitaly Potapenko and Greg Buckner are among the assistants named to J.B. Bickerstaff’s staff with the Grizzlies, according to a team press release. Potapenko had been the Cavaliers’ assistant director of player development since 2013, while Buckner is a holdover from last season’s staff. As previously announced, Jerry Stackhouse will also be a top assistant for Bickerstaff. Stackhouse, who coached the Raptors’ G League the past two seasons, interviewed for several head coaching jobs. Chad Forcier, an assistant under Frank Vogel with the Magic the last two seasons, has also joined the staff along with Nick Van Exel and Adam Mazarei.

In other developments around the Southwest Division:

  • DeMarcus Cousins will most likely stay put with the Pelicans but there are three other Western Conference teams where the big man would be a good fit, HoopsHype tweets. The Mavericks, Lakers and Spurs are the most likely landing spots for Cousins if he leaves New Orleans, HoopsHype adds.
  • A draft night trade with the Bulls might make sense for the Mavericks, Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News speculates. Dallas owns the No. 5 pick with Chicago slotted at No. 7. If Michael Porter Jr. and Trae Young go a little higher than anticipated, the Mavs could move down and either Mohamed Bamba, Wendell Carter or Jaren Jackson would still be on the board, Cowlishaw points out.
  • Rockets fans should lower their expectations of potentially landing LeBron James or Paul George and simply hope GM Daryl Morey can upgrade a  luxury-tax team with precious few young assets, Sean Deveney of Sports Illustrated opines. Giving Chris Paul a max contract will be a tough pill but one they’ll have to swallow to remain a prime contender, Deveney adds.

Jerry Stackhouse To Join Grizzlies’ Staff

Former G League Coach of the Year Jerry Stackhouse has agreed to become an assistant in Memphis, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Stackhouse served as an assistant with the Raptors in 2015/16 before taking over as the head coach of the organization’s G League affiliate, Raptors 905, and leading it to the 2017 title. He has been mentioned as a candidate for numerous NBA head coaching positions and interviewed this year for vacancies in Charlotte, New York and Toronto.

He is the second new addition to the staff of J.B. Bickerstaff, who coached the Grizzlies for almost all of last season on an interim basis. Memphis also hired former Magic assistant Chad Forcier.

Before launching his coaching career, Stackhouse played 18 seasons in the NBA and twice made the All-Star team.