Jim Cleamons

Bucks Line Up Coaching Interviews For This Week

The Bucks have a busy week of head coaching interviews ahead of them, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that the team will meet with Steve Clifford today after sitting down with Ettore Messina on Saturday.

In addition to today’s meeting with Clifford, the Bucks also have interviews lined up this week with Mike Budenholzer, Monty Williams, Becky Hammon, James Borrego, and David Blatt, per Wojnarowski. All of those interviewees had been previously named as potential candidates for the Milwaukee job, with Budenholzer and Williams viewed as possible favorites.

Assuming all those interviews take place this week as planned, the Bucks’ list of completed meetings would be up to at least seven. A recent report indicated that interim coach Joe Prunty would also get to interview for the permanent job, though it’s not clear if that meeting has already taken place or if he’ll sit down with Bucks management later in the process.

Wojnarowski said last week that the Bucks may interview up to about 10 candidates for their head coaching position, so it’s possible that one or two other contenders could join the fray. Jim Cleamons reportedly spoke informally to the club about the job, making him one candidate for a more formal interview.

Bucks Talk To Jim Cleamons

In addition to the names we passed along earlier today, the Bucks have spoken to former Mavericks head coach Jim Cleamons, posts Marc J. Spears on ESPN Now. Cleamons, who served as an assistant in Milwaukee in 2013/14, had an “informal phone conversation” this morning with GM Jon Horst.

Cleamons, 68, is a long-time assistant who briefly served as a head coach in Dallas in the late 1990s, compiling a 28-70 record. He was an assistant with the Bulls during Michael Jordan’s time there, and Jordan is considering him for the head coaching spot with the Hornets, according to Spears. Cleamons is also a candidate for a college coaching job with Chicago State.

Cleamons, who played nine NBA seasons, won an NBA title with the Lakers and nine as an assistant in L.A. and Chicago. He also served as an assistant with the Hornets and Knicks

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Batum, Hoiberg

The Knicks increasingly sense that Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton won’t leave Golden State for a head coaching job this summer, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Knicks team president Phil Jackson is in contact with Bulls executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson, who used to play for the Zen Master, and Jackson isn’t impressed with Tom Thibodeau, who worked for Paxson as Bulls coach, Berman writes. The Post scribe also implies Jackson isn’t about to go out of his way to hire former Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, leaving few options other than interim coach Kurt Rambis, whom Berman hears is closer with Jackson than just about any coach is with his boss and allows Jackson the level of input he’s longed for. However, Knicks players don’t respect Rambis as much as they did former coach Derek Fisher, sources indicated to Berman.

While we wait to see just who gets the job in New York, see more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Assistant coach Jim Cleamons, a former NBA point guard, was allowed only limited contact with rookie point guard Jerian Grant while Fisher was coach, but those restrictions have been lifted since Rambis took over, Berman reports in the same piece.
  • An NBA GM told The Oregonian’s John Canzano he thinks Nicolas Batum will be able to command salaries of $15MM to $17MM in free agency this summer (Twitter link). That’s well beneath the roughly $25MM maximum salary, though Zach Lowe of ESPN.com wrote in January that the Hornets swingman was likely to draw max offers. Batum is No. 9 in the Hoops Rumors Free Agent Power Rankings.
  • Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg has drawn criticism for his inability to reach players, but, perhaps buoyed by Taj Gibson‘s support, Hoiberg insists the locker room is united, notes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune“You have to have that continuity in the locker room, that unity,” Hoiberg said. “You have to look like you’re getting your message across. And I think we’ve done that with the guys. I can just base it on how our film sessions are going and how when they’re on the [practice] floor, they’re locked in. I feel like we have good chemistry with our staff and players.”

Atlantic Notes: Lin, D-League, Cleamons

Jeremy Lin isn’t interested in discussing the pointed comments that Amar’e Stoudemire had made regarding some Knicks players being unhappy with Lin’s rapid rise to stardom during the 2011/12 season, Daniel Popper of The New York Daily News writes. “I can’t speak on behalf of somebody else talking about somebody else,” Lin told Popper. “When you talk about journalism or being a professional or whatever, that’s not really what I like to do. I don’t like to guess or assume or predict or whatever. So I’m just going to stay out of it.” The assumption was made that Stoudemire was referring to Carmelo Anthony, though Stoudemire later denied that he was talking about the small forward. For what it’s worth, Lin said his relationship with ‘Melo during their stint together was fine, Popper adds. “He was always nice to me. He took us out to eat,” Lin said. “I’ve hung out with him a few times and stuff. And so, like I’ve said for a long time, I’ve never had issues with him.

Lin’s contract with the Hornets includes a player option for next season, and when asked if the chances of him opting out and returning to New York would increase if Anthony was no longer with the team, Lin told Popper that there were “many factors at play.” The point guard said his agent reached out to the Knicks last summer but was told the team had no interest, the Daily News scribe notes.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks assistant Jim Cleamons is interested in the vacant head coaching position at the University of Pittsburgh, Paul Zeise of 93.7 The Fan relays (Twitter link). Cleamons previously coached college ball for Youngstown State in the late 1980s and owns a career NCAA mark of 12-44.
  • The Nets may need to look overseas and to other undervalued markets in order to find impact players this summer, Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post writes. While Brooklyn is expected to have in the range of $40MM in cap space, the projected jump in the cap means that there will be plenty of competition for free agents, Bontemps notes.
  • The Celtics have assigned swingman James Young and power forward Coty Clarke to their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be Young’s 11th assignment on the season to Maine and Clarke’s second.

And-Ones: Knicks, D-League, Lauvergne

Team USA improved to 4-0 in the FIBA World Cup with a 106-71 victory over the Dominican Republic tonight. Kenneth Faried led the way with 16 points and six rebounds, DeMarcus Cousins added 13 points, and DeMar DeRozan contributed 11. Next up for Team USA is a match-up against the Ukraine this Friday. Here’s the latest from around the league:

  • The Knicks made four new additions to their coaching staff today, the team announced. Joining Derek Fisher‘s staff as assistant coaches are Jim Cleamons, Rasheed Hazzard, and Brian Keefe, with Joshua Longstaff also coming aboard as assistant coach for player development.
  • The Pistons have officially named Otis Smith the coach of their NBA D-League franchise, the Grand Rapids Drive, the team announced (Twitter link).
  • Smith is interested in the player developmental aspects of coaching in the D-League, writes Peter J. Wallner of MLive. Smith said, “I like that ‘development’ is in the league’s name. This way I can spend more time in staff development and player development, both on and off the floor. Just being on the floor with guys, teaching them, that’s what excites me the most about coaching at this level. Helping guys get to the next level, and helping them be a professional is what’s intriguing to me.”
  • Joffrey Lauvergne told John Schuhmann of NBA.com (Twitter link) that the Nuggets offered him a minimum salary deal this summer. That wasn’t enough to entice the No. 55 pick in the 2013 NBA draft to head to the states, so Lauvergne signed with Khimki of the Russian League. His deal does have a buyout clause that could be used next summer, notes Schuhmann.

Knicks Notes: Fisher, Cleamons, Anthony

Carmelo Anthony‘s former college coach, Jim Boeheim, believes that if ‘Melo had based his free agency decision purely on basketball reasons, then the Bulls would have been a better destination than the Knicks, writes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Boeheim said, “Just from a basketball point of view it would have been better to go to Chicago because they’ve got better players. But he wanted to be in New York and he wants to see if they can turn it around there. I think that’s a great thing.”

Here’s more from New York:

  • Boeheim also believes that Anthony would have left if Phil Jackson hadn’t taken over as team president. Boeheim said, “I would think so. He stayed because he believes Phil. Derek Fisher, he knows the game. If you’re going to pick a coach who hasn’t coached, he would be the guy I would pick. I think he’s a great choice. I talked to Derek a little bit. I think he’s really smart. I think he’ll be a really good coach. I think they’ll show significant improvement this year. If they get a couple of guys down the road, I think they’ll be good.”
  • The Knicks are adding Jim Cleamons to Derek Fisher‘s coaching staff, reports Al Iannazzone of Newsday. Cleamons had coached Fisher during his two stints as a Lakers assistant, and will help teach the Knicks players the triangle offense, notes Iannazzone.
  • With a new head coach, and the team installing the triangle offense, it’s not clear what starting lineup the Knicks will take to the court with. In a separate article, Begley examines some of the possible combinations that New York could utilize.

Latest On Knicks Coaching Search

2:24pm: Phil Jackson and Mike Dunleavy Sr. met this morning, a source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post. The two have had occasional casual meetings for a while, but today’s encounter was more than just a friendly get-together, Berman hears. It’s still unclear whether Jackson considers Dunleavy a strong candidate, a source close to Dunleavy tells Berman.

8:52am: There were no indications as of Thursday afternoon that the Knicks would consider Mark Jackson for the coaching vacancy, but apparently that’s changed, as Marc Berman of the New York Post hears that the former Warriors coach is on New York’s tentative list of candidates. The Knicks are also likely to interview Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis and Bucks assistant Jim Cleamons, assuming they get permission from their respective teams, and Knicks president Phil Jackson is high on Pacers assistant Nate McMillan, too, Berman writes.

Berman echoes earlier reports that the Knicks are eyeing Thunder guard Derek Fisher to coach the team. Still, a source tells the Post scribe that there’s concern about a bidding war between the Knicks and Lakers over Fisher, who plans to retire from playing when Oklahoma City’s postseason run ends. Fisher has expressed less than full-throated enthusiasm about coaching next season, as Berman notes.

Phil Jackson is OK with hiring an established coach who doesn’t specialize in the triangle, but he’d want someone willing to adopt at least a semblance of the triple-post offense, according to Berman. That conflicts somewhat with Thursday’s prevailing wisdom that the Knicks were focused mainly on young coaches with ties to the Knicks president. Other candidates who appear to be in the mix include Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue and Lakers D-League assistant Luke Walton.

Coaching Rumors: Jazz, Knicks

The Jazz do not currently have a timeline set for finding their new head coach, writes Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. Genessy adds that GM Dennis Lindsey is entering uncharted territory, as the only time he had been involved in a head coaching search was in 2003 with the Rockets, when he assisted then-GM Carroll Dawson as vice president of basketball operations. Despite his inexperience, Lindsey insisted that the search will be conducted with the “right professional decorum” and later added:

“…we’ll meet quickly, internally…We’ll set some criteria. We’ll look at some objective measures. We’ll look at some subjective measures about coaches and who’s going to be the new leader of the Utah Jazz and define some timelines about who we’re going to interview.”

According to Genessy, the new coaching hire will be decided on as a group that includes Lindsey, Jazz owner Gail Miller, CEO Greg Miller, Miller Sports Properties president Steve Miller, team president Randy Rigby, executive VP of basketball operations Kevin O’Connor, and CFO Bob Hyde.

You can read more coaching-related links below:

  • Genessy mentions that in addition to Jazz assistant Brad Jones, Lindsey has close ties with Jeff Van Gundy (who the Rockets ultimately hired to succeed Rudy Tomjanovich in 2003), Suns assistant Mike Longabardi, and Bulls assistant Andy Greer. Along with Jones, Genessy lists Jim Boylen and Ettore Messina as possible candidates, just as we had noted from Mike Monroe of the San Antonio-Express News and ESPN’s Marc Stein earlier today.
  • Former Bulls player Bill Wennington tells Newsday’s Al Iannazzone that Steve Kerr and Phil Jackson would fit together well in New York: “Their history together and just the way they work together and have worked together in the past with the offense and everything is a good combination…To me it’s a no-brainer.” Though Wennington admits that he has an interest in coaching, he tells Iannazzone that he hasn’t spoken to Jackson about possibly joining the Knicks.
  • Iannazzone lists Frank Hamblen, Jim Cleamons, Bill Cartwright, Scottie Pippen, Kurt Rambis, and Derek Fisher as a few names who could join the Knicks in some capacity at some point. As Marc Berman of the New York Post mentioned earlier, Ron Harper could surface on the team’s radar as well.

Steve Kerr Interested In Coaching Knicks

2:47pm: Kerr said that he anticipates hearing from Jackson about the team’s coaching vacancy, reiterated his desire to coach, and said that he’d be interested in the Knicks job in radio appearances today on SiriusXM’s NBA Radio and ESPN Chicago 1000. Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com passes the news along via Twitter.

MONDAY, 8:44am: Kerr’s friends say he may wait to see which other coaching jobs come open before saying yes to the Knicks, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Kerr intends to work his full playoff schedule for TNT, which runs through the conference finals, and he hasn’t spoken to his bosses about adjusting it to accommodate a coaching gig, Isola hears.

FRIDAY, 8:17am: Steve Kerr “absolutely expects” the Knicks to offer him their head coaching job, and he intends to accept such an offer, a source tells George Willis of the New York Post. Kerr has already spoken to TNT about adjusting his broadcasting schedule for the playoffs so he can start working for the Knicks, Willis hears.

Kerr has reportedly been the front-runner for the job for a while, and his name was linked to the Knicks as a possible candidate even when the team was still negotiating its deal with Phil Jackson. Mike Woodson is under contract to coach the team in 2014/15, but the Knicks had reportedly been planning to fire him if they failed to make the playoffs. Even after falling short of the postseason, Woodson received strong public support from Carmelo Anthony, who on Thursday referred to Woodson as “almost a father figure, a friend, a guy I can bounce stuff off of,” notes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Woodson still appears on his way out, according to Isola, who hears from a source who says that Woodson and Jackson will speak Friday, and either set up a meeting for next week or discuss the terms of their parting.

Several teams apparently would like to bring Kerr aboard as an executive, but his focus is on coaching. Marc Berman of the New York Post suggests Jim Cleamons as a potential candidate to become the top assistant coach for the Knicks if they hire Kerr as head coach.

And-Ones: Celtics, Cleamons, Mudiay

Jim Cleamons is interested in joining the Knicks organization now that Phil Jackson has taken over, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. According to the article, Cleamons would have interest in anything Jackson has to offer, including a position in the personnel department. Berman also writes that Cleamons is a big fan of Steve Kerr, and his ability to be a head coach because of his “quick learning curve.’’

More from around the league:

  • The Celtics season was a rough one in their first year of rebuilding, with the team finishing with a record of 25-57. Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald hands out the final grades for the players and the organization.
  • Incoming SMU freshman Emmanuel Mudiay will be in the conversation for being the first overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, writes Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link).
  • Dion Waiters said the firing of Cavs GM Chris Grant really affected him, writes Bob Finnan of The News Herald. Waiters said, “That’s a guy who took a chance on me, a young kid like myself coming from where I come from. He made my dream come true. You never want to see (anybody) get fired. He’s got a family. You’ve got to feed your kids. What could we have done differently? Did it take him getting fired for us to start playing the way we did? You never know. I know I took it hard because if we’d have been taking care of business like we were supposed to the beginning of the season, he would still be here.”
  • Jim Buss believes the Lakers future is bright, writes Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. Buss also promised to resign in a few years if the fortunes of the franchise weren’t reversed. He said, “There’s no question in my mind we will accomplish success. I’m not worried about putting myself on the line.