Mark Jackson

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Trent, Anunoby, Poeltl, Batum, Knicks

Down a pair of key players on Wednesday vs. Philadelphia, the Celtics got a boost from Derrick White – who scored 27 points – and Al Horford, who contributed 14 points, nine rebounds, and five blocks while playing strong defense against Joel Embiid, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

As Bontemps notes, White and Horford have taken a step back in the Celtics’ pecking order this season due to the offseason acquisitions of Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis. But with Porzingis and Jaylen Brown unavailable vs. the Sixers, White and Horford provided a reminder of their importance to the club.

“That’s the luxury that we have on our team,” Jayson Tatum said. “We have so many talented guys.”

It was a big night for Horford, in particular. While White has remained a permanent starter for the Celtics even after the offseason roster changes, Horford has been asked to come off the bench on a regular basis for the first time in his career. Coming into this season, he had been a reserve in just 10 of 1,013 regular season games. He has started only three of 10 this fall.

“We were we down a couple of guys so having to step up and create a spark plug was important for me to do,” Horford said, per Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. “I feel like that’s kind of been what I do for the most part, if I have to guard in the perimeter, if I have to guard in the post, create energy in different ways, shoot threes. I’m trying to do whatever I can to help our group.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • While Gary Trent Jr. (foot) is expected to suit up for the Raptors on Friday after missing the club’s last three games, forward OG Anunoby is listed as doubtful. As Josh Lewenberg of TSN tweets, Anunoby – who has been out for the past two games – received stitches on his lacerated right index finger and can still only shoot and dribble with his left hand.
  • Eric Koreen of The Athletic doesn’t believe that the Raptors‘ decisions to give up a top-six protected first-round pick for Jakob Poeltl and then to sign him to a four-year, $78MM contract were bad ones in isolation, given that Poeltl is a quality NBA starting center. However, Koreen suggests that Poeltl’s fit with Toronto’s other frontcourt pieces hasn’t exactly been seamless so far. The team has a -9.9 net rating when Poeltl, Pascal Siakam, and Scottie Barnes have shared the court this season.
  • Sixers forward Nicolas Batum, who has been away from the team for personal reasons, is out for Friday’s game in Atlanta but will likely be back for Sunday’s contest in Brooklyn, tweets Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Mark Jackson had been expected to call some Knicks games for MSG Network this season, but it seems that won’t happen after all, according to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post. Knicks management objected to having Jackson travel on the team plane, Marchand explains, in part due to an old “quarrel” between the former Warriors head coach and current Knicks assistant Darren Erman, who worked under Jackson in Golden State and recorded meetings without Jackson’s knowledge.

Knicks Notes: Fournier, Grimes, DiVincenzo, Holiday, Robinson

After Evan Fournier expressed his dissatisfaction over the summer about being pulled from the Knicks‘ rotation last season and not being given a chance to play for months, head coach Tom Thibodeau responded to Fournier’s complaints during a media session on Monday, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Post writes.

Thibodeau wasn’t overly sympathetic to Fournier’s gripes, pointing out that the numbers the Knicks posted without the veteran wing in the rotation speak for themselves.

“I didn’t come into (last) season thinking we were going to do the things that we did. We did it because we didn’t have success one way. So, we adjusted,” Thibodeau said. “And then the next group that went in, it’s hard to argue with 37-22 with a plus-five net rating. So, it is what it is. Your job is to stay ready. So whatever you’re doing, go out there and do it. Be part of the team.”

As Bondy writes, the Knicks went 37-45 in 2021/22 with Fournier as a full-time starter and were off to a 6-7 start last season when he was removed from the rotation. While the team’s turnaround certainly can’t be attributed solely to sitting Fournier, New York finished with a 47-35 record.

Fournier’s comments in July indicated that he didn’t expect to still be a Knick by this point, and a source tells Bondy that his representatives tried to work out a trade this summer. However, the club didn’t find a deal it liked. Fournier’s $18.9MM pseudo-expiring contract doesn’t have positive value on its own, but could be a useful salary-matching piece in the right trade.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • The Knicks committed approximately $47MM in guaranteed money to Donte DiVincenzo this offseason, but the plan for now is to have Quentin Grimes remain in the starting lineup at shooting guard, Thibodeau said on Monday, per Bondy. Thibodeau cited the success the club had after Grimes became a starter last season as the reason why he has earned the first shot at the job again this season. “Now of course you haven’t played any games and nothing has unfolded yet,” Thibodeau said. “So you base your decisions on the information you have. And that’s the information that we have and we’re going to go from there.” Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson project to be the other four starters.
  • Discussing his reasons for signing with the Knicks this offseason, DiVincenzo mentioned reuniting with his former Villanova teammates and getting to be close to family, tweets Ian Begley of DiVincenzo also believes the Knicks are in a great position to continue their winning ways: “Ultimately, I like to win basketball games. Looking at…where I was potentially going to land, I felt most comfortable coming here.”
  • The Knicks had some interest in Jrue Holiday when Portland made him available, but the fact that they weren’t prepared to outbid Boston is indicative of the patient, cautious approach that Leon Rose has taken since assuming control of the club’s front office, Begley writes for Begley still anticipates that the front office will take advantage of their extra draft assets by trading for an impact player at some point, but New York is clearly waiting for the right opportunity to push its chips into the middle of the table.
  • As an aside within a larger story about Deandre Ayton and the Trail Blazers, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports cites sources who say that the asking price for Mitchell Robinson, if the Knicks were to make him available, would be multiple first-round picks. Goodwill was making a point about the value of centers around the league, not suggesting that Robinson is on the trade block.
  • Steve Popper of Newsday (subscription required) outlines five questions facing the Knicks entering training camp, including whether or not to extend Immanuel Quickley and which players are at risk of having their minutes cut back in a crowded rotation.
  • Having been let go by ESPN this summer, Mark Jackson may fill in for Clyde Frazier on some MSG Network broadcasts of Knicks games this season, sources tell Andrew Marchand of The New York Post. According to Marchand, MSG Network had interest in bringing in Jackson’s former broadcast partner Jeff Van Gundy for some games as well, but that’s unlikely to happen in 2023/24.

And-Ones: D. Rivers, M. Jackson, Bahamas, Shooting Tech, Contracts

After letting go of Jeff Van Gundy last month, ESPN/ABC has also laid off fellow analyst Mark Jackson, sources tell Andrew Marchand of The New York Post. Jackson confirmed the news in an interview with Peter Vecsey, Marchand adds (via Twitter).

As Marchand writes, the new top NBA broadcast team at ESPN/ABC will be comprised of longtime play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, former Sixers head coach Doc Rivers, and Doris Burke, who is being promoted. The hiring of Rivers and promotion of Burke aren’t yet official, but they are “quickly moving in that direction,” according to Marchand.

Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald confirms Marchand’s reporting (via Twitter).

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The SunsDeandre Ayton and Eric Gordon, Pacers wing Buddy Hield, and Hornets big man Kai Jones are on the 2024 Olympic qualifying roster for the Bahamas, per Marc J. Spears of Andscape. The Bahamian national team will play its qualifying games in Argentina from August 14-20. “I’m excited to be back playing for Team Bahamas and to see how much the program has grown,” Ayton told Spears. “Can’t wait to play with my guys. It’s truly a special experience to compete with teammates – who are from where you’re from – with Bahamas on your chest.”
  • Tim MacMahon of ESPN details how Breakaway Data — a startup focused on the biomechanics of shooting — has partnered with Overtime Elite and Las Vegas Summer League to provide detailed breakdowns of each player’s shot. “I thought it was very informative,” Overtime Elite product Amen Thompson, drafted fourth overall by the Rockets, told ESPN. “Not everything works for everybody, but that [data] can’t really be a bad thing. It can only help to get as much information as possible. I felt like that’s what it gave us.”
  • Which players have inked the most lucrative contracts in NBA history? Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype provides the list. Jaylen Brown‘s new super-max extension with the Celtics is the current largest deal ever, Gozlan notes.

And-Ones: Irving, VanVleet, Lakers’ Arena, Jackson, Crawford, Gelfand

Kyrie Irving and Fred VanVleet — who is declining his player option — are the top free agent point guards, John Hollinger of The Athletic opines. According to Hollinger, they’re the only max or near-max point guards on the market. Hollinger rates D’Angelo Russell and Tre Jones as the only other free agent floor leaders worth more than the mid-level exception, with Russell Westbrook and Dennis Schröder warranting a mid-level investment.

We have more from the around the basketball world:

  • is closing part of its business but it won’t impact its naming rights deal for Arena in Los Angeles, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports. AEG, which owns and operates the home arena for the Lakers and Clippers, entered into a 20-year, $700MM naming rights agreement with Singapore-based in November 2021.
  • ABC and ESPN analyst Mark Jackson deserves another shot at coaching, an unnamed general manager told Marc Berman in a story. Jackson, the Warriors’ head coach before going into broadcasting, interviewed for the Bucks’ head coaching job that went to Adrian Griffin. He has also been passed over for a number of other head coaching jobs in recent years. “He needs to be open to be an associate head coach,” the GM said. “If he was on the bench in Memphis or New Orleans, he’d be perfect for Ja Morant or Zion Williamson.’’
  • The Suns are looking to hire Mavericks assistant Quinton Crawford as an assistant on Frank Vogel‘s staff, Marc Stein of The Stein Line tweets. In another coaching note, the Wizards are close to hiring Pelicans analytics expert Sammy Gelfand.

Bucks To Interview Mark Jackson For Coaching Job

Current ABC/ESPN broadcaster Mark Jackson will interview with the Bucks for a chance to take over as the team’s new head coach, sources inform Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Jackson, a longtime NBA point guard, served as the Warriors’ head coach from 2011-14. He improved Golden State from its lottery malaise into a solid playoff club.

Jackson owns a 121-109 (.526) regular season head coaching record. He led the Warriors to consecutive playoff appearances in 2012/13 and ’13/14. As a sixth seed after finishing 47-35 in 2013, Golden State upset the third-seeded Nuggets to advance to the second round, where the team fell in six games to the Spurs. The next year, the Warriors were eliminated in a hard-fought, seven-game first round series by the Clippers.

Given that the team struggled to break through in the postseason for two straight runs, Jackson was let go by the Warriors. Steve Kerr replaced him, leading the Warriors to their first of four NBA championships during the 2014/15 season.

As Charania notes, Jackson was one of the finalists for the Kings’ head coaching gig last summer before Mike Brown ultimately secured the role. Brown would go on to be named the 2023 Coach of the Year after he improved Sacramento’s record to 48-34 and help the club return to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years.

Milwaukee let go five-year head coach Mike Budenholzer earlier this offseason after his top-seeded Bucks were eliminated in five games by the No. 8 Heat. Budenholzer led Milwaukee to the 2021 title just two seasons ago.

Mark Jackson Interviewed For Lakers’ Coaching Job

Former Warriors head coach Mark Jackson, who is currently a broadcaster for ABC/ESPN, has interviewed for the Lakers‘ head coaching vacancy, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (Twitter link).

Jackson compiled a 121-109 record in three seasons with the Warriors from 2011-14, reaching the postseason twice. He’s a finalist for the lead coaching job in Sacramento, and reportedly the favored choice of the team’s owner. One report stated that the Kings are expected to select their new coach by the end of the week.

A report last month from Sam Amick of The Athletic indicated that LeBron James would be “very enthused” to see Jackson become the Lakers’ next coach, though James also favored Tyronn Lue and Jason Kidd before the team ended up hiring Frank Vogel in 2019. L.A. won the championship in Vogel’s first year, but he was fired after the team had a disappointing season in 2021/22, finishing with a 33-49 record.

The Lakers anticipate they’ll interview eight-to-10 candidates for the position via Zoom before narrowing down their list, tweets ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. The interviews are being conducted by the Buss family, GM Rob Pelinka and senior advisor Kurt Rambis.

Although the search has picked up steam this week, it’s still considered to be in the early stages, per The Athletic’s Bill Oram (Twitter link). In case you missed it, the team also interviewed former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts.

Kings To Make Head Coaching Decision By Week’s End?

The Kings, who are completing a second round of interviews with the three finalists for their head coaching job, are expected to make a decision by the end of the week, sources tell Sam Amick of The Athletic.

According to Amick, Mark Jackson and Steve Clifford have completed their final interviews, while Mike Brown had an informal visit with Kings officials on Wednesday and will have his formal sit-down with the team on Thursday.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report stated earlier this week that Jackson appears to be team owner Vivek Ranadive‘s preferred choice for the position, and Amick has heard the same thing from sources close to the situation. However, the Kings insist Ranadive isn’t putting his thumb on the scale and that general manager Monte McNair will be given the opportunity to make the final decision, says Amick.

There have been recent reports indicating that McNair has been given more authority and power in the Kings’ organization than previous heads of basketball operations under Ranadive. Amick suggests that the team’s decision to let Joe Dumars walk rather than promoting him to a level above McNair is a signal that Ranadive is showing support for his GM.

One of three teams currently seeking a new head coach, the Kings appear on track to finalize a hire before the Hornets or Lakers complete their respective searches.

Mark Jackson Frontrunner To Become New Kings Coach?

The Kings are interviewing the three finalistsMark Jackson, Steve Clifford and Mike Brown — for their vacant head coaching position this week, and it looks as if one might have the upper hand. League sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report that Jackson appears to be the frontrunner for the job and the favored choice of owner Vivek Ranadive.

Ranadive, who was the vice chairman of the Warriors when Jackson was their head coach from 2011-14, has long been an admirer of Jackson and pushed Sacramento’s front office to consider him for the lead assistant/associate head coach position that ultimately went to Alvin Gentry in 2020, sources tell Fischer.

It has been previously reported that the Kings are searching for a defensive-minded coach with previous head coaching experience, and all three finalists check those boxes. However, Ranadive is said to be looking for a vocal, public face for the franchise to create a day-to-day identity, according to Fischer, who notes that Jackson is popular among players.

A report last month indicated that LeBron James would be “enthused” to see Jackson as a candidate for the Lakers‘ vacancy, and sources tell Fischer that LaMelo Ball also favors Jackson for the Hornets‘ opening.

One major wrinkle to the notion that Jackson appears to be the favored choice of Ranadive is that the owner has repeatedly told colleagues around the league that general manager Monte McNair has full authority over the team’s basketball operations. Fischer points out that the decision to fire Luke Walton early in the season came from McNair, not Ranadive.

McNair appears to be leaning toward Brown as his top candidate for the position, multiple sources tell Fischer. Brown also has Warriors ties – he has been an assistant coach for Golden State for the past six years – and used to work with Kings assistant GM Wes Wilcox when the two were with Cleveland.

Fischer writes that if Jackson isn’t selected for the position, it could be partly because Joe Dumars left the organization to work in the league office — Dumars wanted to hire Jackson to become Detroit’s head coach in 2011. Dumors reportedly wanted more control over Sacramento’s front office, with McNair reporting to him instead of Ranadive, but the owner wasn’t interested in that arrangement.

As for former interim head coach Gentry, sources tell Bleacher Report that he’s been offered a role in Sacramento’s front office, but Gentry is looking into pursuing a job as a consultant, similar to the role Clifford recently held with the Nets.

Pacific Notes: Green, Poole, Booker, Kings Job

Draymond Green picked up a Flagrant Foul 2 in the second-round opener against the Grizzlies but he’s not going to alter his style, Kendra Andrews of ESPN writes.

“I am never going to change the way I play basketball,” the Warriors forward said. “It’s gotten me this far. Gotten me three championships, four All-Stars, Defensive Player of the Year. I’m not going to change now.”

We have more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Jordan Poole‘s dramatic improvement is chronicled by Andrews in a separate story. The Warriors’ guard put in extra work during the early days of the pandemic and it has paid off. Poole’s 31-point, nine-assist game against Memphis on Sunday was the latest example of his breakthrough year. “I’ve always made people eat their words,” Poole said. “I never went to the media and said anything about anybody else. I just shut up, take it all in and let my game do the talking. It feels a lot better. Oh, my god, it feels so good.”
  • Prior to the conference semifinals matchup against Dallas on Monday night, Suns All-Star Devin Booker said the hamstring injury that cost three games in the opening round is no longer an issue, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets“Feels great. Ready to go,” Booker said.
  • Among the three finalists for the coaching job, Mike Brown is the Kings’ best choice, James Ham of The Kings Beat opines. Brown checks all of the boxes, has the best résumé, and deserves another head coaching opportunity, Ham writes. Steve Clifford would be a safe choice but hasn’t enjoyed previous success like Brown, while Ham believes Mark Jackson would be a major risk.

Kings Interviewing Coaching Finalists This Week

The Kings are in the process of conducting the second round of interviews with the three finalists for their head coaching opening and owner Vivek Ranadive is heavily involved, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports.

Steve Clifford, Mark Jackson and Mike Brown were revealed as the finalists on Saturday.

Clifford, the former Hornets and Magic coach who mostly recently has done consulting work with the Nets, interviewed Sunday and continued his visit Monday, according to Amick. Jackson, the former Warriors coach and now longtime ESPN/ABC analyst, will then come to Sacramento for his follow-up interview.

Brown, now the Warriors’ associate head coach, is expected to speak with the Kings’ brass later this week. Brown’s interview(s) may take place in San Francisco as well as Sacramento, since the Warriors remain active in the playoffs.

The first round of interviews were conducted via Zoom and Ranadive wasn’t involved, Amick reports. GM Monte McNair, assistant GM Wes Wilcox and now former chief strategy officer Joe Dumars handled those interviews. Dumars was named on Monday the league’s executive vice president of basketball operations.

Dumars’ contract was expiring and he wanted more direct control over the front office if he was going to stick around, sources told Amick. He wanted McNair to report to him rather than Ranadive but the owner was not interested in doing that. It does not appear Dumars’ role will be filled.

As noted by Marc Stein in a Substack piece and affirmed by Amick, the Kings are seeking a defensive-minded coach.