Mike Dunlap

Bucks Notes: Connaughton, Bogdanovic, Holiday, Assistants

Appearing on The Hoop Collective podcast with Brian Windhorst, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said he’s had a couple teams with cap room ask him about Bucks free-agent-to-be Pat Connaughton. While Lowe doesn’t necessarily expect a bidding war for Connaughton, he suggests the shooting guard should draw interest for more than the veteran’s minimum, which could make it tricky for the hard-capped Bucks to re-sign him.

Here’s more on Milwaukee:

  • In that same Hoop Collective podcast, Windhorst said it’s his understanding that Bogdan Bogdanovic really wanted to play with Giannis Antetokounmpo and might have been able to get a slightly more lucrative offer elsewhere in free agency. We still don’t know exactly what Bogdanovic’s new deal with Milwaukee will look like, but Windhorst estimated it’ll start in the $14-15MM range.
  • According to Windhorst, when the Pelicans were discussing trades for Jrue Holiday, gauging Holiday’s interest in a longer-team stay with potential trade partners was part of that process. While nothing has been agreed to yet, Windhorst gets the sense that Holiday is open to an extension (or eventually re-signing in free agency) with the Bucks.
  • The Bucks announced on Tuesday in a press release that they’ve officially hired Mike Dunlap and Josh Oppenheimer, naming them assistant coaches on Mike Budenholzer‘s staff. A report last month indicated that Oppenheimer – who worked in Milwaukee from 2013-16 would be returning to the franchise. Dunlap, who has spent the last six years as the head coach at Loyola Marymount University, previously had a brief stint as the Bobcats’ coach.

Bobcats Fire Mike Dunlap

The Bobcats have fired head coach Mike Dunlap, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). The team confirmed in a press release that Dunlap will not return, announcing that the search for his replacement will get underway immediately. The move comes after Dunlap spent just a single season in Charlotte, leading the team to a 21-61 record.

Dunlap was hired by the Bobcats last summer after a lengthy coaching search that reportedly included interviews of at least 10 candidates. Charlotte was coming off a season in which the team set a record for futility, posting a record-worst .106 winning percentage (7-59). Even though this year's 21-61 record isn't impressive by any means, it was a significant step up from last season's mark.

While the decision is a bit of a surprise, the season wasn't without incident for Dunlap and the Bobcats. He had a run-in with veteran shooting guard Ben Gordon earlier this year, and Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer wrote last week that "there are people in the organization who consider [Dunlap] arrogant." Nonetheless, I didn't expect to see Michael Jordan and the Bobcats go back to the drawing board just a year after bringing Dunlap aboard.

The move makes Charlotte the fourth Eastern Conference team to part ways with its coach since the regular season ended last Wednesday. The Pistons, Sixers, and Cavaliers are all in the market for a new head coach as well.

Odds & Ends: Magic, Noel, Stan Van Gundy, Curry

The future of the Kings was far from the only issue on the table at the NBA's Board of Governors meeting this week. USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt rounds up the other issues that owners discussed, including human growth hormone testing for players, the effect of widespread reliance on three-pointers, and the possibility of a joint bid for the 2015 All-Star Game between New York and Brooklyn. Here's more from the Association on the eve of the playoffs:

  • Magic GM Rob Hennigan has demonstrated a reluctance to pick up players with question marks surrounding their health, but Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel hears they wouldn't hesitate to draft top prospect Nerlens Noel, who tore his left ACL in February. 
  • Schmitz also hears Stan Van Gundy has no interest in becoming the next coach of the Cavaliers, Sixers or Pistons, the three teams with current coaching vacancies. The former Magic coach has been linked to the openings in Cleveland and Philadelphia.
  • Sixers assistant coach Michael Curry will interview for the head job in Philly, but a source tells John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer that interest from other teams will be high. 
  • Jamaal Tinsley started 32 games in place of the injured Mo Williams for the Jazz this season, and the 35-year-old Tinsley is convinced he has plenty left, telling Bill Oram of The Salt Lake Tribune he "realistically" thinks he can play for another three or four years in the league (Twitter link).
  • A report earlier this season suggested Omri Casspi was thinking about returning to play in his native Israel, but he tells Walla Sport that as long as he receives an offer from an NBA club, he won't play overseas next season (translation via HoopsHype). 
  • Mike Dunlap is rumored to be in danger of losing his job with the Bobcats, but the team is in no hurry to make its decision about him, preferring to listen to exit interviews and watch the coaching market develop first, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
  • Warriors GM Bob Myers told Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group that he had every confidence Stephen Curry would remain healthy when he signed the point guard to his four-year, $44MM extension last fall.

Coaching Rumors: Suns, Pistons, Raps, Sixers

Two teams have already made coaching changes today, as the Cavaliers parted ways with Byron Scott and the Sixers announced that Doug Collins won't be returning as head coach. There could be a few more spins on the coaching carousel before the day is done, so let's round up the latest….

  • ESPN.com's Marc Stein gets the sense that the Suns will take their time to make a decision on the future of coach Lindsey Hunter, who is not assured of returning (Twitter link). According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, Hunter didn't fare well in his end-of-season player evaluations — "players don't want him back," one source tells Berger.
  • It sounds as if Lawrence Frank is on the way out in Detroit, but he won't officially learn his fate until he meets with Pistons owner Tom Gores today, tweets Stein. Berger hears that one reason Frank wants his fourth-year option picked up if the team brings him back for a third year is that his wife has been ill, so he's reluctant to make a commitment to Detroit if the club isn't committed long-term to him.
  • The situation with Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman figures to take a couple weeks to be resolved, according to Berger.
  • Berger adds that Dwane Casey's job with the Raptors appears to be safe for now.
  • Although he acknowledges that the Sixers could replace Collins internally, John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer expects the team to interview several coaching candidates, including perhaps Mike Brown, Nate McMillan, Stan Van Gundy, Brian Shaw, and Michael Malone.
  • Tom Sorenson of the Charlotte Observer is at a loss in trying to determine whether or not the Bobcats should bring back head coach Mike Dunlap for next season.
  • According to GM Chris Grant, the Cavaliers' search for a new coach will begin immediately (Twitter link via Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio).

Odds & Ends: Jeffries, Coaches, Kahn, Raptors

Blazers owner Paul Allen spoke to reporters this evening about the offseason for his team, which begins tomorrow, and it seems one decision will have to be made fairly quickly. Jared Jeffries is under contract for the next two seasons, but neither is guaranteed. Next season would become guaranteed if he's not waived by the fifth day following Portland's final game this season, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports. Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com believes it's likely that Jeffries won't be back, judging by the 31-year-old's lack of playing time this season, so it appears the Blazers could be cutting him loose soon. Jeffries wants to remain in the NBA next season, however, and tells Haynes that he'll be looking for more playing time wherever he winds up.

As we wait to learn the fate of Jeffries and others as the offseason begins for nearly half the league, there's plenty more NBA news:

  • Sam Amick of USA Today examines which coaches are most likely to be out of work soon, placing Mike Dunlap among those in the greatest danger of losing their jobs, along with Keith Smart, Byron Scott and Lawrence Frank. He also suggests that if Rick Adelman returns to the Wolves, GM David Kahn will as well, but if the coach isn't back, Kahn may be on the outs, too.
  • Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo insists to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun that he never tried to fire coach Dwane Casey this season, as Simmons had previously reported.
  • Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, speaking with the team's broadcasters during tonight's game, said retaining unrestricted free agent Martell Webster will be key, confirming a pair of recent reportsCSNWashington.com has the video, in which Leonsis also expresses a desire to keep John Wall long-term.
  • Executives around the league who spoke to Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game are widely split on how much O.J. Mayo could command if he turns down his $4.2MM option for next season. Some figure he can't expect much of a raise, and others believe he could easily make $10MM-$12MM (Sulia link).
  • Point guard Josiah Turner, who played professionally in Canada this year after leaving the University of Arizona, will enter the draft, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Neither DraftExpress nor ESPN.com rate Turner as a top 100 prospect.

Stein On Van Gundy, Clippers, Pistons, Grizzlies

In his Weekend Dime column, ESPN.com's Marc Stein takes us on a ride around the NBA coaching carousel.  You must be this tall to check out the highlights..

  • According to sources, Stan Van Gundy's availability already has the Clippers highly intrigued.  That doesn't bode well for coach Vinny Del Negro, who might not even be able to save his job with a deep playoff run.
  • No team in coaching circles is rated as more likely to make a change than the Pistons. Sources consistently say that Lawrence Frank is going to be ousted when the season is over based on the lack of responsiveness from his players.  It would be a big surprise at this stage if the Pistons aren't soon in the market for a coach and they make target a former player.
  • One coaching source says that it is "very likely" that Lionel Hollins will get a new deal from the Grizzlies after the playoffs.  Word is that they'll still probably keep him in the event of a first round exit.
  • More than one source says that Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap is a coach in potential jeopardy, which undoubtedly stems from Michael Jordan's recent promise to season-ticket holders that major offseason changes are on the way.  Stein doesn't think that the criticism for Dunlap is fair considering the group that he has to work with.  
  • Sources continue to link Kelvin Sampson to the Bucks' opening, but interim coach Jim Boylan could get the full-time gig still.
  • One source with knowledge of the Suns said this week that Lindsey Hunter has a "good shot" to become the permanent head coach at season's end.
  • Byron Scott is believed to have the support of the front office, but there is a growing sense in Cleveland that owner Dan Gilbert will make a change regardless.  The coach had had to deal with the absences of Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao, and Dion Waiters throughout the year.
  • Wizards coach Randy Wittman appears to be safe and he should have less to worry about that the aforementioned coaches on the hot seat.

Odds & Ends: Dwight, Lakers, Warriors, Bobcats

Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops told Joe and Evan of WFAN 660 today that he believes there is a 50-50 chance that Dwight Howard winds up with the Nets by the trade deadline. Despite the Lakers' reassurances that they wouldn't be willing to deal their prized center, Sheridan thinks that they soon have to realize that this season cannot be salvaged and suggests that a deal involving MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Tyshawn Taylor,  Mirza Teletovic, Tornike Shengelia, the draft rights to some of their overseas prospects, and a few first round picks could be enough to get something done. Here's what else we're hearing this afternoon:  

  • In contrast to Sheridan's thoughts, Mike Trudell of Lakers.com tweets about Mitch Kupchak's insistence that Howard won't be traded and the unlikelihood that the Lakers acquire a talent upgrade anytime soon. Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times relayed Kupchak's thoughts explicitly: "I don’t anticipate anything dramatic talking place in the next two days" (Twitter link). 
  • Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News notes that coach Mike D'Antoni remains convinced the Lakers don't have to make any moves before the deadline and that Pau Gasol is hopeful he can return before the end of the regular season. Gasol, who suffered a foot injury two weeks ago, expects to be off crutches soon (All Twitter links). 
  • As we heard last week, Warriors ownership hasn't required the front office to make deals for the sake of avoiding the luxury tax and would be willing to make a deal if the right one came along. With that being said, team co-owner Joe Lacob told Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News that he likes how the current group has been performing and needs to see them continue to perform together for an extended period of time.
  • Bobcats head Coach Mike Dunlap said that he's met with some of his players to talk about the trade deadline, adding that he feels "uncomfortable communication" is necessary too. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer thinks that the latter was likely a reference to Ben Gordon, who has been notably unhappy with Dunlap this season (Twitter links). 


Eastern Notes: Bulls, Magic, Bobcats, Garnett

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times relayed some gems out of Bulls camp tonight, reporting that Chicago is still taking and making phone calls as the trade deadline approaches. He cites a source within the organization that says talks between the Bulls and Raptors involving Carlos Boozer are "off the table," and that there hasn't been a high demand for Richard Hamilton. As for Derrick Rose's status, the reality that he might not return this season hasn't put any additional pressure on Chicago to find more help or try to lessen the payroll. Here's more of what we've heard tonight out of the Eastern Conference:

  • Several Magic veterans weighed in on the possibility of being traded before next Thursday's deadline including J.J. Redick, who is in the final year of his deal and has drawn significant interest from other teams. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel says that although the front office has told their players that they aren't being shopped, they still acknowledge that they are responsible for listening to offers and taking into account what could make them better in the long term. 
  • Amidst reports of tension boiling over between Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap and embattled guard Ben Gordon on Monday, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer notes that it wasn't the first time that the 29-year-old guard appeared frustrated this season and that Gordon and Dunlap have already met twice before to discuss his role. 
  • Celtics forward Kevin Garnett explained his comments that this Sunday would be his last All-Star game, as some had seen it as possible hint that he would retire after this year: "Let's just put it like this: I'm more than grateful for going. I'm not going to act like I've got more All-Star games in me. So I'm just going to actually enjoy this one with friends and family. That's what I meant" (NBA.com).
  • Rich Levine of CSNNE.com said that nothing definitive can be concluded by Garnett's comments, and that only time will tell if he is actually contemplating retirement soon. 

Central Rumors: Bulls, Sloan, Pargo, Dunlap

NBA GMs were polled recently about their thoughts on the upcoming season, and one of the more intriguing revelations is that the Pacers received more votes to win the Central Division than the Bulls, who have finished with the league's best record two seasons in a row but are now without Derrick Rose. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is unfazed by the prediction, as Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com notes. Here's more from around the Central.

  • It doesn't look like both Donald Sloan and Jeremy Pargo will make the opening-night roster for the Cavs, according to Bob Finnan of The News Herald, who believes Sloan has the best chance to survive cuts (Sulia link). That's a little surprising, since Sloan's deal is without a guarantee, while Pargo has a fully guaranteed deal for $1MM this season.
  • With the Cavs' first regular season game just a week away, coach Byron Scott said the only players guaranteed a starting spot are Kyrie Irving and Anderson VarejaoJason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.
  • Mike Dunlap seemed like an out-of-nowhere hire when the Bobcats tabbed him as their new coach this summer, but Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets that the Bulls interviewed Dunlap for their coaching job in 2008, when they hired current Clippers boss Vinny Del Negro.

Bobcats’ Dunlap Close To Choosing Staff

Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports that new Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap is close to filling out his first coaching staff in Charlotte. Brian Winters and Dan Leibovitz have emerged as heavy favorites to take the final two spots on Dunlap's bench, joining Rick Brunson and Stephen Silas.

Winters, who was named an All-Star twice as a player, has NBA head coaching experience, having coached the Vancouver Grizzlies from 195 to 1997. He has also served as head coach of the WNBA's Indiana Fever, and as an assistant in the NBA with the Cavs, Hawks, Nuggets, and Warriors.

Leibovitz, like Dunlap, comes from the college coaching scene, having served four seasons as Hardford's head coach, as well as stints as an assistant with Temple and Penn.