Mike Dunleavy Sr.

And-Ones: Dunleavy Sr., Diallo, Murray

Mike Dunleavy Sr. has officially been hired as head coach of Tulane, the university announced. “We could not be more excited to welcome Mike Dunleavy to the Green Wave family,” Tulane’s athletic director Troy Dannen said. “His reputation as a great evaluator of talent, master of strategy and teacher of the game define him today as one of the top basketball minds in the country at any level. His commitment to Tulane athletics is a game changer for our program.” Dunleavy has zero college coaching experience but owns a career NBA mark of 613-716 from his stints with the Lakers, Bucks, Trail Blazers and Clippers.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Hawaii junior combo forward Stefan Jankovic intends to sign with an agent and enter the 2016 NBA draft, Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com reports (via Twitter). The 22-year-old is the No. 78 ranked junior according to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.
  • Creighton junior point guard Maurice Watson Jr. intends to declare for the draft but won’t hire an agent, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com tweets. Watson is the No. 70 ranked junior according to Givony.
  • Kansas freshman forward/center Cheick Diallo, who has announced his intention to enter this year’s NBA draft, may be better served to return to school for another season, Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv relays. “He will get drafted but he could be in a much better position if he stayed another year to develop. He is headed to the D-League if he stays in the draft,” an NBA executive told Zagoria regarding Diallo’s NBA prospects.  The young big man is currently ranked 36th in Chad Ford’s ESPN Insider rankings and 39th according to Givony.
  • University of Washington freshman Dejounte Murray intends to sign with agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, reports Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group (on Twitter). Hiring an agent would eliminate the possibility of the combo guard returning to school in 2016/17. The 19-year-old is the No. 37 overall prospect, according to Givony, though Haynes notes that Murray is a potential lottery selection come June.
  • The Celtics have assigned James Young to their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be Young’s 12th jaunt to Maine on the season.

And-Ones: Anthony, Stepheson, Dunleavy Sr.

Cavs shooting guard J.R. Smith feels for his former Knicks teammate Carmelo Anthony and the struggles he’s endured, but he firmly believes that ‘Melo wants to stick it out and make things work in New York, Peter Botte of The New York Daily News writes. “I know it’s been hard on him,” Smith said. “It’s one of those situations when you’re a great player in the league and you just don’t have the support system, that cast that you’ve been accustomed to like when we were in Denver or the earlier years when he got to New York. I know it’s been a frustrating process, but if anybody can get through it, it will be Melo.”

And I know he absolutely wants to make it work here [New York],” Smith continued. “This is everything he asked for, I mean, except for not making the playoffs and stuff like that. But everything he’s doing for the city and for the Knicks, I think it’s harder for him now more than anything. He doesn’t have the whole supporting cast yet, but this year has been better than last year and I think they will continue to improve. And the way I know him, he’s committed there, for sure.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Alex Stepheson has returned to the Iowa Energy, which is the D-League affiliate of Memphis, after the Grizzlies declined to sign him to a second 10-day contract, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor relays (Twitter link). The 28-year-old made four appearances for Memphis and averaged 5.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in 15.3 minutes per outing.
  • The fact that Pelicans big man Anthony Davis has played the past three seasons with a shoulder injury makes his performance all the more impressive, though it does raise questions about whether he is more injury-prone than previously believed, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report writes. The scribe posits that New Orleans may need to rest Davis more often in the future to help maintain his health but also points to Dwight Howard, who has dealt with similar shoulder issues since 2013, as a reason to believe Davis can continue to log significant minutes without being coddled.
  • Former NBA coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. has a verbal agreement in place to become the next head coach of Tulane University, Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com reports. Dunleavy has zero college coaching experience but owns a career NBA mark of 613-716 from his stints with the Lakers, Bucks, Trail Blazers and Clippers.
  • The Hawks have recalled Lamar Patterson from the D-League, tweets Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Patterson was assigned to the Canton Charge, the affiliate of the Cavs, via the flexible assignment rule.

Byron Scott Takes Lead For Lakers Coaching Job

TUESDAY, 8:08am: Scott and Kobe Bryant have been engaging in conversations on “coach/player terms,” while Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Michael Cooper, a few of Scott’s former Lakers teammates, are pushing the Buss family to hire him, tweets Chris Broussard of ESPN.com.

MONDAY, 12:41pm: Byron Scott has become the front-runner in the race for the Lakers head coaching job, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Shelburne also identifies Lionel Hollins, Mike Dunleavy and Alvin Gentry as serious candidates. The inclusion of Gentry on that list is curious, since he’s agreed to leave his job as a Clippers assistant coach for an assistant’s job with the Warriors.

Scott has interviewed three times for the position, according to Shelburne. The Lakers have had at least one interview with Hollins, Dunleavy and Gentry, too, and they’ve also spoken with Kurt Rambis, whom Howard Beck of Bleacher Report listed as one of three favorites for the job about two weeks ago.

The 53-year-old Scott took this past season off from coaching after the Cavs fired him last year. It was the first time since the Nets hired him in 2000 that he hasn’t spent at least part of the season as the head coach of an NBA team. He’s 416-521 overall with the Nets, Pelicans (then Hornets) and Cavs, but he was the NBA’s Coach of the Year in 2008 with New Orleans.

The Lakers are the only team without a head coach at this point, and while they appear poised to go through the draft and the start of free agency without one, they like the idea of waiting to see what potential signees are looking for in a coach, Shelburne tweets. Scott and the others still in the mix aren’t necessarily the only ones who’ll get consideration for the job as the Lakers remain open to other candidates, Shelburne adds (Twitter link).

Lakers To Interview Lionel Hollins

TUESDAY, 5:35pm: Hollins’ interview with L.A. is scheduled for this Thursday, and he will also interview with the Cavs sometime next week, tweets Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News.

SUNDAY, 12:38pm: Lionel Hollins has emerged as a candidate for the Lakers vacant head coaching position, and team management plans to interview Hollins later this week, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The team has already interviewed Mike Dunleavy and Byron Scott for the opening left by the resignation of former coach Mike D’Antoni. This will make Hollins the first candidate to sit down with the team who doesn’t have a history with the organization, notes Wojnarowski.

Hollins has coached in parts of seven seasons, all with the Grizzlies, and has a career coaching record of 214-201 in 415 total games. In his final season with Memphis in 2013, Hollins won 56 games and lost in the Western Conference finals to the Spurs. Hollins’ career postseason record is 18-17.

One thing that sets Hollins apart from many of the other candidates being mentioned for the Lakers position is that Hollins is primarily a defensive-minded coach, which is in stark contrast to the “showtime” basketball the Lakers have been known for throughout the years. The team might be banking on Hollins’ serious-minded leadership style appealing to Kobe Bryant, writes Wojnarowski.

And-Ones: LeBron, Wittman, Levien, Dunleavy Sr.

LeBron James didn’t have much to say about the Cavaliers’ recent NBA Draft lottery coup or the speculation that he could decide to return to Cleveland if he opts out this summer, telling Charlie McCarthy of FOX Sports Florida“I heard about it but I don’t really have thoughts about it. … I’m in the middle of the conference finals, I’m not worried about draft lotteries, draft conversations. That’s the last thing on my mind.

Interestingly enough, LeBron added, “(The Heat aren’t) the most talented team, I don’t think, in the NBA. ... There are other talented teams. We have some very, very high IQ basketball players. I think IQ is more important than talent.”

With that aside, here’s more of this evening’s miscellaneous news and notes:

  • The Wizards haven’t been in a rush to make a decision on Randy Wittman‘s future, and a source tells Michael Lee of the Washington Post that there is no current timetable to get something done. Wittman, who led the team to its first playoff series win since 2004/05, was given strong endorsements from John Wall, Bradley Beal, Andre Miller, and several other team veterans after the season had ended.
  • Although former Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien’s recent resignation sent shockwaves around the league, sources tell Sean Deveney of the Sporting News  that tension between Levien and team owner Robert Pera had actually been building for months.
  • On ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Mike Dunleavy Sr. said that he hopes he has a shot at the Knicks head coaching job, adding that he’s very familiar with the triangle offense: “I played in the triangle system down in Houston, it was kind of left over from when Tex Winter coached there. All my teams, I’ve run it as a transition set. … Maybe I’m the outside guy from the other guys that [Phil Jackson will] talk to, former players who played in the system and other guys who coached under him in the system. But at least I do know the system. I have run it” (H/T to Al Iannazzone of Newsday). 
  • Timberwolves star Kevin Love may be the NBA’s most valuable player available for trade since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar requested out of Milwaukee in 1974, explains Kevin Pelton of ESPN (Insiders only).

Lakers Interview Byron Scott

THURSDAY, 12:01pm: Scott confirmed that the interview took place, as he said this morning on SiriusXM NBA Radio with Frank Isola and Malik Rose, notes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Scott spoke with co-owner Jim Buss as well as GM Mitch Kupchak, while rival Lakers coaching candidate Mike Dunleavy interviewed only with Kupchak, Medina points out.

“I had a great time talking with those guys,” Scott said. “Obviously I go way back with Mitch. We were teammates for a while and won a couple of championships together, so it was good. That’s basically all I can tell you. It was good, I had a lot of fun talking to them. Hopefully we’ll be talking again soon and we’ll see what happens.”

WEDNESDAY, 8:14am: The Lakers interviewed Byron Scott for their head coaching position on Tuesday, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Scott is one of the many candidates being considered to replace former coach Mike D’Antoni.

In 13 seasons as a head coach, Scott has a record of 416-521. He last coached the Cavaliers during the 2012/13 season, leading the team to a 24-58 record before being fired.

It’s likely that Jerry Buss would have hired Scott as the Lakers head coach instead of Mike Brown when Phil Jackson retired in 2011, writes Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. But Scott was coaching the Cavs at the time.

Mike Dunleavy, who is also a candidate, interviewed with GM Mitch Kupchak as well, tweets Arash Markazi of ESPN.com.

Lakers Interview Mike Dunleavy

THURSDAY, 7:52am: Dunleavy tells ESPN LA 710 radio that he did indeed interview with Kupchak, but he says the sitdown didn’t take place Wednesday, notes Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link).

WEDNESDAY, 12:01pm: Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak interviewed Mike Dunleavy for the team’s coaching vacancy this morning, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Dunleavy expressed interest in the job a few weeks ago after appearing on the team’s initial list of candidates, but he’s also met with Knicks president Phil Jackson about New York’s opening.

Dunleavy touted his relationship with Kobe Bryant when he spoke of his desire to coach the Lakers for a second time, referencing his recruitment of Bryant as a Clippers executive several years ago. Dunleavy, now 60 years old, succeeded Pat Riley as Lakers coach in the early 1990s, and since then he’s served as a head coach for the Bucks, Blazers and Clippers and was GM in Milwaukee in addition to his stint as Clippers GM. He was the NBA’s Coach of the Year with Portland in 1999, but he’s just 613-716 in parts of 17 seasons as a head coach in the league, the last of which came in 2009/10.

He isn’t the leading candidate for the Knicks job, but he and Jackson have had casual meetings regularly in recent years. Their latest encounter was more than just a friendly encounter and amounted to an interview. The notion of a tug-of-war between Jackson and the Lakers over a coaching candidate would spark fireworks, given Jackson’s deep-rooted connections to the Lakers franchise, but Dunleavy isn’t necessarily the favorite for the Lakers job, either. George Karl, Jeff Van Gundy, Byron Scott, Kurt Rambis, Kevin Ollie and John Calipari are all candidates the Lakers have reportedly planned to interview.

Atlantic Notes: Dunleavy, Felton, Nurse

There aren’t any teams from the Atlantic Division remaining in the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening along the east coast. Let’s take a quick look at the latest from around the division:

  • Mike Dunleavy met with Phil Jackson to discuss the Knicks head coaching job, sources confirmed to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. Dunleavy isn’t the leading candidate, Broussard says, but he remains a possible hire nonetheless.
  • Reports have surfaced that Jackson notified Raymond Felton that the Knicks intend to trade him this summer, and Keith Schlosser of Knicks Journal examines whether or not that would be a good move for the team.
  • Former Celtics shooting guard Von Wafer has signed a contract to play in China, reports Enea Trapani of Sportando. Wafer hasn’t played in NBA game since 2011/12, when he appeared in 33 contests for the Magic.
  • There are rumors suggesting that Raptors assistant coach Nick Nurse might be heading to Golden State next season to join Steve Kerr‘s staff, but Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun reveals that Nurse is still under contract with Toronto for next season (Twitter link). Still, as Wolstat points out in another tweet, coaches are generally let out of their contracts if they’re offered a better position elsewhere.

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

Coaching Rumors: Dunleavy, Fisher, Ollie

Mark Jackson has a multiyear agreement to return as a lead game analyst for ESPN, according to a report from The Associated Press. Although this may be an indicator that Jackson isn’t occupied with any serious coaching opportunities at the moment, the contract would presumably allow for Jackson to return to the bench should he land another head coaching gig. Diamond Leung of Bay Area News Group tweets that Jackson is still in the head coaching mix. Here’s more of the day’s coaching rumors:

  • Phil Jackson‘s meeting with Mike Dunleavy Sr. is believed to have been an interview for the Knicks open coaching job, reports Marc Berman of The New York Post.
  • A confidant of Derek Fisher tells Berman that the Thunder guard would be open to coaching next season if the right opportunity presented itself. Fisher is considered a leading candidate for the Knicks job.
  • Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal hears that it would take more than the $25MM contract Steve Kerr just received to lure Kevin Ollie to an NBA coaching job (Twitter link).

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.