Mike Longabardi

Sixers Officially Announce Nick Nurse’s Coaching Staff

The Sixers have officially announced the assistant coaches that will work under new head coach Nick Nurse in 2023/24, issuing a press release with the details.

Here are the Sixers assistants, several of which were previously reported:

  • Bryan Gates, a veteran assistant who appeared likely to leave the Suns for the Mavericks before deciding to join the 76ers instead.
  • Bobby Jackson, a former NBA guard who has been the head coach of the Stockton Kings in the G League for the last two years.
  • Rico Hines, who was an assistant under Nurse in Toronto last season. He also previously worked for the Kings and Warriors.
  • Matt Brase, a former assistant for the Rockets and Trail Blazers who was the head coach for Pallacanestro Varese in Italy last season.
  • Doug West, a former NBA player who previously coached at Villanova.
  • Coby Karl, the son of former NBA head coach George Karl. He previously coached the Sixers’ G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats.
  • Mike Longabardi, a veteran NBA assistant who was most recently an assistant for the Hawks. He’ll also be the head coach of the Delaware Blue Coats.

In addition to those assistants, Nurse will also be flanked by assistant coach/head video coordinator John Corbacio and player development assistants Fabulous Flournoy and Jason Love.

TJ DiLeo, Reggie Redding, and former NBA players Terrel Harris and Toure’ Murry will be associate player development coaches in Philadelphia.

“Assembling a great staff with a rich collection of experience was paramount on my to-do list this summer,” Nurse said in a statement. “I’m proud to have built many relationships in our league that have led me to feel as confident as I am in every member of this group. I can’t wait to get to work as we embark on our journey toward an NBA title.”

Sixers Notes: Longabardi, Karl, Reed, Harden, Whitmore

The Sixers are hiring Mike Longabardi as head coach of their G League affiliate in Delaware, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Longabardi has been an NBA assistant since 2003. He spent last season with the Hawks.

Longabardi will replace Coby Karl, who is expected to join Nick Nurse‘s staff in Philadelphia, Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice tweets.

We have more on the Sixers:

  • Center Paul Reed weighed in on James Harden‘ trade request, saying he hopes the disgruntled guard remains with the Sixers, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “James Harden, that’s like my big brother, one of the coolest vets I know,” he said. “I hope he comes back. But I understand business is business. And sometimes you got to do what you got to do. But like I said, that’s like my big brother. I hope he comes back.” Reed stayed with Philadelphia this summer when the Sixers matched Utah’s three-year offer sheet.
  • President of basketball operations Daryl Morey hinted on a radio appearance that he tried to swing a trade on draft night for Cam Whitmore, Sean Barnard of Philly Sports Network relays (Twitter link). “There was another prominent player who fell in this year’s draft that we were trying to move up for,” Morey said in a wide-ranging interview on The Anthony Gargano Show. “I couldn’t understand why they were falling because I’ve seen him play live multiple times here in town.” Whitmore, a Villanova product who was selected by the Rockets at No. 20, was named MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League.
  • In case you missed it, Harden weighed in on Damian Lillard‘s trade request. Get the details here.

Hawks Hiring Mike Longabardi As Assistant Coach

The Hawks are hiring Mike Longabardi as an assistant coach, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

With former Hawks lead assistant Chris Jent leaving Atlanta to take a job on Darvin Ham‘s Lakers staff, Joe Prunty will be promoted to become Nate McMillan‘s new top lieutenant and Longabardi will essentially fill Prunty’s old role, Wojnarowski explains.

Longabardi is a veteran NBA assistant coach who spent the 2021/22 season with the Kings. He previously served as an assistant on staffs in Houston from 2003-07, Boston from 2007-13, Phoenix from 2013-15, Cleveland from 2016-19, and Washington from 2019-21.

Longabardi, who a reputation as a defensive-minded coach, won titles with the Celtics in 2008 and the Cavaliers in 2016.

Kings’ Alvin Gentry Tests Positive For COVID-19

2:30pm: Christie will take over as the Kings’ acting coach while Gentry is unavailable, a source tells Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link).

11:01am: Kings head coach Alvin Gentry, who took over last month when the team dismissed Luke Walton, has tested positive for COVID-19, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (all Twitter links). Gentry figures to miss a few games, with one of his assistants taking over as an interim coach to the interim coach.

According to Wojnarowski, the Kings canceled their morning shootaround on Wednesday and are conducting COVID-19 tests to see if any other players or coaches have contracted the virus.

Gentry tells Wojnarowski that he has been essentially asymptomatic, outside of having a scratchy throat. Assistants Mike Longabardi and Doug Christie are the most likely candidates to replace him on the sidelines for the short term, Woj adds.

Gentry has led the Kings to a 5-6 record since taking the reins from Walton in November. Sacramento lost all three games on its recent road trip, prompting Gentry to state after Monday’s loss in Toronto that the team needs to find a way to “right the ship.” The Kings begin a three-game home stand on Wednesday against the struggling Wizards, the Ja Morant-less Grizzlies, and the 10-16 Spurs, so there’s some bounce-back potential there.

Gentry is the second head coach to enter the NBA’s health and safety protocols in the last week, joining Rick Carlisle of the Pacers.

California Notes: Iguodala, Bledsoe, Metu, Longabardi

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is excited to have veteran swingman Andre Iguodala back for his second stint with the club, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.

“He means the world to us,” Kerr told Poole, echoing a sentiment he recently expressed to The Athletic. “The last two seasons, we’ve been somewhat rudderless in many ways. I suspect we’re going to get our rudder back with Andre.”

Iguodala signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract with Golden State after spending the last two seasons with the Grizzlies (for whom he never played) and Heat.

There’s more out of California:

  • The Clippers‘ reunion with point guard Eric Bledsoe received an A-minus grade from Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Bledsoe was re-acquired in a trade this week that sent point guards Patrick Beverley and Rajon Rondo and center Daniel Oturu to the Grizzlies. Pelton praised the cost savings of the deal, which will amount to a reduction of about $30MM off L.A.’s luxury tax bill. Pelton also notes that the younger, more durable Bledsoe could prove to be an on-court upgrade for the Clippers as well, though he struggled in recent playoff appearances with the Bucks.
  • Fourth-year Kings center Chimezie Metu has been suspended for one Summer League game after punching two-way rookie Mavericks forward Eugene Omoruyi in the head during the fourth quarter of an eventual 86-70 win Sunday, per an NBA press release (Twitter link). Metu will miss the Summer League title game on Tuesday against the Celtics.
  • The Kings will be hiring Mike Longabardi as a front-of-bench assistant coach, per Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link). Longabardi, most recently an assistant with the Wizards since 2019, won the 2008 title as a Celtics assistant and the 2016 championship as a Cavaliers assistant.

Wizards Announce Changes To Coaching Staff

The Wizards have formally announced a series of changes to Scott Brooks‘ coaching staff, issuing a press release to confirm the moves.

Tony Brown, who has been an assistant on Brooks’ staff since 2016, has been promoted to associate head coach, making him the lead assistant in Washington. The team also hired Mike Longabardi, Corey Gaines, and Dean Oliver as assistants.

Longabardi, a veteran coach who served as an assistant for the Rockets, Celtics, Suns, and Cavaliers, has won titles with Boston and Cleveland. Gaines served as a coaching consultant for the Pistons last season after spending time as an assistant for the Knicks and Suns. Oliver, whom the Wizards call a “pioneer in sports analytics,” comes to D.C. from Sacramento.

Ryan Richman, an assistant coach for Brooks last season, has been named the head coach of the Capital City Go-Go, Washington’s G League affiliate. Jarell Christian, the Go-Go’s head coach in 2018/19, has joined the Wizards’ staff as an assistant. Interestingly, the Go-Go’s press release refers to both moves as “promotions.”

Despite all the incoming hires, the Wizards are also bringing back several members of last year’s staff, including assistants Robert Pack and Mike Terpstra, and developmental coach Kristi Toliver.

“Coach Brooks and I worked closely to pinpoint what areas we needed to improve and identify the best candidates, both internally and externally, to make the appropriate changes,” new permanent Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard said in a statement. “We’re very confident that we have a strong staff in place that is in line with the vision we have for our rebuilding our culture and focusing on the overall development of our players.”

Cavaliers Notes: Lue, Smith, Defense, Blatt

The Cavaliers are in their worst position since LeBron James returned and nobody is sure what’s coming next, writes Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. Dan Gilbert is known as an emotional and reactionary owner, and giving up 148 points to the Thunder on Saturday may push him to make a move. That could be a trade, alterations to the lineup or changes on the coaching staff.

Head coach Tyronn Lue is probably safe because there is no obvious choice to replace him. If Lue is dismissed, assistants Larry Drew and Mike Longabardi would probably follow, and Jim Boylan isn’t viewed as a potential head coach, according to Lloyd. The other assistants, James Posey, Phil Handy and Damon Jones, don’t have the experience to handle a high-profile team like the Cavaliers. Someone outside the organization would be put in a difficult position trying to install a new system in the middle of a season, Lloyd adds.

There’s more news out of Cleveand:

  • The Cavs aren’t getting much production from J.R. Smith, but they don’t have a good option to replace him until Iman Shumpert returns from knee surgery, Lloyd adds in the same story. Kyle Korver isn’t an option to start at age 36, and Cedi Osman isn’t a long-term solution. Dwyane Wade began the season as a starter, but has settled into his role as the leader of the second unit. Another problem is the poor play of Jae Crowder, Lloyd writes, which could force Lue to reinsert Tristan Thompson into the starting lineup and put Channing Frye back in the rotation.
  • Personnel changes are the only thing that can fix the mess in Cleveland, contends Sam Amico of AmicoHoops. The Cavaliers aren’t as good as they appear on offense, he writes, with poor ball movement and too much one-on-one play that leads to too many 3-pointers. They’re even worse at the other end of the court, with no rim protectors and no strong defenders on the perimeter. “I think it’s tough for us one-on-one [to defend],” Lue said Saturday when asked whether the issue was personnel or effort. “Look at the final score — you score 124 and still lose by 24, that’s tough to swallow.”
  • The Cavaliers’ problems haven’t escaped the notice of former coach David Blatt, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. “I hope we don’t give up as many points as Cleveland did last night,” Blatt said before the Turkish All-Star Game.

Cavaliers Rumors: LeBron, Irving, Williams, Lue

After a week filled with speculation sparked by comments that he would like to team up with three of his friends, LeBron James is expressing confidence in the Cavaliers’ chances at an NBA title, writes Fred Kerber of The New York Post. James said he dreams of joining forces with Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul for at least one season before they all retire. That came on the heels of a decision Monday to unfollow the Cavs’ official Twitter account. On Saturday, James, who can opt out of his contract this summer, expressed confidence in his current teammates and indicated his long-term future will be in Cleveland. “I believe in what we have,” he said. “And I know we can win a championship with the group we have. And I’m confident in my abilities to lead this group and everything else is smoke and mirrors and doesn’t really matter to me.”

There’s more news out of Cleveland:

  • The constant hints about his future have turned James into a distraction, contends Mark Heisler of The Los Angeles Daily News. Replacing head coach David Blatt with Tyronn Lue was supposed to bring peace to the locker room, but Heisler writes that point guard Kyrie Irving isn’t willing to become a second option to James the way that Wade did in Miami. Irving is seven years younger than James and is signed through 2019, so Heisler thinks he considers himself a cornerstone in Cleveland regardless of what James decides.
  • Backup point guard Mo Williams returned to the court Saturday for the first time in a month after getting an injection in his left knee, according to Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal. Williams had just started practicing a few days ago, but Lue asked him to help out with Irving sidelined. “I just started on-court stuff Monday,” Williams said. “In my mind it was next week, that’s what I was telling everyone silently. Every situation is different and I’m the ultimate team guy. I’m not going to put our team in a bind.” Williams said he will probably have knee pain the rest of his career but doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon.
  • Lue resumed coaching the defense after the Cavs gave up 122 points last week in a loss to Miami, Lloyd writes in the same piece. He had given those duties to assistant Mike Longabardi after being named head coach.

Central Notes: Drummond, Blatt, Longabardi

Andre Drummond‘s free-throw shooting leaves much to be desired, but he’s working on it with Pistons shooting coach Dave Hopla, and the deficiency is not nearly glaring enough to dissuade the team from giving him a maximum-salary contract in the summer, MLive’s David Mayo contends. Besides, failing to max him out would break the trust between team and player forged when they let the extension deadline pass in the fall for the benefit of cap flexibility in the offseason ahead, and the consequences of such a betrayal would be profound, Mayo argues. See more from the Central Division:

  • The lack of pace with which the Cavs played under former coach David Blatt was a source of conflict between him and the front office, as even though Blatt was aware the team played better when it ran, he was unable to quicken the attack, according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Still, members of the Cavs have told Pluto that the team could take a step back before it improves while adjusting to the new speed under Tyronn Lue.
  • The Cavs formally hired Mike Longabardi as an assistant coach before Wednesday’s game, the team announced. Longabardi was one of two assistants the Suns fired a month ago. Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com first reported that Longabardi would be joining the Cleveland staff as a defensive specialist.
  • Mike Dunleavy will play rehab games on D-League assignment before making his return to the Bulls from back surgery, his father, Mike Dunleavy Sr., said Wednesday on SiriusXM NBA Radio, as host Justin Termine tweets.

And-Ones: Cavs, Wiggins, Nets

The Cavs will add veteran assistant Mike Longabardi to new head coach Tyronn Lue‘s staff, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reports. Lue and Longabardi spent four seasons together on Doc Rivers‘ staff in Boston, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic notes (on Twitter). Longabardi is expected to take over the defensive specialist role that Lue held, Windhorst adds. The Suns fired Longabardi, who is known as a defensive specialist, from his role as assistant coach in late December.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Andrew Wiggins has not spoke candidly about his feelings regarding the Cavs, the team that shipped him to the Wolves as part of the deal for Kevin Love, and instead has preferred to let his play speak for itself, Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune writes. Wiggins has performed particularly well against the Cavs, as Youngblood points out.
  • One of the top assistants in the league, like Sean Sweeney of the Bucks, would be a sensible fit for the Nets‘ coaching vacancy because it would be wise for Brooklyn to avoid the long term implications of a flashy hire, Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders argues.
  • Center Salah Mejri, who was recently coming off the bench in the D-League, found himself starting for the Mavs in place of the injured Zaza Pachulia and is making the most out of his opportunity, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News relays.
  • Arinze Onuaku, who was with the Wolves at the end of last season, will be signing with the D-League, international journalist David Pick reports (on Twitter). Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv released Onuaku, Pick adds.