Patrick Ewing

Kings To Interview David Blatt

The Kings have scheduled an interview for early this week with former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, according to Marc Stein of Blatt was one of the first names connected to the Sacramento coaching vacancy and has been a rumored candidate for several jobs since Cleveland fired him in January.

Blatt met with the Knicks this week to discuss the possibility of replacing interim coach Kurt Rambis and was believed to be a candidate for the Lakers’ job before they hired Luke Walton. During his brief stay in Cleveland, Blatt led the Cavaliers to the 2015 NBA Finals and compiled an 83-40 record.

Blatt will be at least the fifth candidate to interview for the head coaching position, according to James Ham of CSNBayArea. Ham reports that Sam Mitchell, Mike Woodson, Kevin McHale and Vinny Del Negro have all gone through formal interviews.

Indiana assistant Nate McMillan may soon join that group, Ham reports, depending what the Pacers do in tonight’s Game 7 with the Raptors. McMillan has a 266-269 career record in 12 years as head coach of the SuperSonics and Blazers.

The Kings are also planning to interview Charlotte assistant Patrick Ewing, whose team was eliminated from the playoffs today. Ham says Mark Jackson of ESPN and Grizzlies assistant Elston Turner are also on the list to be interviewed.

Once the interviews are complete, GM/executive Vlade Divac plans to whittle the list down to three finalists that he will present to Sacramento management. Despite earlier reports that the Kings wanted to find a coach this week, Ham says there is no timetable. The organization has been without a coach since it fired George Karl after the season ended.

Kings Notes: Coaching Search, Rondo, Cousins

Ex-Rockets coach Kevin McHale continues to be the most often discussed name by those inside the Kings organization, reports James Ham of CSN California. At 58, however, McHale is coming off a rough season in Houston, where he was fired after only 11 games and it’s still unclear how interested he is in returning to the bench, Ham cautions.  McHale is one of several names Hoops Rumors has listed in our primer for the Kings’ coaching search.

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Hornets coach Steve Clifford confirmed that Patrick Ewing will interview for the Kings’ coaching job, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel relays (on Twitter). It was reported Saturday that Ewing would interview with Sacramento.
  • The Kings would be smart to let Rajon Rondo walk via free agency if they cannot bring him back on a short and manageable contract, Bobby Marks of The Vertical writes. Heading into the summer, the Kings need to establish an identity, have defined roles for players and develop mental toughness, Marks adds.
  • The Kings’ front office must also determine whether DeMarcus Cousins is a player who can be the focal point of a playoff contender at this point of his career, writes Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders. Cousins is one of the league’s top big men, but the franchise has not seen any success with him as its star player, Davis adds. The organization’s dysfunction over the years is not all Cousins’ fault, but as the face of the team, he likely deserves some of the blame, Davis surmises.

Latest on Kings’ Coaching Search

The Kings are planning to interview Patrick Ewing for their head coaching position, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Ewing’s potential ability to command the respect of DeMarcus Cousins makes him an “intriguing candidate” for the Kings, sources tell Wojnarowski.

VP of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac has expressed a desire to have three finalists, and he will bring those candidates in front of ownership for a final round of interviews, Wojnarowski adds. The Kings are not at that point yet, as they are still conducting initial interviews.

Owner Vivek Ranadive is most intrigued with Kevin McHale for the position, sources tell Wojnarowski. However, McHale isn’t eager to take the job.

Kings To Interview Sam Mitchell, Vinny Del Negro

8:05pm: The Kings’ first three interviews for their vacant coaching position will be with Jackson, Del Negro and former Wolves interim coach Sam Mitchell, Marc Stein of reports (via Twitter).

TUESDAY, 2:50pm: The Kings are scheduled to interview Vinny Del Negro next week, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports, confirming a tweet from Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee that indicated as much. They’d like to interview Kevin McHale, but he hasn’t decided whether he’ll meet with the team, league sources told Wojnarowski, who earlier reported the team plans to interview Mike Woodson. The team is expected to meet with a handful of candidates for initial interviews before moving on to the next stage of its search, Wojnarowski hears.

Del Negro’s name emerged among several in the mix for the Kings job when Wojnarowski reported his candidacy last week. Sacramento reportedly contacted Del Negro for its vacancy in December 2014, shortly after firing Michael Malone, but since then, the Kings have had two head coaches, and Vlade Divac succeeded Pete D’Alessandro as the front office chief.

Sacramento has reached out to Tom Thibodeau, Scott Brooks, Ettore Messina, Luke Walton and David Blatt in addition to Del Negro and Woodson, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link), though Thibodeau and Brooks appear to be long shots, at best. Jeff Hornacek, Mark Jackson, Patrick Ewing, Nate McMillan and Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga are others in whom the team reportedly has interest as it seeks a replacement for the fired George Karl.

Experience appears to be a key for Divac as he looks at candidates, and Del Negro fits that bill. The 49-year-old is 210-184 in five seasons as an NBA head coach, split between the Bulls and the Clippers.

Pistons Notes: Van Gundy, Harris, Playoffs

The Pistons will take on the Cavs later today in their first playoff appearance since 2009, when they were swept by Cleveland. While the team prepares for the highly anticipated playoff game, let’s take a look at some notes from Detroit:

  • Executive/coach Stan Van Gundy believes coach David Blatt, whom the Cavs fired during the season, deserves another shot in the league, David Mayo of MLive writes. Van Gundy added that there are plenty of good candidates on the market. “It’s also why it’s hard for a lot of these assistants to get their chance. [Detroit assistant coach] Bob Beyer’s more than ready, [Charlotte assistant coach] Patrick Ewing‘s more than ready. That’s just the guys I know. But it’s hard for those guys to get an opportunity because there aren’t enough jobs for guys who have a proven head-coaching record,” Van Gundy said.
  • Van Gundy said he’s been perplexed for a while that Pacers assistant coach Nate McMillan hasn’t received an opportunity to be a head coach again, Mayo passes along in the same piece.
  • The Pistons were really surprised to nab Tobias Harris prior to the deadline this year, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “His name wasn’t even out there for us until two days before we did the deal,” Van Gundy said.
  • Harris’ focus since joining to the Pistons has been making the playoffs, which was something he really didn’t come close to in Orlando, Beard passes along in the same piece. “If we didn’t make the playoffs, I don’t know if I’d sleep at night,” Harris said. “I’ve been in situations on the other side for four years and that’s a tough side to be on, when you’re not in the playoff hunt.”

Southeast Notes: Morris, Whiteside, Anderson

Injuries limited Alan Anderson to just 13 games for the Wizards this season, but the shooting guard, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent, wants to return to Washington next season, J. Michael of writes. “I wasn’t able to show a lot of what I was capable of doing,” Anderson said. “I’m definitely a totally a different player than what I’ve shown. I definitely would love to be back. I expected to be back around January, then January went to February then February went to [late February], then I came back and got hurt again. I think me not playing kind of hurt us. I didn’t travel the first two months. We had no consistency. We’d beat tough teams and we’d lose to teams we should beat. We didn’t take care of home court as good as we should have. We were just like a roller coaster. In this league you can’t be that.”

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Markieff Morris is thrilled to be a member of the Wizards and appreciates how the team has utilized him thus far, Ben Standing of CSN Mid-Atlantic relays. “I love my position,” Morris told Standig. “I think they’re using me to the best of my abilities. I love my position they have me in now. I get to roam the floor. I get post-ups sometimes. Play pick-and-roll with John. Play the popper when John Wall and Marcin Gortat are playing pick-and-roll. I can’t wait to get to the summer and work with these guys. I’m 100% [with the system] right now. It takes a little while, but I’ve been here for a little while now. I’m comfortable with everybody.
  • Heat center Hassan Whiteside is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but he won’t let that overshadow his excitement at being in the playoffs, Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post relays. “I’m not gonna put a lot of pressure on myself,” Whiteside said. “When you start saying, ‘I gotta do this or that’… I’m just gonna play the way I’ve been playing and try to get every rebound and every block and play smart basketball. I’m not going to put pressure on myself.
  • Magic GM Rob Hennigan noted that it was a priority for the team to sign players with experience in the league this offseason, a sentiment that was echoed by many on Orlando’s current roster, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel relays (Twitter links).
  • Hornets assistant Patrick Ewing‘s ability to relate to players is one of his strongest selling points in his bid to become a head coach, Adi Joseph of The Sporting News writes. “He’s been a tremendous help for me, personally,” Hornets combo forward Marvin Williams told Joseph. “Even though he played center, he knows the game, from the point guard to the center. So there’s been many, many times where he sees something out there, and he’ll pull me aside and help me out, whether it be offensively or defensively. He does that for a lot of guys on our team. He’ll be a fantastic head coach one day, no question.
  • The Hawks have recalled swingman Lamar Patterson from the Austin Spurs of the NBA D-League, the team announced.

Knicks Notes: Jackson, Rambis, Anthony, Dolan

Knicks president Phil Jackson will consider other coaching candidates beyond Kurt Rambis, but only if he knows them well and they believe in the triangle offense, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Jackson said the coaching search could stretch through July, presumably to see if Golden State assistant Luke Walton would be interested. Jackson admitted the Knicks “came apart at the end of the season,’’ finishing 9-19 after Rambis took over, but he added that the interim coach will get an interview. Berman lists Brian Shaw, Bill CartwrightRick Fox and Scott Brooks as others likely to be interviewed. Jackson may also take the recommendation of GM Steve Mills and talk to former Cavaliers coach David Blatt.

Ex-Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau may be left off that list, as Jackson is devoted to the triangle and lashed out at critics of the approach. “That’s what I was brought here for — to install a system,’’ he said. “That’s all part of the package. Who are these people? Do they have 11 championships to talk about?”

There’s more postseason news from New York:

  • Jackson would like to bring free agents Langston Galloway and Lance Thomas back next season, Berman tweets. That also applies to Derrick Williams if he doesn’t decide to opt out of his $4.598MM deal.
  • There has been speculation about Carmelo Anthony forcing his way out of New York if the Knicks don’t have a productive summer in free agency, and the veteran forward said again today that his greatest desire is to win, tweets Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal. “I’ve thought about [playing somewhere else],” said Anthony, who could waive his no-trade clause and demand to be dealt elsewhere. “Only thing I think about is winning more, whether it’s here or somewhere else.” (Twitter link).
  • The coaching decision will be vital to Anthony and owner James Dolan, according to Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. Isola calls on Dolan to order a meeting with Anthony and Jackson where they can discuss their vision of the next coach. The columnist also urges Jackson to give up on the triangle and adjust to “the modern NBA,” which includes interviewing Thibodeau, Blatt, Brooks, Mark Jackson and Patrick Ewing.

Kings Eye McMillan, Ewing, McHale, Blatt, Others

1:27pm: McHale appears unlikely to take the Kings job, and Del Negro is the most realistic candidate, Mannix suggests.

THURSDAY, 1:02pm: Nate McMillan is also in the mix, sources told Stein (Twitter link).

10:15pm: The possibility of hiring McHale is gaining traction within the Kings organization, Chris Mannix of The Vertical tweets. Sacramento is intrigued by the possibility of McHale working with DeMarcus Cousins, Mannix adds.

3:09pm: The Kings are also considering Patrick Ewing, league sources tell Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee.

12:40pm: Kevin McHale and Mark Jackson are also under consideration, sources tell Marc Stein of (Twitter links). The Kings do have strong interest in Thibodeau and Brooks but acknowledge they’ll be tough gets, Stein adds. McHale is just a few months removed from having been fired by the Rockets, while Jackson last coached in 2013/14 with the Warriors.

WEDNESDAY, 11:53am: The Kings, poised to fire George Karl, will consider a group of candidates that includes David Blatt, Vinny Del Negro, Jeff Hornacek, Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga and Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson, sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks, who frequently draw mention as top NBA coaching candidates, are uninterested in the job, as Wojnarowski hears from league sources.

Blatt, whom the Cavs fired as their head coach in January, is also reportedly under consideration from the Knicks, though he’s reportedly a long shot for that job. The Nets have reportedly been eyeing him as well, and he has ties to the Brooklyn organization, having coached the Russian national team, which received significant financial backing from Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

Sacramento reportedly contacted Del Negro about its head coaching job in December 2014, when the team fired Michael Malone. Del Negro, a former Kings player, hasn’t coached in the NBA since the 2012/13 season with the Clippers, but Wojnarowski reported that he interviewed for the Pelicans job last summer.

Chatter about Hornacek has been quiet since the Suns fired him in February, though he earned respect around the league when he led Phoenix to a 48-34 record in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season during his first year as an NBA head coach. The Suns have regressed since then, and Hornacek wound up 101-112 overall in Phoenix. He was an assistant under former Kings coach Tyrone Corbin on the Jazz.

Wojnarowski wrote in February that Larranaga and Atkinson weren’t particularly eager to land the Kings job if it were to open. The assistants both reportedly interviewed for the Sixers job three years ago and have drawn frequent mention as a possible NBA head coaching candidate since. Larranaga was reportedly a contender for the recent opening at Georgia Tech that Josh Pastner ultimately filled.

Atlantic Notes: Reed, Sixers, D-League

Sixers GM Sam Hinkie predicts that this coming offseason will be an active one for the franchise and will have a different feel from the previous few summers, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays. “It will feel different by the number of young players that are added to our team, the number of players out of the draft, and even the vibe around our team in free agency will have a different type of feel,” Hinkie said. The GM also remains hopeful that upper-tier free agents will view Philadelphia as a viable destination, Pompey adds. “I think the best players in the world have great options,” Hinkie told reporters. “They will continue to, and they will choose what’s best for them. But I think we will be able to provide opportunities for guys that will be interesting, too.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Power forward Willie Reed has left the Nets for personal reasons and isn’t likely to rejoin the team this season, Brian Lewis of The New York Post tweets. The 25-year-old has reportedly been upset with his lack of playing time under interim coach Tony Brown. Reed is eligible to become a restricted free agent this summer provided Brooklyn tenders him a qualifying offer worth $1,215,696. He’s appeared in 39 games for the Nets this season and is averaging 4.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in 10.9 minutes per outing.
  • Hornets assistant coach Patrick Ewing hopes to secure an interview this summer for the Knicks head coaching position, though he isn’t banking on landing the job, as he told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Audio link). “Naturally, I’d love to be back in New York,’’ Ewing said. “I still have a home there in the offseason. I still get to go back there. My kids are still in that area. I guess it’s not meant to be. I’m happy where I am in Charlotte. It is my goal to be a head coach. If the Knicks called me and offered me a position and gave me an interview, I think it would be great. I’ve played there. I’ve been one of their best players. My number is in the rafters. I think it would be a great fit.’’ Interim coach Kurt Rambis is reportedly team president Phil Jackson‘s preferred choice to lead the team next season.
  • The Celtics have recalled power forward Jordan Mickey and swingman James Young from their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This was Mickey’s 13th trip to Maine on the season and Young’s 12th.

Atlantic Notes: Katz, Melo, Ewing, Noel

There was tragic news this morning as Daniel Rubin and Alfred Lubrano of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that former Nets owner Lewis Katz died Saturday night in a plane crash.  All seven people, including three crew members, perished in the accident at a Massachusetts airfield.  Katz was known not only for being an investor in the Nets, New Jersey Devils, and New York Yankees, but also as a prolific philantropist.  Hoops Rumors would like to extend our condolences to the friends and family of Katz and all of those who lost their lives in the awful tragedy.  Here’s the latest out of the Atlantic..

  • Ian Begley of weighs the pros and cons of Carmelo Anthony opting in from all sides.  If Melo opts in, it’ll allow the Knicks to get a clear idea of how much cap space they’ll have to work with next summer.  As for Melo, he can potentially make more money overall by waiting until next summer to sign his next big deal, whether it comes from the Knicks or someone else.
  • Once again, Patrick Ewing wants to coach the Knicks but has not been contacted about the vacancy, writes Ken Berger of “My family’s still there I still have a home there,” Ewing said Saturday on CBS Sports Radio’s Eye On Basketball show. “I don’t know what is going to happen in terms of who they’re going to have to fill that void. But if I get a call, I’ll be ready.”  Ewing has plenty of experience as an assistant coach but for one reason or another has not been given serious consideration for a head coaching gig. 
  • After sitting out all of last year, Sixers center Nerlens Noel is eager to show what he can do, writes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.  “The whole offseason I’ve really focused on getting stronger, putting on weight and gaining muscle, and that’s what I did,” the 6’11” Noel said. “Every aspect and skill point, I’ve been working on, too. My shot, I’ve progressed a lot, and I’m working on my technique. Every part of my game I’ve improved on.”