Patrick Mutombo

Bucks Notes: Coaching Staff Changes, Giannis, Lillard, Beverley

The Bucks have parted ways with assistant coaches DJ Bakker, Sidney Dobner, and Josh Oppenheimer, sources confirmed to Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report first broke the news.

All three coaches were assistants under Adrian Griffin who finished the season with the Bucks after Griffin was dismissed in January and replaced by Doc Rivers. As Nehm notes, Rivers brought in a few new assistants after his arrival in Milwaukee, resulting in a super-sized coaching staff, so it seemed likely that changes would be coming this offseason.

Following the changes, the Bucks now have seven assistants on their staff, per Nehm: Dave Joerger, Rex Kalamian, Joe Prunty, Patrick Mutombo, Vin Baker, Trevor Gleeson, and Pete Dominguez. With new head coaches filling their staffs around the NBA it’s possible Rivers’ staff will undergo more tweaks before the 2024/25 season tips off in the fall.

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • Rivers said that he usually takes a bit of a break at the end of his team’s season, but that’s not the plan for his first offseason with the Bucks. The veteran head coach “can’t wait to get started” on preparations for 2024/25, as Ben Steele of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relays. “This summer is a very important summer for us. I have a lot of work to do,” Rivers said. “I’m going to take a break at some point, but not right away. Right now, I have some work to do that I have to get things right to make sure we’re ready for next year.”
  • Last offseason, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez entered the summer as free agents and Damian Lillard wasn’t acquired by the Bucks until late September. This year, with all the team’s core players under contract, Giannis Antetokounmpo is looking forward to a greater level of stability, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We’re not questioning and trying to figure out how it’s going to look moving forward. You know and now that you know, you just gotta work, strategize to the best of your abilities,” Antetokounmpo said. “Dame’s going to be here. Khris is going to be here. Brook (is) going to be here. Bobby (Portis is) going to be here. I hope I’m here. And then we go and try to find out what we have.”
  • Within the same Owczarski story, Antetokounmpo said he plans to visit Portland this offseason to spend some time with Lillard. “Go work out together, talk, sit down, just spend time,” Giannis said. “It doesn’t have to be basketball. Just spend time together. I’ve done it with Khris in 11 years. I’ve done it with Brook. It’s just what you gotta do.”
  • On the latest episode of his Pat Bev podcast, veteran guard Patrick Beverley said that before he repeatedly fired a basketball at Pacers fans in the last game of the Bucks’ season, he was called a word that he’d never been called before, per The Associated Press. However, Beverley acknowledged that his actions were “still inexcusable.” He was suspended for four games by the NBA. “That should have never happened,” he said of the incident. “Regardless of what was said, that should have never happened. Simple as that.”

Central Notes: Bucks Assistants, Beauchamp, Bulls, Pistons

Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin will be adding a couple of veteran assistants to his staff, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). The new hires are Joe Prunty and Patrick Mutombo, who were with the Hawks and Suns this past season, respectively.

It will be Prunty’s second stint in Milwaukee, as he previously spent four seasons with the organization (2014-18), serving as interim head coach in 2017/18. He had a brief stint as interim coach of the Hawks in ’22/23 as well before they hired Quin Snyder. Prunty has been an NBA assistant for over 20 years, getting his start with San Antonio.

A former assistant with the Nuggets and Raptors, Mutombo was also head coach of the Raptors 905, Toronto’s G League affiliate, before heading to Phoenix to join Monty Williams‘ staff. Williams was fired after the season ended (he was recently hired by Detroit), leaving Mutombo to find a new opportunity. He previously worked with Griffin in Toronto.

Here’s more from the Central:

  • Bucks wing MarJon Beauchamp, who just completed his rookie season, said he had plans to travel to Greece on Wednesday to train with two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, writes Lori Nickel of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I’m excited – I don’t know what to expect,” Beauchamp said with a big smile. He also intends to play in Summer League next month, according to Nickel. The 2022 first-round pick was attending Griffin’s introductory press conference when he relayed the information.
  • K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago weighs the pros and cons of the Bulls possibly pursuing Chris Paul if he ends up getting waived by the Suns. While Paul could help the Bulls, Johnson considers it a “long-shot scenario” at the moment, noting that signing him while retaining some of the team’s own free agents could push Chicago into the luxury tax.
  • If Victor Wembanyama, Brandon Miller, Scoot Henderson and Amen Thompson are the first four names called during the upcoming draft, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic believes the most likely scenario for the Pistons at No. 5 is selecting Villanova wing Cam Whitmore. In the event that Whitmore is taken No. 4, Edwards predicts Detroit will take Houston forward Jarace Walker instead of either of the Thompson twins. He also explores a “very, very, very unlikely” but “non-zero” scenario in which Miller falls to No. 5.

Raptors Notes: P. Mutombo, Stackhouse, Nurse, Offseason

Reporting in the wake of Nick Nurse‘s dismissal on Friday indicated that Ime Udoka would be one of the candidates the Raptors seriously consider to become their next head coach. Shams Charania of The Athletic confirms Toronto’s interest in Udoka and adds a couple more names to the team’s possible list of targets, writing that Patrick Mutombo and Jerry Stackhouse may receive consideration.

Mutombo, currently an assistant on Monty Williams‘ staff in Phoenix, was on the Raptors’ coaching staff from 2016-20 and coached the team’s G League affiliate (Raptors 905) from 2020-22 before joining the Suns last offseason.

Stackhouse also has an existing relationship with the Raptors, having been an assistant with the team in 2015/16 and the Raptors 905 head coach from 2016-18. He spent a season as an assistant coach with the Grizzlies in 2018/19 and has been the head coach at Vanderbilt since 2019. Stackhouse has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Pistons’ head coaching vacancy, though there has been no indication that he’ll interview for that position.

Here’s more on the Raptors and their newly opened head coaching job:

  • Some people in the Raptors organization were surprised by Friday’s news on Nurse, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca, who says Nurse and team president Masai Ujiri met four teams in the nine days after Toronto’s season ended. That level of communication is unusual for a team about to let go of a head coach, but Ujiri felt the Raptors needed a new voice and Nurse “welcomed the change,” says Lewenberg.
  • Raptors management had some questions about Nurse’s style of communication, Lewenberg writes, noting that the head coach had a habit of calling out players publicly without talking to them privately first. Following a bad loss in December, Nurse held closed-door meetings with some players and staffers that Lewenberg hears were “intense” and “confrontational.” Nurse also had a “tense” relationship with one assistant coach after telling him not to accompany the team on a road trip in January, Lewenberg adds.
  • Observing that several Raptors players improved individually, but not collectively, Ujiri said on Friday that he expects to make changes in Toronto this offseason beyond hiring a new coach, per Lewenberg. “I think changes are going to be made on all fronts,” Ujiri said. “We’re going to address that with the team. We saw how different players on our team would rise, would do well, but we never did it collectively. Maybe that could be fit. Maybe that could be system, sometimes role orientation, sometimes accountability – all the things we are going to really look at it how our roster is built. We believe in the players we have. Whether it’s tweaks or major changes, we’re definitely going to look at everything.”

Pacific Notes: Wall, George, Mutombo, Ayers, Looney, Payton II, Kings

John Wall is expected to sign with the Clippers once he clears waivers and he’ll be joining a close friend in Los Angeles, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times writes. Paul George formed a strong bond with Wall early in their NBA careers and they’ve both dealt with major injuries.

“He’s somebody I’m always going to root for,” George said during Wall’s first season in Houston. “He’s a brother to me, and I couldn’t be more happy to see him back on the floor and doing what he loves to do, and continuing to make those plays that everyone loves him for.” Wall didn’t get a chance to make those plays last season as he sat out while Houston developed its young backcourt.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

Suns To Hire Patrick Mutombo As Assistant Coach

The Suns plan to hire Patrick Mutombo as an assistant coach, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Mutombo has been the head coach of the Raptors 905, Toronto’s G League affiliate, for the past two seasons.

A former Division II player for Metro State, Mutombo made several international stops in his playing career prior to becoming a coach. His first NBA job came in 2011/12, when he was named player development coordinator for Denver.

Mutombo was promoted to an assistant coach the following season and stayed with the Nuggets until 2015, when he had a one-season stint with the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s G League affiliate. After Austin, he was hired by the Raptors as an assistant and stayed in that role from 2016-20.

In 2020, the 42-year-old was promoted to head coach of the Raptors 905. In each of Mutombo’s two seasons at the helm, the team finished with the best regular season record in the G League (12-3 in ’20/21 and 24-8 in ’21/22).

The Suns held the best regular season record in the NBA in 2021/22 at 64-18 and head coach Monty Williams won Coach of the Year after finishing second in ’20/21. Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (Twitter link) believes that Mutombo could become an NBA head coach in the future.

Raptors Notes: Anunoby, Webster, Ujiri, Lowry

Speaking today to reporters, including Lori Ewing of The Canadian Press (Twitter link), Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri said that veteran centers Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol were “incredible for us.” However, Toronto’s long-term plans meant that the team was “limited in terms and years” when it came to making Ibaka and Gasol contract offers.

The Raptors’ limitations stem from the club’s desire to maintain as much cap flexibility as possible for the 2021 offseason. As such, it remains to be seen whether or not forward OG Anunoby will receive a contract extension before the December 21 deadline. A new contract for Anunoby, which would begin in 2021/22, would cut into Toronto’s cap room if the starting salary on that new deal exceeds his cap hold as a restricted free agent ($11.6MM).

I think there are talks to be had,” Ujiri said today, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca (Twitter link). “They know of the abilities that we want, so we’ll keep having those conversations. The most important thing is we’re excited about OG.”

Anunoby, who spoke to reporters on Friday, confirmed that his agent was engaged in discussions with the Raptors about a possible extension, suggesting he’d have a better idea closer to the December 21 deadline whether a new deal is a realistic possibility (Twitter link via Lewenberg).

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Ujiri suggested today that the club has either completed or is close to finalizing extensions for most of his front office staffers, including general manager Bobby Webster (Twitter links via Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun and Blake Murphy of The Athletic). Ujiri said there’s been too much going on to focus on his own extension yet, but that he’ll go into those talks with a “very positive mind and attitude” and hopes to get something done (Twitter link via Lewenberg).
  • Ujiri isn’t ready to say one way or the other whether the Raptors will be able to host fans at their Tampa arena this season, noting that he has a meeting this afternoon to discuss the possibility (Twitter link via Wolstat).
  • Asked about the possibility of Kyle Lowry retiring as a Raptor, Ujiri referred to the veteran point guard as a future Hall-of-Famer, suggesting the team would be happy to continue its union with Lowry beyond 2021. He’s been incredibly respectful to the organization and we will have that same respect to Kyle anytime, everyday,” Ujiri said (Twitter link via Lewenberg).
  • The Raptors announced a series of coaching hires and promotions in a Friday press release, including Chris Finch and Jama Mahlalela as assistants on Nick Nurse‘s staff and Patrick Mutombo as the head coach of the Raptors 905, Toronto’s G League affiliate.

Atlantic Notes: Scott, Knicks, Donaldson, Raptors Staff

The Sixers are investigating an altercation between forward Mike Scott and an Eagles fan outside of Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, Enrico Campitelli of NBC Sports relays. Scott, who re-signed with the Sixers in July on a two-year contract, is a Washington Redskins fan and posted pictures of himself wearing a Redskins jersey on social media. The altercation was captured on video from at least two angles.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Former University of Minnesota guard Dupree McBrayer, ex-Georgetown guard Trey Dickerson and guard Pe’Shon Howard, who played for the Capital City Go Go last season, worked out for the Knicks and scrimmaged against their players Monday, Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype tweets. Franklin “Frank Nitty” Session, who played for the Killer 3’s of the BIG3, was also involved in the scrimmage.  The Knicks have a two-way deal and Exhibit 10 contracts to offer, Kennedy notes.
  • New Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson, who had been in the team’s front office, was originally hired by the organization after a stint with STATS LLC, as Zach Lowe of ESPN details. Donaldson made such a good impression analyzing the data and producing specific reports for NBA teams that the Raptors hired her. She will take the lead in translating analytic data for players and coaches but she’ll also scout opponents, debate rotations and X’s and O’s, and pitch strategic ideas, Lowe adds.
  • The Raptors officially announced the addition of 26-yard-old Donaldson as well as Jon Goodwillie to Nick Nurse’s staff in a team press release. Adrian Griffin, Sergio Scariolo, Nate Bjorkgren, Patrick Mutombo and Jim Sann are the staff holdovers. Additionally, John Corbacio has been promoted to head video coordinator/assistant coach while Tyler Marsh, Fabulous Flournoy and Mark Tyndale will serve as assistant video coordinators/player development coaches. Goodwillie had been the team’s video coordinator since 2011.

Atlantic Notes: Mutombo, Brown, Simmons

The Raptors have added Patrick Mutombo to their coaching staff, Blake Murphy of the Raptors Republic reports (Twitter link). Mutombo previously was an assistant coach with the Nuggets and more recently, an assistant coach with the Austin Spurs of the D-League.

Here’s more

  • Brett Brown remains focused on developing a culture within the Sixers organization, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “Those things ultimately matter,” said Brown. “Maybe not so much to the outside world, but if you really want to grow a program [it does]. I’ve seen what championships look like. I’ve seen five times what it takes to play in June. . . . So the growth sometimes might not be as quantifiable to the outside world. But I know it.”
  • While the Sixers will closely monitor Joel Embiid‘s minutes, rookie Ben Simmons will have no minutes restrictions and is expected to play over 30 minutes a game, Pompey passes along in the same piece. Simmons is also expected to take reigns of the offense early on.
  • Brown believes Dario Saric‘s experience playing in Europe will help him transition to the NBA, Jessica Camerato of Comcast Sportsnet writes. “He sort of contradicts his birth certificate in that his basketball experiences are rich,” Brown said.. “He’s not a kid. He’s no kid. He’s 22, but he’s no kid.” Saric was drafted by the Magic with the 12th pick in the 2014 draft before being traded to the Sixers.

 

 

 

Western Notes: Kroenke, Lillard, D-League

The National Football League gave its OK to Stan Kroenke’s plan to transfer ownership of the Nuggets to his wife, Ann Walton Kroenke, satisfying an NFL rule barring its owners from also owning another pro sports team in an NFL city, report Nathan Fenno and Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. Kroenke’s son Josh, who already serves as Nuggets team president and is the team’s representative on the board of governors, will continue to run the Nuggets and the National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche, Fenno and Farmer add. Stan Kroenke owns the NFL’s St. Louis Rams.

Here’s more from the West:

  • Damian Lillard, with input from C.J. McCollum, organized a team getaway to San Diego for the Trail Blazers in an effort to draw together all the newcomers from an offseason of upheaval in Portland, writes Anne M. Peterson of The Associated Press. It furthers the notion that Lillard, who signed a five-year max extension this summer, has replaced LaMarcus Aldridge as the team’s central figure, Peterson writes. “It’s still going to take us time to get to know each other. It’s going to take more than a week in San Diego, or getting here early before camp,” Lillard said. “It’s going to take more than that. Being out together in the preseason, we’ll learn more about each other. … I think it’s about the growth, the process.”
  • The Spurs announced via a press release that Patrick Mutombo and A.J. Diggs have been hired as assistant coaches for their D-League affiliate, the Austin Spurs. “The additions of Patrick and AJ bring a wealth of NBA and player development experience to our team that will serve our group well moving forward,” said coach Ken McDonald.  “We are fortunate to continue to attract strong candidates to join our coaching staff.”
  • The Mavericks‘ rotation at center is unsettled and while it’s not ideal, the team is counting on veteran big man Samuel Dalembert to contribute this season, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com writes. “Dalembert’s having a solid camp,” coach Rick Carlisle said after Tuesday night’s preseason contest against the Nuggets. “He came in a little bit out of shape. He’s working really hard to get himself where he needs to be. I thought his minutes tonight were positive.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.