Rico Hines

Sixers Notes: Springer, Wings, Hines, T. Smith, Harden

Jaden Springer, the 28th overall pick in the 2021 draft, has only appeared in 18 NBA games in his first two professional seasons, logging just 95 total minutes in those contests. The Sixers guard began making his case in the team’s preseason opener on Sunday for more playing time in year three, racking up 14 points, five rebounds, and a pair of assists in 24 minutes of action.

“I’m just proud of him, man,” Tyrese Maxey said after the game, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He’s been working the last three years. I told him, ‘This year, it’s time. We’re probably going to need you. We’re going to need you to step up and play bigger and older than what you are.’ … So I’m proud of him.”

While Springer hasn’t had a regular role at the NBA level, he had a strong season with the Delaware Blue Coats (Philadelphia’s G League affiliate) in 2022/23, earning Finals MVP honors for the NBAGL champions.

The Sixers will have until October 31 to make a decision on Springer’s $4.02MM rookie scale team option for the 2024/25 season. Although that cap hit is pretty team-friendly, it would cut into Philadelphia’s projected cap room for next summer. Maintaining that cap flexibility has been a priority for the front office, so Springer’s option isn’t a lock to be exercised.

Here’s more on the 76ers:

  • With Jalen McDaniels, Matisse Thybulle, and Georges Niang no longer on the roster, a handful of new and returning players are fighting for minutes on the wing, as Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer details. Danuel House and Furkan Korkmaz, who were out of the rotation for much of last season, are among those in the mix, along with newcomers like Kelly Oubre and Danny Green.
  • Within a wide-ranging conversation with Mizell, Sixers assistant coach Rico Hines praised guard Terquavion Smith, who took part in Hines’ pickup games at UCLA this summer after signing a two-way contract with Philadelphia as an undrafted free agent.  “I think he has a world of talent, and I think the sky’s the limit for him to continue to grow and get better,” Hines said. “He’s a kid that had first-round talent if he would have come out, probably, a year ago. But whatever the case may be, he fell to us and we’re lucky to have him. For us, it’s just continuing to coach him and getting him better. But I thought he raised a lot of eyebrows in there from veteran guys saying, ‘Man, who is this kid?’ Because they didn’t know him.
  • Although James Harden has been a full participant in Sixers’ last few practices, it’s unclear whether he’ll make his preseason debut on Wednesday, per head coach Nick Nurse, who says the team continues to take a “day by day” approach with the star guard. Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer has the story.

And-Ones: Extension Predictions, Overtime Elite, Hines, Streaming

Of the players eligible for rookie scale extensions in 2023, five have signed new contracts. What will happen with the remaining group?

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explored that topic today, making predictions on which players will sign extensions and which won’t. The players who don’t sign extensions before the start of the 2023/24 regular season will be eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of 2024.

Let’s start with former No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman, who is now on the Pistons after being traded in February.

No deal to be done,” sources told Pincus. “He has too much to prove unless he wants an extremely team-friendly extension. This one will wait.”

How about Magic guard Cole Anthony, who is a member of a crowded backcourt in Orlando?

I think they move Anthony, maybe even before the season. But I don’t think they extend him,” one player agent said.

Ultimately, Pincus believes most of the rookie scale candidates will hit restricted free agency next summer, but a handful could get extensions and a few more have situations worth monitoring.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The Overtime Elite league has finalized its rosters for the ’23/24 season, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. A total of 31 players on three teams will compete in OTE during the upcoming campaign. A number of prospects have been drafted from the upstart league over the past couple seasons, including Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson, twin brothers who were back-to-back lottery picks in June (Nos. 4 and 5, respectively).
  • ESPN’s Dave McMenamin takes an in-depth look at the competitive summer pickup games at UCLA’s student center, which are run by former Bruins guard and current Sixers assistant Rico Hines. Multiple NBA players and teams are in attendance every year, McMenamin writes, including Warriors star Stephen Curry last offseason. “For me, it’s how can somebody get from being a two-way player or just a subpar player to then getting, ‘Man, he’s made it. He’s a real NBA player,'” Hines said. “That’s what it’s about for me.”
  • Some NBA games will be streamed on Max this season, according to Richard Deitsch and Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. The games will be part of an add-on package in partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery Sports, and will cost $9.99 per month.

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.”

Atlantic Notes: Beal, Brown, Brogdon, Harden, Towns

The Celtics made inquiries about Bradley Beal in the past, but they’re unlikely to pursue the high-scoring Wizards guard now, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said Wednesday on “NBA Today” (video link). Boston had thoughts of teaming up Beal with his long-time friend Jayson Tatum, but Windhorst doesn’t believe it’s realistic with the team’s current salary structure.

“My feel from talking to sources is that the Celtics are not necessarily in on this one,” Windhorst said. “Their intention is to get Jaylen Brown on a contract extension this year. Even if they got Jaylen Brown done, the idea of bringing in Bradley Beal would be extraordinarily difficult because of the three contracts together. I don’t think any conversation that involves trading Jaylen Brown is something the Celtics are super interested in right now.”

Brown became eligible for a super-max contract by earning All-NBA honors this season. Beal signed a maximum contract last summer and will make nearly $208MM over the next four years, while Tatum will be eligible to sign a super-max extension in 2024.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • With the Celtics hoping to trim salary this summer, Brian Robb of MassLive suggests potential deals involving Malcolm Brogdon. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year had a productive first season in Boston, but he’s owed $22.5MM in each of the next two years and that money may be needed elsewhere. Robb proposes trades involving the Knicks, Clippers, Lakers, Raptors and 76ers.
  • The Sixers prefer to re-sign James Harden, but they shouldn’t be viewed as desperate, according to Windhorst, who says in his latest podcast that Philadelphia has alternatives lined up if the veteran guard returns to Houston. “While they absolutely want James Harden back, and I think there’s a way they can play together and still be highly successful, the Sixers have other moves they can make,” Windhorst said. “If Harden walks, they have cap space. They have tradable contracts. They have things they can do. Harden is important, but not the end-all and be-all for the 76ers.”
  • Rico Hines will be an assistant to new Sixers head coach Nick Nurse, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Hines worked under Nurse with the Raptors last season.
  • The Knicks would have numerous ways to match Karl-Anthony Towns‘ salary in a trade if the Timberwolves make him available, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Because Towns’ extension doesn’t start until 2024/25, he will make $36MM next season. Sending out Julius Randle ($25.6MM) or Mitchell Robinson ($15.6MM), either of whom might be redundant on the same team with Towns, gives New York plenty of remaining options to reach a matching figure, Begley notes.

Atlantic Notes: Jackson, Brazdeikis, Rose, Rajakovic

Bobby Jackson is leaving the Kings to join Nick Nurse‘s staff with the Sixers, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack post. Jackson has been the head coach of the Kings’ G League affiliate in Stockton. Raptors developmental coach Rico Hines is another candidate to join Nurse’s staff in Philadelphia.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • After winning a championship in Lithuania with Zalgiris Kaunas, forward Ignas Brazdeikis will attend the Raptors’ mini-camp this week, Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com reports. The four-day mini-camp begins on Monday. Brazdeikis’ contract with Zalgiris includes a player option and an NBA exit clause, according to Urbonas. Brazdeikis averaged 11.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in his rookie EuroLeague season. Brazdeikis has appeared in 64 NBA games, most recently with Orlando during the 2021/22 season.
  • The Knicks have more incentive under the upcoming CBA rules to exercise their option on Derrick Rose, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. Since more taxpaying teams may be looking to dump salary ahead of the 2024/25 season, the Knicks could use Rose’s $15.6MM expiring deal, plus Evan Fournier‘s $18.86MM salary (the team holds a ’24/25 option) to help acquire a high-level impact player with more than one year remaining on his deal.
  • Connecting with Scottie Barnes and getting more out of Precious Achiuwa are among the major challenges for new Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes.

Coaching Rumors: Lue, Popovich, Pistons, Raptors, Udoka

The Bucks and Suns are rumored to be interested in Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue, but he’s still under contract for two more seasons, though only one of those is thought to be guaranteed.

There’s growing skepticism among those close to the coach and the Clippers that a rival team would be able to poach Lue away, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

The Clippers still hope to contend for championships going forward despite another disappointing playoff exit in 2022/23, and owner Steve Ballmer is known to be a “huge fan” of Lue. As Fischer observes, the Bucks and Suns also don’t have much in the form of future first-round picks, which would likely be necessary to acquire Lue — assuming the Clippers would even permit a rival to interview him, and there’s no indication they would — while he’s still under contract.

The Bucks do have their 2029 first-rounder available, but Fischer suggests they’ll likely use it to acquire a player — either this offseason or in the future. Sources tell Fischer that Milwaukee contemplated dealing the pick to try to land Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic ahead of the February trade deadline.

Here are some more coaching rumors from around the NBA:

  • Gregg Popovich, the longest-tenured head coach in the league, is expected to stay with the Spurs for as long as he wants to continue coaching, and there’s no indication that the Hall-of-Famer plans to retire next season, especially after San Antonio won the draft lottery. However, Popovich’s contract expired at the end of the season, and he hasn’t signed a new deal yet, sources tell Fischer.
  • The fact that the Pistons have yet to hire one of their three coaching finalists has left coaching agents around the league wondering if they’ll reopen their search and consider more candidates, Fischer writes. The three finalists — Kevin Ollie, Charles Lee and Jarron Collins — met with owner Tom Gores last week, Fischer confirms. Detroit is thought to have interest in Monty Williams, who was fired by the Suns last week, so that might explain the holdup. That said, Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com hears from sources that the job is expected to come down to either Ollie or Collins (Twitter link).
  • According to Fischer, the Raptors hope to be “blown away” in an interview with one of their long list of coaching candidates. Toronto is believed to be open to an “unconventional” choice. Assistant coaches Jim Sann and Rico Hanes are expected to be retained regardless of who is named head coach, sources tell Fischer.
  • Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated hears (via Twitter) that Ime Udoka “wants to do right” by his former Celtics assistants, and will extend those interested an invitation to join him with the Rockets after his unceremonious departure from Boston. Royal Ivey, who worked with Udoka on the Nets, recently joined his staff in Houston.

Raptors Notes: Boucher, Durant, Hines

With a new fully guaranteed three-year, $35MM contract in hand, Raptors big man Chris Boucher admitted to reporters on Thursday that he wasn’t expecting his free agency to play out this way last fall when he got off to an extremely slow start to the season, averaging 5.9 PPG on .381/.196/.667 shooting in his first 20 games.

“(After) the first 20 games? No, there’s no way,” Boucher said, per Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. “I mean, to be honest with you, me and (trainer) Ibrahim (Appiah) joke about that all the time. We were saying, ‘We’re probably gonna have to pack our bags and stuff’ because it didn’t look too nice at the beginning and to be honest with you … I was like, ‘I’m not playing well. I might not get traded but I might get waived or whatever,’ so that’s how we were taking it.”

After bouncing back and finishing the season strong, Boucher received offers from other teams during his first foray into unrestricted free agency. The Celtics, Bucks, Nets, and Bulls were reportedly among the clubs to express interest. But Boucher suggested on Thursday that he never seriously considered leaving Toronto.

“Hearing from other teams … was a good thing for me,” Boucher said. “But like I said, it doesn’t stop there. You know, I wanted to be comfortable, you play your best basketball when you feel like you’re at home, when you feel like you know everything, and things are going smooth and so I don’t think I would have felt that more appreciated or felt like home anywhere else.”

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Eric Koreen and Alex Schiffer of The Athletic, representing the Raptors’ and Nets‘ front offices, engaged in mock trade negotiations on a potential Kevin Durant trade, as Koreen explores whether there’s a way to get Durant to Toronto in a deal that meets Brooklyn’s asking price without including Scottie Barnes. Schiffer is amenable to a hypothetical package of Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent, Precious Achiuwa, three unprotected first-rounders, and a pick swap in exchange for Durant and Seth Curry.
  • Veteran player development coach Rico Hines has left the Kings to join the Raptors, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes. Hines confirmed the move in an Instagram post after previously bidding farewell to Kings fans in another post on Instagram. Hines spent the last three seasons working under Luke Walton and Alvin Gentry in Sacramento.
  • The Raptors have a strong track record of exceeding expectations and making good year-over-year progress, but that forward progress is never guaranteed, according to Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star, who weighs whether it makes sense for the team to simply count on internal improvement from the current core and considers the risks of that approach.

Kings Notes: Walton, Gentry, Hines, Fox

Addressing reporters on Sunday, Kings general manager Monte McNair explained why the team fired head coach Luke Walton just 17 games into the season after initially deciding to bring him back for the 2021/22 season.

“The start of the year was a lot of what we were hoping for, and we really thought it could have been even better,” McNair said, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “I think we saw a lot of the things that we thought this team could do, but these last eight games were a change, and, for me, the question became what’s the best way to move forward, and that’s my job at every point in the season.”

The Kings began the season with a 5-4 record, but have since dropped seven of eight games. That stretch included losses vs. San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Minnesota, and Toronto, all of whom are multiple games below .500.

“It wasn’t any one thing,” McNair said. “It was a combination of things, but sitting here with where we’ve been the last two weeks, we felt we weren’t getting the consistency and certainly the results we wanted. We all need to be better. This is not on any one person, but we did feel this was the change that was best to get us back to where we need to go.”

Here’s more on the Kings and their head coaching change:

  • McNair said on Sunday that he still believes the Kings have enough talent to make the playoffs and thinks Alvin Gentry is capable of leading them there. The team chose Gentry over other assistants – like Doug Christie – as its interim replacement due to his previous head coaching experience, McNair added (Twitter links via Sean Cunningham of ABC10 Sacramento).
  • Kings player development coach Rico Hines will move to the front of the bench as one of Gentry’s assistants, McNair said (Twitter link via Anderson).
  • Michael Pina of SI.com and Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer take a look at what’s next in Sacramento following Walton’s exit, with Tjarks suggesting that the Kings will soon need to determine whether De’Aaron Fox is still the player they want to build around.
  • The timing of Walton’s dismissal is another “Kangz” moment for Sacramento, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who notes that a coaching change made in the first third of a season probably should’ve just been made during the offseason.

Pacific Notes: Schröder, Lakers, Suns, Warriors, Kings

New Lakers point guard Dennis Schröder left Wednesday’s preseason game with what was referred to after the game by head coach Frank Vogel as a “mild” ankle sprain, tweets Kyle Goon of The South California News Group (Twitter link).

While the Lakers will continue to check on Schröder’s ankle today and tomorrow, he told reporters that the injury is “nothing to worry about,” per Bill Oram of The Athletic (Twitter link). It sounds like he should be ready to go for L.A.’s regular season opener next week and may even be available for the team’s preseason finale on Friday.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic generally liked the offseason moves made by the Lakers and Suns, but questioned each team’s approach to its center spot. He isn’t sure Montrezl Harrell is a great fit in a lineup with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, given his defensive shortcomings and his inability to stretch the floor. Hollinger also wondered if Jalen Smith was a bit of a reach at No. 10 and didn’t love Phoenix’s signing of Damian Jones, calling him one of the NBA’s worst rotation players last season.
  • With Klay Thompson out for the season, the Warriors will need to consider how to add extra shooting to their lineup, writes Ethan Strauss of The Athletic. Strauss suggests that keeping Mychal Mulder on the roster and playing some three-guard lineups would help, and notes that Golden State also still has a disabled player exception worth $9.3MM that could be used to add a shooter at some point.
  • The Kings have promoted Rico Hines, announcing in a press release that they’ve named him an assistant coach and the club’s director of player development. Hines was the head coach of the G League’s Stockton Kings before joining Sacramento’s staff as a player development coach a year ago.

Kings Hire Lindsey Harding, Stacey Augmon

3:34pm: The Kings have officially confirmed the hiring of Harding. In the same press release, the team also announces that it has hired veteran coach and former NBA player Stacey Augmon as an assistant.

Rico Hines, who had been the head coach of the Stockton Kings – Sacramento’s G League affiliate – was named a player development coach.

3:21pm: The Kings are hiring former WNBA star Lindsey Harding as an assistant coach on Luke Walton‘s staff, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN (Twitter link).

Lindsey is a rising star and I’m so excited to have her join our incredibly experienced team of coaches,” Walton said in a statement, per Shelburne (Twitter link). “Her basketball IQ and proven success on the court will be a valuable addition to our growing team.

The Sixers added Harding to their scouting department last August, hiring her as a full-time scout for the 2018/19 season. At the end of the season, Philadelphia adjusted her role, announcing that she’d be a player development coach going forward.

Instead, the former Duke Blue Devil will head to Sacramento, where she’ll get an opportunity to become the latest addition to a growing group of female assistants around the NBA. As Shelburne notes (via Twitter), Kara Lawson (Celtics), Becky Hammon (Spurs), Jenny Boucek (Mavericks), and Lindsay Gottlieb (Cavaliers) are among the other women who will be on teams’ benches in 2019/20.

The 76ers and Harding are parting ways “on great terms,” says Derek Bodner of The Athletic (Twitter link).