Rob Murphy

Eastern Notes: Rivers, Knicks, Nets, Murphy

Now that the Sixers have been eliminated by the Celtics, is Doc Rivers a goner? Marc Stein wrote in his latest Substack article prior to Game 7 on Sunday that there have been recent murmurs Rivers’ status could become precarious if the team failed to close out the series. It wouldn’t be surprising, considering that proven coaches like Mike Budenholzer and Monty Williams have recently been dismissed due to postseason disappointments.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • With a wealth of extra draft picks and some solid young players, the Knicks could be in line for the next star who demands a trade, Eric Pincus writes for Bleacher Report. The salaries of Derrick Rose and Evan Fournier could help facilitate a deal, along with potential younger trade pieces such as Mitchell Robinson, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes and Obi Toppin.
  • After getting burned by trying to build around superstars, the Nets will be looking to build around players who want to stay with the franchise, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. GM Sean Marks will have a busy offseason but the thing he’ll be looking for the most is high-character guys who want to be part of the group. “It’s got to come authentically. It’s got to be real,” Marks said. “I mean, I think we’ve seen it before, not just here but around the league. You bring somebody in and it’s not authentic to who they are. We want to make sure people that want to come here want to be part of something special and being part of Brooklyn and part of this unique situation.”
  • Former Pistons executive Rob Murphy and his legal representatives are firing back at the woman who accused him of harassment, Tresa Baldas of the Detroit Free Press reports. His lawyer alleged the Pistons cleared his client months ago of sexual harassment following an internal investigation. The same counsel added that Murphy looks forward to defending his name through the judicial process.

Pistons Notes: Coaching Search, Ollie, Murphy, Draft Picks

The Pistons could hire a new head coach soon, according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, who reports in his latest mailbag that the top candidates for the job are set to meet with owner Tom Gores next week in Los Angeles.

Bucks associate head coach Charles Lee, former Connecticut and Overtime Elite coach Kevin Ollie, and Pelicans assistant Jarron Collins are considered the leading candidates. However, Edwards believes that Ollie, a former NBA player, is the frontrunner for the position.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • DeJanai Raska says she was sexually harassed and assaulted by former assistant GM Rob Murphy over a period of several months, she tells Tresa Baldas of The Detroit Free Press (subscriber link). There are too many details to list here, but Raska reported her allegations to the Pistons last fall. The team put Murphy on leave, but didn’t announce that he was fired until after Raska sued both the organization and Murphy. “I grew up in the city really looking up to the Pistons, the Bad Boys … and to be treated this way is heartbreaking,” Raska said.
  • Who are the top five prospects Detroit should be considering with its first-round pick, which can land no lower than fifth overall? Edwards ranks those players in order for The Athletic. Obviously Victor Wembanyama is No. 1, but Brandon Miller edges out Scoot Henderson for No. 2. Rounding out Edwards’ top five are Henderson, Houston forward Jarace Walker and Arkansas guard Anthony Black.
  • On a related topic, if the pick does land fifth in the lottery — and there’s a 47.9% chance that it will — who should the Pistons select? Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscriber link) makes the case for Villanova wing Cam Whitmore, arguing that his physical tools and flashes of shooting make him the best choice at that spot.

Pistons Fire Assistant GM Rob Murphy

Assistant general manager Rob Murphy was fired by the Pistons on Wednesday following an investigation of a workplace misconduct case involving a former female employee, writes Tresa Baldas of The Detroit Free Press.

The team announced the move in a statement to the newspaper, Baldas adds. Murphy had been on leave since the accusations were levied in October.

“Rob Murphy no longer works for the Detroit Pistons or Motor City Cruise, in any capacity,” the Pistons’ statement reads. “Mr. Murphy was recently terminated for violation of company policy and the terms of his employment agreement. The facts that gave rise to his termination surfaced during a review, assisted by a national law firm, of allegations made by a former employee.”

The team added that Murphy “did not return to the workplace prior to his termination” and stated that no further details will be provided.

Murphy served as president of the Cruise, Detroit’s G League affiliate, before being promoted to assistant GM last summer. Prior to joining the Cruise in 2021, he spent 10 years as head basketball coach at Eastern Michigan University.

Central Notes: Murphy, Garland, Oguche, Haliburton

Pistons assistant general manager Rob Murphy has been put on leave as the organization investigates an allegation of workplace misconduct regarding a former female employee, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Murphy’s leave began approximately a week ago.

Murphy was hired as an assistant GM this offseason after serving as the Pistons’ G League president and general manager since March 2021. He had spent the previous two decades as a college coach, including 10 years at Eastern Michigan as its head coach.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, who suffered a left eyelid laceration in Wednesday’s loss to the Raptors, was examined at the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Garland has no structural damage and will not need surgery. He will be re-evaluated over the next couple of days, Fedor adds in a tweet.
  • The Cavaliers and Rock Entertainment Group have named Susan Oguche as their Executive VP and Chief Communications Officer, Marc J. Spears of ESPN tweets.
  • Tyrese Haliburton wants to establish himself as one of the league’s top guards, he told Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. “Being an All-Star would be amazing,” the Pacers guard said. “I obviously would want to play on a championship team. But it would be exciting for me to be an All-Star. It would mean a lot to me and my family.”

Central Notes: Pistons, Middleton, Bucks, Bulls

As had been previously rumored, the Pistons are adding a pair of former NBA players to their coaching staff, announcing today that Keith Bogans and Rashard Lewis are coming aboard as player development assistants, writes Mike Curtis of The Detroit News.

The Pistons have also hired former Celtics assistant Brandon Bailey as a player development assistant and Brittni Donaldson – formerly of the Raptors – as an assistant coach and director of coaching analytics. The team announced a series of other promotions, including George David to associate general manager and Rob Murphy, Josh Bartelstein, and Tony Leotti to assistant GM.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • As we previously relayed, the Pistons sent the Jazz some cash as part of the Bojan Bogdanovic trade. The exact amount, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link), was $1,752,638, which is equal to the amount that Saben Lee is earning in 2022/23. That means, from a financial perspective, Utah essentially swapped Bogdanovic ($19.55MM) for Kelly Olynyk ($12.8MM this season, plus a $3MM partial guarantee in 2023/24) and will get a free look at Lee.
  • Khris Middleton could become a free agent as soon as next summer if he turns down a $40MM+ player option for 2023/24. While he’s not sure how his contract situation will play out, the standout wing tells Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he wants to stay with the Bucks long-term. “I think everybody knows that. Even though I know you’re really not supposed to say it for all the reasons out there, but I think everybody knows deep down that I want to stay,” Middleton said. “But also, you know it’s a business. Things change, things happen. You just never know. For sure I would love to stay, if everything works out.”
  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic poses a series of questions for Bucks players to answer this season, including whether Grayson Allen‘s playoff struggles vs. Boston were a fluke or a harbinger of things to come.
  • The Bulls will miss Lonzo Ball, one of their best two-way players, as he recovers from another knee procedure to open the season, but they have enough depth at point guard and don’t need to make a trade to fortify the position, opines Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

Central Notes: Pistons, Bulls, Murphy, Bucks

As the Pistons front office, led by team president Troy Weaver, assesses its long-term outlook beyond the 2020/21 season, the team is less worried about its young players’ present on-court fit than it is about those players’ ceilings across future seasons, writes Keith Langlois of

Langlois points to the team’s recent exchange of Svi Mykhailiuk, one of Detroit’s better three-point snipers (although he is still shooting a below-league average 33.3%, on decent volume, from deep), for Hamidou Diallo, an athletic wing who has been enjoying a better overall year than Mykhailiuk but is less of a fit for the current team as a non-shooter.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Rival executives speculate that the Bulls may be standing pat at the upcoming March 25 trade deadline, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. The team has several intriguing players who could be of interest to rival clubs, including veteran forward Thaddeus Young, 2021 restricted free agent big man Lauri Markkanen, the expiring contract of injury-prone wing Otto Porter Jr., and veteran guard Tomas Satoransky.
  • After spending a decade as the men’s basketball head coach at Eastern Michigan, Rob Murphy is departing the program to join the new Pistons G League affiliate team, the Motor City Cruise, as their president and general manager, according to a team press release.
  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic breaks down the Bucks‘ roster as the trade deadline nears, appraising which players are most likely to be traded, which are untouchable, and which occupy the murky real estate in-between. Nehm pinpoints Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday as the team’s three untouchable players. Donte DiVincenzo and Brook Lopez, the team’s other two starters, would be moved only for a high-level difference-maker in return, Nehm suggests.