Ryan Bowen

Nuggets Finalize Coaching Staff

The Nuggets have hired former Rockets assistant Chris Finch to join their coaching staff, the team announced today.  Finch, who spent five years as an assistant in Houston and two as a D-League coach with Rio Grande Valley, is among four hirings and five promotions as Denver finalized the staff for head coach Michael Malone.

Today’s other announced hirings were assistant coach Jordi Fernandez, who spent the past two seasons as coach of the Cavaliers’ D-League affiliate in Canton; player development representative Stephen Graham, who played six years in the NBA and served as a D-League assistant in Fort Wayne last season; and head video coordinator Travis Armenta, who spent the past five seasons as assistant video coordinator for the Kings.

Wes Unseld Jr., an assistant coach with the Nuggets last season, has been promoted to Malone’s lead assistant. He coached with the Wizards, Warriors and Magic before coming to Denver. Also promoted were assistant coaches Micah Nori and Ryan Bowen, new player development coach Ognjen Stojakovic and new assistant video coordinator Tommy Massimino Jr.

And-Ones: Drummond, Farmar, Mekel

The Pistons could reap greater cap flexibility for next summer if they wait until then to sign Andre Drummond as a restricted free agent instead of giving him an extension this summer, but the team will leave that choice to the Jeff Schwartz client, writes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. Drummond reportedly wants an extension, so it would seem it’s a strong bet he’ll end up with one before the October 31st rookie scale extension deadline. Here’s more from around the NBA and related circles:

  • Jordan Farmar has signed with Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv, the team announced (hat tip to David Pick of Eurobasket.com). Agent Tony Dutt searched for NBA deals for the point guard who spent part of last season with the Clippers, but found nothing, as Pick hears (Twitter link).
  • Maccabi Tel Aviv management pushed for the deal with Farmar, while the coaches were higher on former Mavs and Pelicans point guard Gal Mekel, according to Pick, who earlier reported that Mekel and the team had a verbal agreement on a three-year deal with NBA out clauses (Twitter links). However, fellow Israeli club Hapoel Jerusalem is still pursuing Mekel, who remains in talks with teams from the NBA and Europe, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss clarified in a radio appearance on KPCC-FM last week that this past year was the first on brother Jim Buss‘ three-year window to guide the team to at least the Western Conference Finals, as Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com details. Jim Buss would resign his job as executive VP of basketball operations if the Lakers aren’t back to that point by the end of the 2016/17 season, his sister said.
  • The Lakers, Heat, Knicks, Suns and Pelicans have expressed interest in Justin Hamilton, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). The Timberwolves elected not to retain the right to match offers for him when they decided against making a qualifying offer.
  • Serge Ibaka failed to meet an incentive worth $100K this past season, so his cap hit for the Thunder for this coming season shrinks by that amount, to $12.25MM, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter). That’s unlikely to matter for the Thunder, who are expected to be well above the cap and exceed the tax line. Ibaka’s salary for tax purposes will be determined based on the bonuses that he either triggers or doesn’t trigger this coming season, whereas last season’s figures only affect his cap number.
  • The Nuggets are hiring German national team coach Chris Fleming, former Magic assistant Wes Unseld Jr., and Kings assistants Ryan Bowen and Micah Nori as assistants to new head coach Michael Malone, reports Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. They’ll join Bulls assistant Ed Pinckney, who’s also reportedly joining the Denver coaching staff.

Odds & Ends: James, Bowen, Kidd, Lin, Wright

After tonight's announcement from the NBA Player's Association, we can officially shut the door on any talk that LeBron James should assume the union's head position.  What we don't know about James, however, are his intentions after the upcoming season, when he can opt out of his current deal with the Heat.  James kept quiet about his plans on an interview that aired on the new Fox Sports 1 on Tuesday night, writes HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy, who expects James to keep his options open.

Here are some other news and notes from around the league:

  • The Kings have named Ryan Bowen as an assistant coach and assistant director of player development, the team announced today in a press release.  Bowen spent the past two seasons as an assistant with the Nuggets, where he spent two stints as a player.  He also played in Houston, New Orleans and Oklahoma City in his NBA playing career.
  • Jason Kidd is ready to make the transition from player to coach with the Nets, writes Fran Blinebury of NBA.com, who lists Tom Heinsohn, Billy Cunningham and Larry Bird among those who have walked a similar path with success.
  • Speaking at a youth conference in Taiwan, Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin said he put too much pressure on himself in his first year in Houston and it resulted in his coaches losing faith in him, according to an ESPN news release.  Lin will need to rediscover his confidence quickly considering the expectations in Houston this season.
  • Dorell Wright says his trust in Blazers general manager Neil Olshey was a big factor in his agreement to sign with Portland, writes Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune.  Wright said he envisions himself as a bench player, and that he expects the Blazers to vie for a playoff spot.