Scott Brooks

Lakers Notes: Borrego, Brooks, Rondo, St. Jean, Redick, Prince

Pelicans assistant James Borrego had an in-person meeting with the Lakers on Wednesday about their vacant head-coaching position, according to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. Anthony Davis thinks highly of Borrego, Woike writes.

The Lakers had previously met with Borrego, but according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), that was more of a “get-to-know-you” session. Today’s meeting was more in-depth and Wojnarowski says Los Angeles will look to bring in more candidates for second interviews in the coming days and weeks.

Borrego was a longtime NBA assistant before being hired by the Hornets in 2018. He coached Charlotte for four seasons, compiling a 138-163 record.

As Woike writes, other staffing candidates linked to the Lakers include the previously reported Sam Cassell and Jared Dudley, as well as former Thunder and Wizards head coach Scott Brooks. Cassell was interviewed by the Lakers for their head-coaching role while Dudley was reported to be under consideration for an assistant role, depending on who is hired as head coach. Woike points out that Cassell (Boston) and Dudley (Dallas) could receive promotions from their own organizations after the playoffs.

We have more from the Lakers:

  • Former Lakers guard Rajon Rondo and former Lakers assistant Greg St. Jean are among other names under consideration for staff roles, again pending the head coach hire, according to Woike. Rondo played with the Lakers from 2018-20, winning a ring with Los Angeles in 2020. He also played there briefly in ’21/22. St. Jean spent last season as an assistant under Frank Vogel with the Suns.
  • While the Lakers are doing their due diligence with a multitude of coaching prospects, J.J. Redick still seems to be the favorite for the position, according to TNT and Bleacher Report’s Chris B. Haynes (Twitter link). “I will be very surprised if their next head coach is anybody but J.J. Redick,” Haynes said. “Everything that I’m hearing is J.J. Redick. From what I know he’s doing some background, calling some assistant coaching candidates who might be able to join his staff.
  • Taurean Prince was thrust into a significant role with the Lakers under former coach Darvin Ham and while he was relatively productive offensively (8.9 PPG, .396 3PT%), his defense took a step back until he moved back to the bench, Lakers Nation’s Matthew Valento writes. An unrestricted free agent this offseason, Prince expressed an interest in returning. “My family, the quality of life in Los Angeles is something that myself and my family haven’t had in probably three or four seasons,” Prince said. “So to stay here would be definitely number one. If not that, then I mean, wherever the dominoes fall and wherever it’s best, that’s where I’ll be. But I for sure want to be a Laker, 100%.

Northwest Notes: Blazers’ Staff, Edwards, Thunder Bench

The Trail Blazers are shaking up Chauncey Billups’ coaching staff. They are not renewing the contracts of lead assistant Scott Brooks or Chauncey’s younger brother Rodney Billups, Aaron Fentress of the Oregonian reports. They now have three vacancies on the staff, since Steve Hetzel recently departed to join the staff of new Nets head coach Jordi Fernandez.

We have more on the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves All-Star Anthony Edwards torched Denver’s defense for 43 points in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Saturday. Edwards received good news from the NBA on Sunday, as the technical he was assessed during the third quarter has been rescinded by the league, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets. Edwards was given the tech for staring down Reggie Jackson.
  • The ThunderMavericks series begins on Tuesday and Thunder beat writer Ryan Stiles believes the Oklahoma City’s bench could be a deciding factor. They can call on Cason Wallace, Isaiah Joe, Aaron Wiggins, Gordon Hayward and Kenrich Williams to provide an impact,
  • In another piece from Stiles, he explores six other storylines to watch in the ThunderMavericks series.

Trail Blazers Notes: Henderson, Ayton, Camara, Simons

The Trail Blazers have put together a support staff designed to help Scoot Henderson get the most out of his unique talents, writes Marc J. Spears of Andscape.

Head coach Chauncey Billups was an NBA point guard for 17 seasons and succeeded at the highest level, earning five All-Star appearances and being named NBA Finals MVP in 2004. His coaching staff includes Scott Brooks, who played point guard for 10 years and helped to develop Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, and Pooh Jeter, Henderson’s former G League Ignite teammate. Portland also traded for Malcolm Brogdon, who quickly became a mentor to the 19-year-old rookie.

“Support is everything, especially from the coaching staff,” Henderson said. “That is huge, knowing they have your back. Everyone in the Portland organization, the coaching staff, everybody behind the scenes, they are pitching a lot into the players. The doctors and medical staff are pitching in a certain way you may not think they would. But I’m watching, observing. … I’m going to take the pressure all on me. But knowing that I have the confidence from the coaching staff, I’m going to respect them a lot more.”

Spears notes that Billups can empathize with Henderson because that level of support wasn’t in place for him when he entered the NBA as the No. 3 overall pick in 1997. He was traded midway through his first season and was on his fifth team by the time he developed into a star in Detroit.

“One of the main things I told (Henderson) was, ‘I’m going to be for you what I needed at this age,’” Billups said. “I needed somebody that knew what I should be doing. I needed somebody that could help me learn the game. I didn’t have that. Somebody that was going to be patient with me, knowing that there’s going to be some nasty, ugly games. Someone that was going to be patient, that understood it. I didn’t have that.”

There’s more from Portland:

  • Deandre Ayton is hoping for a larger role in the offense after being acquired from Phoenix, and Billups seems willing to grant him the opportunity, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I’m going to give him the responsibility to do more,” Billups said, “but it’s all going to be based on his commitment level and what he wants to do.”
  • Toumani Camara, who was also part of the Suns trade, has been among the surprises of camp, according to Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports (Twitter link). The rookie power forward, who got a chance to start Monday, is averaging 6.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in four preseason games. “He’s been such a pleasant surprise for all of us,” Billups said. “He’s just my type of guy, man. He just competes on every play, he’s tough, he’s aggressive. … He has confidence out there. I just love everything about Toumani, man.”
  • Anfernee Simons told Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report that his goals for this season include making the All-Star team and getting rid of his “bad defender” label (Twitter link).

Bucks To Interview Will Weaver For Coaching Vacancy

The Bucks plan to interview Will Weaver for their head coaching job, sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Weaver spent the 2022/23 season as head coach of Paris Basketball of the LNB Pro A, France’s top basketball league. However, after the team’s season concluded, Weaver said he would be departing the organization, according to French outlet L’Equipe.

In March, the club offered me to stay, to become the general manager,” Weaver said, per Google Translate. “I was honored that they offered me a long-term contract but it was not the right time for me and my family. I have opportunities (to join a staff) in the NBA and that’s where I’ll coach next season.”

A former assistant with the Sixers, Nets and Rockets, Weaver has also had previous head coaching jobs with the G League’s Long Island Nets and the Sydney Kings of Australia’s National Basketball League. He interviewed for the Thunder’s lead coaching job a few years ago.

The Nets and Raptors are among the teams said to have interest in Weaver as an assistant.

According to Fischer, current Portland assistant and former Thunder and Wizards head coach Scott Brooks left a “strong impression” on the Bucks during his interview. Former Lakers coach Frank Vogel is expected to interview for the job this week, sources tell Fischer.

Bucks Get Permission To Interview Scott Brooks

The Bucks have received permission to interview Trail Blazers assistant Scott Brooks in their search for a new head coach, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Brooks joined Chauncey Billups’ staff in Portland after being fired by the Wizards in 2021. He spent five years as the head coach in Washington and seven years in Oklahoma City, compiling a 521-414 career record.

Brooks was mentioned as a potential candidate for the Rockets’ head coaching vacancy before they hired Ime Udoka last month.

[RELATED: 2023 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Brooks joins a growing list of candidates to replace Mike Budenholzer, who was dismissed last week following a first-round playoff exit. Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that Milwaukee is considering its own assistant coach, Charles Lee, for the job as well as Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Hornets head coach James Borrego. 

More names could still be added to the list, as Wojnarowski has speculated that the Bucks have their eyes on one or more veteran coaches who are still involved in the playoffs.

Rockets Part Ways With Stephen Silas

April 10: The Rockets have officially declined their option and parted ways with Silas, the team announced.

On behalf of the Fertitta family and the entire Rockets organization, I would like to thank Stephen for his contributions to the team and the Houston community over the past three seasons,” said general manager Rafael Stone.  “I have great respect for Stephen both as a person and as a basketball mind. His character, leadership, and positivity have been invaluable during this stage of our growth.”


April 9: Stephen Silas won’t return in 2023/24 as the Rockets‘ head coach, according to reports from Kelly Iko, Shams Charania, and Sam Amick of The Athletic and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Because he doesn’t have a guaranteed contract for next season, Silas isn’t technically being fired. However, Houston will turn down its team option on the final year of Silas’ deal and will hire a new head coach.

Rockets management is expected to meet with Silas on Monday to formally part ways, according to The Athletic and ESPN (Twitter link). Word of his exit broke moments after the club won its regular season finale on Sunday.

“I feel proud,” Silas said after Sunday’s game (Twitter link via Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle). “I wanted to be a head coach my whole life like my dad (Paul Silas). I’m proud of these guys. There’s been a lot of talk about my job for a long time. They kept working and playing hard, playing hard for their coach. I’m proud of that.”

Silas was hired by the Rockets to replace Mike D’Antoni prior to the 2020/21 season, back when James Harden and Russell Westbrook were still on the roster. Both of those stars requested trades early in Silas’ tenure and the team pivoted to a rebuild, significantly altering the nature of the job. Silas ultimately led the Rockets to a 59-177 (.250) record during his three years with the club, which was the NBA’s worst record during that time.

According to The Athletic’s story, the Rockets seriously considered firing Silas after slow starts both last season and this season, but he was able to save his job in both instances due to timely wins during those evaluation periods. Following the passing on Stephen’s father Paul this past December, the Rockets intended to let Silas finish the season.

Iko, Charania, and Amick say that Houston believes a head coaching change is necessary to take a next step toward contention, adding that the team will prioritize a more established coach when seeking Silas’ replacement.

Sources tell The Athletic that Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin, and former NBA head coaches Frank Vogel, James Borrego, and Ime Udoka are expected to be among Houston’s candidates. Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link) suggests that Trail Blazers assistant Scott Brooks, another former head coach, is also drawing interest from the Rockets.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse would be a target too if he doesn’t remain in Toronto, according to The Athletic’s reporters, who say the Rockets will have about eight candidates on their wish list.

As for Silas, he’ll likely be a popular target for teams seeking experienced assistant coaches this offseason, says Wojnarowski. Because he isn’t owed guaranteed money from the Rockets in 2023/24, Silas seems less likely to take a year off before finding a new job.

Coaching Changes May Be Coming In Detroit, Toronto, Houston

The Pistons, Raptors and Rockets are the main teams to watch for head coaching changes once the NBA season ends, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Detroit’s Dwane Casey met with ownership to discuss his future after Wednesday’s game, and sources tell Fischer that some staff members are preparing for a change to take place. Fischer cites a source with knowledge of the situation who says Casey may be given the option of returning as head coach for the final year of his contract or moving into an advisory role with the front office.

Bucks assistant Charles Lee, who has interviewed for numerous head coaching positions in the past, is a top candidate if the Pistons’ job opens up, according to Fischer, who hears that Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin may be given consideration as well. Griffin previously worked under general manager Troy Weaver as an assistant coach in Oklahoma City.

Nick Nurse amplified questions about his status in Toronto last weekend when he said he plans to take some time after the season to evaluate his future with the organization. There were already rumors that the Raptors were considering a coaching move following a disappointing season that will result in a spot in the play-in tournament.

Former Celtics coach Ime Udoka is considered a leading candidate to replace Nurse if he either decides to move on or is dismissed by the team. Udoka was a finalist for the job before Nurse was hired in 2018, and he has a strong relationship with executive Masai Ujiri through the Basketball Without Borders program.

Nurse could wind up in Houston, where Stephen Silas appears likely to be replaced after three years of rebuilding, Fischer adds. Nurse was the Rockets’ G League coach from 2011-13, but he’s not the only potential candidate with ties to Houston or to James Harden, who will reportedly be an offseason target in free agency.

Fischer notes that Trail Blazers assistant Scott Brooks coached Harden in Oklahoma City, while Pistons assistant Rex Kalamian worked on Brooks’ staff with the Thunder. Fischer states that Kalamian has been mentioned by several NBA sources as a potential addition in Houston, possibly as an assistant.

Elsewhere, Fischer hears that league personnel are watching Steve Clifford’s future with the Hornets. The current leadership isn’t considering replacing Clifford, who’s still on the first season of his new contract, Fischer adds, but that could change if Michael Jordan sells enough of his interest in the team that there’s a new primary governor.

L.A. Notes: Westbrook, Hayward, Lakers’ Coach, Clippers

After a disappointing first season in Los Angeles, it may seem like the Lakers would take whatever they can get in a trade this offseason for Russell Westbrook and his $47MM+ salary, but that’s not the case, Marc Stein writes at Substack.com. According to Stein, Los Angeles will have “more boundaries than advertised” when weighing potential Westbrook deals.

For one, the Lakers will seriously consider a player’s injury history as they explore the trade market for Westbrook. Given how costly injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis were in 2021/22, the team doesn’t want to bring on another high-priced veteran who has been unable to stay healthy in recent years.

In Stein’s view, that means the Lakers are unlikely to be very interested in a trade with the Hornets that includes Gordon Hayward, who has missed 61 of 154 regular season games in Charlotte over the last two years, plus both play-in games. If the Lakers and Hornets discuss Westbrook, it’s possible Hayward could be moved to a third team or Terry Rozier could be substituted as a headliner, but those scenarios would be less appealing from Charlotte’s perspective.

Here are a few more items on the NBA’s two L.A. teams:

  • Outside of the previously-reported big-name targets who are currently coaching other teams – including Nick Nurse, Doc Rivers, and Quin Snyder – the Lakers may consider candidates such as Scott Brooks, Terry Stotts, former Lakers coach Mike Brown, and Jazz assistant Alex Jensen for their head coaching vacancy, per Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times.
  • According to Woike and Turner, people with knowledge of coaching situations around the NBA believe the Lakers‘ open coaching position isn’t looked upon especially favorably, due to concerns about possible front office meddling and the roster/cap situation. “Is the Lakers’ job that attractive?” one coaching agent said. “I’m not so sure it is. But someone will take the job.”
  • Getting Kawhi Leonard and Paul George back in their lineup next season will significantly increase the Clippers‘ ceiling, but there are still areas to improve if the team wants to ensure it’s a title contender, says Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group. Fortifying the point guard spot will be an offseason goal, and replacements will be necessary if key rotation players like Isaiah Hartenstein (UFA) and Nicolas Batum (player option) don’t return.
  • While Leonard’s and George’s injuries limited the Clippers‘ potential in 2021/22, their absences allowed a handful of young players to step in and grow up fast, Swanson writes in a separate story. Luke Kennard, Terance Mann, Ivica Zubac, Hartenstein, Amir Coffey, and Brandon Boston Jr. – all of whom are 25 or younger – had bigger roles than they would have if the team had been healthier, which could pay off for the club down the road.

Lakers Rumors: Westbrook, Vogel, Front Office, More

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook “never respected” head coach Frank Vogel, a person with knowledge of the situation tells Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times.

“The moment Frank said anybody who gets the rebound can bring it up the court, which is just how the NBA is played these days, Russ was like, ‘Naw, I’m the point guard. Give the ball to me. Everybody run,'” the source told Woike and Turner. “Frank was like, ‘No, we have Talen (Horton-Tucker). We have Austin (Reaves). We have Malik (Monk). We have LeBron (James). We have AD (Anthony Davis). They can all bring the ball up.’ He was like, ‘Nope, I’m the point guard. Give me that s–t. Everybody get out the way.’

“From that point on, in training camp, it was a wrap, ‘cause now Russ is a fish out of water. He doesn’t know what to do. That’s how that started.”

Both the Times’ report and an in-depth Insider-only story from Ramona Shelburne of ESPN paint Vogel as one of Westbrook’s bigger supporters, resisting pushes from staffers and players to pull him from the starting lineup as the season went on. According to Shelburne, there were people in the organization who felt that only “humiliation” would prompt Westbrook to change his playing style to better fit in, but Vogel wanted to stand by him and give him the chance to figure things out.

However, Shelburne hears from team insiders that – in addition to being a poor on-court fit – Westbrook wasn’t a good “personality fit” alongside a non-confrontational coach like Vogel and a passive-aggressive star like James.

According to Woike and Turner, some Lakers staffers began to wonder during the season if the club had made a big mistake by not re-signing Jared Dudley to be a “locker-room buffer” who could help integrate Westbrook. The team had also wanted to hire Westbrook’s former coach Scott Brooks as an assistant on Vogel’s staff, but didn’t have the spot or the money for him after giving Mike Penberthy a promotion and a raise to prevent Jason Kidd from poaching him for his staff in Dallas, says Shelburne.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Although Vogel appears likely to be replaced after the season is over, the front office leadership group – led by Rob Pelinka and Kurt Rambis – is expected to remain intact and in power going forward, sources tell Shelburne.
  • The Lakers, who were unwilling to attach their 2027 first-round pick to Westbrook at the trade deadline to grease the wheels on a deal, appear similarly reluctant to waive him this offseason and stretch his $47MM salary across three seasons, reports Shelburne. Releasing Westbrook might appeal more to the team if he were willing to give up money in a buyout agreement, but sources close to the guard have expressed pessimism that he’ll do so, Shelburne writes.
  • One reason the Lakers acquired Westbrook rather than DeMar DeRozan last summer was timing-related — the team was able to move on Westbrook around the draft since he was under contract, whereas working out a sign-and-trade for DeRozan would’ve meant waiting for free agency (and coming up with a package that the Spurs would accept). However, sources close to the situation say that James’ and Davis’ enthusiasm for Westbrook were a significant factor in L.A.’s shift in focus as well, per Shelburne.

COVID-19 Updates: Magic, Trail Blazers, Rockets, Pacers

Here are the latest updates on players and coaches entering and exiting the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols:

  • Four Magic players have cleared the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and will suit up for Orlando against the Celtics. The team has announced (Twitter link) that center Mohamed Bamba, shooting guard Mychal Mulder, swingman Terrence Ross and point guard Hassani Gravett are all now available.
  • Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups, who has been unavailable since December 27, has exited the NBA’s coronavirus protocols, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Portland lead assistant Scott Brooks, who had been serving in Billups’s stead as acting head coach, has entered COVID-19 protocols, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Hardship signee Cameron McGriff has entered the protocols, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter). Combo guard Anfernee Simons has left protocols after just three days, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The 13-22 Trail Blazers could certainly use all the help they can get, and the return of the 6’3″ guard will help shore up a team still missing seven players to health and safety protocols, with McGriff now replacing Simons in coronavirus protocols.
  • Rockets wing Garrison Mathews has cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Houston rewarded Mathews for a solid performance early in the 2021/22 season by converting his two-way contract into a fresh four-year, $8MM deal last month.
  • Pacers small forwards Caris LeVert and T.J. Warren, plus center Goga Bitadze, have entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Warren has been dealing with a major foot injury since the start of 2020/21, and has only played in four games over the past two seasons. Today’s news brings Indiana’s total count for players in protocols to eight.
  • After exiting the protocols on Friday, Pistons guard Cory Joseph has re-entered them, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News.