Sean Sweeney

James Borrego Pulls Out Of Pistons’ Coaching Search

Pelicans associate head coach James Borrego has removed his name from consideration for the Pistons‘ head coaching vacancy, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report (via Twitter). Justin Napoli of Boot Krewe Media first tweeted on Thursday that he was hearing Borrego would remain in New Orleans.

Borrego, who also received serious consideration for the Lakers’ and Cavaliers’ head coaching jobs this offseason, was immediately identified as a candidate for Detroit following the dismissal of Monty Williams last week.

The veteran assistant, who served as the head coach of the Hornets from 2018-22, has spent the last two seasons on Willie Green‘s staff in New Orleans, overlapping with new Pistons president of basketball operations and former Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon.

One recent report from Marc Stein indicated that the Lakers would also have interest in Borrego as an assistant if he didn’t get a head coaching job, though Stein stressed that the Pelicans would be determined to hang onto him in that scenario.

With Borrego off the table, Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori, Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney, and former Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff are among the candidates to watch for the Pistons. All three have had interviews with the team, per James L. Edwards III of The Athletic.

Stein’s Latest: O’Neale, George, Pelicans, Murray, Anunoby, Pistons

Rumors have begun to circulate that free agent forward Royce O’Neale will end up signing a four-year contract to remain with the Suns, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack story.

The Suns have long been expected to re-sign O’Neale, since they’ll be over the second tax apron and wouldn’t be in position to sign an equivalent replacement if he heads elsewhere. However, there has been a belief that they’ll likely have to go up to three or four years in order to retain the three-and-D wing to make up for the fact that other suitors may offer him a shorter-term deal with a more lucrative starting salary.

Phoenix has five more days left in its exclusive negotiating window with O’Neale. If he hasn’t agreed to terms by the time the free agent period opens on Sunday evening, he’ll be able to negotiate with other clubs.

Here’s more from Stein’s latest rumor roundup:

  • Securing a four-year contract is a goal for Paul George this summer, according to Stein, who suggests that chatter about George’s willingness to consider signing with a cap-room team or pushing for a change of scenery in an opt-in-and-trade scenario may be aimed at convincing the Clippers to put that fourth year on the table. There has been a sense that staying in Los Angeles would ultimately be George’s preference, but the club has seemingly only offered him a three-year deal thus far.
  • While it remains unclear whether the Hawks would prefer to trade Trae Young or Dejounte Murray this offseason, it’s worth noting that the Pelicans are “known to be longtime admirers” of Murray, Stein writes. New Orleans is believed to be open to a roster shake-up this summer, with forward Brandon Ingram viewed as a strong candidate to be dealt.
  • It’s still hard to find many people around the NBA who think OG Anunoby will leave the Knicks as a free agent, Stein writes, pointing out that Sam Rose – one of Anunoby’s agents at CAA – is the son of Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose.
  • The Pistons‘ head coaching search may move quicker than initially anticipated, Stein writes, adding that James Borrego, Sean Sweeney, and Micah Nori are the “foremost known candidates.” Borrego is believed to have a leg up due to his time together with new Pistons head of basketball operations Trajan Langdon in New Orleans, Stein notes. However, both Sweeney and Nori have spent time in the organization, having worked on Dwane Casey‘s staff from 2018-21.

Mavs’ Harrison Talks Offseason, Doncic, Jones, Assistants, More

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mavericks head of basketball operations Nico Harrison said that he doesn’t expect to make any significant changes this offseason to the core of the roster that won the Western Conference this spring.

“I think we have the pieces. I think we just need to get better ourselves,” Harrison said, per Mike Curtis of The Dallas Morning News (subscription required). “Since I’ve been here, our front office staff has looked to make it better and we’ll continue to do that. But the core is intact. If you look at our top seven or eight players that really played. I don’t see anything happening with that.”

There has been speculation that the Mavericks could turn to the trade market in the coming weeks to make one more big move to solidify the team’s place as a legitimate title contender. While Harrison didn’t entirely rule out that possibility, noting that the front office is always open to ideas that would improve the roster, he suggested that they key to getting better is having Dallas’ own players come back “10 to 15% better.” That includes MVP runner-up Luka Doncic.

“We’re not where we’re at without Luka,” Harrison said, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “I think that’s important to point out, and we also won’t be able to get where we want to go without the best version of Luka. If you look at a guy who after Game 3 (of the NBA Finals) had the world on his neck — the scrutiny, which was crazy, the amount of scrutiny that he had to face — for him to focus in and do what he did in Game 4, I just think it just shows the character of him. He’s willing to fight through adversity, and I think he’s going to continue to get better.

“He’s 25 years old. I think just going through the Finals, him seeing what he needs to do to be at his best in the Finals after going through a grueling end of the year and then three tough, tough (playoff) matchups, I think you’re going to see the best version of him.”

Here are a few more of Harrison’s most notable comments from Friday’s presser, via Curtis, MacMahon, and Eddie Sefko of

On his expectation that Doncic will play for Slovenia in its Olympic qualifying tournament next month:

“That’s probably one of his biggest joys. I think as long as he can walk, he’s probably going to go out there and play for them.”

On the Mavericks’ desire to re-sign Derrick Jones despite salary limitations:

“I don’t know how we’re going to do it, but he’s a priority. He’s priority one — 1A and 1B. I think he fits in with our team. He loves it here and we have to figure out obviously the dynamics to get him to stay. But that’s a priority and we’ll do what we have to do to get it done.”

On the importance of the playoff experience that four Mavs’ newcomers got this spring:

“To get to where we were, we relied on four players who had little to no playoff experience. (Dereck) Lively, (Daniel) Gafford, Derrick Jones and P.J. (Washington). Those four players played huge minutes for us and had little to no playoff experience. So how do they come back and incorporate that in their game from the start. I think that’s going to be huge.

“P.J. specifically, I think he can add a few more points a game, taking the ball off the rim, pushing it, posting up smaller players, shooting a little higher percentage from the three-point line, penetrating when they run him off the line. So he can add a few more points. And he’s going to. He’s poised to continue to get better. But the experience all four of those players got in the playoffs is going to carry them into next season.”

On assistant coaches Sean Sweeney and Jared Dudley drawing interest from rival teams:

“We love both of them and we respect them. They’ve been valuable in getting us to where we’re at, but at the same time, it’s about people. Our goal is to develop players and staff. If opportunities present themselves, we’re going to support them. They know how much we want them back, but it’s about growth. You can’t hamstring players or staff from growing. We’re going to support them, but we do want them back. We’re hopeful that they’ll be back.”

Pistons Plan To Interview Bickerstaff, Borrego, Sweeney, Nori

7:14pm: The Pistons also intend to interview Borrego, according to Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press.

6:27pm: The Pistons plan to interview former Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff for their head coaching position, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski, Detroit has also received permission to meet with Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney and Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori.

Bickerstaff was just let go by the Pistons’ division rivals in Cleveland last month after he posted a 170-159 (.517) record across four-plus seasons with the Cavaliers, leading them to playoff appearances in 2023 and 2024 and a first-round series victory this spring. Bickerstaff also coached the Grizzlies from 2017-19 and was as an assistant for several teams before that, with stints in Charlotte, Minnesota, and Houston.

Sweeney, who began his NBA career in the Nets’ video room in 2011, has worked on Jason Kidd‘s staffs in Brooklyn, Milwaukee, and Dallas, and was also an assistant in Detroit under Dwane Casey from 2018-21. Casey remains with the Pistons in a front office role.

Nori is another veteran assistant who was on Casey’s staff from 2018-21. He worked for the Raptors, Kings, and Nuggets before that, and has been with the Timberwolves since 2021. Nori shared some of Chris Finch‘s head coaching duties during Minnesota’s playoff run this spring when Finch was unable to roam the sidelines due to knee surgery.

Sweeney and Nori have been hot names on the head coaching carousel in the past couple months. Sweeney was linked to the Lakers’ and Wizards’ vacancies, while Nori reportedly interviewed with the Cavaliers and Lakers. Both men were high on the list of potential Pistons candidates published by James L. Edwards III of The Athletic on Wednesday following Monty Williams‘ ouster.

According to Wojnarowski (Twitter link), the Pistons are expected to seek permission to interview more assistants from around the NBA.

One name to watch will be James Borrego of the Pelicans, who was atop Edwards’ list and was also mentioned by Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) as a candidate who would receive serious consideration if he’s available. Multiple reports have suggested Borrego is the frontrunner for the only other available head coaching job, in Cleveland, so it’s unclear whether or not Detroit will get a chance to talk to him.

Latest On Pistons’ Decision To Move On From Monty Williams

The Pistons parted ways with Monty Williams on Wednesday morning following the franchise’s worst-ever season after signing him to a six-year, $78.5MM deal just one year ago.

The decision to move on from Williams came soon after hiring Trajan Langdon as president of basketball operations. According to reports, owner Tom Gores indicated Williams’ remaining money wouldn’t be an issue if Langdon ultimately decided to let him go, and the decision to move on from Williams came within the last 24 hours.

Pelicans assistant James Borrego, Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney, Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant, Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori, former Pistons assistant Jerome Allen, Heat assistant Chris Quinn and former Nets assistant Will Weaver are among the candidates for the Pistons’ head coaching vacancy, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic writes. In a tweet, Edwards added that he believes Borrego, Sweeney and Bryant are the three primary names to watch for the position.

Appearing on The Pat McAfee Show (Twitter link), Shams Charania suggested Borrego remains the favorite for the Cavaliers‘ vacant head coaching position. Borrego has also drawn interest from the Lakers, though it’s worth noting that the Pistons hired Langdon from New Orleans, where Borrego coached last season.

Sweeney served as an assistant on Dwane Casey‘s staff for three years in Detroit and helped develop Giannis Antetokounmpo while with Milwaukee. Helping the Mavericks to an NBA Finals appearance aids Sweeney’s case. Meanwhile, Bryant has been an assistant under Tom Thibodeau in New York since 2020 following a stint with the Jazz.

We have more from the Pistons’ decision to move on from Williams:

  • According to Edwards (Twitter link), the firing of Williams has no impact the team’s decision to bring in Fred Vinson as an assistant for next year’s staff. Vinson will be on the Pistons next season.
  • In order to fight to keep his job, Williams essentially went through an interview process with Langdon, Edwards writes in a separate story. The team was searching for complete synergy from its front office to its coaching staff, and wanted to know for certain if Williams was committed to coaching a rebuilding team. Ultimately, Langdon was given free rein, via Gores, to make whatever decision he saw fit, and the pair opted to clean house in tandem.
  • Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press echoes Edwards’ reporting in that Langdon and Gores were on the same page in regard to firing Williams (Twitter link).
  • Williams and Weaver aren’t solely to blame for Detroit’s woeful season, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports writes. There were “four factions” in the Pistons organization, with chairman Arn Tellem also serving as a prominent voice, according to Goodwill, who says that objective No. 1 this offseason should be getting everyone on the same page.
  • J.J. Redick could be a name to watch, Goodwill writes, but it’s unclear how much traction Detroit could gain with him since he’s widely viewed as the favorite for the Lakers’ position. Redick and Langdon have a Duke connection and crossed over briefly in New Orleans, though Redick’s time with the Pelicans didn’t end well. Tellem is also reportedly a fan of Redick’s.

Southwest Notes: VanVleet, Mavs, Sweeney, Pelicans

While Fred VanVleet‘s first season with the Rockets wasn’t one of the best of his career in terms of wins and losses, he said it was “really fun” to take the leadership traits he developed in Toronto and apply them to a young team in Houston, according to Scott Leber of WTVO.

“It was probably the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” VanVleet said. “Just back to the basics enjoying the small moments. Once you win a championship you get a little spoiled and jaded, and you kind of forget how fun it was building up to that point, so actually it was back to square one learning.”

The Rockets had an eventful summer a year ago, using their significant cap room to bring in VanVleet and Dillon Brooks in free agency. Houston won’t have cap space available this offseason, but the team will have the mid-level exception on hand and has the assets necessary to go shopping on the trade market for additional upgrades, so VanVleet believes it’s not unrealistic to expect another major roster move.

“We’ve got the ammunition for it, so we’ll see, but I’m rolling with whatever they decide to do,” the veteran point guard said. “Obviously winning is at the forefront. I trust ownership and management that they’re going to make the right decisions.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The Mavericks‘ 38-point blowout of Boston in Game 4 was certainly impressive, but does it have any predictive value for Game 5 (and possibly beyond)? John Hollinger of The Athletic explores that question, ultimately concluding that history suggests Game 4 was “probably a human nature loss more than a telling turning point.”
  • As Stefan Bondy of The New York Post writes, Mavericks assistant coach Sean Sweeney has received rave reviews from players, including Dereck Lively, who said he “wouldn’t be here without Sweene,” and Josh Green, who lauded Sweeney’s “X’s and O’s” acumen and ability to make adjustments. The highest praise for Sweeney may have come from head coach Jason Kidd, who told Bondy, “He’ll be a head coach soon.”
  • Christian Clark of looks at some of the biggest decisions facing David Griffin and the Pelicans this offseason, including picking a direction on Brandon Ingram‘s future, addressing the center position, and filling out a coaching staff and basketball operations department that have seen staffers depart for new teams this spring.

Mavericks Notes: Jones, Kidd, Irving, Gafford

The decision to sign with the Mavericks last summer has given Derrick Jones Jr. a chance to play in the NBA Finals, but he could been there with either team, writes Brian Robb of MassLive. Jones confirmed to reporters on Sunday that he considered an offer from the Celtics before opting to go to Dallas.

Boston was looking for another wing to back up Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but the Mavs gave Jones a chance to start and he has turned out to be a bargain on a one-year minimum deal. He will be back on the free agent market this summer and figures to earn a substantial raise after averaging a career-high 8.6 PPG in 76 games. He’ll more than make up for the money he lost when he decided to turn down a $3.3MM player option with the Bulls.

“I could have accepted my player option in Chicago and still be on the team that’s not in the playoffs right now,” Jones said. “I just decided to bet on myself. I took less money to come here, but the money wasn’t the problem. The money wasn’t the issue. I just wanted to have the opportunity to be on the floor and to showcase what I’m able to do, and it happened for me.”

There’s more from Dallas:

  • There was speculation that Jason Kidd might have been on the hot seat with an early playoff exit, but instead he’s in the NBA Finals and has a multiyear contract extension, notes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. The Mavericks‘ head coach is grateful to general manager Nico Harrison and new team governor Patrick Dumont for having faith in what he’s trying to build. “And for Nico and Patrick to see that with the extension before we even got past the first round,” Kidd said. “Understanding that they believed in what I could do, and they saw the impact I had on the guys. … It’s definitely a vote of confidence. I actually believed I was doing the right thing. If you looked at our roster, it got better. We all got better.”
  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports examines the career paths of Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving and Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis, noting there was a time where they were nearly traded for each other. It happened before the 2019 deadline, when Irving was near the end of his tenure in Boston and New York was starting to explore deals involving Porzingis. The Mavericks killed the potential trade by offering the Knicks two first-round picks in exchange for Porzingis. Fischer also notes that the Celtics weren’t on Irving’s original list when he asked to be traded out of Cleveland. The Spurs, Knicks, Timberwolves and Heat were his preferred destinations.
  • Daniel Gafford had exploratory talks about joining the Slovenian national team as a naturalized player, but that won’t happen this summer, sources tell Marc Stein (Substack link). Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney will be part of Slovenia’s coaching staff for an Olympic qualifying tournament next month, and while Luka Doncic is expected to play, he won’t discuss his plans until the playoffs are done.
  • TNT analyst and former head coach Stan Van Gundy isn’t backing down from his claim that Irving and Doncic are “arguably the best offensive backcourt in the history of the NBA,” according to Howard Beck of The Ringer. Beck compares them to some historically great guard tandems to see how they stack up.

Woj: James Borrego, J.J. Redick “Names To Watch” In Lakers’ Coaching Search

The Lakers will intensify their search for a new head coach at this week’s Draft Combine in Chicago, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (video link), who identifies James Borrego and J.J. Redick as “names to watch” in that process.

Borrego currently serves as lead assistant for the Pelicans and helped the team develop a top-10 offense by utilizing Zion Williamson as a point forward, Wojnarowski notes. Borrego was the head coach in Charlotte from 2018-22, compiling a 138-163 record in four seasons. He also went 10-20 as interim coach in Orlando at the end of the 2014/15 season and spent time as an assistant to Gregg Popovich in San Antonio as well.

Redick is a member of ESPN/ABC’s top broadcasting team and has become a prominent media figure since retiring as a player in 2021. Although he doesn’t have any coaching experience, he benefits from a close relationship with Lakers star LeBron James, who serves as his co-host on the “Mind of the Game” podcast.

Lakers officials are expected to begin contacting rival teams this week to request permission to interview their assistant coaches, Woj adds. A report on Saturday identified Timberwolves assistant Micah NoriNuggets assistant David AdelmanMavericks assistant Sean Sweeney, and Heat assistant Chris Quinn as potential candidates, but Nori, Adelman and Sweeney are all still involved with playoff teams.

L.A. will likely conduct a “long search” and interview numerous candidates before hiring its next coach, according to Wojnarowski.

Lakers Eyeing Nori, Adelman, Sweeney, Quinn In Coaching Search

The Lakers, who are in the process of searching for a new head coach, have interest in a handful of veteran assistant coaches around the NBA, Jovan Buha of The Athletic stated within a mailbag video (YouTube link; hat tip to Lakers Nation).

According to Buha, Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori, Nuggets assistant David Adelman, Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney, and Heat assistant Chris Quinn are among the head coaching candidates that intrigue the Lakers.

Nori has been with the Timberwolves since 2021, having previously served as an assistant in Detroit, Denver, Sacramento, and Toronto. Adelman, who has been an assistant under Michael Malone in Denver since 2017, was on the Wolves’ staff from 2011-15 and was with the Magic in 2016/17. Sweeney’s stint with the Mavericks, which began in 2021, was preceded by assistant jobs in Detroit, Milwaukee, and Brooklyn. Quinn has been on Erik Spoelstra‘s staff in Miami since 2014.

“To my knowledge, the Lakers are not at the stage of interviewing coaches yet, but that will be happening soon,” Buha said. “It’s a little tricky timing-wise because you have Adelman, Nori, and Sweeney all in playoff series right now. You have J.J. Redick who is on the top broadcast team at ESPN and is supposed to be calling the Finals, which would be about a week or so before the draft.

“So it’s going to be interesting to see how the Lakers end up doing their interviews and just the timing of it and if they request certain guys while they’re still in the playoffs, how that process works with the teams.”

[RELATED: 2024 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

As Buha observes, the logistics may be especially challenging with Nori, who is essentially functioning as a co-head coach for the Timberwolves in their series vs. Denver due to the knee injury that has affected Chris Finch‘s ability to occupy his usual spot on the sidelines. For what it’s worth, it doesn’t sound like the Lakers are in a rush to make a hire within the next week or two, so if Nori is one of their top choices, they could be willing to wait for him.

“From what I’ve been told, the Lakers’ plan is to have a coach in place by the NBA draft, which is June 26,” Buha said.

According to Buha, Tyronn Lue is probably the Lakers’ top choice, but there has still been no indication that the Clippers‘ head coach will become available this offseason. Redick, Kenny Atkinson, and James Borrego have also been mentioned as possibilities for the Lakers; Charles Lee and Mike Budenholzer were too, but they’ve since taken head coaching jobs with other teams.

Appearing on ESPN’s NBA Countdown on Saturday (Twitter video link), Adrian Wojnarowski described Redick as a candidate that the Lakers have been “drilling down on” in their initial research. Woj adds that L.A.’s search is expected to be “wide-ranging” and “lengthy.”

Brian Keefe Top Candidate For Wizards’ Coaching Job?

The Wizards are expected to start interviewing candidates for their head coaching vacancy within the next few days, a team source told Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

Brian Keefe, who finished out the 2023/24 season as interim head coach, is viewed by sources from three rival teams as the top candidate for the job, they told Robbins.

Robbins’ sources also speculated that the Wizards might be eyeing Heat assistant Chris Quinn, Rockets assistant Royal Ivey, and Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney as potential candidates.

Washington’s coaching search has been very quiet since the regular season concluded. Multiple staff members were reportedly let go three weeks ago, but the Wizards retained Keefe and assistant coach David Vanterpool.

Multiple reports have stated Keefe will be in the running for the permanent job despite compiling a 8-31 record in his 39 games. He has a “strong player-development background,” Robbins writes, and players were very supportive of Keefe when the season ended. Jordan Poole, for instance, performed much better after Keefe decided to bring him off the bench to be a primary ball-handler and play-maker, Robbins notes.

I can really only just really speak on the stuff that B.K. has brought since he’s been here, and I think he’s been really good for our young team: the detail-orientedness that he brings, the structure that he brings,” Poole said after the regular season ended. “He loves the game, and that’s something that goes a really long way, especially at the highest level. And he’s willing and very genuine and authentic about putting our team (and) putting guys in positions to be successful and play to their strengths and really unlocking them because he cares about them as individuals. He’s done a really good job.”