Shayne Whittington

Coaching Notes: Vogel, Rockets, Nets, Pacers

The Suns didn’t fill their coaching vacancy until after the Sixers hired Nick Nurse, but sources tell Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic that Frank Vogel was the first choice in Phoenix all along. Nurse had an interview with the Suns and was among five finalists for the job, along with Vogel, Suns associate head coach Kevin Young, Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez and former Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers.

After dismissing Monty Williams following a second-round playoff ouster, Phoenix was interested in finding someone with championship experience, according to Rankin, which is why Vogel, Nurse and Rivers were all contacted. Vogel benefited from his reputation as a strong defensive coach, as the Suns are determined to improve on that end of the court. The final five candidates met with team owner Mat Ishbia and president of basketball operations and general manager James Jones, Rankin adds.

Vogel became the frontrunner for the job after an impressive interview, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. Reports that Devin Booker pushed for Young to get the head coaching job are “overexaggerated,” Gambadoro adds (Twitter link). Young opted to remain with the team as an assistant coach. Gambadoro also disputes a report that Phoenix offered the job to Nurse (Twitter link).

There’s more coaching news to pass along:

  • Three members of Ime Udoka‘s coaching staff with the Celtics will join him in Houston, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The Rockets are hiring Ben Sullivan, Mike Moser and Garrett Jackson, and Scotto states that they’re considering Boston assistant Aaron Miles, who has also received interest from other teams. Scotto adds that teams have also reached out to Celtics assistant Jarrell Christian, as head coach Joe Mazzulla is expected to rebuild his staff this summer.
  • Ronnie Burrell, who was named G League Coach of the Year with the Long Island Nets, will join Jacque Vaughn’s coaching staff in Brooklyn, Scotto tweets. Burrell has been with the G League team since 2019.
  • Former Pacers player Shayne Whittington has joined Indiana’s coaching staff, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.

Shayne Whittington To Play In Spain

Former Pacers big man Shayne Whittington didn’t take long to find a new home. After being cut by Indiana in late July, Whittington will head overseas for the coming season, having signed a contract with Spanish club Obradoiro CAB. The ex-Pacer himself confirmed the deal in a post on Instagram.

“Really excited to announce that I’ll be starting a new chapter in my life in Santiago De Compostela, Spain with Obradoiro CAB,” Whittington wrote. “Great league and a great opportunity for me and my family!”

Whittington, 25, spent parts of the last two seasons with the Pacers, going back forth between Indiana and Fort Wayne, where the team’s D-League affiliate plays. During that time, the Western Michigan alum has appeared in 27 total NBA games, averaging a modest 2.5 PPG and 1.5 RPG in 5.5 minutes per contest.

Indiana would have had to guarantee Whittington’s $980,431 salary for 2016/17 if he had remained on the team’s roster past August 1. By waiving him before then, the Pacers ensured that they were no longer on the hook for his cap hit.

Pacers Waive Shayne Whittington

The Pacers have waived big man Shayne Whittington, the team announced today in a press release. The move allows the team to avoid paying Whittington’s $980,431 salary for the 2016/17 season, which would have become fully guaranteed if he remained on the roster beyond August 1.

[RELATED: Upcoming deadlines for non-guaranteed contracts]

Whittington, 25, has spent parts of the last two seasons with the Pacers, going back forth between Indiana and Fort Wayne, where the team’s D-League affiliate plays. During that time, the Western Michigan alum has appeared in 27 total NBA games, averaging a modest 2.5 PPG and 1.5 RPG in 5.5 minutes per contest.

With Whittington no longer in the mix, the Pacers have reduced their roster to 15 players, the regular-season limit. Of those 15 players, 14 have guaranteed salaries, while Glenn Robinson III also has an August 1 guarantee deadline. Assuming Robinson sticks around past Monday, he and his 14 teammates look like they’ll make up Indiana’s opening-night roster, though teams can carry up to 20 players in the offseason, so the Pacers figure to add a few more players for training camp in the coming weeks.

As for Whittington, he still has a chance to earn his full salary on his current contract if he’s claimed off waivers. However, it’s more likely that he’ll hit the open market. A non-guaranteed or partially-guaranteed contract with an NBA team – perhaps even Indiana – is one option, though he could also decide to explore overseas opportunities.

Central Notes: Butler, Monroe, Brooks, Felder

Jimmy Butler indicated that he has been in contact with Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade and he believes the trio can make it work on the Bulls, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune passes along in a series of tweets“Everybody has to sacrifice a little something. We all just to win. They have done it. I want to do it,” Butler said. “But I’m not going to take a step backward because I have new players on my team. I’m going to still be aggressive.” Butler added that expects the pair of veteran guards to hold him accountable on and off the court.

Here’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Butler is aware of the trade rumors surrounding him, but he remains focused on elevating his game, as Johnson tweets“Whoever I play for is gonna get my best effort. If it’s the Bulls, which I think it will be, I’m coming at everybody,” Butler said.
  • With Bucks center Miles Plumlee locked up to a new four-year deal, Greg Monroe remains available in trade talks, says ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter links). Stein suggests that Monroe and Kings forward Rudy Gay are two of the NBA’s most prominent veterans known to be on the trade block.
  • The Pacers hope newly signed point guard Aaron Brooks will be a more effective passer than Ty Lawson was off the bench, Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star writes. The arrival of Brooks gives the team 16 players under contract and Taylor believes Shayne Whittington, whose contract won’t become fully guaranteed until August 1, is the player most likely to be waived.
  • Kay Felder had an impressive Summer League and Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders believes the No. 54 overall pick has a real shot at making the Cavs‘ roster. Felder averaged 15.3 points and 3.9 assists over seven games this summer.
  • Keith Langlois of examines how the Pistons were able to revamp their collection of small forwards over the last 13 months. The team drafted Stanley Johnson in the 2015 draft and acquired Marcus Morris last offseason before trading for Tobias Harris this past season.

Central Rumors: James, Drummond, Bucks Arena

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue asserted his authority in a recent meeting with LeBron James in which Lue told the superstar small forward to cut out the distractions, Brian Windhorst of reports. Lue’s challenge came in the wake of James’ recent actions, including comments about his desire to play with Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony and cryptic messages on social media, Windhorst continues. James has lifted his game since the meeting, averaging 28.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 9.6 assists over the past seven games as Cleveland has solidified its status as the Eastern Conference’s top seed, Windhorst adds.

In other developments around the Central Division:

  • Andre Drummond‘s woeful free throw shooting is making it increasingly difficult for Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy to keep his star center on the court at the end of close games, David Mayo of MLive writes. Drummond was on the bench during the closing minutes of Detroit’s crucial win over the Bulls on Saturday night after Chicago began intentionally fouling him. Drummond, who made just one of 10 free throw attempts during that game, is shooting a league-worst 35.4% from the foul line. “In a close game like that, back and forth, we can’t be playing hoping for one point, at most, when they’re playing for two or three,” Van Gundy told Mayo and other media members. “You can’t do that. You’re putting way too much pressure on your defense.”
  • The latest design proposal for the Bucks’ new arena received approval from Milwaukee’s planning commission on Monday, moving the $500MM project forward for groundbreaking this summer, Tom Daykin of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The development plan also requires Common Council approval, Daykin continues. The arena is scheduled to open by the 2018/19 season, Daykin adds.
  • The Pacers recalled power forwards Shayne Whittington and Rakeem Christmas from their D-League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, according to the team’s website. Whittington played in 40 games for the Mad Ants, averaging 12.1 points and 7.9 rebounds, while Christmas appeared in 48 games, averaging 13.9 points and 7.1 rebounds.

Eastern Notes: Embiid, Frye, D-League

The Sixers allowed Joel Embiid to delay his surgery last offseason so the big man could enjoy his summer, Tom Moore of Calkins Media reports. “It’s the tail wagging the dog,” a league source told Moore. At the time it was reported that the surgery was delayed so more opinions could be sought.

Embiid underwent surgery last August after an initial operation in June 2014, and he isn’t expected to play for the Sixers’ 2016 summer league team. Moore mentions that had Embiid undergone the second surgery in June 2015 as expected, he would likely be ready to play in the summer league this year. Still, there are some within the NBA who are optimistic about the center’s long-term career. “He’s doing fine — well, in fact. He’s reached another gear,” a second league source tells Moore.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Channing Frye has made 26 of 52 shots from behind the arc since coming to the Cavs, and he appears to be fitting in with the team both on and off the court, Brian Windhorst of writes. Frye feels comfortable with Cleveland and has no ill will toward Orlando for trading him just a year and a half into a four-year, $32MM deal. “When [the Magic drafted] a guy like Aaron Gordon, they wanted to develop that. I understood it. It was part of the business,” Frye said.
  • The Raptors have recalled Bruno Caboclo from the team’s D-League affiliate, the Raptors 905, according to the team’s Twitter feed.
  • The Pacers have assigned Shayne Whittington to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team’s D-League affiliate, according to the team’s website.

Eastern Notes: Batum, Calderon, Whittington

The impact that Nicolas Batum has had on the Hornets this season has him in line to land a major payday when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. The swingman is likely to seek a maximum salary contract this summer, and while it’s debatable whether Batum is worthy of that amount even with the salary cap set to increase drastically for 2016/17, Charlotte’s inability to lure top-tier free agents may make investing in him for the long-term a wise move, Bonnell adds. While Batum is not a star in the traditional sense, he does make his teammates around him better as well as provide coach Steve Clifford a well-rounded set of skills to utilize, Bonnell writes. Batum is averaging 14.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 35.6 minutes per outing on the campaign.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Much-maligned Knicks point guard Jose Calderon said he’s looking forward to playing with the Spanish national team in this summer’s Olympics, noting that he is “appreciated there,” Marc Berman of The New York Post relays. “I want to be there,’’ said Calderon. “It will be my fourth Olympics. I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to play more. I think four is a good number. After 16 years on the national team, I’m not going to get to 2020. It’s a little bit too far for me.” Calderon has one year and approximately $7.7MM remaining on his contract but the Knicks could use the stretch provision to waive him and save $5MM on next season’s cap.
  • The Pacers have recalled Shayne Whittington from their D-League affiliate, the team announced. The center has appeared in 34 games for the Mad Ants this season, averaging 12.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.5 steals.

Eastern Notes: Magic, Harris, Embiid

The Magic had other offers on the table for Tobias Harris, but they opted to take Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova from Detroit because both players had played under coach Scott Skiles previously, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes. Orlando believed the duo could contribute immediately to the team’s goal of making the playoffs, Kennedy adds.

The Magic are 6-8 since adding Ilyasova and Jennings, sitting five and a half games behind the Pistons, who are currently tied with the Bulls for the eighth seed in the conference entering tonight’s slate of games. Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy feels that Harris has masterfully fit in with the team, Kennedy passes along in the same piece. “You feel like he’s been here all year, even in terms of the way he relates to his teammates,” Van Gundy said. “It’s actually been a pretty seamless transition. He’s unselfish.”
  • Even if Joel Embiid is able to remain healthy, the Sixers should take a patient approach with regard to his development, Bob Cooney of Philadelphia Daily News cautions. Cooney points out that Embiid now 22 years old, has only been playing basketball for roughly six years.
  • The Pacers have assigned Shayne Whittington to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, according to the team’s website.

And Ones: Budenholzer, Payton, D-League

The Hawks have increased their use of analytics and technology in how they help players recover from injuries and maintain their bodies, David Aldridge of notes. The use of new and nontraditional techniques is one change that Mike Budenholzer implemented when he took over as the team’s president of basketball operations, Aldridge adds. “We wanted to have all of the groups, everybody within the organization that had a great synergy and worked well together, and had a passion,” Budenholzer told the scribe. “Keke Lyles, [trainer] Art Horne and [strength and conditioning coach] Mike Roncarati and [Athletic Performance Coach] Chris Chase and [assistant trainer] Scottie Parker have a passion for athletic performance, keeping our guys, pushing the envelope for them being the best they can be. You could feel that when we interviewed them and talked with them.”

Lyles, who is Atlanta’s director of player performance, told Aldridge of the team’s approach, “I think the biggest thing is, [Budenholzer] has a certain vision about the court, and what the players are doing. And he wanted that to carry over into what guys did as prep. Obviously, our field is not his area of expertise, but he knew the value of it, and how important it is. And so I think he saw the opportunity to bring a group in that was kind of on the same page, and thought the same way, and had very specific goals that we wanted to accomplish in treatment.” Budenholzer credits Lyles with helping Kyle Korver and Tim Hardaway Jr. return to form after their respective surgeries, Aldridge also notes.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Elfrid Payton has yet to establish himself as the Magic‘s point guard of the future despite making small strides in improving his scoring average and shooting numbers, Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel writes. “I don’t want to single a spot out. We’re 9-24 since the first of the year. So all of our our spots…we’re not playing well enough in general,” coach Scott Skiles responded when asked about the play of the team’s playmakers. When asked specifically about Payton, the coach said, “Again, I just don’t think it’s fair….I’m not trying to duck the question. If we were having a more consistent season, I’d feel a little bit more comfortable answering that. Again, our troubles are at many spots.
  • The Pistons have an available roster spot after not electing to sign Justin Harper for the remainder of the season after his second 10-day deal came to an end, but Detroit has no immediate plans to bring in another player, Keith Langlois of tweets.
  • The Pacers have recalled center Shayne Whittington from their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This was the big man’s fifth stint with the Mad Ants on the season.

Central Notes: Hibbert, Whittington, Tolliver, Bucks

A sprained left ankle will keep Lakers center Roy Hibbert out of tonight’s game, which would have been his first back in Indiana since last summer’s trade, according to Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star. Before his status was announced, his former Pacers teammates were concerned about the reception he might get from fans. “It was a situation where Roy didn’t want to leave, but it was about that time, I guess,” Paul George said. “So it wasn’t on bad terms for his sake, so I hope the fans don’t knock him or overlook that. Roy’s been great for this organization.” With the Lakers floundering, Hibbert is a candidate to be moved again before next week’s deadline, as Chuck Myron examined earlier today.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers have assigned forward/center Shayne Whittington to their D-League affiliate in Fort Wayne, the team announced today. A second-year player, Whttington has appeared in just four games with the Pacers this season, but 24 for Fort Wayne, where he is averaging 12.0 points and 8.1 rebounds.
  • Anthony Tolliver has become a dependable reserve power forward for the Pistons, but it may not be enough to keep the 30-year-old on the team next season, writes Aaron McMann of MLive. Tolliver will be a free agent this summer, and coach/executive Stan Van Gundy has said he plans to exercise the team option on starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova. Detroit has also been rumored to have interest in Pelicans free agent Ryan Anderson“I definitely would love to figure out a way to come back here and make this a long-term situation,” Tolliver said. “Obviously, it would have to be a mutual decision, mutually beneficial for both parties.”
  • The Bucks shouldn’t be entertaining offers for forward/center Greg Monroe, argues Bobby Marks of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. Monroe was Milwaukee’s prize free agent addition last season, but the organization reportedly let other teams know last week that it would consider moving him or point guard Michael Carter-Williams if the right offer came along. Marks advises the Bucks to hang on to their core of young talent and draft picks, but to consider dealing away shooting guard O.J. Mayo and center Miles Plumlee.