Terry Stotts

Bucks Notes: Middleton, Payne, Beauchamp, Stotts

Bucks forward Khris Middleton, who recently signed a lucrative new three-year contract to remain in Milwaukee, suited up for his lone game of the preseason against the Grizzlies on Friday. Eric Nehm of The Athletic takes a look at the three-time All-Star’s performance.

The 6’7″ vet played scored five points on 2-of-6 shooting across 12 minutes of play, though he did dish out five dimes.

“Felt like I was myself out there,” Middleton said. “Now I just gotta get used to different spots on the floor, the rhythm of the offense (and) the defensive side, too, moving my feet a little bit better. All in all, I thought it was a great night.”

There’s more out of Milwaukee:

  • New Bucks reserve point guard Cameron Payne exited Milwaukee’s preseason finale with a right thigh contusion, the club’s PR team has announced (Twitter link). Payne’s status for the team’s regular season opener is unclear.
  • Second-year Bucks forward MarJon Beauchamp is getting a rave review from one very important voice, writes Lori Nickel of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Two-time MVP power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo believes that the Yakima Valley College alum flashed plenty of two-way potential with the team. “Giannis just told me, you have to have that aggressive mentality every time,” Beauchamp said. “Especially on a good team like this … my confidence, it’s up and down. But I heard from the big dog now. I got to stay aggressive. I got to keep working.”
  • Former assistant coach Terry Stotts abruptly departed the Bucks bench just days ahead of the club’s season opener. Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com writes that Stotts, who served as the head coach for the Trail Blazers from 2012-21, was expected to be a major contributor to Milwaukee under first-time head coach Adrian Griffin. “It’s not like Boston dropping [Ime] Udoka last year and putting in [Joe] Mazzulla, but Stotts was supposed to have a big role with [the Bucks’] offense,” a source told Bulpett. “It seemed like he was having trouble adjusting to being an assistant again. He was out for two years, he doesn’t need the money. … Maybe it was just a thing where he just wasn’t feeling it.”

Central Notes: Stotts, Griffin, Cunningham, Bates, Allen, Nembhard

Terry Stotts isn’t retiring, even though the 65-year-old coach is exiting Adrian Griffin’s staff with the Bucks, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Stotts wasn’t comfortable with his fit on Milwaukee’s staff. Griffin claimed they got along just fine.

“It caught all of us off guard, of course, but again, you just support him,” Griffin said. “He was a terrific guy. I learned a lot from him in a very short time. He was really good at what he does. He made a decision – a personal decision – and we just have to respect that.”

However, The Athletic’s Eric Nehm and Shams Charania report that Stotts and Griffin had a tenuous relationship. That included a shootaround incident in which Griffin yelled for Stotts to join the coaches’ huddle when Stotts was about to have a conversation with the team’s star players. That highlighted the potential difficulty of Stotts adapting to an assistant role under rookie head coach Griffin. Conversely, it also spoke about the treatment and level of respect that Griffin needed to show Stotts, considering his lengthy coaching career.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons paid Monty Williams a lot of money to coach their team, and their star player, Cade Cunningham, has bought in to Williams’ hard-driving style, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. “I love the way he pushes us,” Cunningham said. “He calls things the way he sees them. I think that honesty and that bluntness towards us, that’s huge. Especially for a young team. The systems that he’s put in, the way that he’s made it around our abilities and the personnel we have has been great for us. It’ll continue to get better as he learns us and we learn him.”
  • Rookie second-round pick Emoni Bates has led the Cavaliers in scoring during the preseason. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff told Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com that he’s thrilled Bates dropped to the No. 49 overall pick. “I believe if Emoni had gone in the lottery he’d have been the type of player who’d have been in the Rookie of the Year conversation,” Bickerstaff said. “We are extremely fortunate that he’s here with us and we look forward to working with him.”
  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen is showing progress from the right ankle injury that has sidelined him during much of training camp. On Thursday afternoon, he went through post-practice shooting drills and then went through an individual workout, according to Fedor. He is set for re-evaluation this weekend and there’s hope he can return for Cleveland’s regular-season opener on Wednesday night.
  • Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard went through a full practice this week and is on track to play in the team’s preseason finale on Friday, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. Nembhard is working his way back from an ankle injury.

Terry Stotts Resigns From Bucks’ Coaching Staff

Terry Stotts won’t continue in his role as an assistant coach with the Bucks, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The former Trail Blazers head coach had been out of the league for two years before agreeing to join Adrian Griffin’s new staff in Milwaukee. The Bucks had been searching for an experienced assistant for Griffin, who is in his first year as a head coach.

The 65-year-old Stotts compiled a 402-318 record during his nine seasons as head coach in Portland. He took the Blazers to the playoffs eight times, including a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2019. Stotts was previously a head coach in Milwaukee, as well as Atlanta, and holds a career record of 517-486.

No explanation has been given on why Stotts decided to step down less than a week before the start of the regular season or if (and how) the team plans to fill the coaching vacancy.

More Notes On Bucks’ Trade For Damian Lillard

The Damian Lillard news that we’ve been waiting for all offseason finally broke on Wednesday afternoon, as the Bucks reached an agreement to acquire the star guard from Portland in a three-team deal that will send former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton to the Trail Blazers.

Lillard and agent Aaron Goodwin made it clear shortly after Dame asked to be traded that the 33-year-old only wanted to be dealt to Miami. Instead, he’ll end up in Milwaukee, joining one of the Heat’s biggest Eastern Conference rivals. In his first public statement since news of the deal broke, Lillard said goodbye to Portland and seemingly put to rest any speculation that he would decline to report to his new team.

“The casuals won’t be addressed but the Trail Blazers fans and city of Portland that I love truly will be … and they will be addressed truthfully. Stay tuned,” Lillard wrote on Twitter. “Excited for my next chapter! @Bucks.”

Here’s more on the Lillard trade:

  • The Trail Blazers didn’t re-engage with the Heat prior to accepting the Bucks’ offer on Wednesday, a league source tells Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). According to Chiang, the communication between Miami and Portland this offseason was pretty limited, and the Heat only learned about the trade when Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news.
  • According to Chiang (Twitter link), Goodwin put out a statement today on the Heat‘s pursuit of his client: They did everything they could to acquire Dame. It takes two to get a deal done. I appreciate all that Pat (Riley), Andy (Elisburg) and Micky (Arison) did to try and make this happen.”
  • With Jrue Holiday expected to remain very available for trade after being sent to Portland, the Sixers will be among the teams with interest in acquiring him, reports Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports (Twitter link). If the 76ers were to land Holiday, I imagine it would be in a multi-team deal involving James Harden, though that’s just my speculation.
  • Holiday also seems to fit the mold of the type of player the Heat would covet, Chiang notes (via Twitter), though he acknowledges that the veteran guard’s market could be “robust.”
  • No longer having Deandre Ayton‘s long-term, maximum-salary contract on their books is considered a positive for the Suns, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Rankin adds that new Phoenix center Jusuf Nurkic is viewed as a good team player who buys into his role, is loved by teammates, and can help the Suns with his passing.
  • Shortly after the news of Lillard’s trade to Milwaukee broke, Heat star Jimmy Butler took to Instagram to send a message to the league, as ClutchPoints relays (Twitter video link). “Yo NBA, man, y’all need to look into the Bucks for tampering,” Butler said. “Y’all do. I’m just going to put that out there. Y’all didn’t hear it from me, but I heard it through somebody, y’all look at them for tampering.”
  • The Bucks‘ and Suns‘ championship betting odds both increased as a result of today’s trade news, per Alex Kennedy of BasketballNews.com (Twitter link). Kennedy says that one sportsbook has moved Milwaukee from +700 to +370 and Phoenix from +800 to +600.
  • As Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report observes (via Twitter), Lillard’s move to Milwaukee will reunite him with his former coach. The Bucks hired Terry Stotts this offseason as Adrian Griffin‘s lead assistant. Stotts was Portland’s head coach from 2012-21.

Central Notes: Cunningham, Rupert, Griffin, Rubio

Cade Cunningham continues to make progress in his recovery from surgery for a stress fracture in his left shin, Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press writes in a subscriber-only mailbag column. The Pistons haven’t given a recent indication of Cunningham’s status, but Sankofa states that he’s made numerous checks with people in the organization and the response Friday was that “he’s doing very well.”

Cunningham told reporters in April that he was pleased with his progress four months after the operation. He said he was running and taking jump shots and was hoping to start change-of-direction work soon. Sankofa is optimistic that Cunningham will be fully ready for the start of next season.

The 21-year-old guard will be an important part of Detroit’s plans to move into contention for a play-in spot. The top pick in the 2021 draft averaged 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists as a rookie, but was limited to 12 games last season before opting for surgery.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Searching for versatile players to help improve their 29th-ranked defense, the Pacers hosted international prospects Rayan Rupert and Mojave King at a workout Saturday, according to Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Both could still be available when Indiana makes its second pick of the first round at No. 26. “I love being switchable defensively with my wingspan,” said Rupert, who played in the Australian League this season. “Just bringing a lot of energy to my teammates. If I want to get minutes in the NBA next year and have a good career, it’s going to be because of my defense.”
  • At his introductory press conference this week, new Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin said he’s thrilled to have a veteran like Terry Stotts on his staff, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Griffin indicated that he plans to rely heavily on advice from the former Trail Blazers head coach. “To get a guy like Terry is a home run,” Griffin said. “He brings unbelievable experience. Yes, he’s a mastermind on the offensive end, but he’s well versed. He brings a wealth of experience. He’s coached elite players in (Damian) Lillard and (CJ) McCollum. I don’t just see him as an offensive coach; he’s gonna be someone that I lean on.”
  • In a TV interview during the Spanish ACB semifinals, Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio was asked about recent comments that he hopes to finish his career in Europe, according to a Eurohoops report. “The idea when I left Europe to play in the NBA was to come back at some point,” said Rubio, who’s expected to represent Spain in the FIBA World Cup this summer. “I don’t know where I will be mentally and physically and if I will continue to play, but yes, my NBA days are coming to an end!”

Terry Stotts To Join Bucks’ Coaching Staff

Former Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts is finalizing a contract to be part of Adrian Griffin‘s new coaching staff with the Bucks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

A report on Friday indicated that Milwaukee was seeking an experienced assistant to pair with Griffin, who’s a first-time head coach. Stotts and James Borrego were both mentioned as candidates, but Borrego has since agreed to join the Pelicans as associate head coach.

Stotts, 65, has been out of the NBA since parting ways with the Trail Blazers in 2021 after running the team for nine seasons. He previously served as head coach of the Hawks and Bucks and has a career record of 402-318.

The Celtics reportedly considered hiring Stotts as an assistant when Joe Mazzulla took over the team last September following Ime Udoka’s suspension. The Mavericks were also rumored to have interest in adding him to Jason Kidd’s staff.

Bucks Rumors: Griffin, Borrego, Stotts, Assistants

Although he has yet to officially put pen to paper, new head coach Adrian Griffin has already been with the Bucks for the past week as they prepare for the draft and offseason, according to Eric Nehm and Shams Charania of The Athletic, who report that Griffin will receive a multiyear deal worth about $4MM annually.

As Nehm and Charania write, Griffin holds experience as a player and was an assistant for 15 seasons, but he’s a first-time head coach. That means assistant coaches with head coaching experience might be prioritized.

Former Hornets head coach James Borrego and former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts are a couple of names to watch, per Nehm and Charania. The Athletic’s duo notes that Griffin had defensive game plan responsibilities with Toronto, so it would make sense to complement him with offensive coaches.

Borrego, who was actually expected to interview for Milwaukee’s job, interviewed for the coaching vacancy in Houston and was reportedly a finalist before the Rockets decided to hire Ime Udoka. He has also been linked to assistant jobs in Brooklyn and Dallas.

Stotts, who was with Portland for nine years (2012-21), has interviewed for head coaching jobs since he was fired and has been rumored to be a candidate for other teams as an assistant, including the Mavs.

As Nehm and Charania detail, a few Bucks assistant coaches have already announced they’re leaving the organization following Mike Budenholzer‘s dismissal, but the fates of several others remain up in the air even though they’re currently employed. According to The Athletic, GM Jon Horst acknowledged that the coaching staff was in flux last month, with more assistants possibly finding opportunities elsewhere.

I have a ton of respect for all of this group,” Horst said. “I think we have one of the best supporting coaching groups in the NBA and I would hope if they’re still with us when we make the next hire, that they’ll get consideration from that hire. That’ll be part of that process.

I also expect a number of these guys will have other opportunities across the league. And if they do, I have great relationships with everyone, we’ll have an open line of communication as we already do and I’ll support them in that way too.”

Stein’s Latest: Bridges, Udoka, Raptors, Mavericks, Silas

Rival front offices are expecting Miles Bridges to re-sign with the Hornets this summer, Marc Stein states in his latest Substack article. Bridges, who will be suspended for the first 10 games of next season, didn’t play this year after being charged with felony domestic abuse for a June 2022 incident. Stein adds that in announcing the suspension, commissioner Adam Silver cited a mutual agreement between league officials and Bridges’ representatives at Klutch Sports that resulted in him sitting out the 2022/23 season.

Stein notes that Charlotte has a June 29 deadline to tender a $7.7MM qualifying offer that will make him a restricted free agent. One indication of Bridges’ possible intentions, Stein adds, is an online photo of himself that he recently posted wearing Hornets gear during a workout.

Bridges was expected to be one of the top names on the 2022 free agent market before the domestic abuse case. He became a full-time starter during his fourth NBA season and averaged 20.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 80 games.

There’s more from Stein:

  • Ime Udoka, who was hired as the Rockets‘ new head coach last week, was on a similar hiatus from the league. Udoka was suspended for the season by the Celtics following an affair with a subordinate, and although there was no official punishment from the NBA, the league office agreed with the way Boston handled the situation, Stein adds. “The Celtics decided that he should be suspended for a year,” Silver said. “We reviewed that and determined it was fair under those circumstances. And then when other teams — and it wasn’t just the Rockets — asked us if he would be able to coach next season, we said he would be.” 
  • The Raptors had interest in hiring Udoka to replace Nick Nurse, but they intended to conduct a thorough coaching search that would last well into May, sources tell Stein. When the Rockets made a four-year offer reportedly worth $28.5MM, Udoka thought it was best to take that opportunity.
  • The Mavericks are expected to consider James Borrego and Jeff Hornacek for openings on Jason Kidd‘s staff. Stein adds that Frank Vogel would be a logical addition because Kidd worked for him with the Lakers, but Vogel is still pursuing head coaching opportunities. Stein mentions former Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts as another possibility for Dallas.
  • The Celtics would like to hire ex-Rockets head coach Stephen Silas as an assistant to Joe Mazzulla next season, sources tell Stein. Silas was seen in Boston last week at Game 5 of the first-round series with Atlanta.

Stein’s Latest: Celtics, Vogel, Stotts, Crowder, Bogdanovic, Lakers

Having failed to lure Clippers assistant Jay Larranaga back to Boston, the Celtics remain on the lookout for a veteran assistant who could help guide newly promoted Joe Mazzulla through his first season as an NBA head coach, as we relayed on Thursday.

According to Marc Stein at Substack, two veteran head coaches are among the potential candidates on the Celtics’ radar — the team has shown interest in Frank Vogel and Terry Stotts. However, Boston is pessimistic about its chances of being able to hire either Vogel or Stotts as an assistant to an unproven head coach, Stein writes.

Stein’s latest round-up of notes and rumors from around the NBA includes a few other interesting tidbits:

  • The divide between Jae Crowder and the Suns began when the veteran forward let the team know he was seeking a contract extension, according to Stein, who says the Suns essentially responded by telling the 32-year-old that he was no longer a lock to start or finish games ahead of Cameron Johnson. Crowder remains away from the team as Phoenix attempts to find a suitable trade.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic is another veteran forward in his 30s who is looking for a new deal as he enters a contract year. Stein suggests that Bogdanovic’s desire for a multiyear extension may have cooled his trade market a little, dissuading some potential suitors from pushing harder for him. Presumably, Bogdanovic is seeking more years and/or dollars than teams would have been comfortable offering, and those clubs weren’t prepared to surrender valuable assets for a one-year rental. The Pistons ultimately acquired the 33-year-old from Utah for Kelly Olynyk, Saben Lee, and cash.
  • As has been reported ad nauseam, the Lakers would only be willing to surrender their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in a trade that significantly boosts their championship odds. According to Stein, that same principle applies to the team’s 2023 salary cap flexibility — the Lakers would be open to reducing or eliminating their ’23 cap space by taking on future salary if the deal makes them a legitimate title contender.

Latest On Jazz’s Head Coaching Search

The Jazz have been given the green light to talk to several well-regarded current assistant coaches about their head coaching vacancy, per Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Several of the names Woj and MacMahon mention had been floated as possibilities in reports earlier this week, but Celtics assistant coach Joe Mazzulla joins an expanding list of assistant coaches under consideration by Jazz brass.

As Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets, Mazzulla worked as an assistant coach under both Brad Stevens and now Ime Udoka in Boston, and has assumed a more significant role while on Udoka’s bench this season. Mazzulla interviewed for the head coaching position with Boston in 2021 after Stevens moved into a front office role with the franchise and will get an opportunity to meet with the Jazz this spring.

Woj and MacMahon indicate that Utah is also set to interview current Jazz assistant Alex Jensen, who served on the staff of departed head coach Quin Snyder, along with former Blazers coach Terry Stotts, Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant, Celtics assistant Will Hardy, and Bucks assistant coach Charles Lee. These five candidates had been included on the team’s preliminary list.

Suns assistant coach Kevin Young and Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin were previously cited as possible candidates, but they weren’t mentioned in today’s ESPN report.

The other key piece of new information from Wojnarowski and MacMahon is that the coaching search is anticipated to expand further to include both assistants and recent NBA head coaches. According to ESPN’s duo, the team will cast a wide net and move gradually in its search.

In eight seasons with Snyder at the helm, Utah never advanced beyond the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. This year, the Jazz finished with a 49-33 regular season record and lost 4-2 in the first round to the Mavericks.