Tom Izzo

Suns Notes: Ayton, Landale, Okogie, Craig, Warren, More

If they move Deandre Ayton this offseason, the Suns‘ preference would be to get multiple depth pieces in return rather than simply trading his contract to a cap-room team and acquiring a draft pick or two, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 told Michael Scotto in the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast.

As the Suns look to fill out their roster following the Bradley Beal blockbuster, they’ll also have interest in re-signing free agents like Jock Landale, Josh Okogie, and Torrey Craig, according to Gambadoro, though he says T.J. Warren is expected to be let go. Scotto confirms that Landale and the Suns have mutual interest in a new deal, with Gambadoro suggesting that the team “really” likes having the big man as its backup center.

Gambadoro and Scotto also discussed several other Suns-related topics during the podcast, including Isiah Thomas‘ unofficial role with the franchise, which Chris Paul alluded to in an interview with The New York Times.

As Gambadoro explains, Thomas isn’t going to be brought into the fold officially in a front office position, but he’s a trusted confidant for new owner Mat Ishbia, who will likely continue soliciting Thomas’ input and bouncing ideas off of him. Longtime Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is another Ishbia confidant, Gambadoro adds.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • During the HoopsHype podcast, Gambadoro also discussed the tension that existed between former Suns head coach Monty Williams and players like Jae Crowder and Ayton. “The Jae Crowder situation was all on Monty. He told people he was too difficult to handle and coach. Monty didn’t want Jae. It wasn’t the Suns organization. He didn’t want Jae around,” Gambadoro said. “As far as Deandre Ayton, Monty didn’t want him either. He wanted them to trade him to Indiana for Myles Turner. He didn’t like coaching Ayton. … Monty’s a good coach and a player’s coach, but he’s a player’s coach for the players he likes, but he wasn’t in on Jae and Deandre.”
  • The Suns are counting on having a second-round pick in Thursday’s draft, tweets Gambadoro. It will either be No. 52 – Phoenix’s current selection– or No. 57, if the Suns and Wizards swap late second-rounders as part of the Beal trade.
  • Ian Begley of reported that the Suns – before acquiring Beal – were among the teams to reach out to the Mavericks earlier this offseason to inquire about a possible Kyrie Irving sign-and-trade. However, Gambadoro shot down that report, tweeting that it “never happened.” Either way, with Beal in the fold, an Irving pursuit is definitely off the table.
  • Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic takes a look at what sort of traits the Suns will be looking for as they attempt to fill out their roster on the cheap. The team could use at least one more wing shooter, a big man who can stretch the floor and rebound, and a defensive stopper, writes Rankin.
  • Eugene German, a former Northern Illinois Star who spent last season playing in China, will work out for the Suns on June 28, a source tells Sean Paul of Mountain West Wire (Twitter link).

Pacific Notes: James, Moneke, Vezenkov, Suns, Winger

LeBron James twisted his left ankle in the late going of Game 2 against the Nuggets on Thursday but the Lakers’ superstar said he’ll play in Game 3, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. James, who has dealt with right foot problems this season, stepped on Anthony Davis‘ foot. “A little ankle [injury] isn’t going to stop me,” James said.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Chima Moneke, who played two games with the Kings this season before signing with AS Monaco in the EuroLeague, fully expects league MVP Sasha Vezenkov to play for his former NBA team next season, Aris Barkas of writes. Sacramento holds Vezenkov’s NBA rights. “I know that they love him over there. They’re really excited to bring him over,” Moneke said. “I believe they’re going to do what it takes to implement him on the team. I think he can contribute in a lot of ways.”
  • The Suns have gotten numerous inquiries from college coaches regarding their head coaching job, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports. While Rankin doesn’t reveal any specific names, he notes that owner Mat Ishbia is extremely close to his former college coach, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo.
  • Clippers general manager Michael Winger has interviewed with the Wizards in Washington’s search for a top executive. However, there’s skepticism around the league that Winger, one of the highest paid GMs in the league, will leave the stability of his current job, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Magic Expressed Interest In Tom Izzo

3:29pm: Izzo won’t be the next head coach in Orlando, a source tells Graham Couch of The Lansing State Journal (Twitter link).

11:03am: As they continue to seek out a replacement for Frank Vogel, the Magic have expressed interest in longtime Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo, league sources tell Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Izzo, who has led the Spartans to seven Final Four appearances and one national championship, has been the head coach at Michigan State since 1995. He has been involved with the program even longer than that, having originally been hired as an assistant all the way back in 1983.

Given his long-standing connection to Michigan State, Izzo seems unlikely to have serious interest in the Magic job. He has been pursued by NBA teams in the past, having been linked to the Lakers, Cavaliers, Timberwolves, and Pistons at various times within the last several years. However, he has always elected to remain at MSU; university president John Engler even said earlier this month when the Pistons job opened up again that Izzo is a “Spartan for life” and wouldn’t be a candidate for the Detroit job.

While it’s possible that Izzo will reconsider that stance at some point – the recent Larry Nassar scandal at MSU could be a factor – it would be a surprise if the Magic job is the one that ultimately brings him to the NBA. Having undergone a front office change last summer, Orlando is in the midst of a retooling period and doesn’t have a franchise player on its roster.

Still, the fact that the Magic have apparently reached out to Izzo signals that the team is casting a wide net in its search for a new head coach. We passed along details on the team’s newest candidate, Steve Clifford, earlier today.

Pistons Notes: Van Gundy, Jackson, Coaching Search, Izzo

Stan Van Gundy and the Pistons parted ways this week, putting the organization in the market for a head coach. As for Van Gundy, he still had one year left on his contract with the Pistons. However, that does not put him out of running for other coaching opportunities, per Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

“If the right situation came along, I wouldn’t dismiss it,” Van Gundy said. “I’m not going out on the terms I would like.”  

Ellis notes that there no restrictions on Van Gundy pursuing other opportunities as a head coach, even though there’s still one year left on his Pistons contract. Van Gundy has an extensive coaching resume, which includes stints with the Heat, Magic, and Pistons. Van Gundy led the 2009 Magic to the NBA Finals but lost to the Lakers. During his stint with the Pistons, the team only made the postseason once, which prompted Detroit to explore making changes.

Check out more Pistons notes down below:

  • Reggie Jackson has not been healthy the past two seasons, missing 30 games last season and 37 games this season due to injury. In an interview with Rod Beard of the Detroit News, Jackson expressed regret for not being able to help his team and former head coach by being healthy and effective on the court. “Being injured the past few years, I wish I could have done more and been healthy more to help us win games and to secure our future as a whole and (Van Gundy’s) future,” Jackson said. “I wish we could have been better the past few years and not have to get to this point.”
  • Michigan State president John Engler said that Tom Izzo, the school’s basketball head coach, will remain a Spartan for life and will not pursue the Pistons’ head coaching vacancy, tweets David Jesse of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Keith Langlois of breaks down the upcoming NBA calendar and how it will impact the Pistons’ search for a head coach.

Pacific Rumors: CP3; Lakers, Kings Coaching Jobs

The Clippers suffered a devastating blow and the playoffs took another unexpected turn Monday when Chris Paul broke his right hand in Game 4 against the Trail Blazers, a Portland win that evened the first-round series. Paul is “most likely” out for the rest of the postseason, a source told ESPN’s J.A. Adande (ESPN Now link). A team source said much the same to Dan Woike of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). It’s possible a better prognosis will emerge after further tests, and the team will know more today, Adande and Woike report, but the Clippers are in rough shape. Blake Griffin is just “50-50” for the next game because of a sore left quadriceps tendon, coach Doc Rivers said, according to Scott Howard-Cooper of (Twitter link). It all adds up to a potential boost for the Warriors, who’ve lost Stephen Curry for at least two weeks with a sprained knee and will play either the Clippers or the Blazers in the next round, provided they dispatch the Rockets.

See more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers have reached out to Jeff Van Gundy about their coaching vacancy and he has interest, a source close to Van Gundy told Sam Amick of USA Today.
  • College coaches Roy Williams, John Calipari, Jay Wright and Tom Izzo are among the candidates the Lakers will consider, sources told Ramona Shelburne of Former Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek is also expected to be among those the Lakers will look at,’s Brian Windhorst hears, as the website passes along in the same piece.
  • The Lakers felt they needed someone who’s on board with the modern NBA’s more perimeter-oriented style when they dismissed Byron Scott late Sunday, sources told Shelburne, and they would ideally like to hire a big-name coach on the upswing who has strong player development skills, a coaching source indicated to Ken Berger of
  • Vinny Del Negro‘s interview for the Kings head coaching job took place Monday, and Mike Woodson is expected to have his interview as soon as today, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. GM Vlade Divac has been in charge of the interviews and is expected to have the most influential say in the team’s eventual hiring, Wojnarowski adds.

And-Ones: Calipari, Izzo, Miller, Wizards

John Calipari wasn’t the only star college coach the Cavs reached out to, reveals Jason Lloyd of the Beacon Journal, who hears Kevin Ollie, Fred Hoiberg, Billy Donovan and Mike Krzyzewski all were contacted by Cleveland. Lloyd’s source adds that the Cavs offered Tom Izzo a coaching position that also would have given him total control of the franchise’s basketball operations, much like the role that the team proposed to Coach Cal. Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Cavs have contacted around 11 candidates in an attempt to fill their coaching vacancy, writes Lloyd in the same piece.
  • The decision on whether or not to bring back Andre Miller will probably be an easy one for the Wizards, opines J. Michael of  Washington holds a $4.6MM option on his deal for 2014/15 or could buy him out for $2MM.
  • Former Marquette University forward Jamil Wilson, who had to cancel workouts with the Bucks and Pistons due to a sprained ankle, is expected to audition for the Wizards on Tuesday, tweets Gery Woelfel of the Journal Sentinel.
  • Tim Bontemps of the New York Post looked back at the performance of Nets‘ midseason acquisition Marcus Thornton.  Thornton turned into a key rotation player for Brooklyn down the stretch of the season and will earn ~$8.58MM in his walk year.
  • The Thunder are the NBA’s smartest spenders as they have gotten more success out of less money than anyone else in the league, writes Glenn Davis of USA Today.  OKC owns a 271-123 record over the last five seasons combined all while having payrolls that ranked in the bottom half of the league on average.
  • Sean Meagher of The Oregonian wonders if the Trail Blazers should hold on to Wesley Matthews, a free agent after the 2014/15 season.  Matthews is coming off of the best season of his career as a pro and is entering the final year of his five-year, $33MM deal.
  • Former UNC standout Sean May will attend mini-camps with the Spurs and Warriors this month, according to HoopsHype (via Twitter).
  • The Clippers will bring in Jordan Clarkson, Nick Johnson, Deonte Burton, and Sean Kilpatrick for workouts, reports Dan Woike of the Orange County Register.
  • The Celtics could eye offense in this month’s draft, as Chris Forsberg of explains.

Charlie Adams contributed to this post.

Hartman On Wolves: Saunders, Love, JVG

The latest column by Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune features plenty of insight on the Wolves’ pursuit of Dave Joerger, the trade market for Kevin Love, and a variety of other topics. Let’s dive in and look at the most notable tidbits:

  • The only scenario in which Flip Saunders saw someone other than himself coaching the Wolves next season was one in which Minnesota was able to bring aboard a “superstar” coach, says Hartman.
  • Saunders and owner Glen Taylor saw Jeff Van Gundy as such a coach and would have had no problem “hiring him off the bat,” Saunders told Hartman. When Saunders spoke with Van Gundy, however, the former Knicks coach felt as if he wouldn’t be the best fit for the job. Saunders believes Van Gundy is the best coach available, passes along Hartman.
  • report earlier today suggested Saunders made a formal offer to Joerger for the head coaching position, but Saunders told Hartman that no such offer was ever made. A lot of that, we weren’t to that point in the situation,” said Saunders when asked if he would’ve hired Joerger. “Their guy [Grizzlies owner Robert Pera] wasn’t going to let him come. There were a lot of guys I liked, do I like him? Yeah, I like him. I like a lot of guys.”
  • Saunders also confirmed to Hartman that he did discuss the Wolves’ coaching job with Tom Izzo and Fred Hoiberg.
  • Minnesota still hasn’t made a decision on Love’s future, Saunders informed Hartman. “We probably have 16 teams that have called us [inquiring about Love],” Saunders said, “We haven’t called anybody.
  • Love’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, is informing teams interested in his client that Love will enter free agency in 2015, writes Hartman. Whichever team Love finds himself on will hold his Bird Rights, however, so there will be financial incentive for him to re-sign with that club since they can offer him a bigger payday than any other team.

Wolves Rumors: Love, Saunders, Hoiberg

There was a time when Flip Saunders thought he had convinced friend Tom Izzo to take the Wolves coaching job, reports Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. Saunders also asked Jeff Van Gundy, with whom he is also close, about his interest in the job, Zgoda adds. The Wolves president of basketball operations ultimately picked himself to fill the team’s coaching vacancy, and he joins Doc Rivers, Stan Van Gundy and Gregg Popovich among NBA coaches with front office decision-making power. Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • Love wouldn’t have been convinced to stay with the Wolves even if they had hired Phil Jackson as coach, a source tells USA Today’s Sam Amick.
  • The power forward became disconnected from the team toward the end of the season, and the club grew to accept he didn’t want to stay, as Steve Aschburner of details. Saunders’ decision to coach wasn’t as much about convincing Love to remain as it was about taking a hands-on approach with whomever the club can get in return for him, according to Aschburner, echoing a sentiment that Zgoda expressed earlier via Twitter.
  • Saunders had concerns that he’d clash with a veteran coach if he hired one, and Izzo, Fred Hoiberg and Billy Donovan were all wary of Love’s uncertain future when they turned down the job, Aschburner also hears.
  • It’s far more likely that Saunders will target experienced players in a trade for Love than he is to go after draft picks, as Amick surmises in his piece.

Earlier updates:

  • The Wolves made Dave Joerger an offer to coach the team before he decided to remain with the Grizzlies, as Marc Stein of says in a video report. Joerger interviewed with Saunders and Taylor and appeared quite close to becoming the team’s coach, but it wasn’t entirely clear whether the team had indeed offered the job to him.
  • Chauncey Billups told James Herbert of earlier this season that he didn’t want to coach, lending credence to earlier reports suggesting the same and casting doubt on the idea that he’ll become an assistant coach for the Wolves next season (Twitter link).
  • David Blatt looks like Saunders’ top choice if he decides to hire an assistant he can groom to take over the coaching duties in a year or two, according to Darren Wolfson and Nate Sandell of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. Blatt is the head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.
  • Minnesota will likely offer Kevin Garnett a front office role and a chance to buy a minority stake in the team once he retires, writes Jackie MacMullan of We rounded up more from her story centering on Kevin Love‘s future late last night.
  • Love is a calculating type, and he wants to get to the Knicks or the Lakers as quickly as possible, The Oregonian’s John Canzano believes, opining that the Knicks would be an especially appealing suitor for the power forward in free agency next summer.

Cavs Pursue Donovan, Izzo, Hoiberg

FRIDAY, 12:54pm: The Cavs haven’t asked Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley for permission to speak with Donovan, as Foley tells the Plain Dealer (Twitter link).

THURSDAY, 4:43pm: The Cavaliers spoke to Billy Donovan about their head coaching vacancy, reports Brian Windhorst of, who notes that the team has also gauged interest in Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg. Donovan said today that he’d had contact with a couple of NBA teams, and previous reports indicated that the Wolves were the other. Still, the University of Florida coach all but ruled out a jump to the NBA for next season.

The team is researching Lionel Hollins, George Karl and Alvin Gentry, among other NBA coaching veterans, according to Windhorst, but today’s news is another signal that Cleveland is focusing on college coaches. The Cavs have nonetheless reportedly asked the Clippers for permission to speak with Gentry, who serves as an assistant coach for L.A.

Izzo came close to taking the Cavs coaching job in 2010, but he’s otherwise downplayed interest in NBA jobs. He left wiggle room in his latest comments dismissing the notion of coaching in the pros, and rumors have persisted. The Wolves were apparently waiting on an answer from him regarding their opening until they heard from Izzo on Tuesday, when the team’s attention turned toward Dave Joerger.

Much of the chatter surrounding Hoiberg has come in connection to the Wolves, too, but the Knicks have had him on their radar, and he was among the strongest candidates for the Warriors job before it went to Steve Kerr. The Bulls also reportedly view Hoiberg as a potential replacement for Tom Thibodeau. Iowa State recently gave the coach a raise worth $600K annually to bring his salaries to $2.6MM.

Amico’s Latest: Cavs, Deng, Waiters, Thompson

There might be more storylines surrounding the Cavs than any other team in the NBA. A third No. 1 overall pick in four years, a coaching search, tons of cap flexibility and the lingering specter of a LeBron James return figure to fill up our Cavs rumors page all summer long. We passed along some news about the Cleveland’s plans for the top draft pick from Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio last night, and he has plenty more on the team in his latest dispatch. We’ll run down the highlights here:

  • The Cavs will likely explore sign-and-trade possibilities for Luol Deng, Amico writes. Deng has given indications that he doesn’t want to re-sign with Cleveland, and the Cavs can still execute a sign-and-trade even if they renounce his Bird rights to clear cap space.
  • Teams around the league have interest in Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson, Amico writes. It’s nonetheless unclear how willing the team is to trade either of them.
  • The Cavs don’t appear to be ruling out a trade of Anderson Varejao, Amico suggests.
  • GM David Griffin has reportedly been planning a strong push to retain Spencer Hawes, but Amico hears the team is having second thoughts about the center.
  • The coaching search remains “in the very early stages,” Amico writes, but Tom Izzo isn’t a possibility, in spite of Cleveland’s reported pursuit, and John Calipari is highly unlikely to end up in the job, according to the Fox Sports Ohio scribe.
  • Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin remains a legitimate candidate for the Cavs head coaching position, but Clippers assistant Alvin Gentry, whom the Cavs want to interview, would have to dazzle owner Dan Gilbert to be hired, sources tell Amico.