Tony Brown

Wizards Announce Changes To Coaching Staff

The Wizards have formally announced a series of changes to Scott Brooks‘ coaching staff, issuing a press release to confirm the moves.

Tony Brown, who has been an assistant on Brooks’ staff since 2016, has been promoted to associate head coach, making him the lead assistant in Washington. The team also hired Mike Longabardi, Corey Gaines, and Dean Oliver as assistants.

Longabardi, a veteran coach who served as an assistant for the Rockets, Celtics, Suns, and Cavaliers, has won titles with Boston and Cleveland. Gaines served as a coaching consultant for the Pistons last season after spending time as an assistant for the Knicks and Suns. Oliver, whom the Wizards call a “pioneer in sports analytics,” comes to D.C. from Sacramento.

Ryan Richman, an assistant coach for Brooks last season, has been named the head coach of the Capital City Go-Go, Washington’s G League affiliate. Jarell Christian, the Go-Go’s head coach in 2018/19, has joined the Wizards’ staff as an assistant. Interestingly, the Go-Go’s press release refers to both moves as “promotions.”

Despite all the incoming hires, the Wizards are also bringing back several members of last year’s staff, including assistants Robert Pack and Mike Terpstra, and developmental coach Kristi Toliver.

“Coach Brooks and I worked closely to pinpoint what areas we needed to improve and identify the best candidates, both internally and externally, to make the appropriate changes,” new permanent Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard said in a statement. “We’re very confident that we have a strong staff in place that is in line with the vision we have for our rebuilding our culture and focusing on the overall development of our players.”

Wizards Notes: Coaching Staff, Durant, Workouts

New Wizards head coach Scott Brooks is in the process of putting together his first coaching staff in Washington, and ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter link) has an update on some of Brooks’ targets. In addition to confirming the Wizards’ interest in Tony Brown, with whom the team is reportedly finalizing a deal, Stein reports that Brooks is targeting Chad Iske and Sidney Lowe for his bench.

Iske, a former Kings assistant who wasn’t retained when Dave Joerger took over in Sacramento last month, has also drawn interest from Memphis. As for Lowe, he most recently served as an assistant in Minnesota — before that, he was an assistant in Utah and a head coach at North Carolina State.

Here’s more out of D.C.:

  • Don’t count Jared Dudley among those who expect to see Kevin Durant return home and sign with the Wizards this summer. Dudley, a free-agent-to-be who spent the 2015/16 season in Washington, told Kevin Sheehan on ESPN 980 that he doesn’t envision Durant leaving the Thunder for the Wizards. “I realistically don’t,” Dudley said, per Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post. “I hope for the fans they do, because he’s from there, and he would bring such excitement. They’d be right behind Cleveland, right there with them to be able to contend. I don’t see it though.”
  • More from Dudley on why he doesn’t expect superstar free agents like Durant to land in Washington this offseason: “It’s the system the NBA built. In general, no star player’s leaving to go to another team. … The system’s built for these guys to stay. Guys like Kevin Durant, Al Horford — the Wizards most likely will be going after these players, as they should. Are they really going to leave that money on the table?”
  • The Wizards are bringing in prospects D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Georgetown), James Webb III (Boise State), Tyler Harris (Auburn), and James Robinson (Pittsburgh) in for a pre-draft workout today, league sources tell Michael Scott of Sheridan Hoops (Twitter link).
  • The Wizards are also keeping their eye on former Seton Hall and UConn guard Sterling Gibbs, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, who tweets that Washington is looking at Gibbs for a second time on Monday.
  • We recently took a closer look at the Wizards’ salary cap situation for the coming offseason.

Southeast Notes: Brown, Robinson, Kidd-Gilchrist

Former Nets interim coach Tony Brown will be Scott Brooks‘ lead assistant with the Wizards, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Sources tell Wojnarowski the deal is currently being finalized. Brown had an 11-34 record in Brooklyn after taking over for the fired Lionel Hollins in January. The Nets parted ways with him when they hired Kenny Atkinson shortly after the regular season ended. Brown started his coaching career as an as assistant with the Trail Blazers during the 1997/98 season and has also worked for the Pistons, Raptors, Celtics, Bucks, Clippers and Mavericks. Toronto assistant Rex Kalamian turned down an offer from the Wizards last week.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Thomas Robinson, who opted out of his contract with the Nets this week, could be a nice fit with the Wizards, according to Ben Standig of CSNMidAtlantic. The 6’10” power forward, who has been with five teams in his four-year NBA career, was born in Washington, D.C., and could be a low-cost option for a team in need of size. Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris are the only two Wizards’ big men with guaranteed contracts for 2016/17. Robinson averaged 4.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 71 games last season. He will be a restricted free agent after opting out of a deal worth $1,050,961.
  • The HornetsMichael Kidd-Gilchrist is focused on training camp after twice tearing the labrum in his right shoulder and missing nearly all of the 2015/16 season, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Kidd-Gilchrist, who was limited to seven games during the year, was recently cleared for on-court activities and vows to be healthy when training camp begins. “I’m shooting, I’m lifting, I’m running,” he said. “I’ll be ready for next season.” The Hornets have him under contract for four more years.
  • Dwyane Wade and Josh Richardson are the only Heat players who will definitely be on the roster next season, contends Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. Tyler Johnson is probably third on that list, Winderman writes, unless someone offers him huge money in free agency. Among the rest of the roster, Goran Dragic could be dealt to open cap space, Chris Bosh has ongoing health problems and Justise Winslow and Josh McRoberts could be trade pieces. Everyone else is either a free agent or has a contract that isn’t fully guaranteed.

Wizards Notes: Brooks, Durant, Porter

The Wizards’ deal to hire Scott Brooks as their new coach was a safe move for the franchise, as he is likely to be a solid leader for the team, writes Jerry Brewer of The Washington Post. But the jury still remains out on how successful Brooks can be without Kevin Durant to aid him, Brewer adds, with the scribe also noting that Brooks was fired after a season that saw the small forward limited to just 27 games. It’s also remains to be seen how well Brooks will coexist with John Wall after the coach had his difficulties at times with Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, with many believing Brooks’ offense limited the point guard’s productivity, Brewer adds.

Washington may have to hope that Brooks doesn’t require the presence of Durant to succeed, as friends of the player have indicated that he doesn’t want to sign with the Wizards and deal with the pressure of being surrounded by family, friends and hangers-on from his native Washington. Here’s more from the nation’s capital:

  • Some possible candidates for Brooks’ coaching staff in Washington include Raptors assistant Rex Kalamian, Thunder assistant Maurice Cheeks and former Nets interim coach Tony Brown, David Aldridge of relays (Twitter links).
  • Brooks is an ardent believer in the potential of 2013 No. 3 overall pick Otto Porter, Aldridge notes. Porter, 22, appeared in 75 games for the Wizards this season and averaged 11.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists, all of which were career highs.
  • The deal with Brooks is the culmination of the team’s moves the past few seasons, all of which were aimed at luring Durant to Washington D.C., writes J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic. The front office doesn’t view Brooks’ five-year pact as a risk, seeing the coach as a known quantity, Michael adds. Brooks should bring a fresh start to the team’s locker room, though he would be wise to add a disciplinarian to his coaching staff to help balance out his affable personality, the scribe opines.
  • Durant said today that he’s happy Brooks landed the new position but insisted he’s focused on the playoffs when asked if the move increased his chances of joining the Wizards, as Erik Horne of The Oklahoman relays.

Coaching Rumors: Scott, Thibodeau, Kidd, Brooks

A strong belief exists within the Lakers organization that the team will keep Byron Scott, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, nonetheless revealing that next season is a team option on Scott’s contract. Still, too much discord exists within Lakers ownership for a consensus to form on a coaching change, sources tell Wojnarowski. Primary owner Jeanie Buss is advocating for Scott behind the scenes, and Scott has a “major chance” to remain in his job, one source told Ken Berger of

See more coaching rumors around the NBA with the regular season having come to a close:

  • Carmelo Anthony would prefer the Knicks hire Tom Thibodeau as coach, a source close to Anthony insisted to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Team president Phil Jackson doesn’t seem to have any interest in Thibodeau, as Isola points out, and strong indications exist that Thibodeau is looking for player personnel power as he seeks a coaching job, sources tell Chris Mannix of The Vertical (Twitter link).
  • Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry publicly backed coach Jason Kidd on Wednesday in the wake of rumors that Kidd is on shaky ground with the team, as Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relays. Lasry said it’s reasonable to assume the team will give Kidd an extension on the three-year, $15MM contract that expires after next season, Gardner notes. Lasry has long been close to Kidd, and it’s the other owners to whom Kidd hasn’t endeared himself, as Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times wrote this week, but Gardner indicates that fellow primary owners Wesley Edens and Jamie Dinan made it clear Wednesday that they also want Kidd to stay. “At the end of the day, Jason is our coach,” Lasry said. “I know there’s been a bunch of articles. We think he’s done a great job. He’s our guy. Everybody who keeps talking about it, it’s a non-issue. I never understand why in this league you have these issues.”
  • Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff and Nets interim coach Tony Brown are unlikely to have their interim tags removed, barring unforeseen events, according to Berger. Rockets candidate Scott Brooks is wary of the uncertainty about whether Dwight Howard will opt out, Berger writes, which suggests that it’s not an open-and-shut case that Howard will opt out as he’s long been expected to do.

And-Ones: Brown, Van Gundy, Jackson

The Nets have gone 11-33 under interim coach Tony Brown, who understands that he is coaching for his job but asserts that he is unfazed by the pressure involved, Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily relays. “I feel like the situation has been tough from the beginning,” Brown said. “I’ve tried to make the best of it, and I’m going to continue to do that the last two games and whatever happens, happens. I’m not worried about my fate with this organization. I’m just trying to give these guys a great opportunity to showcase their skills, and I’m going to continue to do that.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy won the trade market this season, with his deals for Marcus Morris, Reggie Bullock and Tobias Harris being clear victories for the franchise, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. The scribe also points to the offseason signing of Aron Baynes, who has provided solid minutes as the backup center, as another strong roster move by Van Gundy.
  • Notre Dame junior point guard Demetrius Jackson intends to hire Priority Sports to represent him, Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops tweets. Hiring an agent would eliminate the possibility of Jackson returning to school for his senior campaign. The 21-year-old is ranked No. 11 in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress listings and 25th according to Chad Ford of
  • Dragan Bender is easily the most tantalizing among the international prospects who are entering the 2016 NBA Draft, opines Derek Bodner of USA Today. The big man’s combination of size, speed and mobility have NBA scouts excited for his potential, though he will need to add strength and bulk before he can hope to be a force in the NBA, Bodner adds. Bender is the No. 3 overall prospect according to both Ford and Givony.

Atlantic Notes: Thompson, Biyombo, Hollis-Jefferson

Jason Thompson is proving a wise pickup for the Raptors, as his performance amid minor injuries to Jonas Valanciunas and Patrick Patterson shows, opines Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun. The addition, which forced the team to release Anthony Bennett to clear a roster spot, didn’t do Toronto any favors with Bennett’s agency, Excel Sports Management, according to Ganter, who nonetheless believes that having Thompson ready to contribute if needed is worth it. “For me, I just know being in the league eight years, I wanted to let them know I wasn’t coming into here trying to mess things up,” Thompson said. “Obviously this is a very successful team. It’s late in the season. We still have high goals going into the playoffs with a lot of confidence as well so it’s good to see. God forbid anything happens with injuries later down the line, but everyone is ready to go. Even [rookie] Delon [Wright], really played big minutes for us as well. Guys are always ready.”

See more from Toronto and the rest of the Atlantic Division:

  • Bismack Biyombo is a fitting complement in many ways to a healthy Valanciunas, observes Chris O’Leary of the Toronto Star, who, like Ganter in the second half of his above-linked piece, contends the center has given the team value that far outstrips the two-year, $5.755MM contract he signed in the offseason. It would be a tight squeeze for the Raptors, who’d only have his Non-Bird rights, to re-sign him if he turns down his player option for next season, both scribes argue.
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will likely play tonight for the first time since suffering a broken ankle in December, according to the Nets, who listed him as probable for the game just an hour and a half after Hollis-Jefferson and interim Nets coach Tony Brown raised the specter of him perhaps missing the rest of the season, notes Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
  • Jerian Grant holds promise, as his 14-point outburst Sunday showed, but the concerns about his jump shot that kept him undrafted until the 19th pick this past year have manifested in just a 28.3% accuracy rate on jumpers this season, Brian Lewis of the New York Post points out. His inconsistency has also been maddening, but Knicks coach Kurt Rambis remains faithful, as Lewis relays.

Atlantic Notes: Stevens, Brown, Smith, Fredette

The Celtics haven’t had any discussions about filling their open roster spot, coach Brad Stevens said Monday night, according to MassLive’s Jay King. Boston is in no rush to sign anyone to fill the vacancy created when team worked a buyout with David Lee, the coach added, but Stevens nonetheless has an idea of what he’d want in a 15th man.

“I think that we’ll continue to look for versatility,” Stevens said. “And we’ll continue to look for shooting if the right people become available, if we feel like it’s a great fit for our team or if we need them based on injuries or whatever the case may be.”

Boston is reportedly eyeing Reggie Evans, though that appears to be a long shot, at best, and he wouldn’t fit the criteria Stevens laid out, as King notes. See more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Tony Brown knows he’s not going to win much as Nets interim coach, but he thinks that if he can make strides in developing the team’s young players, an effort he believes he can achieve in part through a faster tempo, it’ll help his case for his next job, as Brian Lewis of the New York Post relays. It’s unclear whether Brown has a legitimate chance at staying in the Nets head coaching gig beyond this season. “This is not just an audition for [new Nets GM] Sean [Marks]. A lot of teams are looking to see how I’m doing in this position. It’s a résumé-type deal here,” Brown said.
  • Evaluating whether soon-to-be free agent Ish Smith is worth keeping as the starting point guard is one of the key tasks the Sixers face down the stretch of the season, argues Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News, who heard from one rival executive who doubts Smith is any sort of game-changing force.
  • Knicks interim coach Kurt Rambis doesn’t seem enthusiastic about the team’s addition of Jimmer Fredette on a 10-day contract, observes Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Nets Rumors: Marks, Bargnani, Brown, Prokhorov

Sean Marks made his first transaction as GM of the Nets today, parting ways with Andrea Bargnani in what is believed to be a buyout deal. Today’s move creates an open roster spot that Marks has the option to fill. With a 15-40 record, a flawed roster, an interim coach and no first-round picks for two of the next three drafts, Marks recognized the huge task ahead when he was officially hired by the Nets on Thursday.

There’s more news tonight about Marks and his plans for the future in Brooklyn:

  • The new GM wants to pattern the Nets organization after what he saw as an assistant coach and later an assistant GM in San Antonio, according to Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and GM R.C. Buford are recognized as among the best in the business, and Marks thinks he can pass on the knowledge he learned from them. “The relationship that Pop and R.C. had together, nothing was done without the other not knowing,” Marks said. “So that’s important. It’s inclusive, it’s a partnership. That’s what I’ll be looking for not only in a head coach, but the relationship that I have with ownership and the relationship that I have with all my staff.”
  • Interim coach Tony Brown will probably retain that role through the end of the season, Mahoney writes in the same story. Brown is 5-13 since taking over for Lionel Hollins. Marks hopes to hire a permanent coach in the next few months.
  • Defense will be the main criteria in hiring a new coach, tweets Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily. “Whoever we bring in here is gonna play team basketball,” Marks said, “and whoever the coach is will have a defensive mindset.”
  • Dmitry Razumov, chairman of the Nets’ board of directors, told Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post that the organization held official interviews with eight GM candidates, but Marks’ San Antonio background was “too persuasive” (Twitter link).
  • Marks and owner Mikhail Prokhorov have agreed to expand the entire Nets’ staff, including the scouting department, writes Laura Albanese of Newsday. Marks wants to hire some of his own personnel, and the expansion should happen over the next two to four months. Marks noted Prokhorov’s investments in a new training facility and a new D-League affiliate and said the owner “is willing to spend the money in the right places.’’

Nets Notes: Thibodeau, Brown, Losses

The Nets own a record of 11-33 this season and although they rank seventh in the Forbes annual NBA team valuations, the team should be considered a failure both on and off the court, Richard Morgan of the New York Post opines. Morgan notes that Brooklyn was the only NBA franchise that didn’t make a profit last season, losing $5.7MM on the year.

Here’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Tom Thibodeau is likely Brooklyn’s favorite target for its head coaching position next season, Fred Kerber of the New York Post writes. The Nets reportedly have interest in newly unemployed David Blatt as well.
  • The Nets have lost 10 out of their last 11 games and effort has been a major reason why the team has gone into this tailspin, Kerber adds in the same piece. “All I can do is keep encouraging them to do it the right way. I am not going to change my approach,” interim coach Tony Brown said after the Nets’ blowout loss to the Jazz on Friday. “Some soul searching needs to be done.
  • Brown believes the team’s injuries are partly to blame for the team’s losing streak, George Willis of the New York Post writes. “Not having Jarrett [Jack], not having Rondae [Hollis-Jefferson] impacts the game,” Brown said. “We miss Jarrett. We miss his leadership. We miss his intelligence at the end of games, and his playing-making ability.” Willis argues that Brown should be taking a “next man up” approach instead of making excuses. The scribe also believes the team should look to hire a coach who can restore a winning culture once the season ends.