Tyronn Lue

And-Ones: Offseason Moves, Coach Contracts, Kerr, Hawaii

In a three-part series for The Athletic, David Aldridge ranks the teams that he believes improved the most and least this offseason. Aldridge’s most improved team is unsurprisingly the Spurs, who won the draft lottery and selected French phenom Victor Wembanyama. The Cavaliers and Suns rank Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.

In the middle section, Aldridge has the Jazz at No. 11, the Pistons at No. 15, and the Warriors at No. 20. He gives the Trail Blazers an incomplete, since there’s no way to fairly evaluate their offseason until the Damian Lillard situation is resolved.

At the bottom end, the defending-champion Nuggets are No. 29 on Aldridge’s list after losing Bruce Brown and Jeff Green in free agency; the No. 28 team is the Raptors, who lost Fred VanVleet to Houston.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The contracts signed by Monty Williams and Gregg Popovich will be used as benchmarks by top NBA coaches going forward. As Brian Windhorst of ESPN writes, a trio of accomplished head coaches — Steve Kerr (Warriors), Erik Spoelstra (Heat) and Tyronn Lue (Clippers), all of whom are members of Team USA — could be the primary beneficiaries of those deals. Kerr and Spoelstra are entering the final year of their respective contracts, while Lue has two years left on his deal, Windhorst notes.
  • Kerr has purchased a minority stake in European football (soccer) club Real Mallorca, according to Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez of ESPN. Kerr said he was offered the opportunity by longtime friend Andy Kohlberg, who is the team’s president and recently became majority owner, per ESPN. “Andy Kohlberg and I have been friends for many years,” Kerr said. “We were together this summer. He told me there was a shift in the ownership group and he offered me the chance to be part of the new investment group. I was so excited, having been in Mallorca last summer watching a game, following the team and becoming a fan. It was a really exciting opportunity and I jumped at it.” Mallorca competes in La Liga, Spain’s top league.
  • The Jazz and Clippers will be playing their first preseason game in Hawaii on October 8, with all proceeds going to the wildfire relief effort, Ryan Kostecka writes for Utah’s team website.

World Cup Notes: Green, Brazil, Naturalized Players, U.S. Coaches

Mavericks guard Josh Green, who sat out Australia’s final World Cup tune-up game on Tuesday due to a minor ankle injury, is considered healthy and available for the Boomers’ World Cup opener on Friday, per Basketball Australia (Twitter link via Olgun Uluc of ESPN).

Green, who is eligible for a rookie scale extension with Dallas this offseason, is expected to play a key role for an Australian squad looking to improve upon its fourth-place finish at the 2019 World Cup.

Here are a few more notes on the 2023 FIBA World Cup, which tips off this Friday:

  • The Brazilian national team has officially announced its 12-man roster for the World Cup (Twitter link). While no current NBA players are on the roster, former NBAers like Raul Neto, Bruno Caboclo, and Cristiano Felicio will be representing the Brazilians.
  • FIBA is permitting each national team to have one “naturalized” player on its roster for the 2023 World Cup, prompting Meliksah Bayrav of Eurohoops to highlight some of the notable players who fall into this group, including Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (Philippines) and Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson (China).
  • As Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes, it’s not just the players who are asked to accept lesser roles than they’re accustomed to when they join Team USA. Vardon takes an in-depth look at a talented U.S. coaching staff under Steve Kerr, noting that accomplished title-winning head coaches like Erik Spoelstra and Tyronn Lue have happily performed the “grunt work” expected of assistants during the lead-up to the World Cup.

International Notes: Walker, Bridges, Lue, Fournier

Kemba Walker talked about promoting the EuroLeague and giving it more worldwide recognition as he arrived in Europe this week to join AS Monaco Basket, writes Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops. The free agent point guard, who had been looking for a new team since the Mavericks waived him in January, agreed to a one-year deal with Monaco last month.

“I hope I can help increase the notoriety of the EuroLeague,” Walker said. “To increase the style of play and just built it up more. … It’s a big step. Something different. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity. I just want to play basketball.” 

There are plenty of former NBA players in the EuroLeague, but no one has the resume of Walker, who was a four-time All-Star before a knee injury derailed his career. Even if the experience in Europe doesn’t lead to another NBA opportunity, Walker is hoping to show that he can still play at a high level.

“I’m looking forward to be in a different environment,” he said. “Learning my teammates. Meeting new people… the coaching staff, medical guys, everything. Basketball is basketball. And I’m here to win games.”

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Mikal Bridges is enjoying his first time representing the U.S. in international competition, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Bridges won two national titles at Villanova and has developed into an elite player with Phoenix and Brooklyn, but he considers playing for the World Cup team to be the highlight of his career. “It’s definitely surreal, just being here, having these colors on, having USA across the chest,” he said. “When Steve (Kerr) first talked to me about being on the team, I was in Phoenix then, and when he called, it was already a ‘Pinch me’ moment. And when I got the official call from Grant (Hill) asking me to be on the team, I was like, ‘Oh shoot, we’re really doing this.’”
  • Clippers coach Tyronn Lue is part of Kerr’s staff after an injury cost him a chance to join Team USA as a player in 1997, notes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “I think it’s an honor,” Lue said. “You grow up watching basketball, watching the Olympic team, the Dream Team, you always want to play for those teams. I wasn’t good enough, but it’s amazing to have an opportunity to represent my country in any capacity. So, coaching is what it is.”
  • French guard Evan Fournier reached a milestone Wednesday by taking part in the 100th international game of his career, according to Eurohoops. The Knicks‘ guard had 10 points and two assists in a win over Japan.

Clippers Guarantee Final Year Of Tyronn Lue’s Contract

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue has a little more job security, or at the least more guaranteed money coming his way.

The Clippers have guaranteed the final year of Lue’s contract for the 2024/25 season, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times reports.

After the Pistons signed Monty Williams to a six-year, $78.5MM contract and the Spurs signed Gregg Popovich to a five-year deal worth over $80MM, Lee sought to add more years and money to his own contract, which was set to enter its final guaranteed year next season.

The Suns and Bucks showed serious interest in Lue during their head coaching searches but the Clippers didn’t grant permission for other teams to negotiate with Lue. Instead, they soon guaranteed the final year of his current contract.

A report in June indicated it was unlikely the Clippers and Lue would reach an extension agreement.

“I’ve got two years left on my deal, so you know I’m in a good position,” Lue told Greif. “I’m just happy to be where I’m at and go out there and have a good year this year and see what happens. But, like I said, I got two years left on my deal and I’m not really worried about an extension.”

Lue believes the Clippers need to be more attuned to collecting wins in the regular season, so that they can earn a better playoff seed and then get rest before the postseason begins.

“The biggest thing for us is making sure our players are healthy and making sure that we’re doing right by the players, but with that being said we’ve also got to take the regular season more serious as far as coming in and playing hard every night and winning games and playing games,” Lue said. “Our fans deserve that. They’ve been behind us for a long time and like I said, there have been some unfortunate injuries that we’ve had. That’s part of the game.

“When we are healthy and we are feeling good, then we’ve got to make sure that we’re trying to play every single night. But then most importantly, just try to get one of those good seeds where the last 10 games of the season, you’re not fighting and clawing trying to stay out of the play-in game. Those are games you can kind of rest and get your body ready for the playoffs.”

Haynes’ Latest: Beal, Pacers, Lue, McMillan, Henderson, Hornets

The Wizards have given Bradley Beal and his representatives – including agent Mark Bartelstein – permission to talk to rival teams about a potential trade, sources tell Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report.

While Beal has not requested a trade, per Haynes, the Wizards are reportedly mulling the idea of a roster reset that would involve moving the star guard. Since Beal has a no-trade clause, he’ll be very much a part of any trade negotiations, so it’s no surprise that his camp has been granted permission to talk directly to potential suitors.

[RELATED: Wizards, Bradley Beal Discussing Trade Scenarios]

The Heat and Bucks are among the teams expected to speak with Bartelstein, sources tell Haynes. The Heat and Beal have been linked in the past and appear to have mutual interest, but the 29-year-old isn’t attempting to force his way to Miami or to any other specific team, a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

As for Milwaukee, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports confirms there have been rumblings about the Bucks having interest in Beal, as others have reported. But a Bucks trade for Beal would probably have to include Khris Middleton, according to Fischer, who says all indications are that Milwaukee intends to bring back Middleton and free agent center Brook Lopez.

Here’s more from Haynes’ latest rumor round-up:

  • The Pacers have made the No. 7 pick available and are in the market for a starting-caliber wing, per Haynes, echoing a report from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (Twitter video link via Evan Sidery of Forbes). According to Fischer, Indiana previously explored trade scenarios for Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter (for Chris Duarte and draft capital) and Raptors forward OG Anunoby. The Pacers are also expected to be among the suitors for Celtics restricted free agent forward Grant Williams, Fischer adds.
  • The Clippers are considered unlikely to reach an agreement on a contract extension with head coach Tyronn Lue this offseason, Haynes reports. Lue has one more guaranteed year on his contract, with a team option for 2024/25. Haynes adds that the Suns never officially made contact with the Clippers about their interest in Lue this spring, since L.A. would have wanted draft assets to release Lue from his contract, and Phoenix used most of its draft picks at the trade deadline to acquire Kevin Durant.
  • Nate McMillan turned down an offer to join the Mavericks‘ coaching staff and intends to take a year off from coaching to spend time with his family, sources tell Haynes.
  • Scoot Henderson will return to North Carolina on Monday to meet with Hornets owner Michael Jordan, writes Haynes. Fischer previously reported that Charlotte wanted to bring both Henderson and Brandon Miller back early next week to meet with Jordan. It’s unclear whether or not Miller will also return to Charlotte.

And-Ones: Coach Contracts, Options, Star Trades, Glickman

Monty Williams‘ record-setting six-year, $78.5MM contract with the Pistons will have a major impact on some of the league’s top coaches, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said on NBA Countdown (YouTube link).

It’s going to significantly impact the head coaching landscape for high-level coaches, including (the Heat‘s) Erik Spoelstra and (the Warriors‘) Steve Kerr,” said Wojnarowski (hat tip to RealGM). “Both of those coaches have one year left, next season, on their deals. Both, I’m told, in the $8 million annual range right now. Both coaches, when you talk to owners and executives around the league, if they were on the open market might be able to get what (Denver Broncos coach) Sean Payton got: in the neighborhood of $20 million per year.

It’s hard to imagine Erik Spoelstra leaving a Miami organization where he started 28 years ago as a video intern, where he’s spent 15 years as a head coach with two championships.

Steve Kerr is going to be a different situation. His president/GM Bob Myers announced last week that he’s leaving. This is an aging roster. The worldview for Steve Kerr may look different. Watch his negotiations this summer on an extension.

One other coach who is going to benefit from Monty Williams changing the pay structure of NBA head coach is Clippers coach Tyronn Lue.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Which players are likely to exercise their player options? Which teams will exercise their options on players’ contracts? Which players on partially guaranteed and non-guaranteed contracts will be waived before free agency? John Hollinger of The Athletic predicts all of those decisions. The former Grizzlies executive believes Jazz guard Talen Horton-Tucker ($11MM) will decline his option and test free agency, writing that his age (22) could help him get a new contract for the full mid-level exception or better. According to Hollinger, the Lakers will likely decline their $16.6MM team option on guard Malik Beasley, while the Magic will retain Gary Harris‘ $13MM deal, which is currently non-guaranteed (it will become guaranteed if he’s still on the roster July 1).
  • Mike Vorkunov, Fred Katz and James L. Edwards III of The Athletic draft the NBA teams they think have the top assets to offer in hypothetical trades for star players this offseason, with two caveats: The team’s best player cannot be included for the star, and the outgoing pieces will be both players and draft picks. The Thunder are selected No. 1 by Vorkunov, followed by the Magic at No. 2 (Katz), and surprisingly the Trail Blazers at No. 3 (Edwards).
  • Marshall Glickman, the acting CEO of the EuroLeague, announced he will step down from his post when his contract expires at the end of July, tweets Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com. As BasketNews relays, a previous report indicated that Glickman’s work relationship with EuroLeague president Dejan Bodiroga was strained, which made have contributed to the decision. Glickman has been acting CEO since last September.

Coaching Rumors: Nurse, Bucks, Lue, Young, Stackhouse

Nick Nurse has been busy interviewing this offseason after being dismissed from the Raptors, and is reportedly a finalist for a couple different coaching vacancies, including Milwaukee’s.

While Nurse has “strong support” within the Bucks, Ian Begley of SNY.tv hears from sources who say that support isn’t unanimous among the “key stakeholders” in the organization.

Nurse, who won a championship with Toronto in 2018/19, is also a finalist in Phoenix and interviewed with Philadelphia. The other two reported finalists for the Bucks are Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin.

Here are a few more coaching rumors from Begley:

  • Begley is the latest to report that Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, who is still under contract, is expected to stay with L.A. and not be made available for any openings this spring. The Suns were among the teams rumored to be interested in Lue, which Begley confirms.
  • Assistant coach Kevin Young is considered a strong candidate for the the Suns‘ coaching vacancy after an impressive interview, per Begley. Marc Stein previously reported that Young had a legitimate chance to be promoted, with an endorsement from star guard Devin Booker. Aside from Nurse and Young, Jordi Fernandez, Frank Vogel and Doc Rivers are considered by some reporters to be finalists for the Suns.
  • According to Begley’s sources, the Pistons did background research on Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse, but Begley doesn’t specify whether or not he actually interviewed. Stackhouse was rumored to be a coaching candidate for the Raptors and was mentioned as possible candidate for Detroit. A longtime former NBA player and assistant coach, Stackhouse has been with Vanderbilt since 2019. Kevin Ollie, Charles Lee and Jarron Collins are reportedly the finalists for the Pistons’ coaching job.

Coaching Rumors: Lue, Popovich, Pistons, Raptors, Udoka

The Bucks and Suns are rumored to be interested in Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue, but he’s still under contract for two more seasons, though only one of those is thought to be guaranteed.

There’s growing skepticism among those close to the coach and the Clippers that a rival team would be able to poach Lue away, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

The Clippers still hope to contend for championships going forward despite another disappointing playoff exit in 2022/23, and owner Steve Ballmer is known to be a “huge fan” of Lue. As Fischer observes, the Bucks and Suns also don’t have much in the form of future first-round picks, which would likely be necessary to acquire Lue — assuming the Clippers would even permit a rival to interview him, and there’s no indication they would — while he’s still under contract.

The Bucks do have their 2029 first-rounder available, but Fischer suggests they’ll likely use it to acquire a player — either this offseason or in the future. Sources tell Fischer that Milwaukee contemplated dealing the pick to try to land Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic ahead of the February trade deadline.

Here are some more coaching rumors from around the NBA:

  • Gregg Popovich, the longest-tenured head coach in the league, is expected to stay with the Spurs for as long as he wants to continue coaching, and there’s no indication that the Hall-of-Famer plans to retire next season, especially after San Antonio won the draft lottery. However, Popovich’s contract expired at the end of the season, and he hasn’t signed a new deal yet, sources tell Fischer.
  • The fact that the Pistons have yet to hire one of their three coaching finalists has left coaching agents around the league wondering if they’ll reopen their search and consider more candidates, Fischer writes. The three finalists — Kevin Ollie, Charles Lee and Jarron Collins — met with owner Tom Gores last week, Fischer confirms. Detroit is thought to have interest in Monty Williams, who was fired by the Suns last week, so that might explain the holdup. That said, Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com hears from sources that the job is expected to come down to either Ollie or Collins (Twitter link).
  • According to Fischer, the Raptors hope to be “blown away” in an interview with one of their long list of coaching candidates. Toronto is believed to be open to an “unconventional” choice. Assistant coaches Jim Sann and Rico Hanes are expected to be retained regardless of who is named head coach, sources tell Fischer.
  • Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated hears (via Twitter) that Ime Udoka “wants to do right” by his former Celtics assistants, and will extend those interested an invitation to join him with the Rockets after his unceremonious departure from Boston. Royal Ivey, who worked with Udoka on the Nets, recently joined his staff in Houston.

L.A. Notes: Russell, LeBron, Lue, Leonard

After getting badly outplayed in the first half of Tuesday’s series opener, the Lakers made enough adjustments to cut the lead to three points in the final minute, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. The Nuggets were able to hold on, but L.A. turned the game around by switching to a bigger lineup. Coach Darvin Ham assigned Rui Hachimura to guard Nikola Jokic, which allowed more freedom for Anthony Davis to roam around and challenge Denver’s shooters.

“You have to switch up matchups at times and you have to switch up coverages,” Ham said. “Gave us a chance to get back into the game.”

While it makes sense to go with that same approach from the start in Game 2, it may not be an easy decision for Ham. Multiple team sources told McMenamin that there’s concern the team could “lose” D’Angelo Russell if he’s moved to the bench after starting every game so far in the playoffs. Russell got off to a terrible start Tuesday, posting a minus-23 in the first half and playing only nine minutes after the intermission. He’s headed to free agency this summer, so Ham’s decision could affect his long-term future with the team.

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers‘ offense found success by having LeBron James target Jamal Murray after he got in foul trouble in the second half, McMenamin adds. That will likely be the approach again when the series resumes Thursday night. “We’ll be better,” James promised. “We know we didn’t play up to our capabilities in the first half. … But you know we’ll be better in Game 2, that’s for sure.”
  • Clippers coach Tyronn Lue has two years remaining on his contract, but only one of those is guaranteed, a source tells Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. That explains why Lue’s representatives reportedly met with the team this week to discuss an extension or an entirely new deal. Greif notes that the contract Lue received when he became head coach lined up with the deals given to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, who will both be eligible for extensions this summer that could be worth up to $220MM over four years. As Greif points out, the Clippers’ offseason decisions will provide a window into their level of trust in the current foundation of the team.
  • Leonard hasn’t decided whether to have surgery for the meniscus tear he suffered in the playoffs, but Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank believes he’ll be ready for the start of next season with or without the operation, Greif adds.

Haynes’ Latest: Lue, Suns, CP3, K. Young, Blazers

The Clippers met this week with representatives for head coach Tyronn Lue to discuss his future with the team, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report.

With rumors circulating that the Suns are interested in hiring Lue away from their division rivals, there have been some questions about the coach’s future in Los Angeles. According to Haynes, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is a “huge fan” of Lue and has a great relationship with him, so there’s certainly no indication that the team wants to move on from Lue.

As Haynes writes, Lue has two years remaining on his contract with the Clippers, which pays him about $7MM per year. If the two sides decide they want to amend that agreement, they would likely work out an all-new deal rather than negotiating a contract extension, Haynes adds.

Here’s more from Haynes:

  • The Suns are considered likely to guarantee Chris Paul‘s salary for 2023/24, league sources tell Haynes. Paul’s $30.8MM cap hit is currently partially guaranteed for $15.8MM. The 38-year-old is considered a trade candidate, but Haynes hears that Phoenix is “currently of the mindset” that CP3 will be the team’s starting point guard when the ’23/24 season gets underway.
  • Kevin Young will interview for the Suns‘ head coaching job as early as next week, according to Haynes, who says Young – an assistant on Monty Williams‘ staff for the last three seasons – appears to have the backing of several Phoenix players.
  • Confirming prior reports, Haynes says the Trail Blazers are expected to make the No. 3 overall pick available for trade, though the club is also examining the players who may be available at that spot in the draft. Damian Lillard has let the front office know that he wants the focus to be on acquiring veterans who can help Portland win now, and he and the front office seem to be on the same page, Haynes adds.
  • In case you missed it, Haynes also reported that James Harden intends to decline his player option with the Sixers in search of a long-term deal.