Randy Ayers

Pacific Notes: Henry, Suns, Landry, Buss

Pierria Henry, the most recent EuroCup regular season MVP winner, worked out for the Suns today, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports (Twitter link). Henry has plans to work out for at least two additional teams over the weekend.

The 6’5″ combo guard spent four years at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, becoming the school’s all-time leader in assist and steals. Henry didn’t hear his name called in the 2015 Draft and ended up carving out a career overseas. Henry has had stops in Georgia, Germany, Israel, Turkey, and Russia.

Henry is now a candidate for an NBA roster spot next season. As the West Virginia native attempts to make it in the league, let’s take a look at some notes from the Pacific Division:

  • Coach Monty Williams has finalized his staff, as he announced on the Suns‘ podcastWillie Green, Darko Rajakovic, Mark Bryant, Randy Ayers, Larry Greer, and Steve Blake will all serve as assistant coaches in Phoenix.
  • Landry Shamet has been invited to participate with the Select Team at Team USA’s National camp, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com tweets. The Clippers guard will join Zion Williamson in the younger group come August.
  • Lakers owner Jeanie Buss admits that Magic Johnson’s resignation caught her off-guard, as Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register relays. Buss added that once the executive stepped down, she needed time to “figure out what the process was going to be.” Los Angeles decided that Rob Pelinka leading the front office would be best for the franchise.

Pacific Notes: Suns Staff, Walton, Bell, LeBron

A trio of assistants/scouts in other organizations could soon be joining Monty WilliamsSuns staff, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweetsSteve Blake (Trail Blazers), Randy Ayers (Nets) and Mark Bryant (Thunder) have emerged as top contenders to join Williams in Phoenix. Williams was hired by the Suns three weeks ago after spurning overtures from the Lakers.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Luke Walton was spotted by the media helping out with the Kings’ pre-draft workout on Thursday but he didn’t speak to the press, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reports. The new Kings head coach hasn’t faced the media since a lawsuit alleging that he sexually assaulted a former reporter was filed last month. The league and organization are jointly investigating the matter.
  • Jordan Bell, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, has made a positive impression in the postseason, as the team’s website notes. The Warriors forward received a start in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals and averaged 6.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG and 2.0 APG in the series. “Jordan Bell is one of those guys who has got that energy,” veteran swingman Andre Iguodala said. “He thrives off the spotlight. He enjoys being in those moments and people are watching him.
  • People within LeBron James‘ inner circle expressed concern that the dysfunction within the Lakers organization could ruin the team’s summer even before Magic Johnson‘s public criticism of GM Rob Pelinka and the front office structure, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports. The challenge of convincing at least one top free agent to join James was already seen as daunting around the league, and recent developments have make that uphill climb far worse, Amick adds.

Atlantic Notes: Joseph, McHale, D-League

Cory Joseph has exceeded all expectations that the Raptors had for him when they inked him to a four-year, $30MM deal this offseason, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca writes. “When you do these things, you try to get good players and you try to figure out,” said GM Masai Ujiri of Joseph. “You do your scouting, you do your analytics, and you try to figure out if the team will fit together. But honestly, until they start playing, we [don’t know]. When we looked at it, we tried to look at two-way players who bring us some kind of toughness and that’s what he is. He’s a two-way player that will pick up the ball full court and put pressure on opposing guards. He knows how to fight people and make people better and score a little bit too. So you hope that it translates to the basketball court.

Coach Dwane Casey is also a fan of Joseph’s, but he also admits the play of the 24-year-old playmaker has exceeded expectation, Lewenberg adds. “He has [been a pleasant surprise],” said Casey. “His energy, his toughness wasn’t a surprise but it’s really been glaring. He’s really filled in. I didn’t know how much we could play the two [point] guards together but he plays bigger than he is. He’s not the typical point guard, he can guard twos, he can get down there and wrestle with some threes. If he gets switched off he gets into the big guys’ knees and boxes them out. So he is better than expected.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge would like to bring former teammate and fired Rockets coach Kevin McHale to the Celtics in some capacity, even if it’s just in a consultant’s role, Ainge told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. The Mavericks are also interested, league sources said to Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
  • The Nets have respect for the coaching of Randy Ayers, whom they recently hired as a scout, though team officials say the organization doesn’t regard him as a coach-in-waiting in case Lionel Hollins is fired, reports Chris Mannix of SI.com.
  • The Celtics have assigned Jordan Mickey, Terry Rozier and James Young to the D-League, the team announced (Twitter link).

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Atlantic Notes: Green, D-League, Ross

Spurs shooting guard Danny Green acknowledged that the Knicks had reached out to him over the summer, but said that he couldn’t gauge their sincerity and he instead agreed to re-sign with San Antonio when the free agent signing period began back in July, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “I was very much leaning towards [the Spurs] than anywhere else,’’ Green said. “New York reached out, but I don’t think they were as interested as I thought they’d be. My deal was done pretty quick.’’

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics have assigned power forward Jordan Mickey and swingman James Young to the Maine Red Claws, their D-League affiliate, the team announced (via Twitter). This marks the first assignment of the 2015/16 season for each player. The Red Claws don’t officially open their season until November 12th, so this is likely a move designed to get the duo more practice time, though that is merely my speculation.
  • Terrence Ross, who signed a three-year contract extension with the Raptors on Monday, will earn $10MM in 2016/17, and $10.5MM per year for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 campaigns, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The Nets have officially added Randy Ayers and Bob Bender to their player personnel scouting staff, the team announced. Ayers was named to the position of college scout, while Bender was named pro scout, according to the press release.
  • Jared Sullinger, who failed to reach an agreement with the Celtics on an extension prior to Monday’s deadline, said that he’ll be playing the rest of the season with a chip on his shoulder, and added that even some of his own family members have doubted his abilities, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe relays (via Twitter).