Rex Kalamian

Central Notes: Dosunmu, White, Kalamian, Holiday, Sexton

Rookie Ayo Dosunmu and third-year guard Coby White have expanded roles in the absence of Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine and they’ve performed well, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes. Ball is out six-to-eight weeks after undergoing knee surgery and LaVine didn’t join on the Bulls on their three-game road trip due to a less serious knee injury.

Dosunmu and White have started the last three games, with Dosunmu averaging 18.0 PPG, 8.0 APG and 5.7 RPG and White posting 17.0 PPG, 4.3 APG and 4.3 RPG.

DeMar DeRozan has been impressed with Dosunmu’s maturity. “He accepts his mistakes,” DeRozan said. “He holds himself accountable. And that’s big for a young guy to be able to do that.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons assistant coach Rex Kalamian has agreed to become the head coach of the Armenian national team, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnaworski tweets. Both of Kalamian’s parents are Armenian-Americans. Kalamian, who recently served as acting coach when Dwane Casey missed some games for personal reasons, will continue in his duties in Detroit.
  • Jrue Holiday returned to action on Wednesday after missing six games due to left ankle soreness. Though he only scored nine points in 22 minutes, he gave the Bucks a boost in numerous areas, Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes. “Wish I had a little more (time on the floor), but I think just trying to get my timing back, get my legs back, get my feel for the game back,” Holiday said. “I feel like I haven’t played in a long time, so just trying to get back right.”
  • Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton, who underwent season-ending knee surgery two months ago, will be a restricted free agent after the season. Bryan Fonseca of Basketball News explores the pros and cons of Cleveland trading Sexton before next month’s deadline. Fonseca ultimately concludes the Cavs should retain Sexton, providing another shot-creator and catch-and-shoot option on a team with playoff aspirations beyond this season.

COVID-19 Updates: Oubre, Casey, Satoransky, Garuba, More

Hornets forward Kelly Oubre has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced today (via Twitter). Oubre will miss the team’s Monday night game vs. Milwaukee and will likely be sidelined longer than that unless he registered a false positive or inconclusive test. There are now two Charlotte players in the protocols, with Oubre joining Vernon Carey.

Here are more protocol-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Pistons head coach Dwane Casey has entered the protocols and will be replaced in the short term by assistant Rex Kalamian, tweets Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Half of the NBA’s 30 head coaches have now been placed in the protocols at some point this season.
  • Pelicans guard Tomas Satoransky has cleared the health and safety protocols and was back with the team today, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Rockets rookie Usman Garuba has exited the COVID-19 protocols and is no longer listed on the team’s injury report, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.
  • Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe and Heat two-way player Marcus Garrett are among the other players who have cleared the protocols, per Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, respectively (Twitter links).
  • The Bucks are listing Pat Connaughton as questionable to play on Monday night and he posted an emoji of a plane today on Twitter, strongly signaling that he has exited the protocols and is flying to meet the team in Charlotte, as Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes (via Twitter). Whether or not Connaughton is available tonight, it sounds like he’s no longer in the protocols.

Central Notes: Cavs, Matthews, Kalamian, McKinnie

Appearing on the HoopsHype Podcast alongside Michael Scotto, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com said he believes the Cavaliers will look to be buyers at this season’s trade deadline, and could be open to surrendering their 2022 first-round pick, which may not end up in the lottery as initially anticipated.

Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, and Terrence Ross are among the players who could appeal to the Cavaliers, per Fedor, though some of those players may be more attainable than others. While LeVert and Ross are believed to be available, I’d be surprised if Brooklyn parts with Harris.

Fedor also addressed several more topics during his conversation with Scotto, suggesting that Ricky Rubio has become more likely to be extended than traded and noting that the Cavaliers are comfortable going into restricted free agency with Collin Sexton. Cleveland recognizes that only a handful of teams will have cap room available in 2022 and is skeptical that any of those clubs will make it a top priority to pry away Sexton from the Cavs, Fedor explains.

Here are a few more notes from around the Central:

  • Bucks wing Wesley Matthews is no longer listed in the health and safety protocols, as Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets. Milwaukee still has three players in the protocols, including Giannis Antetokounmpo.
  • Rex Kalamian, who has been an NBA assistant coach for 28 years, got a chance to serve as the Pistons‘ acting head coach on two occasions in the past week – including on Tuesday – when Dwane Casey was away from the team for personal reasons. As James L. Edwards III of The Athletic details, Kalamian appreciates the opportunity, but remains happy in his role as an assistant. “As an assistant coach, you do a lot more development with the players than the head coach,” he said. “The head coaches are not nearly as involved with the day-to-day development of players. But as an assistant, that’s something that has always been fun for me and a challenge to step in and get on the court every day with players.”
  • Carving out a role with the Bulls has been a “dream come true” for Alfonzo McKinnie, who is currently on his second 10-day contract with his hometown team. “I’m a West Side kid. I grew up like 10, 15 minutes down the way,” McKinnie said on Monday, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “House was a Bulls house. Watched the Bulls growing up. So just being able to compete on the highest stage in my hometown, on my favorite side of the city, the West Side, it’s been surreal to be honest. Just putting that jersey on has been everything for me.”

Eastern Notes: Portis, Parker, Casey, Oladipo

Forward Bobby Portis is the latest Bucks player to be placed under the league’s health and safety protocols, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Donte DiVincenzo and Wesley Matthews are already listed out for Friday’s game against the Pelicans for the same reason. Brook Lopez and Semi Ojeleye are injured and Thanasis Antetokounmpo is listed as doubtful due to a right soleus strain. That will leave the Bucks with 10 players if there are no more developments.

We have more Eastern Conference news:

  • Celtics forward Jabari Parker has also been placed under health and safety protocols, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston tweets. Parker has only appeared in nine games this season, averaging 4.6 PPG in 9.3 MPG in those outings.
  • Pistons coach Dwane Casey will miss tonight’s game against Indiana due to personal reasons, Keith Langlois of the team’s website tweets. It’s not due to a COVID-19 issue. Assistant Rex Kalamian will run the show in Casey’s absence. It’s unknown whether Casey will return to coach the team in two home games this weekend.
  • Guard Victor Oladipo is traveling with the Heat during their four-game trip and coach Erik Spoelstra believes that’s a significant development, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. “It’s a big step,” Spoelstra said. “It’s not about a step of when he’ll be back. It’s more about just the emotional and mental boost for him. He has been doing all this work behind the scenes, at the arena while we’ve been on the road. And we’ve been on the road virtually the entire season. So he hasn’t been with us for a large part of it.” Oladipo signed a one-year veteran’s minimum deal during the offseason. He had surgery in May to repair a quad tendon in his right knee.

Pistons Notes: Cunningham, Hayes, Coaching Staff

Figuring out how to maximize the backcourt of lottery picks Killian Hayes and Cade Cunningham may be most important element of Cunningham’s integration into the league, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. That process will start in training camp and Pistons head coach Dwane Casey is known for preferring multiple ballhandlers on the court. Cunningham’s versatility makes it both easier and more challenging to find the right balance between the two young backcourt partners, Langlois adds.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • The team has officially named Rex Kalamian, Jerome Allen, Jim Moran and Bill Bayno as assistant coaches, and Andrew Jones as a player development coach in a press release. The news that the club was hiring Kalamian, Allen and Bayno was reported in June. Allen was on Brad Stevens’ Celtics staff, while Bayno had been on Indiana’s staff. Kalamian worked the Kings last season. A report surfaced in July that Moran, a former Portland assistant, would be joining Casey’s staff. Jordan Brink and Austin Dufault have been promoted to player development coaches, the release adds.
  • Hayes may not be a legitimate building block, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic opines in a Q&A session with colleague James Edwards III. His struggles to gain separation make it very difficult for him to create anything as a lead guard and he’s always been turnover-prone, according to Vecenie, though it would unfair to give up on him too quickly. Vecenie does believe the club is being built the right way, though it needs a couple more elite players to be a true contender.
  • In case you missed it, there’s been speculation that second-round rookie Luka Garza, who has signed a two-way deal, could be promoted to a standard contract. Get the details here.

Pistons Adding Three Assistants To Dwane Casey’s Staff

The Pistons are finalizing deals to add three new assistant coaches to Dwane Casey‘s staff, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski, Detroit is expected to hire Jerome Allen, Bill Bayno, and Rex Kalamian.

Allen, who recently interviewed for the Celtics’ head coaching job and has been linked to the Trail Blazers’ vacancy as well, has been an assistant on Brad Stevens‘ staff in Boston since 2015, but appears set for a change of scenery.

Bayno, who previously worked on Casey’s staff in Toronto, was a Pacers assistant from 2016-21 before resigning due to mental health issues earlier this year. Kalamian was also a Raptors assistant under Casey until 2018. He joined the Clippers for two years, then the Kings for the 2020/21 season.

A recent report suggested that Pistons assistant Micah Nori may leave Detroit for a job with the Timberwolves, so it seems safe to assume Casey’s staff will look much different in 2021/22 than it did this past season.

At least one familiar face is expected to be back, however. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Detroit is currently negotiating a new contract with assistant coach Sean Sweeney, who has been on the staff since 2018.

Coaching Roundup: Kalamian, Foster, Vinson

The Kings are bringing back Rex Kalamian as an assistant coach under Luke Walton, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Sacramento confirmed the hiring in a press release. As James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets, Kalamian was on Reggie Theus’ staff from 2007-09. Kalamian was on Doc Rivers’ staff with the Clippers the last two years and also had stints with the Raptors and Thunder.

We have more coaching news:

  • Greg Foster is joining the Pacers‘ staff under new head coach Nate Bjorkgren, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Foster spent the last two seasons with the Hawks. He also served coaching stint with the 76ers and Bucks.
  • The Pelicans are retaining Fred Vinson despite their head coaching change, ESPN’s Andrew Lopez tweets. Vinson has been in the organization since 2010. He began his coaching career with the Clippers.
  • John Lucas decided to remain with the Rockets. Get the details here.

Thunder Notes: Gallinari, Ferguson, Kalamian

Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari suggests he’s more interested in winning a championship than taking the best offer in free agency, Alessandro Maggi of Sportando relays. Gallinari made the comment during Italy’s “Festival dello Sport.”

“At this time, yes,” he said of prioritizing a title over the most lucrative contract he can find. “I’m not 20 anymore.”

Gallinari, 32, made $22.6MM this past season. He’ll be one of the most sought-after unrestricted free agents on the market.

We have more from the Thunder:

  • In April, Oklahoma County prosecutors decided not to charge guard Terrance Ferguson after a rape accusation. However, he now has more legal issues that apparently involve the same case, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman reports. Ferguson has been sued by an Oklahoma City woman who alleges he and his brother raped her in September 2018. The woman, who previously had a consensual relationship with Ferguson, is seeking in excess of $500K.
  • Clippers assistant Rex Kalamian has a strong connection to the Thunder organization, Mussatto writes in a separate story regarding the team’s coaching search. Kalamian was an assistant in Oklahoma City for six seasons, including three years in which he was Scott Brooks’ lead assistant. It’s uncertain whether Kalamian is a candidate for the Thunder’s opening.
  • We noted earlier on Monday that the front office has been tight-lipped about the coaching search even though Billy Donovan was let go more than a month ago.

Clippers Notes: Free Agency, Dunn, Lue, Hiatus

The Clippers have a realistic opportunity to bring back their 11-man rotation next season, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Many of the decisions will come down to whether the organization wants to make a financial commitment to its current players or explore other options.

L.A. has Bird rights on Montrezl Harrell and can offer him a longer and more valuable contract than anyone else. The Clippers have Non-Bird rights on Marcus Morris, who was acquired from the Knicks last month, and can offer a new deal starting at $18MM per season. JaMychal Green has a $5MM player option, and the team might decide to use part of its mid-level exception to re-sign Reggie Jackson.

Buha adds that the loss of revenue from the shortened season could work in the Clippers’ favor by depressing a free agent market that’s already limited by the small number of teams with cap space. Harrell and Morris may not get the offers they would have under normal circumstances, while Green could decide to stick with his guaranteed money.

There’s more Clippers news to pass along:

  • There may be something to the rumors that Doc Rivers would like to add Bulls guard Kris Dunn as a defensive specialist next season, Buha states in the same piece. Dunn will be a restricted free agent if Chicago makes a $4.6MM qualifying offer, and he could be a nice backcourt partner for Lou Williams coming off the bench. The downsides are Dunn’s poor 3-point shooting — 25.9% this year — and his season-ending knee injury.
  • Speculation regarding Tyronn Lue as the next head coach of the Nets has died down while the league has been on hiatus, but Buha understands why Brooklyn would be interested. During his time in Cleveland, Lue proved he could win a title and he developed a strong relationship with Kyrie Irving. Buha identifies two other members of Rivers’ staff, Rex Kalamian and Sam Cassell, who might get head coaching offers soon.
  • The Clippers may benefit as much as anyone from having several weeks off, Buha suggests in a separate column. They are among the league’s oldest teams and injuries have been a concern, particularly for Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley. New additions Morris and Jackson will also get more time to learn Rivers’ system.

L.A. Notes: Gallinari, Kalamian, Berry, Kobe

After being slowed by injuries throughout last season, Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari has proclaimed himself healthy as he prepares for this weekend’s NBA Africa Game, relays Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Hand and glute issues limited Gallinari to 21 games in his first season with the Clippers after being acquired in an offseason trade. It’s a familiar story for Gallinari, who has only reached 70 games in a season twice in his career.

“Of course I will play. I got to show you some of the Gallo magic,” Gallinari joked in Wednesday’s conference call with reporters. “Yeah, yeah, everything is good. I’m very excited. I’m healthy now, body is good. So I can’t wait to start.”

Gallinari still has two years remaining on a three-year, $65MM deal he signed prior to a three-team trade that brought him from Denver to L.A. last summer. He will make $21,587,579 this season and $22,615,559 in 2019/20 with no team or player option on the final year. Gallinari fractured his right hand late in the season, but says it has fully healed.

There’s more this morning from Los Angeles:

  • Former Raptors assistant Rex Kalamian has officially joined the Clippers‘ coaching staff, the team announced on its website. Kalamian, who broke into the NBA as a scout with the Clippers in 1992, worked under Dwane Casey in Toronto for the past three years. L.A. also promoted G League coach Casey Hill to an assistant role with the NBA team.
  • Lakers guard Joel Berry has a huge goal for a player who wasn’t drafted. In an interview with Drew Ruiz of Hoops Hype, Berry said he hopes to be among the contenders for Rookie of the Year and talks about the feeling of being passed over on draft night. “It was pretty tough,” he recalled. “It’s always a dream to hear your name get called, but honestly, I’ve always taken the path where I was always overlooked and my game is not the flashiest – I just win – and that speaks more than being a flashy player.”
  • Kobe Bryant‘s wife is quashing any speculation that he might be thinking of a comeback, according to Alysha Tsuji of USA Today. Shaquille O’Neal sparked rumors of a return in a TMZ interview over the weekend, but Vanessa Bryant made it clear that it won’t happen. “Kobe will not be coming out of retirement to play again,” she wrote on Instagram. “He doesn’t want to play again and frankly we really enjoy spending time together as a family without the crazy game schedule interfering with birthdays, holidays and special events.”