Ronnie Burrell

Atlantic Notes: Aldridge, Holden, Burrell, Simmons, Tucker

Free agent big man LaMarcus Aldridge appears more likely to retire than to sign another contract, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix and Howard Beck said in the latest episode of The Crossover NBA Show (hat tip to NetsDaily).

Aldridge was productive in 47 games with the Nets last season, averaging 12.9 PPG and 5.5 RPG in 22.3 MPG. Aldridge went in retirement the previous season due to a heart condition but was cleared to play again by the league last fall.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, have named J.R. Holden as GM and Ronnie Burrell as head coach, according to a team press release. Holden spent the past three seasons as director of pro personnel for the Brooklyn Nets. Burrell rejoins the Nets organization after spending the 2019/20 season as an assistant coach with Long Island. Burrell was as an assistant coach with the College Park Skyhawks, the Atlanta Hawks’ affiliate, last season.
  • Ben Simmons could turn into the Nets’ version of Draymond Green, Ajayi Browne of NetsDaily.com notes. Putting Simmons at the center position could provide the most spacing possible for the Nets offensively due to his play-making skills. He’s also a defensive ace, finishing second in Defensive Player of the Year votes during the 2020/21 season.
  • After losing the conference semifinals to the Heat last season, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey felt P.J. Tucker would be a great fit if he could sign the veteran forward in free agency, Morey said in a podcast with Philadelphia TV sportscaster John Clark (hat tip to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson). “Just finished playing a series [against] P.J. Tucker. P.J. was able to really impact that series in a lot of ways with his toughness, with his high-level defense, with his energy on the floor, with his offensive rebounding,” Morey said. “And (Joel Embiid) correctly said, ‘Hey, we could use a guy like that.’”

Bulls Name Coaching Staff Under Billy Donovan

The Bulls have added assistant coaches Maurice Cheeks, Josh Longstaff, John Bryant, Damian Cotter and Billy Schmidt to serve under recently hired head coach Billy Donovan, the team announced Saturday.

Chicago has also brought on Henry Domercant, Ronnie Burrell, Ty Abbott and Max Rothschild as player development coordinators.

Cheeks is the biggest name of the bunch to join the Bulls’ staff. The former 15-year NBA veteran most recently served under Donovan for five seasons with the Thunder in his second stint with the organization. A native of Chicago, Cheeks not only gets to reunite with Donovan after working closely for half of the past decade but he gets to return home.

In addition to a stellar playing career, the four-time All-Star brings a wealth of coaching experience as he was the head coach for the Blazers (2001-05), Sixers (2005-08) and Pistons (2013-14). In addition to his first Thunder tenure, Cheeks has also been an assistant coach with the Sixers.

Longstaff, 38, joins the Bulls after spending the previous two campaigns under Mike Budenholzer with the Bucks. The Maine native brings a strong coaching resume in his own right, which includes assistant coaching stops with the Thunder and Knicks. Longstaff also has G League head coaching experience with the Erie Bayhawks from 2017-18.

As for Bryant, Cotter and Schmidt, they bring varying degrees of experience of coaching within basketball. Bryant joins the Bulls after spending four years with the Sixers, two of those in an assistant coach capacity. Cotter has been an assistant coach in the G League with several organizations and Schmidt has most notably served as Thunder as a director of quality control the past five seasons.

Chris Fleming is the lone holdover from last year’s staff who remains with the club in an assistant coaching capacity.