Roy Rogers

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Sixers, Barrett, Temple

The Raptors are among the teams trying to make the most of what has been an unusual and unprecedented pre-draft process, as assistant general manager Dan Tolzman explained to reporters on Wednesday. Tolzman estimated that there are about 50 players Toronto likes in this draft, adding that he believes the club can land a rotation-caliber player at No. 29 and potentially at No. 59 too.

“Usually there’s a lot of risers and fallers based on the draft combine, individual workouts, 3-on-3 workouts, all that kind of stuff, that isn’t happening,” Tolzman said, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic. “I’d say the best way to describe it is very balanced. There’s going to be a lot of rotation-level players that come out of this draft, kind of all across the board.”

Tolzman also suggested that the lack of pre-draft workouts and other activities for prospects this year may result in some rising players being overlooked until after the draft.

“I think probably more than usual, the undrafted market is going to be huge because normally, players that maybe early on were expected to go undrafted, they worked their way into the draft picture, and those workouts and those opportunities for them to do so just didn’t happen this year,” Tolzman said. “… You’re going to see guys come out of nowhere and be contributors next year.”

A strong undrafted free agent market may benefit the Raptors, who have done very well in that area in recent years, most notably with their signing of Fred VanVleet in 2016. Toronto’s top 2019 UDFA signing, Terence Davis, earned a spot on the All-Rookie Second Team this year.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • New Sixers head coach Doc Rivers is interested in adding former Bulls assistant Roy Rogers to his staff, a league source tells Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Rogers spent the 2019/20 season on Jim Boylen‘s staff in Chicago, but isn’t returning to the Bulls following the hiring of Billy Donovan.
  • Multiple people in touch with Knicks decision-makers tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv that they expect New York to take a player’s fit with RJ Barrett into account when considering potential roster moves this offseason.
  • Reacting to a pair of recent tidbits from John Hollinger of The Athletic, Net Income of NetsDaily considers whether the emergence of Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot might dissuade the Nets from picking up Garrett Temple‘s $5MM team option for the 2020/21 campaign. Temple was a regular part of Brooklyn’s rotation last season, but struggled with his shot (.378/.329/.805) and may be expendable for tax reasons.

Bulls’ Donovan Overhauling Coaching Staff

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan has informed multiple assistant coaches still under contract with the team that they won’t be part of his staff for the 2020/21 season, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

Roy Rogers, Dean Cooper, and Nate Loenser won’t be returning to to the club after working on Jim Boylen‘s staff last season, Johnson reports. Karen Stack Umlauf has also been let go, per an official announcement from the Bulls.

“I appreciate the time that I was able to spend with Dean, Nate, Roy and Karen. I really want to thank all of them for their service and commitment to the Chicago Bulls,” Donovan said in a statement. “This is the tough side to our business, and I wish all of them the best moving forward.”

Rogers had only completed one season on his three-year deal and Loenser had his team option for 2020/21 exercised in the spring, but Bulls ownership continues to give the team’s new decision-makers the green light to make changes even if they’ll cost the organization some money, per Johnson.

It’s possible the Bulls will make additional changes to their coaching staff, but for now it sounds as if Chris Fleming is sticking around. Fleming worked with new Bulls executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas in Denver during the 2015/16 season, and Johnson has previously reported that there’s a “trust factor” between the two men.

It remains to be seen who will join Donovan’s revamped staff in Chicago, but Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times speculates that Maurice Cheeks could be a candidate. Cheeks is a Chicago native and has been an assistant under Donovan for the last five years in Oklahoma City.

Bulls Begin Interviewing Head Coaching Candidates

The Bulls‘ search for a new head coach is underway, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that the team has received permission to speak to a number of candidates and has begun conducting interviews.

Several candidates identified by Wojnarowski have been previously reported as potential targets for Chicago. That group includes former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, Sixers assistant Ime Udoka, Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr., Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas, and Timberwolves associate head coach David Vanterpool.

In addition to those candidates, Wojnarowski reports that the Bulls have also been granted permission to talk to Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley and Heat assistant Dan Craig.

Finally, current Bulls assistants Chris Fleming and Roy Rogers – holdovers from Jim Boylen‘s staff who remain under contract – may receive consideration for the top job, according to Wojnarowski. K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago indicates that Fleming could have a role on the new staff if he isn’t promoted, since he has previously worked with Bulls executive VP Arturas Karnisovas in Denver and there’s a “trust factor” between the two men.

Following Boylen’s dismissal, Karnisovas suggested that Chicago is seeking a head coach who “puts the relationship with players first” and is “a good communicator.” The Bulls, who appear to be conducting a wide-ranging search, could be competing with the Pacers, Sixers, Nets, and Pelicans for certain candidates, since all of those clubs are also in the market for new head coaches.

While Karnisovas has said there’s no set timeline for finalizing a new hire, it will be interesting to see whether Chicago tries to have a new head coach in place for its organized offseason team activities, which are scheduled to take place from September 14 to October 6.

Bulls Notes: Boylen, Silas, Vanterpool, Assistants

More than five months after he last coached a game for the Bulls, Jim Boylen was relieved of his duties on Friday morning, with the team announcing it will launch a formal search to identify and hire a new permanent head coach.

A source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter links) that Boylen displayed some behavior that was considered “detrimental to the organization” during his tenure with the team, including a verbal run-in with a team chef.

While Cowley’s report suggests those incidents may have played a part in the Bulls’ decision to move on from its head coach, head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said in a conference call today that “it was strictly a basketball decision” to fire Boylen, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link) adds another name to the list of potential candidates for the Bulls’ head coaching job, reporting that Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas is expected to receive consideration. Timberwolves associate head coach David Vanterpool is also a name to watch, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). We’re keeping tabs on all the rumored candidates right here.
  • According to Karnisovas, the Bulls will be seeking a head coach who “puts the relationship with players first” and is “a good communicator,” tweets Eric Woodyard of ESPN. The Bulls exec added that there’s no set timeline to finalize a hire.
  • The Bulls’ assistant coaches are expected to remain in place for now and can continue working with individual players at the team facility, notes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). As Woj points out, top assistants Chris Fleming and Roy Rogers are under contract beyond this season.

Eastern Notes: Lawson, Bulls, Collison, Sirvydis, Magic

The Celtics announced three additions to their coaching staff today, including the official hiring of Kara Lawson as their first-ever female assistant. A 13-year WNBA veteran and Olympic gold medal winner, she spent the past two seasons as the primary television analyst for the Wizards and covered games for ESPN Radio.

“This was a good fit,” Lawson said to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “I wanted to go somewhere where I’d be challenged, I wanted to go somewhere where I’d be allowed to coach, and I wanted to go to an organization that was going to be playing in big games to be able to get a sense of that last frontier of coaching, which is being able to do it in pressure situations in the regular season and the playoffs.”

Also added to coach Brad Stevens’ staff were Brandon Bailey, who served as coach of the Celtics’ G League affiliate in Maine the past two seasons, and Joe Mazzulla, a former assistant with the Red Claws.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • It got lost in the shuffle of this week’s free agency frenzy, but according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link), there was a belief in league circles that the Bulls were the frontrunners to sign Darren Collison before the free agent point guard unexpectedly announced his retirement.
  • The Bulls have added two new assistants to head coach Jim Boylen’s staff, according to a press release from the team. Chris Fleming announced in May that he was leaving the Nets to come to Chicago, and Roy Rogers, who recently parted ways with the Rockets, officially joined the team Wednesday. In addition, Karen Stack has been elevated to assistant coach, Paul Miller was named assistant to the head coach and former intern Chris Kent is the new video coordinator.
  • Deividas Sirvydis, who was selected by the Pistons with the 37th pick in the draft, will likely spend the upcoming season in Europe, tweets international basketball writer Donatas Urbonas. Rytas Vilnius GM Rolandas Jarutis expects to have the 6’8″ shooting guard back next season unless he has an outstanding performance with Detroit’s Summer League team. Sirvydis, 19, was MVP of the EuroLeague Basketball Next Generation Tournament in 2018.
  • The Magic have probably given up on Fran Vazquez ever coming to the NBA, but there was news this week on their 2005 draft pick, whose draft rights they still retain, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. The 36-year-old re-signed with his Zaragoza team in Spain, so his cap hold will be removed from Orlando’s books for another season.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Coaching Updates: Grizzlies, Kidd, Suns, Sixers, Bulls, Thibodeau

The latest round-up of NBA rumors from Shams Charania of The Athletic features a handful of coaching-related notes, including an update on the Grizzlies‘ head coaching search.

According to Charania, Bucks assistant Taylor Jenkins, whose interview with Memphis was previously reported, met with the Grizzlies for a second time last week. Jenkins is one of at least six candidates to interview for the position, but the fact that he got a second meeting may signal that he’s receiving serious consideration.

Elswhere in Charania’s story, he notes that Jason Kidd‘s contract with the Lakers will make him the highest-paid assistant in the NBA and reports that Warriors assistant Willie Green has been offered a leading assistant coach job with the Suns. Phoenix is hopeful that Green, who played for new Suns head coach Monty Williams in 2010/11, will accept that offer.

Here are a few more coaching-related items from around the NBA:

  • Former Brooklyn and Dallas head coach Avery Johnson is interviewing with the Sixers for a job on Brett Brown‘s staff, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Johnson spent the last four seasons coaching at Alabama.
  • Not long after parting ways with the Rockets, Roy Rogers has agreed to a three-year deal to become an assistant for the Bulls, tweets Wojnarowski. K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, who tweets that Rogers’ interview with the team was described as “impressive,” points out that the three-year term lines up with head coach Jim Boylen‘s new extension.
  • Appearing on The Zach Gelb Show, Tom Thibodeau confirmed that he’s not eager to rejoin the assistant coaching ranks anytime soon (link via CBS Sports Radio). The Lakers were rumored to have interest in Thibodeau as a lead assistant when they appeared to be nearing a deal with Tyronn Lue, but Thibs says the position probably wouldn’t have appealed to him. “I’ve known Ty for a long time. I coached him in Houston, and when he first got into coaching, we were in Boston together, so I consider him a really good friend,” Thibodeau said. “But I still have some time on my contract. I’ll be patient and just wait for the right opportunity to come along.”

Rockets Notes: D’Antoni, Harden, Paul, Staff Changes

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said talks regarding a contract extension are in an advanced stage, he told Mark Berman of Fox 26 Sports. D’Antoni, who has one season left on his four-year, $16MM contract, believes he can go an additional two or three years.

News that the two parties were negotiating an extension came to light last weekend.

“I don’t do it (negotiate). That’s my agent. He takes care of that stuff,” D’Antoni said. “They’ve been discussing it for a long time now. It just hasn’t been a couple weeks. It’s been awhile that they’ve been talking. So they’ll figure it out.”

We have more on the Rockets:

  • D’Antoni was caught off-guard by a report that James Harden and Chris Paul had a verbal altercation in the locker room after the team was eliminated by Golden State, he told Berman. “It was definitely blown out of proportion,” D’Antoni said. “Those are discussions that (happen with) every good team that has a lot of alpha dogs and we do. Those are things that (happen) in the locker room and on the floor, time outs and everybody’s trying to compete and win a championship. That happens all the time. So it was nothing out of the ordinary at all. It kind of took me a little bit by surprise. I was shocked. Just wow, okay, it just didn’t happen.”
  • The Rockets fired player development assistant coach Irv Roland, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. That’s quite significant, since he has been Harden’s trainer since 2016 and also has a tight relationship with Paul, David Aldridge of The Athletic tweets.
  • The organization also mutually parted ways with assistant Roy Rogers, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Rogers wanted more than a one-year offer, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. Assistant Mitch Vanya and video coordinator John Cho were also let go, Feigen adds.
  • Despite the extension talks, the staff shakeup has made some people in the coaching community wonder if the team’s brass is trying to convince D’Antoni to leave, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. The Rockets also parted ways with associate head coach Jeff Bzdelik last week.

Coaching Notes: Frank, Iske, Lucas, Pistons

The Clippers and assistant coach Lawrence Frank have reached an agreement that will see him promoted to executive vice president of basketball operations, reporting directly to team president and coach Doc Rivers, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports. Frank will be tasked with reorganizing the franchise’s front office, including building out the infrastructure of its scouting, sports science and long-term strategic planning, Wojnarowski notes.

Frank, 45, has been a two-time head coach in the NBA with the Nets and Pistons, and had been working toward a transition to the front office in recent years, the scribe notes. As Nets coach, Frank reached the Eastern Conference semifinals three out of his first four seasons on the job. He won 279 games as a head coach, including an 18-20 (.474) playoff record. Frank has been an assistant coach and defensive coordinator for the past two seasons with Los Angeles.

Here’s more coaching news from around the league:

  • The Pistons announced via press release that the team has named Jon Phelps as GM and Rex Walters as head coach of the Grand Rapids Drive, Detroit’s D-League affiliate. “We’re fortunate to be able to fill these two positions with guys we feel very comfortable with,” said coach/executive Stan Van Gundy.  “Jon was in Grand Rapids with the Drive the last two years so there’s familiarity and continuity there.  We’re confident he will continue to do a good job and transition well into this new role.  “Rex Walters brings a wealth of basketball knowledge and experience and has a passion for developing young players.  He’s spent some time with us here and already has a good understanding of how we operate.  We look forward to working with both of them.
  • The Wizards will be adding former Kings assistant Chad Iske to Scott Brooks‘ coaching staff in Washington, Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post relays (on Twitter).
  • Former Wizards assistant coach Roy Rogers has reached an agreement to join Mike D’Antoni‘s staff with the Rockets, Wojnarowski tweets.
  • Former NBA player and coach John Lucas is joining the Rockets‘ staff as the head of player development, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle relays.

Rockets Hire Mike D’Antoni As Head Coach

Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images

Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 1, 2:10pm: The Rockets formally introduced D’Antoni as their head coach at a news conference this afternoon, and confirmed his hiring in a press release. As Calvin Watkins of ESPN tweets, the team introduced Jeff Bzdelik and Roy Rogers as assistant coaches on D’Antoni’s staff.

MAY 26, 4:54pm: The deal will pay D’Antoni approximately $4MM per season, Wojnarowski writes in a full-length piece.

4:22pm: The Rockets and Mike D’Antoni are finalizing a agreement that will make him the team’s new head coach, Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical reports (Twitter links). It will be a four-year pact that includes a team option for the final season, Wojnarowski adds. Houston is the only team remaining in the NBA with a head coaching vacancy.

The 65-year-old has an overall record of 455-426 in the regular season as a head coach and was named as the 2004/05 Coach of the Year. With D’Antoni’s forte clearly on the offensive end, the team is looking to bring in a strong defensive coach and is eyeing  Memphis assistant Jeff Bzdelik and former Wizards assistant Roy Rogers, Wojnarowski relays (Twitter links).

The addition of D’Antoni likely spells the end of center Dwight Howard‘s tenure in Houston, with the big man widely expected to opt out of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The two reportedly did not get on well when both were with the Lakers and its unlikely Howard would want a repeat of their spotty history, though that is merely my speculation.

The Rockets also met with former Suns coach Jeff Hornacek, who is reportedly close to joining the Knicks, former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, Clippers assistant Sam Cassell and Rockets assistant Chris Finch. Former Pacers coach Frank Vogel and Spurs assistant Ettore Messina are also part of the process, with Messina having interviewed with the team last Saturday. Former interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff and former Rockets guard Kenny Smith were also interviewed, but Bickerstaff withdrew from consideration and Smith was told he was no longer a candidate as the Rockets decided to focus on coaches with either head coaching experience or extensive experience as an assistant. Jeff Van Gundy was also mentioned as a candidate, but he and the team never formally spoke about the post.

And-Ones: Gay, Clippers, Monroe, Rogers

It’s been a rough week for Team USA following the gruesome injury sustained by Paul George and the subsequent withdrawal of Kevin Durant. However, help is on the way in the form of Kings forward Rudy Gay, writes Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Gay was a reserve on USA’s 2010 title squad and joins Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward this time around as the team’s only true small forwards. At tonight’s Hall of Fame ceremony, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told NBA.com’s David Aldridge that a repeat gold medal performance this summer would be the “sweetest win because of the circumstances.” (via Marc Stein on Twitter).

Here is what else is happening around the league on Friday night:

  • The official transfer of the Clippers could happen at any moment, as attorneys for Donald Sterling claimed in a request for a stay of a probate court decision that affirms Shelly Sterling’s right to sell the team to Steve Ballmer, reports Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times. The judge in the probate trial signed the final statement of decision Thursday, clearing the way for Donald Sterling to file the request, as Fenno explains. The sale may proceed once the judge issues a final order, which could come at any time, Fenno adds.
  • There is a very good likelihood that Greg Monroe is in a Pistons uniform next season according to David Mayo of MLive.com (via Twitter), who puts the chances at 85 to 90 percent. With the sign-and-trade market for Monroe now essentially non-existent, Mayo believes the sides will either come to an agreement on a longer-term deal or that Monroe will sign his one-year qualifying offer. Monroe would become an unrestricted free agent next summer if he chooses the latter route.
  • The Wizards have added Roy Rogers as an assistant coach, the team announced on their website today. Rogers has six years experience as an NBA assistant under his belt, previously working with the Nets (twice), the Celtics and the Pistons. Prior to reaching the NBA ranks, Rogers coached in the D-League for four years after a seven-year playing career. He joins fellow assistant David Atkins, hired in July, as a newcomer on the staff of head coach Randy Wittman.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.