Roy Rogers

Western Notes: J. Jackson, Gasol, Blazers, Kings, Christie

A total of 56 free agents reached contract agreements with teams around the NBA on Monday, but not a single one of those players is signing with the Grizzlies. That’s by design though, according to Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal, who writes that Memphis’ plan was always to have a quiet free agent period and focus on negotiating a potential contract extension with Jaren Jackson Jr.

One of 24 players eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, Jackson won’t get a maximum-salary deal like Luka Doncic, Trae Young, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. But Grizzlies head of basketball operations Zach Kleiman has suggested that the former fourth overall pick remains very much in the franchise’s long-term plans.

“I think we’re going to be our best selves over time with Jaren,” Kleiman said after the draft, per Barnes. “Spacing the floor, attacking, creating, defensively taking advantage of the versatility he brings to the table.”

Here’s more from around the West as we wait for day two of free agency to start heating up:

  • When Marc Gasol signed a two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Lakers last summer, there was some speculation that he might decide to retire after the 2020/21 season. That’s not his plan though. As Brian Windhorst of ESPN tweets, Gasol told reporters following Spain’s elimination from the Olympics on Tuesday that he intends to continue his NBA career and finish his contract with L.A.
  • The Trail Blazers formally announced Chauncey Billups‘ coaching staff in a press release on Monday, confirming that previously-reported assistant coaching hires such as Scott Brooks, Roy Rogers, Steve Hetzel, and Edniesha Curry are now official. Former Long Island Nets assistant Milt Palacio will also be part of Billups’ staff, according to the team.
  • Doug Christie is moving from the broadcast booth to the sidelines, as the Kings officially announced the former NBA player and veteran TV analyst will be joining Luke Walton‘s staff as an assistant coach. Christie, who played for Sacramento from 2000-05, said in a statement that coaching for the Kings has been a “dream of mine.”

Roy Rogers Close To Joining Blazers’ Staff

The Trail Blazers are finalizing a contract with Roy Rogers to join Chauncey Billups’ staff, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Rogers’ primary responsibility would be improving Portland’s defense, which ranked 29th with a 115.3 rating during the regular season.

Rogers would be the third assistant poached from Tyronn Lue‘s Clippers staff since the end of their season. Billups spent a year with the Clippers before he was hired by the Blazers to replace Terry Stotts. Rogers, 47, was hired last offseason to join Lue after stints with the Bulls, Rockets, Wizards, Nets, Pistons and Celtics.

Another member of Lue’s staff this season, former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, is joining Steve Kerr’s Golden State staff.

Pacific Notes: Green, Wiseman, Whiteside, Clippers, More

The Warriors haven’t publicly announced which two players on their roster tested positive for the coronavirus, but head coach Steve Kerr “spelled it out pretty plainly” on Monday, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Seventeen of the team’s 20 players participated in the first practice of the season. Besides Klay Thompson, the only players missing were Draymond Green and James Wiseman.

“I will not comment on that any further,” Kerr said, per Slater. “I’m not allowed to comment on that. You can make your own deductions … I’m just trying to figure out which one of you has put all the pieces together and has figured out what is happening here.”

Assuming Green and Wiseman are indeed the two players who tested positive for COVID-19, the Warriors are expected to be without them until at least next week, Slater notes. That will give some of Golden State’s other frontcourt players a chance to play more significant roles during the preseason as they potentially audition for regular season minutes.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • New Kings center Hassan Whiteside is dealing with a mild calf strain and likely won’t be available for the team’s preseason opener, head coach Luke Walton said on Monday (Twitter link via Jason Jones of The Athletic).
  • Analytical data provided by new Kings general manager Monte McNair is expected to influence Walton’s new uptempo offensive system, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes. “It’s been great working with Monte,” Walton said. “We’ve talked and he’s going to bring ideas analytically to what he sees, and then at the end of the day I can take what ideas I want and leave the ones I don’t.”
  • Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said that assistant coach Larry Drew is focusing on the team’s offense, while Dan Craig is leading the defense with the help of Roy Rogers. Chauncey Billups is focusing on both sides of the ball, while Kenny Atkinson is leading player development, Lue added, per Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
  • Abdel Nader isn’t concerned about being considered “the other guy” sent to Phoenix in the Chris Paul trade and is looking forward to playing for the Suns, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I haven’t really spent time in Phoenix but I knew (the Suns) had a nice, young unit with a lot of talent,” Nader said. “Ability to grow. Also the city sounds like a nice place to me. I wasn’t complaining too much.”

Clippers Officially Announce Coaching Staff

The Clippers have officially announced Tyronn Lue‘s coaching staff for the 2020/21 season, confirming today in a press release that former Heat assistant Dan Craig has come aboard as L.A.’s associate head coach.

The team has also hired Kenny Atkinson, Chauncey Billups, Larry Drew, and former Bulls assistant Roy Rogers as assistant coaches. Rogers, who was let go by Chicago earlier this fall, reportedly drew interest from Doc Rivers in Philadelphia, but will instead join Rivers’ old team.

Previous reports had indicated that Craig, Atkinson, Billups, and Drew would be part of Lue’s staff.

Cam Hodges, Shaun Fein, Beau Levesque, and Dahntay Jones – who played for Lue in Cleveland in 2016 and 2017 – will also be part of the new-look staff in various coaching and player development roles, according to the team. Additionally, L.A. retained assistants Jeremy Castleberry and Brendan O’Connor.

“We have assembled a strong and experienced group of coaches with diverse backgrounds and perspectives,” Lue said in a statement. “They will provide our players with every opportunity to improve individually and excel as a team. As coaches, their skillsets are different, but they are all great teachers with a passion for player development, who understand how to impart their knowledge. I couldn’t be more excited to get on the court with this group.”

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.”