Sean Sweeney

Southwest Notes: Mavs, Sweeney, THJ, SVG, Grizzlies, Rockets

The Mavericks are in advanced talks to hire Sean Sweeney as an assistant coach on Jason Kidd‘s new staff, according to veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Sweeney, who has been on Dwane Casey‘s staff in Detroit since 2018, was said last month to be in talks with the Pistons on a new deal. However, as Stein points out, Sweeney worked on Kidd’s staff during his time in Brooklyn and Milwaukee. Once Kidd was hired by the Mavericks, it seems Sweeney’s focus shifted to a reunion with the veteran coach.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Tim Hardaway Jr. will make the final decision on his destination in free agency this summer, but his father would vote for him to remain in Dallas. As Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News tweets, Tim Hardaway Sr. said on the 1 Star Recruits Podcast that he thinks the Mavericks are “a very good fit for my son” and that the decision to hire Kidd was a good one.
  • Appearing on the Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz, former Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy spoke more about his exit from the organization, suggesting that he was more focused on what was happening on the court, while executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin was more concerned with “the atmosphere around the team and the happiness of people.” Christian Clark of NOLA.com has the full quote from Van Gundy.
  • Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal evaluates whether the Grizzlies could – and should – make a strong play for Bradley Beal should the All-Star guard become available in a trade before his current contract ends.
  • Within his latest mailbag, Kelly Iko of The Athletic discusses the No. 2 pick, Eric Gordon‘s trade value, and several more Rockets-related topics.

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.

Sean Sweeney Agrees To Join Pistons’ Staff

The Pistons have reached an agreement with Bucks assistant Sean Sweeney to join Dwane Casey’s staff, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Detroit had been making a hard push to convince Sweeney to make the switch. Sweeney has worked closely with Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

One of the concessions the Pistons made in negotiations with the former Raptors head coach was that he could pick his own assistants.

Sweeney was one of the candidates for the Nets’ head coaching job two years ago when they wound up hiring Kenny Atkinson.

Eastern Notes: Raptors, Gilgeous-Alexander, Winslow

While we’ve heard a couple times already this offseason that the Raptors are open for business and won’t make anyone on their roster untouchable in trade talks, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca notes that the team may be especially focused on shaking up the “top end of its top-heavy roster.”

That could mean that a player like DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas, or Serge Ibaka is on the move in the coming days or weeks, since those four players are on track to earn nearly $100MM in 2018/19. For what it’s worth, one source told Grange that he believes at least one of the Raptors’ big – or “medium” – three won’t be back next season, referring to Lowry, DeRozan, and Ibaka.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference as we wait for the 2018 NBA draft to get underway:

  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst suggests that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander isn’t interested in playing for the Cavaliers, reporting that Gilgeous-Alexander refused to work out for Cleveland and made a point to tell the team he didn’t want to be there (Twitter link). The Kentucky point guard is considered a candidate to come off the board in the top 10.
  • The Heat, who have explored the possibility of trading back into the draft, have made Justise Winslow available in their discussions, tweets Jake Fischer of SI.com. Like the Raptors, the Heat have suggested no one on their roster will be off-limits this summer, so that doesn’t come as a real surprise.
  • The Pistons are making a “hard push” to hire Bucks assistant Sean Sweeney for Dwane Casey‘s new staff in Detroit, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). Stein notes that Sweeney has worked as closely with Giannis Antetokounmpo as any coach in Milwaukee.

Central Notes: Bradley, Mirotic, Giannis, Kennard

The Pistons acquired shooting guard Avery Bradley from the Celtics over the summer with the hope of signing him to a long-term agreement and that hasn’t changed, coach Stan Van Gundy told the Detroit News’ Rod Beard and other media members. Bradley, who is making $8.8MM this season, becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and Van Gundy is optimistic the Pistons can lock him up. “I’ll take our chances in the offseason,” Van Gundy said during a press conference.

However, there will be no in-season negotiations, Van Gundy added. “He knew right from the time we got him that we made the move thinking it would be a long-term thing but he knows it’s not something we’re going to talk to him at all about during the season,” Van Gundy said (Twitter links). The Celtics dealt Bradley to free up salary-cap room for free agent forward Gordon Hayward. Bradley is the Pistons’ second-leading scorer at 16.8 PPG.

In other developments around the Central Division:

  • Bulls power forward Nikola Mirotic participated in practice on Monday and will travel with the team to Denver later this week, Vincent Goodwill of NBCSports.com in Chicago reports. Mirotic practiced with teammates for the first time since Bobby Portis punched him last month, resulting in facial injuries and a concussion. Coach Fred Hoiberg is hopeful Mirotic and Portis can coexist, as he told Goodwill and other media members, even though little to no progress has been made regarding their feud. “It is important to get those guys communicating, which I think we’re all confident will happen,” Hoiberg said. “The important thing is getting Niko back on the floor and with the team.”
  • Bucks All-Star point forward Giannis Antetokounmpo admits that he and assistant coach Sean Sweeney often have verbal altercations but it’s a product of a “tight” relationship, as he explained to Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Antetokounmpo was seen yelling at Sweeney during the Bucks’ game against the Jazz on Saturday. Outsiders shouldn’t read anything into it. “We’re OK, that’s what we do — we fight, we argue, but at the end of the day, we both want to win,” Antetokounmpo told Velazquez. “I don’t think there’s anybody from this team who wants to win more than Sweeney and me and coach (Jason) Kidd, of course.”
  • Pistons rookie swingman Luke Kennard will need to show steady growth defensively to keep his rotation spot, Beard writes in a separate piece. Kennard was considered arguably the best pure shooter in the June draft but his shooting alone won’t guarantee him a spot on the second unit, Van Gundy told Beard and other media members. “He can’t get comfortable and think that he’s got secured minutes,” Van Gundy said. “We’ve flipped that spot over before — and we will again if he’s not going to do what he has to do.”

Ime Udoka Leading Candidate For Nets Job?

10:59am: Sources tell NetsDaily they believe Udoka is the leading candidate. It appears the team is poised to formally cut ties with Tony Brown and his assistant coaches as well as several long-time staffers as Marks plans to hire as many as 10 new staff members, NetsDaily also hears (All Twitter links).

8:25am: Brett Brown, who reportedly isn’t assured of keeping his job with the Sixers, along with Luke Walton, Mark Jackson, Vinny Del Negro and Bucks assistant Sean Sweeney are also in the mix for the Nets job, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. The prospect of Brown having the interim tag removed and staying in the head coaching job is no more than a long shot, Lewis adds. Lewis also suggests the Nets still have Mike Conley atop their list of free agent targets.

4:01pm: Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson has been mentioned as a possibility for the Nets’ coaching vacancy, and he and Marks share the same agent, Mazzeo tweets.

3:00pm: The increasing belief in coaching circles is that neither Tom Thibodeau nor David Blatt will be a candidate for the job, but the search is only just beginning, writes Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com.

12:47pm: The Nets have interest in NBA coaching veteran Jeff Van Gundy and Spurs assistants Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka for their head coaching job, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Tony Brown is Brooklyn’s head coach on an interim basis, though it’s unclear whether he’ll have a legitimate shot to remain in the position for next season.

Van Gundy’s name frequently comes up in connection to NBA coaching jobs even though he hasn’t coached an NBA team since the 2006/07 season, his last with the Rockets. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News speculated shortly before the team hired GM Sean Marks in February that Messina would become a candidate if the team indeed brought aboard Marks, who was then serving as a Spurs executive. Marks’ tie to the Spurs also explains the interest in Udoka, who was key to the recruitment of former teammate LaMarcus Aldridge this past summer. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has often talked about attracting stars to Brooklyn, and the team has no shortage of cap flexibility for the summer ahead.

Many New York fans still have fond memories of Van Gundy from his time as coach of the crosstown Knicks from 1996-2001, and he’s maintained a high profile as a broadcaster for ABC and ESPN. He reportedly interviewed for the Pelicans head coaching vacancy last year.

Messina has worked for Prokhorov before, when Prokhorov was the owner of CSKA Moscow and Messina was leading the team to two Euroleague championships as head coach. The Spurs hired Messina as an assistant two years ago, and he also served as a coaching consultant for the Lakers in 2011/12, but much of his reputation comes from overseas, where he was one of the most successful coaches in Euroleague history. The Thunder reportedly made him a candidate for their head coaching job a year ago.

Udoka is a veteran of eight NBA seasons as a player, and his last playing contract was with the Nets, who signed him in the 2011 preseason and cut him before opening night. The Spurs hired him as an assistant coach the following summer.

And-Ones: Dunn, Murray, Coaches

Former Providence point guard Kris Dunn has hired Ty Sullivan of the Creative Artists Agency to represent him, as Dunn told Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Sullivan represents Elfrid Payton, among other NBA players. Jamal Murray, Dunn’s primary competition to become the first point guard drafted this year, has hired Mike George of Excel Sports to be his agent, sources told Goodman (Twitter link). International journalist David Pick reported earlier that Excel was the overwhelming favorite to land Murray, the former Kentucky standout. George has recently drafted standouts Tyler Ennis and Dwight Powell among his clients. See more on the representation for some of this year’s draft prospects amid a look at other future-focused NBA items:

  • Former St. Joseph’s small forward DeAndre’ Bembry has hired Pensack Sports, which has also partnered with former Iowa combo forward and fellow second-round prospect Jarrod Uthoff, Goodman reports (Twitter links). Adam Pensack will represent Uthoff, though it’s unclear who’ll be the primary agent for Bembry. N.C. State point guard Cat Barber is going with Sunny Shah of Paramount Sports (Twitter link) and former Iowa State combo forward Georges Niang will sign with Thad Foucher and Makhtar Ndiaye of Wasserman (Twitter link), Goodman also reports, while Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal hears former Syracuse swingman Michael Gbinije has signed with Rich Kleiman of Roc Nation Sports (Twitter link).
  • Swingman Josh Jackson, who chose Kansas for his college this week, tops the early look at 2017 draft prospects that Chad Ford of ESPN.com compiled for an Insider-only piece. Incoming Duke power forward Harry Giles is No. 2 and soon-to-be Washington point guard Markelle Fultz is No. 3. Jayson Tatum, a small forward who’s headed to Duke, is No. 1 on Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress 2017 mock draft but No. 4 on Ford’s list.
  • A panel including GMs, coaches, veteran players, agents, scouts and executives named assistant coaches Nate Tibbetts of the Trail Blazers, Jarron Collins of the Warriors, Nick Nurse of the Raptors, Chris Finch of the Rockets, Stephen Silas of the Hornets and Sean Sweeney of the Bucks as strong candidates to eventually become NBA head coaches, as Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com details.