Shane Battier

Pistons Notes: GM Search, Kennard, Bone

The Pistons will focus on external candidates in their search for a new general manager, according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. The new GM will work alongside senior advisor Ed Stefanski to chart a course for the future of the franchise, while Malik Rose and Pat Garrity will be retained as assistant GMs.

Edwards identifies several potential candidates for the position: Pelicans assistant GM Bryson Graham, former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox, Jazz GM Justin Zanik, Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes, who was considered for the GM job in Chicago, and Thunder VP of basketball operations Troy Weaver. Edwards also suggests that University of Memphis assistant coach Mike Miller, who had Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem as an agent during his playing career, could be brought in as another assistant GM.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Rod Beard of The Detroit News agrees on Hughes and Weaver and offers a few other candidates who might be in play. Shane Battier grew up in the Detroit area and serves as VP of basketball development and analytics with the Heat, but Beard believes it would be difficult to talk him into leaving Miami. Chauncey Billups is a Pistons hero from his playing days and has been considered for other front office openings. Tayshaun Prince, who teamed with Billups on the 2004 championship team, became VP of basketball operations for the Grizzlies last year. Celtics assistant GM Michael Zarren has spent 14 years with the organization and has turned down other opportunities, but Beard believes the Pistons should contact him.
  • Working Luke Kennard back into the rotation would have been a priority if the season had continued, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Kennard, who had been battling tendinitis in both knees since December, was set to return in the Pistons’ next game when the hiatus was imposed. With Kennard about to enter the final year of his rookie contract, Detroit will have to decide soon whether to make a long-term commitment or try to trade him, and Langlois sees his shooting skills as an important element for a rebuilding team.
  • The Pistons may have other priorities at point guard that will prevent Jordan Bone from earning a roster spot next season, Langlois adds in the same piece. Derrick Rose has another year on his contract, and Langlois expects the team to find a veteran to complement him. Also, there will also be plenty of opportunity to fill the position in a draft that’s heavy on point guards. Bone saw limited time in 10 NBA games as a two-way player this season, but averaged 19.9 points per 36 minutes and shot 38% from 3-point range in the G League.

Bulls Notes: Karnisovas, GM Search, Boylen, Battier

Arturas Karnisovas, the Bulls‘ new executive VP of basketball operations, promised “an extensive and diverse” search for a general manager during an interview with K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Karnisovas was officially hired Monday, but is working out of Denver because of restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. He has already added J.J. Polk and Pat Connelly in the first steps toward assembling a new front office.

“I’ve been in this profession a long time,” Karnisovas said. “Most of the guys on the list I know personally and I’ve known them for a long time, from scouting games and going to dinners and interaction. It’s going to be easier for me. I know exactly the criteria I’m looking for. It’s going to be complementary to me and my skill set. I don’t want clones. I want somebody who is going to bring something different to our organization. Those are things I pay attention to.”

Also in the interview, Karnisovas talked about his preference for an up-tempo offense with plenty of ball movement and the need for player development, citing the progress the Nuggets were able to make with a young team.

“Players want to play and players want to win,” he said. “I’m going to try to facilitate that. I’m going to try to improve every year. Constant improvement is what we’ve done in Denver. I’d like to incorporate that here.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Karnisovas should be willing to trade any player on the roster, even leading scorer Zach LaVine or Lauri Markkanen, contends Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago. He cites the Sixers, Nets and Spurs as teams that might look to shake up their rosters in the offseason.
  • The uncertainty of the NBA calendar may help coach Jim Boylen keep his job, Johnson writes in a mailbag column. If the league is able to squeeze in a few regular season games before the playoffs, Johnson believes it makes sense to keep Boylen around for those. Karnisovas said he will get to know Boylen, who has two years left on his contract, before making a final decision. Johnson notes that Karnisovas has a prior relationship with assistant coach Chris Fleming, whom he helped to hire in Denver.
  • Chicago hasn’t sought permission to interview Shane Battier, the Heat’s VP of basketball development and analytics, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. A report earlier this week indicated the Bulls weren’t planning to pursue Battier because they don’t believe Miami would let him go.

Bulls Receive Permission To Interview Three GM Candidates

Having officially hired Arturas Karnisovas as their new head of basketball operations, the Bulls are now in the market for a new general manager. With Karnisovas leading that search, the club has received permission to interview three candidates so far, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski, Chicago has been granted permission to speak to Sixers senior VP of player personnel Marc Eversley, Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes, and Magic assistant GM Matt Lloyd.

[RELATED: Bulls Part Ways With GM Gar Forman]

Those three executives were among the candidates initially identified by Wojnarowski for the job last Friday. At the time, Woj also said that Nuggets assistant GM Calvin Booth was a target, so his omission from today’s list is notable. There’s a belief that Denver will attempt to keep Booth after losing Karnisovas — he’s a candidate to be promoted to fill the Nuggets’ newly-opened GM role.

It remains to be seen whether Eversley, Hughes, and Lloyd are the Bulls’ top choices or whether the team’s search will continue to expand to include other candidates.

A source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link) that Heat assistant GM Shane Battier won’t be interviewing with the Bulls, since Chicago recognizes that Miami values him and won’t be letting him go. Cowley adds (via Twitter) that despite some chatter, Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon won’t be a candidate for the Bulls’ GM position either.

Cowley previously identified Mavericks VP of basketball operations Michael Finley and Thunder executives Troy Weaver and Nazr Mohammed as potential GM targets for Chicago. However, based on a subsequent report, it would be a surprise if Weaver has interest in the job.

Heat Notes: Butler, Injuries, Waiters, Battier

The latest injury concern for the Heat involves star forward Jimmy Butler, who sprained his ankle during the team’s home game against the Clippers on Friday, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes.

Miami is also currently dealing with injuries to primary ball-handlers Kendrick Nunn, Goran Dragic (calf) and Justise Winslow, making Butler’s absence a tougher pill to swallow.

“It’s a sprain,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Butler’s injury, as relayed by Winderman. “We’ll have to re-evaluate. I don’t even like commenting after sprained ankles. You have to wait until the next day to see how a guy feels. He’s getting treatment already and we’ll go from there.

“Same with Goran and K-Nunn. At least we have a couple of days before the next game and it’ll give them an opportunity to really get into the training room and get some treatment.”

Butler, Dragic, and Nunn are all listed as questionable to play on Monday against Orlando, with Bam Adebayo (ankle) probable and Winslow remaining out.

Miami is a half-game behind Toronto for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 31-14, sporting an impressive 20-2 record at home. Players such as Tyler Herro, Dion Waiters and James Johnson could receive more ball-handling responsibilities in the interim.

Here are some other notes out of Miami:

  • Dion Waiters has taken full responsibility for his three suspensions this season, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Waiters finished with 14 points in 18 minutes against the Clippers in his first game of the season on Friday, making key late-game plays on both ends of the court. “I’m a grown man,” Waiters said. “I don’t point fingers. I could easily say this and that, but at the end of the day, it’s me. I made immature decisions. So, you know, I take full responsibility.”
  • Ira Winderman ponders in a different Sun Sentinel article whether Waiters could become a trade chip for Miami before the February 6 deadline. Waiters will make $12.1MM this season and $12.65MM in 2020/21, currently serving as a third-string option at guard. During his tumultuous first half, he was viewed as virtually unmovable.
  • Winderman also examined the front office role of Shane Battier, who played with the Heat for three seasons and won two championships. Battier currently serves as Miami’s Director of Basketball Analytics and Development.

Shane Battier Withdraws From Consideration For Pistons’ Front Office Role

After meeting with the Pistons about a leading role in their new-look front office, Shane Battier has withdrawn from consideration, reports ESPN’s Zach Lowe (via Twitter).

The Pistons – who received permission from the Heat to interview Battier – were said to be “impressed” by the former NBA forward after their first meeting, and planned to meet with him against last week. It’s not clear whether Battier removed his name from consideration before that second meeting could take place, or after the two sides met for a second time.

Battier currently serves as the director of basketball development and analytics in Miami, though the Heat are believed to be grooming him for a higher-level front office job down the road. The opportunity to potentially join his hometown team may have appealed to Battier, a Michigan native, but he seems content to stick with the Heat for now.

The Pistons, who are on the lookout for a new head of basketball operations and a new head coach after parting ways with Stan Van Gundy, hired Grizzlies executive Ed Stefanski as a senior advisor to lead those searches. Besides Battier, former players like Brent Barry, Chauncey Billups, and Tayshaun Prince have been mentioned as possible candidates for front office jobs in Detroit. Nets assistant general manager Trajan Langdon is also considered a serious contender for a GM-type role with the Pistons.

Shane Battier Expected To Get Second Interview With Pistons

Heat director of basketball development and analytics Shane Battier is expected to interview with the Pistons for a second time, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). We initially heard last week that the Heat had granted Battier permission to meet with Detroit about a possible front office role.

According to Jackson, the Pistons were “impressed” by Battier during that first meeting, resulting in a probable second interview later this week.

While Battier isn’t believed to be in consideration for the top job in Detroit’s front office, the Pistons could offer the longtime NBA forward a promotion from his current role in Miami. The Heat are believed to be grooming Battier for a higher-level front office job down the road, but if things go well with the Pistons, the 39-year-old could accelerate that timeline and potentially join his hometown team — Battier was born in Birmingham, Michigan.

Having parted ways with Stan Van Gundy earlier this month, the Pistons are on the lookout for a new head of basketball operations and a new head coach, and are said to be focusing on the front office job first.

NBA executive VP of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe, Grizzlies executive VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski, Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, and Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon are among the candidates reportedly receiving consideration from the Pistons for the top basketball ops job, with former players Battier and Brent Barry said to be in the mix for front office positions too.

Shane Battier Gets Permission To Interview With Pistons

Shane Battier has received permission from the Heat to discuss a possible front office job with the Pistons, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel.

Battier was among several candidates revealed earlier today to be under consideration for positions in Detroit. He currently serves as director of basketball development and analytics in Miami.

Battier is being groomed for a high-level position with the Heat and may even run the organization someday if he stays there, according to the Five Reasons Sports Network (Twitter link). However, team president Pat Riley is expected to remain in place for several more years, and Battier’s connections to Michigan may be enough to lure him to the Pistons.

Latest On Pistons’ GM/Front Office Search

The Pistons continue to conduct separate searches for a new head coach and a new head of basketball operations, and while it’s possible they’ll hire a coach sooner rather than later, they prefer to address their front office opening first. That would allow the new head of basketball operations to have a say in the head coaching hire.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski provides an update on Detroit’s front office search today, reporting (via Twitter) that NBA executive VP of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe, Grizzlies executive VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski, Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, and Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon are among the candidates the Pistons are eyeing to run their basketball operations department. Current GM Jeff Bower also remains a candidate to be promoted, Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter).

Most of those executives have received consideration for top front office jobs in the recent past. Rosas, for instance, was cited as a contender for the Hornets’ GM opening this spring. Stefanski was said to be in the mix for the Bucks’ GM vacancy last summer, while Langdon received consideration for the Hawks job around the same time.

In addition to considering those aforementioned candidates for their top basketball operations job, the Pistons are also targeting TNT analyst Brent Barry and Heat director of basketball development and analytics Shane Battier for front office roles, according to Wojnarowski.

Although Bower is currently running the Pistons’ basketball operations department, his contract is set to expire on June 30, so Detroit could end up making several new hires this spring. Should Bower depart, the Pistons may hire a new president of basketball operations, a new GM, and a new head coach.

Gasol, Fizdale Tensions Went Far Beyond Benching

Grizzlies center Marc Gasol and former coach David Fizdale had such a strained relationship that they rarely spoke to one another, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Geoff Calkins. Fizdale was fired on Monday, one day after he benched his leading scorer, rebounder and shotblocker in the fourth quarter against the Nets. The benching served as the breaking point and Gasol, who has a tight relationship with owner Robert Pera, had expressed major concerns about the team’s direction under Fizdale, Calkins continues.

Commercial Appeal beat writer Ronald Tillery confirms the longterm disconnect between coach and star player. A team source told Tillery that the tension between them and Sunday’s benching weren’t the only reasons that Fizdale was axed. That source said the team was “trending down in several categories.” However, Tillery tweets that as recently as Saturday, a source close to the owner said that Fizdale’s job was safe because of the team’s injury issues. That’s an indication that Sunday’s incident swiftly changed Pera’s thinking.

In other reactions to Fizdale’s dismissal:

  • Cavaliers stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both expressed their dismay on social media, demanding answers regarding the firing, as Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com relays. Both played under Fizdale when he was an assistant with the Heat.
  • Interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff is one of the potential long-term replacements for Fizdale but Sean Deveney of the Sporting News lists several other intriguing names. Former head coaches Mark Jackson, David Blatt and Monty Williams, former player Shane Battier, and several current college coaches such as Tony Bennett, Patrick Ewing and John Calipari are some of the candidates Memphis could look at, according to Deveney.

And-Ones: All-NBA Teams, Hayward, Kobe

The All-NBA teams were scheduled to be announced during the league’s inaugural award show on June 26th. However, because the selections may impact teams’ offseason plans, the league will unveil the winners in the weeks leading up to the draft, as Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post writes.

The newly created Designated Player Exception drove the change. Being selected on an All-NBA is a criterion for the massive extension and players such as Paul George and Gordon Hayward will be eligible for as much as $70MM more in an extension should they make one of the three teams.

The early unveiling arguably helps the Pacers the most. If PG13 lands on one of the teams, Indiana will have the inside track to signing him long-term as soon as this summer. If he doesn’t earn one of the spots, the organization can begin to seriously consider whether or not it should deal the small forward. George has long been linked to the Lakers and the Pacers may look to deal him rather than see him leave for L.A. without receiving any compensation in return.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Several NBA executives told Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News that they would choose Hayward over George if both were available to sign with their team. None of the executives said Hayward was the superior player based on talent alone, though they chose the Jazz star because he doesn’t come with the baggage that George comes with.
  • Kobe Bryant doesn’t miss playing the game of basketball, as he discussed on recent episode of Good Morning America (h/t James Dator of SB Nation). “No, I don’t,” Bryant said about missing the sport. “No, it’s crazy but I started playing when I was 2, and so after playing for 20 years in the league — what I have now is, everything I’ve learned from the game I carry with me to this day. So, the game’s never truly left me.”
  • Team USA announced who will be on the committees for the country’s men’s and women’s teams. Jerry Colangelo will continue to be the managing director of the Men’s National Team, while director Carol Callan will head the Woman’s National Team. Each committee will have an athlete representative. Shane Battier will serve as the men’s representative and Katie Smith will be the woman’s representative.