Terry Stotts

Stein’s Latest: Celtics, Vogel, Stotts, Crowder, Bogdanovic, Lakers

Having failed to lure Clippers assistant Jay Larranaga back to Boston, the Celtics remain on the lookout for a veteran assistant who could help guide newly promoted Joe Mazzulla through his first season as an NBA head coach, as we relayed on Thursday.

According to Marc Stein at Substack, two veteran head coaches are among the potential candidates on the Celtics’ radar — the team has shown interest in Frank Vogel and Terry Stotts. However, Boston is pessimistic about its chances of being able to hire either Vogel or Stotts as an assistant to an unproven head coach, Stein writes.

Stein’s latest round-up of notes and rumors from around the NBA includes a few other interesting tidbits:

  • The divide between Jae Crowder and the Suns began when the veteran forward let the team know he was seeking a contract extension, according to Stein, who says the Suns essentially responded by telling the 32-year-old that he was no longer a lock to start or finish games ahead of Cameron Johnson. Crowder remains away from the team as Phoenix attempts to find a suitable trade.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic is another veteran forward in his 30s who is looking for a new deal as he enters a contract year. Stein suggests that Bogdanovic’s desire for a multiyear extension may have cooled his trade market a little, dissuading some potential suitors from pushing harder for him. Presumably, Bogdanovic is seeking more years and/or dollars than teams would have been comfortable offering, and those clubs weren’t prepared to surrender valuable assets for a one-year rental. The Pistons ultimately acquired the 33-year-old from Utah for Kelly Olynyk, Saben Lee, and cash.
  • As has been reported ad nauseam, the Lakers would only be willing to surrender their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in a trade that significantly boosts their championship odds. According to Stein, that same principle applies to the team’s 2023 salary cap flexibility — the Lakers would be open to reducing or eliminating their ’23 cap space by taking on future salary if the deal makes them a legitimate title contender.

Latest On Jazz’s Head Coaching Search

The Jazz have been given the green light to talk to several well-regarded current assistant coaches about their head coaching vacancy, per Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Several of the names Woj and MacMahon mention had been floated as possibilities in reports earlier this week, but Celtics assistant coach Joe Mazzulla joins an expanding list of assistant coaches under consideration by Jazz brass.

As Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets, Mazzulla worked as an assistant coach under both Brad Stevens and now Ime Udoka in Boston, and has assumed a more significant role while on Udoka’s bench this season. Mazzulla interviewed for the head coaching position with Boston in 2021 after Stevens moved into a front office role with the franchise and will get an opportunity to meet with the Jazz this spring.

Woj and MacMahon indicate that Utah is also set to interview current Jazz assistant Alex Jensen, who served on the staff of departed head coach Quin Snyder, along with former Blazers coach Terry Stotts, Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant, Celtics assistant Will Hardy, and Bucks assistant coach Charles Lee. These five candidates had been included on the team’s preliminary list.

Suns assistant coach Kevin Young and Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin were previously cited as possible candidates, but they weren’t mentioned in today’s ESPN report.

The other key piece of new information from Wojnarowski and MacMahon is that the coaching search is anticipated to expand further to include both assistants and recent NBA head coaches. According to ESPN’s duo, the team will cast a wide net and move gradually in its search.

In eight seasons with Snyder at the helm, Utah never advanced beyond the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. This year, the Jazz finished with a 49-33 regular season record and lost 4-2 in the first round to the Mavericks.

Fischer’s Latest: Gobert, Jazz, Bulls, P. Williams, Snyder, Spurs

Confirming a pair of earlier reports, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report states that the Jazz haven’t entertained inquiries on Donovan Mitchell, but have been willing to engage in talks involving Rudy Gobert, with the Bulls among the potential suitors for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

According to Fischer, a Bulls offer for Gobert would – as expected – start with center Nikola Vucevic. The “popular package” discussed by various league executives would also include Patrick Williams, according to Fischer, who notes that the Jazz have long been seeking a wing defender like the former No. 4 overall pick.

However, as Fischer writes, the Bulls weren’t interested in discussing Williams during in-season trade talks for Jerami Grant, so it remains to be seen how open they’d be to including him in an offer for Gobert. If Williams is off the table, adding Coby White and Javonte Green would work from a salary-matching perspective, Fischer observes, but presumably the Jazz would be seeking a more substantial return for one of their two All-Stars.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • The Jazz offered Quin Snyder a variety of contract structures in an effort to keep him in Utah, but those offers were rebuffed, with Snyder deciding it was time to move on. The expectation in league circles is that Snyder – who is highly regarded by Spurs CEO R.C. Buford – would be the leading candidate for the coaching job in San Antonio when Gregg Popovich steps down, says Fischer.
  • The Jazz are still working on their list of head coaching targets and will begin to formally reach out to candidates in the coming days, according to Fischer. One of the names included in the team’s preliminary list of candidates was Terry Stotts, who has the same representation as Snyder and spent several weeks around the Jazz in 2021/22, Fischer notes.
  • While there’s some skepticism around the NBA about how much Jazz CEO Danny Ainge will cater to Donovan Mitchell, Ainge isn’t viewed as someone who “scours the market of the NBA’s up-and-coming head coaches,” Fischer writes. In other words, if Mitchell and team owner Ryan Smith both want to bring in former Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant as Snyder’s replacement, Ainge likely wouldn’t stand in the way, sources tell Fischer.

Hornets Coaching Candidate D’Antoni To Meet With Jordan

The Hornets are set to bring in another one of their head coaching finalists, Mike D’Antoni, for a meeting that will include team owner Michael Jordan, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

A previous report, identifying Kenny Atkinson as the frontrunner for Charlotte’s coaching vacancy, indicated that Atkinson would be the first of the team’s candidates to meet with Jordan. According to Wojnarowski, that sit-down is expected to occur on Tuesday, with D’Antoni’s meeting coming later in the week.

Both Atkinson and D’Antoni have already met twice with Hornets management, but Jordan wasn’t involved in those first two rounds, Wojnarowski explains. After conducting their final round of interviews in the coming days with Jordan in attendance, the Hornets are expected to finalize a decision on who will replace James Borrego on the sidelines in Charlotte.

A pair of reports in mid-May stated that D’Antoni was believed to be the favorite for the Hornets’ job, though Marc Stein – who published one of those reports – later said he received some “push-back” on that idea. Subsequently, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggested D’Antoni may be Jordan’s preferred choice, while Stein stated that the team was likely to decide between Atkinson and D’Antoni.

As of Friday, Terry Stotts was also believed to be in the running for the Hornets’ position, but it remains unclear whether he’ll get an opportunity to meet with Jordan.

D’Antoni, Atkinson, and Stotts all have previous head coaching experience, and all three have helped turn lottery teams into playoff clubs. D’Antoni did it in Phoenix and New York, while Atkinson did it in Brooklyn and Stotts did it in Portland.

Jazz To Consider Stotts, Jensen, Others For Coaching Job

The Jazz have identified some initial candidates for the team’s vacant head coaching job, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Former Blazers coach Terry Stotts, Jazz assistant Alex Jensen, Celtics assistant Will Hardy, Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant, and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin will all be considered for the position.

In addition, the Jazz are also expected to consider Bucks assistant Charles Lee and Suns assistant Kevin Young, per Charania and The Athletic’s Tony Jones (Twitter link).

Charania mentioned those coaches are among the initial list of candidates, so more names may be added in the coming days. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported (via Twitter), Utah is immediately launching a head coaching search in wake of Quin Snyder‘s decision to step down.

The Jazz are coming off a 49-33 season. The team lost in six games to the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs, ending an inconsistent campaign. Despite making the playoffs six straight years, the team hasn’t been able to advance past the second round.

Utah is one of two teams that currently don’t have a head coach. The other is the Hornets, who are reportedly nearing a decision on their search.

Kenny Atkinson Frontrunner For Hornets’ Coaching Job

Kenny Atkinson is the frontrunner to land the Hornets‘ head coaching job, according to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic, who report that the Warriors assistant will soon have another meeting with Hornets team officials. It’ll be Atkinson’s third meeting with Charlotte and the first one with team owner Michael Jordan in attendance, per The Athletic’s duo.

Mike D’Antoni and Terry Stotts are among the other candidates still in play for the Hornets’ head coaching vacancy, though neither of them has been invited to meet with Jordan so far, sources tell The Athletic. It’s possible that could change in the coming days.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report stated earlier this week that Atkinson and D’Antoni are among Charlotte’s finalists to replace James Borrego, noting at the time that Atkinson’s candidacy had gained momentum in recent weeks but D’Antoni was still believed to be favored by Jordan. Marc Stein reported today that he continues to hear the Hornets are likely to choose between Atkinson and D’Antoni.

The Hornets believe they’re on the verge of being a playoff team and want a head coach who will help the club take the next step, as well as providing “development and defensive structure” for key players like LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges, per Charania and Amick.

Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak has led the team’s head coaching search after recently signing a two-year contract extension. That deal features a trigger allowing him to transition to a consulting role if and when he wants to do so, sources tell The Athletic.

The Warriors have already lost one key member of Steve Kerr‘s staff this spring, as Mike Brown agreed to become the new head coach in Sacramento. If Atkinson departs for Charlotte, Golden State will be down a pair of top assistants.

Latest On Lakers’ Coaching Search

Former Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts became the first of the three reported finalists to have an in-person interview for the Lakers‘ coaching vacancy, writes Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times.

Stotts, who coached 10 years in Portland before parting ways with the organization last offseason, is only interested in the head coaching role, sources tell Woike. He informed Lakers management that he doesn’t want to join the team as a lead assistant if he’s not hired as the head coach. Stotts turned down an opportunity to take a lead assistant’s role under former head coach Frank Vogel last season, Woike adds.

There had been rumors that L.A. would consider making Stotts an assistant if it hires Ham, who would be a first-time head coach, tweets Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

Among the reasons Vogel was fired was a disappointing season for Russell Westbrook, whom the Lakers expected to form a Big Three with LeBron James and Anthony Davis when they acquired him in a major trade last summer. Stotts is intrigued by Westbrook’s talents and believes he can help him find a more comfortable role than he had this season, according to Mark Medina of NBA.com (Twitter link).

Bucks assistant Darvin Ham and Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson are expected to meet with the Lakers soon. Scheduling an in-person interview with Atkinson is complicated because Golden State is in the Western Conference Finals.

Stotts, Ham and Atkinson are the only finalists that have been reported for the position, although a source told Marc Stein this week that the Lakers may still be considering other candidates. Sixers coach Doc Rivers and Jazz coach Quin Snyder have been mentioned as possibilities if they were to become available, but there has been no indication that’ll happen.

In a separate L.A. Times story, Woike and Broderick Turner review the qualifications for Stotts, Ham and Atkinson and examine the arguments for and against hiring each of them.

Pacific Notes: Johnson, Westbrook, Lakers, Kings, Loucks, Ayton

Magic Johnson believes it’s crucial for the next Lakers coach to figure out how to maximize Russell Westbrook alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as he told David Aldridge of The Athletic. Johnson doubts Westbrook’s hefty contract will deliver a palatable package in a trade, so the new coach will need to figure out how best to use the veteran guard in order for the Lakers to make a postseason run next season.

“Well, it only can work, if you’ve got the coach — the right coach. To me, it still comes down to, who’s the coach?” the former Lakers president said. “And, then, also, he’s on a one-year, $47 million (contract with a player option). Even if you offer him (in a trade), what are you, realistically, going to get back? I told them this too — you’re going to get some contracts you probably don’t want, and they’re going to go (chronologically) past his contract. You’ve really got to think about that.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers have supposedly narrowed their list of potential candidates to replace Frank Vogel to three — Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts and Kenny Atkinson. However, Marc Stein reports in a Substack piece that a source close to the situation believes the list under consideration is “still wider” than that trio. Other prominent names could surface or candidates already interviewed for the job may reemerge.
  • Luke Loucks has agreed to join Mike Brown’s staff with the Kings, Marc J. Spears of ESPN tweetsLoucks currently works for the Suns in basketball strategy and personnel evaluation. Loucks previously worked with Brown in Golden State and with the Nigerian national team.
  • Deandre Ayton‘s agent, Bill Duffy, said in a SiriuxXM NBA Radio interview (Twitter link) that they were “disappointed” the Suns didn’t offer him a max contract extension. However, Duffy is confident his client will get a substantial offer this summer. “Things will work out for Deandre,” Duffy said. “He’s a valuable player and there’s other teams in the league as well. He’s a restricted free agent, so we’ll see how this process unfolds.”

Pacific Notes: Looney, Payton, Iguodala, Ham, Stotts

Warriors center Kevon Looney, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, continues to pump up his value. Looney, who grabbed 22 rebounds in the clinching win over Memphis, delivered one of the top performances of his career during Golden State’s Game 2 comeback against Dallas on Friday night.

He had 21 points, 12 rebounds and no turnovers in 32 minutes while holding whoever he was guarding, including Luka Doncic, to 1-for-11 shooting, ESPN’s Kendra Andrews notes.

“Playing center for the Warriors, it’s a different type of job from other teams,” Looney said. “A lot of the scoring and stuff, we don’t really need us to do. It’s a lot of screen setting and a lot of play-making and doing different things. For me to have a game like that is cool.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • It doesn’t seem as if the Warriors’ Gary Payton II or Andre Iguodala will play in the Western Conference Finals, though both are making “progress,” the team’s PR department tweets. Recovering from a left elbow fracture, Payton has started to do light individual on-court activities and will be reevaluated in one week. Iguodala, who has missed nine games due to a disc injury in his neck, is also doing light individual on-court activities along with physical therapy and weight room training. His status will be updated when he rejoins team practices.
  • An Athletic report on Friday suggested that Bucks assistant Darvin Ham has emerged as the top candidate for the Lakers’ head coaching job. The Athletic’s Jovan Buha believes Ham is the right choice, stating Ham is long overdue for an opportunity to be a head coach. He also has ties to the organization as a former assistant coach there, a championship pedigree and is well-respected by players, Buha adds.
  • The Orange County Register’s Kyle Goon takes a look at the three reported finalists for the Lakers’ job, a list that also includes Kenny Atkinson and Terry Stotts. Goon believes Stotts is the most likely to find ways to make Russell Westbrook more effective but also notes that Stotts’ teams often flamed out early in the postseason.

Darvin Ham Leading Candidate To Become New Lakers Coach?

Sources tell Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic that Bucks assistant Darvin Ham has made the “strongest impression” on Lakers brass thus far in interviews, and appears to be the leading candidate for the head coaching job.

As we relayed earlier today, Ham, Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, and former Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts are reportedly finalists for the position.

Los Angeles’ leadership is looking for a coach “who can command respect and authority from the locker room” while maintaining a strong voice and presence in order to manage the differing personalities throughout team’s roster. Ham’s “no-nonsense style and ability to resonate with his players” has impressed the Lakers to this point, according to Charania and Amick.

They aren’t listed as finalists, but Bucks assistant Charles Lee and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin haven’t been eliminated from consideration yet. However, former Warriors coach Mark Jackson is no longer a candidate, per The Athletic’s duo.

Here’s more on the Lakers’ coaching search, courtesy of Charania and Amick:

  • Owner Jeanie Buss will meet the finalists during their in-person interviews, which will occur soon. She has not been involved in the process to this point.
  • The team’s search committee is headed by VP of basketball operations and GM Rob Pelinka, and it will make the final decision on who’s hired. Buss plans to defer to the committee’s recommendation. Magic Johnson and Phil Jackson, who are reportedly advising Buss despite not having official roles, are not part of the search committee. LeBron James isn’t on it either — only Lakers officials are.
  • After a disappointing season and lots of turmoil surrounding the franchise over the past few years, including the poorly executed firing of former head coach Frank Vogel, Buss “is determined to assuage any and all of the finalists’ concerns about the organization” as the team concludes its search, says Charania and Amick. She plans to deliver a message centered on providing the necessary resources and support for the Lakers to be successful going forward.
  • The team is still operating as though Russell Westbrook will be on the roster next season, which is why the coaching candidates have been asked how they’d use him. Assuming the Lakers are unable to find a trade for Westbrook, which would undoubtedly be difficult given his enormous ($47MM) player option and declining play, releasing him isn’t considered a viable alternative, nor is having him away from the team, like the Rockets did with John Wall this past season, per Charania and Amick.
  • However, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack article that he remains skeptical Westbrook will be on the roster in 2022/23. Stein notes that while the team is reluctant to part with future first-round picks to grease the wheels on a Westbrook deal, creating a “fresh-start atmosphere” for next season will be very difficult if he’s still on the Lakers.