Troy Weaver

Wizards Notes: Robinson, GM Search, Satoransky, Green

The incident that led to Devin Robinson‘s dismissal from the Wizards was a fight with Jalen Mills of the Philadelphia Eagles outside a Washington, D.C., nightclub early this morning, reports Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The Wizards issued a statement after the altercation saying they won’t extend a qualifying offer to the two-way player for next season.

Robinson and Mills were both arrested after the fight, which D.C. police say began with a verbal altercation. They wound up trading punches outside the Opera Ultra Lounge at 2:56am, resulting in Robinson being taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The 24-year-old recently returned from a hip injury that sidelined him for two months. He appeared in seven NBA games this season and one last year. Robinson’s agent refused to comment on the incident.

There’s more Wizards news to pass along:

  • David Griffin’s decision to join the Pelicans removes the potential top candidate in Washington’s search for a new GM, according to Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington. Losing out on Griffin may improve the chances that senior VP of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard will be promoted to the GM’s role, but the Wizards won’t be in a hurry to make a move. Owner Ted Leonsis said he plans to reflect on the situation for about three weeks while consulting with a search firm.
  • Danny Ferry, who served as interim GM in New Orleans and is the son of former Bullets GM Bob Ferry, has been mentioned as a possibility for the Wizards, along with Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon, who was also a candidate for the Pelicans’ job. Nuggets president Tim Connelly, Thunder VP of basketball operations Troy Weaver and Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren may also receive consideration, but Standig doesn’t believe Zarren is likely to leave Boston.
  • No matter what happens with restricted free agent Tomas Satoransky, he’s sure of which position he wants to play, Standig relays in a separate story“I’m a point guard. I’m definitely a point guard. I will never be agreeing with someone that tells me otherwise,” he said. That’s where the Wizards used him after John Wall‘s season-ending injury and what his role projects to be if he returns to Washington with Wall possibly sidelined for all of next year. Standig states that management approached Satoransky about a long-term deal at mid-season, but he and his representatives preferred to test the free agent waters.
  • Jeff Green, who is headed for unrestricted free agency after signing a one-year deal last summer, enjoyed the chance to play in his hometown, he says in a video interview tweeted by the team.

Wizards Notes: GM Search, Wall, Ariza

The Wizards will be vying this spring with the Suns, Pelicans, and possibly the Timberwolves for general manager candidates. And while Washington may not have the promising cap outlook or collection of young players out of those teams, it still may be considered the best opportunity for GM hopefuls, writes Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.

“We really care about two things: Is the boss invested in his team, and will he prove it by spending the money we ask him to spend?” one longtime executive said to Golliver. “(Wizards owner) Ted (Leonsis) is two-for-two. He won the Stanley Cup with the Capitals. He paid John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Ian Mahinmi. He paid Andray Blatche and then paid him to go away. What more could you want?”

Leonsis says there’s no list of candidates yet to replace former president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld, but league executives tell Golliver that the search figures to include “past and present top decision-makers, as well as up-and-coming executives.” Besides some of the names already mentioned as candidates, Golliver identifies Thunder vice president Troy Weaver and Jazz assistant GM Justin Zanik as a couple more options for the Wizards.

Here’s more out of D.C.:

  • Firing Grunfeld was the right move, but the Wizards did it for the wrong reasons, contends Tom Ziller of SBNation.com. In a separate article for The Washington Post, Golliver writes that a number of Grunfeld’s personnel missteps continue to loom large over the franchise.
  • While head coach Scott Brooks is expected to return for the 2019/20 season, he acknowledges that it could be a difficult year of transition for the Wizards. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for the next general manger to come in and shape the team,” Brooks said, per Lisa Redmond of NBC Sports Washington. “… We have five players and plus a first-round pick coming up and so it’s going to be a very important summer with John (Wall) being out. You know, we have to be very creative. Not going to make an excuse that it’s going to be a tough year, but it’s going to be a challenging year.”
  • Speaking of Wall, even though his Achilles injury is bad news for the Wizards, there’s a possible silver lining, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. As Buckner outlines, the franchise will only be on the hook for 20% of Wall’s 2019/20 salary until he returns to the court, with insurance picking up the other 80%. Of course, Wall’s full super-max salary (projected to be worth $37.8MM) will still count against the cap.
  • Wizards forward Trevor Ariza is likely done for the season due to his groin injury, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The team has previously expressed interest in retaining Ariza – an unrestricted free agent this summer – beyond this season, but it’s not clear how the front office shakeup will affect the veteran.

Pistons Notes: Bower, GM Search, Draft Workouts

Earlier today, the Pistons made their first major hire since Stan Van Gundy‘s departure, finalizing a three-year agreement that makes former Grizzlies executive Ed Stefanski a senior advisor in Detroit. As we relayed in that story, Stefanski will have a major role in hiring a new GM and head coach, but before he does that, he intends to assess the Pistons’ current front office group, led by general manager Jeff Bower.

According to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter links), Stefanski – who knows Bower well – plans to meet with the GM and other members of the club’s front office on Tuesday.

“I’m going to spend a lot of time with Jeff Bower,” Stefanski said, per Ellis. “I respect him and I want to talk to him and I want to find out what he thinks of the situation there. Obviously he’s been there for four years and he’s been right at the pulse of everything.”

As we wait to hear how that meeting goes, let’s round up a few more Pistons-related notes…

  • The Pistons are in the market for a young, rising executive for their GM job, according to Ellis, who writes that the ideal candidate would become “the face of the franchise for a decade.” Ellis reports that the Pistons would “love” to explore hiring Thunder assistant GM Troy Weaver, but Weaver isn’t expected to be available.
  • While they’ll have plenty of competition, the Pistons figure to be in the market for an athletic, 3-and-D-type wing with the No. 42 pick in this year’s draft, says Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. That type of player is a hot commodity in today’s NBA, so the pickings may be slim for Detroit by the middle of the second round.
  • As Rod Beard of The Detroit News relays (via Twitter), the Pistons brought in six prospects for workouts today, auditioning Jaylen Adams (St. Bonaventure), Bogdan Bliznyuk (Eastern Washington), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), Kelan Martin (Butler), Malik Pope (San Diego State), and Andrew Rowsey (Marquette).

Kings Seek VP Of Basketball Ops; Otis Smith Withdraws

JULY 28, 2:05pm: Otis Smith has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Kings’ job, a source tells Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). According to Turner, Smith met with the club twice this month, and still has interest in a front office role, but determined that Sacramento wasn’t the right fit for him.

JULY 26, 2:39pm: In the wake of Scott Perry‘s departure for the Knicks, the Kings are seeking a new vice president of basketball operations to report to Vlade Divac in their front office. And according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, team officials have met with former Magic general manager Otis Smith to discuss the job.

Smith, who appeared in 375 NBA games as a player between 1986 and 1992, transitioned into a front office role after his playing career ended, and eventually became the GM in Orlando in 2006. He held that position for six years, and has since worked out as a G League head coach and an NBA assistant with the Pistons.

Perry was believed to have played a major role in the Kings’ offseason this year after joining the franchise in April, following his dismissal from Orlando’s front office. Perry’s reputation around the NBA – and his solid work in Sacramento – attracted the attention of the Knicks, who sent cash and a second-round pick to the Kings in exchange for the right to hire Perry as their new GM.

With Perry out of the picture, the Kings had been expected to hire a new VP of basketball ops. In addition to Smith, Milt Newton and Troy Weaver were believed to be candidates, but they’re no longer in play, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. However, Jones adds (via Twitter) that former Lakers assistant GM Ronnie Lester is worth keeping an eye on.

Hawks Eyeing Troy Weaver For Front Office Job?

With top decision-makers Mike Budenholzer and Wes Wilcox transitioning to new roles this offseason, the Hawks are searching for a new basketball executive to head their front office, and may be eyeing a Thunder executive. League sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link) that OKC vice president and assistant GM Troy Weaver is “poised to emerge” as a top candidate for Atlanta.

Weaver, who is a key voice in the Thunder’s front office under Sam Presti, has been viewed for some time as a future general manager candidate. Earlier this year, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton identified Weaver as one of seven front-office “prospects” to watch.

As Pelton detailed at the time, Weaver isn’t necessarily a salary cap expert, but he’s an “obsessive student” of the NBA’s history and has a “discerning eye for raw basketball talent.” According to Pelton, people who have worked with Weaver view him as a collaborative co-worker who could be trusted to hire an outstanding and balanced staff.

Of course, it’s not clear yet how much latitude the Hawks’ new basketball operations head will be given to restructure the front office and bring in new people. While Budenholzer and Wilcox have been re-assigned, Budenholzer is still expected to have a voice in personnel decisions, and Atlanta hasn’t technically fired anyone at this point. It remains to be seen whether execs like senior advisor Rick Sund or assistant GMs Michael Blackstone and Jeff Peterson will remain with the Hawks under new leadership.

In addition to Weaver, candidates for the Hawks’ top front office job reportedly include David Griffin and Joe Dumars. More names could be added to that list in the coming days or weeks.

Reports Conflict On Ernie Grunfeld’s Job Security

Conflicting reports have emerged about the job security of Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld, as two people with knowledge of the situation told J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic recently that his position is safe while league sources told Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops that Grunfeld is no lock to return. The 60-year-old executive is under contract through next season, as Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post revealed this week, but people around the league have for the past few months brought up Danny Ferry‘s name as a possible replacement, according to Scotto. Thunder assistant GM Troy Weaver has also drawn mention as a potential candidate, Scotto writes.

Coach Randy Wittman‘s salary for next season is only partially guaranteed, and Scotto writes that he’s “not expected” to return. However, it doesn’t appear as though the team has made any final decision.

The Wizards are on the brink of elimination from playoff contention, three and a half games back of the eighth-place Pistons with four to play. They’re also in line to relinquish their first-round pick to the Suns as part of the Markieff Morris trade. Washington has long planned to recruit Kevin Durant, a D.C. native, in the summer ahead, but the team’s losing season has dimmed its hopes of a homecoming for the former MVP, as Scotto notes. The uncertainty surrounding the future of several soon-to-be free agents on the Wizards is one of several contributing factors to the team’s slippage this year, Castillo posits.

Ferry’s name has emerged frequently in recent months following the buyout deal that ended his tenure as GM of the Hawks, as he’s reportedly been a candidate for GM vacancies with the Nets and Sixers, in spite of the controversy regarding the racially charged remarks he read from a scouting report in 2014. Weaver has been with the Thunder since the 2008/09 season, helping build Oklahoma City into a perennial title contender.

Grunfeld is one of the NBA’s longest tenured executives, having run the Wizards front office since the 2003/04 season. Every player on the team was acquired under his watch.

Coaching Rumors: Pistons, Hollins, Kings, 76ers

A handful of the NBA's head coaching vacancies have been filled this week, with the Suns, Bobcats, and Hawks all deciding on new head coaches. Still, plenty of jobs remain open, including higher-profile positions in Los Angeles and Brooklyn. Let's round up the latest rumblings on the Association's coaching carousel….

  • Sam Amick of USA Today follows up on his earlier report (linked below), tweeting that the reason the Kings may move quickly to hire Malone is a fear he'll be gone if they wait. Malone is expected to interview with the Clippers soon, according to Amick (via Twitter). Amick adds that the Kings have yet to contact Chris Mullin about the team's GM position.

Earlier updates:

  • The Pistons have interviewed Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin for their head coaching opening, reports CSNNW.com's Chris Haynes. While Nate McMillan and Maurice Cheeks are viewed as the favorites in Detroit, Griffin's extensive phone interview with GM Joe Dumars was "impressive," a source tells Haynes. The Bulls assistant also interviewed for the Suns job before Phoenix hired Jeff Hornacek.
  • Although the Nets are among the teams hoping to speak to Lionel Hollins, the Grizzlies coach told reporters, including Tim Bontemps of the New York Post, that he's not sure Memphis will grant rival suitors permission to talk to him before his contract expires on June 30th.
  • Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group backs up Peter Vecsey's report that Michael Malone appears likely to be hired as the Kings' next head coach. Sam Amick of USA Today is hearing the same thing, noting that the team could bring Malone aboard before hiring a general manager, which would be an unorthodox approach.
  • Amick also passes along an update on the Kings' search for a new head of basketball operations, reporting that the team has interviewed Warriors assistant GM Travis Schlenk and will likely interview Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace later this week. The Thunder denied Sacramento permission to speak to OKC's assistant GM Troy Weaver, while Spurs GM R.C. Buford isn't expected to have interest in the Kings job, according to Amick.
  • The 76ers continue to move slowly in their coaching search, and have yet to formally interview a candidate for the job, says John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Masai Ujiri To Meet With Raptors Today

12:14pm: Raptors officials are meeting with Ujiri in Colorado today, according to Wojnarowski, who says (via Twitter) things are "moving fast" now.

11:22am: The Nuggets have granted the Raptors permission to speak to NBA Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri, and a meeting between Ujiri and the Raptors is expected to take place within the next 24 hours, reports Adrian Wojnarwoski of Yahoo! Sports. Ujiri is reportedly the preferred candidate for Toronto as the team searches for a head of basketball operations.

According to Wojnarowski, the Raptors intend to make Ujiri an offer that would pay him nearly $3MM annually. Ujiri, whose contract expires next month, is prepared to leave Denver for the chance to run the Raptors unless the Nuggets respond with a competitive offer. As Wojnarowski notes, the Nuggets have historically been reluctant to pay big money to general managers, so there's a belief they won't match the commitment the Raptors are prepared to make to Ujiri.

If Ujiri and the Raptors don't reach an agreement, Toronto's next target may be Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard, who was previously cited as a candidate by the Toronto Star's Doug Smith. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the Raptors have requested permission to speak to Pritchard, though the Pacers prefer to wait until the playoffs to allow a meeting.

According to Berger, Tim Leiweke and the Raptors are intrigued by the possibility of pairing Pritchard with Thunder assistant GM Troy Weaver. However, the Thunder may not allow Weaver to interview for what would be a lateral move, and it still appears Ujiri is the Raptors' first priority anyway.

Former Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo remains in the organization as team president, but won't be as involved in basketball decisions. Whoever the Raptors hire as their new GM will have full control over the club's basketball operations.

Decision On Bryan Colangelo Due By Monday

The future of Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo will finally be decided, one way or the other, by the end of Toronto's long weekend, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Smith reports that the Raptors have until Monday to officially exercise or decline Colangelo's option for the 2013/14 season.

According to Smith, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and new president/CEO Tim Leiweke have hired a head-hunting firm to whittle down the list of possible replacements for Colangelo. Two names being mentioned as potential candidates at Chicago's draft combine this week are current Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard and Thunder assistant GM Troy Weaver.

Smith notes that neither Pritchard and Weaver qualify as the sort of big-name, high-profile executive Leiweke was expected to target, given the Phil Jackson rumors. However, it's possible, according to Smith, that Leiweke is simply doing due diligence, and will ultimately stick with Colangelo and the current basketball operations staff for another year.

Head coach Dwane Casey's future also figures to be tied to the Colangelo decision. Casey has one year remaining on his contract, and Colangelo has indicated that if he's back, Casey will be too. A new head of basketball operations may decide to bring in his own coach.

Weltman, Morway Among Suns’ GM Candidates

Having parted ways with general manager Lance Blanks this week, the Suns are the first NBA team this offseason seeking a new GM. And according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, team president Lon Babby and the Suns have already lined up a number of potential candidates for the job.

Coro reports that Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman, former Pacers GM David Morway and former Lakers assistant GM Ronnie Lester are viewed as viable contenders for the Phoenix opening. Assistant GMs Ryan McDonough (Celtics), Wes Wilcox (Hawks) and Troy Weaver (Thunder) are potential candidates as well.

Weltman and Morway have a bit of history either with the Suns or the Phoenix area, as Weltman was a finalist when the team hired Blanks as GM in 2010. Morway, meanwhile, graduated from the University of Arizona.

According to Babby, the team is unlikely to make a promotion from within the organization, but previous GM experience isn't necessarily a qualification for the job. Still, Babby noted that he can't imagine "a first-rate talent evaluator would not have front-office experience." As Coro points out, if front-office experience is a requirement, that would eliminate a couple popular speculative candidates, in former Suns players Grant Hill and Charles Barkley.

According to Coro, members of the Suns organization have hoped to see Hill eventually return to the team in a management role. As for Barkley, he has suggested before that he could have interest in a GM role with the Suns, and reiterated today on XTRA Sports 910 in Phoenix that he hoped to receive a chance to run an NBA team at some point (Twitter link via Eric Sorenson). However, as Coro writes, the Suns' GM position would likely mean a pay cut and a workload increase for Barkley.

"I think the job requires rowing the boat every single day and it’s an all-consuming job and my impression is that he has a pretty full and good life," Babby said of Barkley. "Taking on a challenge like this might be something he really doesn’t want if he knew what it entails."