Tyronn Lue

Nets Notes: Lue, Kidd, Durant, Martin

Many around the league believe Tyronn Lue, who is rumored to be in the running to coach the Nets next season, would be the best fit for Brooklyn, as Eric Pincus writes for Bleacher Report. Lue previously coached Irving in Cleveland and the Lakers’ guard has a reputation for managing top talent well.

“He can handle egos,” one former executive told Pincus. “[They] need a guy with rings … Ty all day.”

Jason Kidd would be another choice, as he has won a ring in the past and has the respect of players.

“I think Kyrie and KD would need a championship coach (Lue) or a Hall-of-Famer (Kidd),” said another executive. “I think both (players) have personalities that are mercurial and require different aspects from their coaches.

“I like Kidd. He’s very charming … LeBron speaks highly of him…Some people around the league say that’s his game: Be very nice, then get in while your guard is down.”

Kidd previously coached the Nets, where he reportedly lobbied for a title that would place him above the team’s GM in the organization’s hierarchy. The franchise opted not to allow this to happen and Kidd ultimately moved to Milwaukee to coach the Bucks. However, it’s worth noting that ownership has changed in Brooklyn since Kidd’s most recent stint. Still, even if there are no leftover issues within the club, some believe the former point guard isn’t made out for the position.

“Kidd can’t coach,” a different Western Conference executive told Pincus.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Nets‘ new head coach could come down to Kevin Durant‘s preference, Pincus adds in the same piece. Durant and his manager, Rich Kleiman, are expected to have influence on the selection.
  • Durant and Irving might be “too new-school” for the team to bring in Mark Jackson as the coach, an executive tells Pincus (same piece). Regardless of who the Nets choose, a decision isn’t expected for quite some time.
  • Ajayi Brown of NetsDaily breaks down the game of Jeremiah Martin, 6’2″ scoring guard who had just received a two-way contract with the Nets prior to the league’s hiatus. Martin only played 16 minutes for the Nets but was making strides while playing for the franchise’s G League affiliate.

Lue, Kidd, JVG, Jackson Among Nets’ Coaching Candidates

Tyronn Lue, Jason Kidd, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mark Jackson are among the names on the Nets‘ developing list of potential head coaching candidates, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). According to Stein, interim coach Jacque Vaughn, who replaced Kenny Atkinson last month, will also receive consideration for the permanent job.

As Stein explains (via Twitter), the Nets aren’t expected to complete their search and name a head coach until the 2019/20 season has been completed or canceled, so presumably this list of candidates is preliminary and figures to evolve in the coming weeks and months.

Still, the names are worth noting, as are the ones noticeably absent. For instance, Stein says that Tom Thibodeau is believed to be “solely a Knicks candidate” for the time being, despite some rumblings linking him to the Nets.

There has been speculation that Brooklyn will target a veteran coach who would be comfortable leading a veteran roster that aims to be a title contender in 2020/21. As such, it makes sense that all the candidates identified by Stein have previous head coaching experience, with Kidd having already served as the Nets’ head coach once, albeit not under the current ownership or management group.

Currently, Kidd works as a Lakers assistant under Frank Vogel, while Lue is on Doc RiversClippers staff. Van Gundy and Jackson are analysts for ESPN and ABC.

Lue, who was said earlier this week to have interest in Brooklyn’s coaching job, would reunite with Kyrie Irving if he were to land the job. Citing that Irving connection, Stein adds (via Twitter) that Warriors assistant Mike Brown – another former Cavaliers coach – is another name to monitor.

Nets Notes: Durant, Lue, Next Steps

Although Kevin Durant is still a ways away from returning to the court and making his Nets debut, he was making progress in his recovery during the weeks leading up to the NBA’s hiatus, participating in three-on-three games. As Alex Schiffer of The Athletic details, Durant’s Brooklyn teammates were impressed with how the former MVP, who has spent the last 10 months recovering from Achilles surgery, looked in those scrimmages.

“He’s unguardable,” Theo Pinson said last month. “You think you’re contesting it, playing good defense and in a way he doesn’t even see you. It makes us better, and we’re trying to challenge him, too.”

Durant’s manager and business partner Rich Kleiman has stated multiple times since the NBA suspended its season that he still doesn’t believe it’s realistic to expect KD to return to action if the 2019/20 season resumes this summer. Still, even if Durant doesn’t suit up for the Nets until the ’20/21 season begins, the reports on his three-on-three performances have been encouraging.

“Whether he’s playing three-on-three, one-on-one, five-on-five, he’s KD,” Garrett Temple said. “And he’s an amazing player.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • In the wake of a report suggesting that Tyronn Lue is interested in the Nets’ head coaching job, a pair of former Nets forwards – Paul Pierce and Richard Jefferson – endorsed the idea of Lue taking the reins in Brooklyn, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News writes. “There are so many great young coaches out there who deserve an opportunity. T-Lue, to me, is the No. 1 young coach. He can coach,” Jefferson said on ESPN’s The Jump on Tuesday. “He can do all that stuff. He has a proven track record. So do I think T-Lue can coach this team? Do I think he can be successful? Yes.”
  • Alex Schiffer and John Hollinger of The Athletic explore potential next steps for the Nets as they look to become a title contender, touching on the head coaching situation and several other topics. In Hollinger’s view, if Brooklyn pursues a trade for a third star player, it should be someone who can be a defensive anchor and “punish teams without the ball,” since it doesn’t make sense to add another ball-dominant star to complement Kyrie Irving and Durant. Rudy Gobert would be an ideal target if the Jazz were to ever make him available, Hollinger suggests.
  • In case you missed it earlier this month, we previewed the Nets’ salary cap outlook for the 2020/21 season.

Tyronn Lue Reportedly Interested In Coaching Nets

Former Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue is interested in the Nets‘ head coaching job, a source tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

Bondy’s report comes about a month and a half after Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports suggested that Nets point guard Kyrie Irving would like to see the team hire Lue, his coach in Cleveland. We noted a week later that oddsmakers had installed Lue as the early favorite for the Brooklyn job.

The Nets parted ways with Kenny Atkinson just four days before the NBA suspended its season in March. Jacque Vaughn took over the role on an interim basis, winning his first two games before the league went on hiatus.

Under normal circumstances, the franchise would likely be in the midst of a full-fledged head coaching search right now, since the regular season was scheduled to end last Wednesday. However, with everything on hold as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Nets are putting off their coaching search as well — GM Sean Marks said three weeks ago that pursuing potential candidates at this time “would completely not be fair to our group.”

Once they do initiate their coaching search, the Nets seem likely to consider Lue, who led the Cavs to a 128-83 (.607) record, three Finals appearances, and a championship in two full seasons and parts of two others. Lue reportedly received strong consideration from the Lakers last spring for their coaching job, but was said to be seeking a stronger commitment than the club was willing to offer. He ended up joining the Clippers instead as an assistant on Doc Rivers‘ staff.

Bondy speculates that Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson, Phil Handy, and Jason Kidd could be some of the other coaching candidates who receive consideration from the Nets.

Clippers Notes: Free Agency, Dunn, Lue, Hiatus

The Clippers have a realistic opportunity to bring back their 11-man rotation next season, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Many of the decisions will come down to whether the organization wants to make a financial commitment to its current players or explore other options.

L.A. has Bird rights on Montrezl Harrell and can offer him a longer and more valuable contract than anyone else. The Clippers have Non-Bird rights on Marcus Morris, who was acquired from the Knicks last month, and can offer a new deal starting at $18MM per season. JaMychal Green has a $5MM player option, and the team might decide to use part of its mid-level exception to re-sign Reggie Jackson.

Buha adds that the loss of revenue from the shortened season could work in the Clippers’ favor by depressing a free agent market that’s already limited by the small number of teams with cap space. Harrell and Morris may not get the offers they would have under normal circumstances, while Green could decide to stick with his guaranteed money.

There’s more Clippers news to pass along:

  • There may be something to the rumors that Doc Rivers would like to add Bulls guard Kris Dunn as a defensive specialist next season, Buha states in the same piece. Dunn will be a restricted free agent if Chicago makes a $4.6MM qualifying offer, and he could be a nice backcourt partner for Lou Williams coming off the bench. The downsides are Dunn’s poor 3-point shooting — 25.9% this year — and his season-ending knee injury.
  • Speculation regarding Tyronn Lue as the next head coach of the Nets has died down while the league has been on hiatus, but Buha understands why Brooklyn would be interested. During his time in Cleveland, Lue proved he could win a title and he developed a strong relationship with Kyrie Irving. Buha identifies two other members of Rivers’ staff, Rex Kalamian and Sam Cassell, who might get head coaching offers soon.
  • The Clippers may benefit as much as anyone from having several weeks off, Buha suggests in a separate column. They are among the league’s oldest teams and injuries have been a concern, particularly for Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley. New additions Morris and Jackson will also get more time to learn Rivers’ system.

Tyronn Lue The Best Choice For Brooklyn?

Tyronn Lue is expected to receive serious consideration to become the next head coach of the Nets, with oddsmakers in Las Vegas listing him as the early favorite, writes Greg Logan of Newsday. Brooklyn will be in the market for a coach once the season officially ends after parting ways with Kenny Atkinson last weekend.

Lue’s previous experience coaching Kyrie Irving in Cleveland makes him an obvious candidate, and current Laker Jared Dudley believes a reunion could be successful.

“T. Lue respected Kyrie,” Dudley said. “He loved Kyrie. He wanted the best for him. Every time he talked to him, it might be to calm down a situation and show him what he wanted. I could easily see it. T. Lue can walk into a room and every player is going to ‘dap’ him up because they respect him. Every ex-player who becomes a coach doesn’t always get the respect, but he put the work in.”

Lue was briefly the front-runner for the Lakers’ head coaching job last year, but he turned down an offer because he wanted a longer commitment and more say in hiring his staff. He eventually accepted a job with the Clippers as Doc Rivers’ lead assistant.

Another possible candidate is Lakers assistant Phil Handy, who was a developmental coach in Cleveland when Irving was there. Irving tried to convince him to join Brooklyn’s staff last summer, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Lewis talked to Nets guard Joe Harris, another former Cavalier, who gave strong endorsements to Lue and Handy.

“They’re both excellent coaches, Ty Lue especially,” Harris said. “Playing in this league, being an assistant for a long time, just the way he was able to relate with the players, especially just day-to day was pretty unique in terms of a coaching perspective. I always liked that about him, just his ability to jell and mesh with everybody. He seemed like, to me, to be one of those guys when he did play he was probably close with everybody in the locker room, just the way he was able to interact with every single guy on the team.”

The Latest On Kenny Atkinson

Kenny Atkinson‘s surprising departure as coach of the Nets on Saturday may have been instigated by his players, but it was a mutual decision, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Sources tell Lewis that Kyrie Irving bears much of the responsibility for the move, but Atkinson has understood for months that a change might be necessary.

“Kenny and I had these pretty frank conversations. And it wasn’t last night, 24 hours; there wasn’t one game,” general manager Sean Marks said. “This was a culmination of events over the course of the year. Kenny’s brutally honest, and the humility he showed to admit ‘My voice is not what it once was here. It’s time.’ This is a compromise that Kenny and I and ownership came up with; it was time. Kenny grinded and did everything he could, but it was time for another voice in that locker room, and it’s our job to find it.”

Marks and owner Joe Tsai gave Atkinson credit for helping to turn around a franchise that was among the league’s worst when he took over in 2016. He has the Nets on track for their second straight playoff appearance, but what the organization wants in a coach apparently shifted after last summer’s free agency bonanza that brought in Irving and Kevin Durant. Neither of them offered comment on Atkinson’s departure, but the players who did insist that they weren’t involved in the decision.

“I absolutely [had] no ‘Fire Kenny’ conversations with Sean, so I don’t know, not a part of that,” Spencer Dinwiddie said. “It’s not like I called Joe on the phone and was like, ‘Hey you making any moves?’ I like to think we’re cool, but not that cool.”

Lewis adds that one of the first actions from interim coach Jacque Vaughn was to talk to Irving and other players about what changes they would like to see.

“It’s a service business. I’m serving these guys. I’m just a vessel,” Vaughn said. “It’s today’s game and being able to adjust to that, getting the most out of talent on your roster, but also listening and hearing the voices of the No. 1, 2, 3, 4 guys on your roster. It’s crucial, and having that relationship is a must in today’s game.”

There’s more fallout from this season’s most surprising coaching change:

  • Irving would like to see the Nets hire Tyronn Lue, his former head coach in Cleveland, reports Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Currently an assistant with the Clippers, Lue took the Cavaliers to three straight NBA Finals, including two with Irving as his point guard. Irving didn’t like Atkinson’s “rigid” coaching methods and clashed with him almost immediately, sources tell Goodwill. Multiple sources also say Atkinson didn’t mesh with his two new stars and wasn’t looking forward to coaching them next season when both will presumably be healthy. “Oh, it was definitely mutual,” a league source said.
  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic talked to sources around the league and compiled a list of candidates to potentially become the Nets’ next head coach. Vaughn’s name is on the list along with some familiar candidates such as Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson and former Nets star Jason Kidd. A few possibilities without head coaching experience are Darvin Ham, Ime Udoka, Brian Keefe and Adam Harrington.
  • Atkinson may be the perfect choice to take over the cross-town Knicks, suggests Greg Joyce of The New York Post. New York is trying to rebuild with a collection of unproven young talent, much like Brooklyn was when Atkinson was hired there, and he is represented by Creative Artists Agency, which was run by new Knicks president Leon Rose“It seems like he’s very well respected within players, within the league — players he coached and players he didn’t coach,” said Knicks forward Julius Randle. “I know I respected him.”

Cavs Notes: Drummond, Thompson, Lue, Post-LeBron Era

Andre Drummond thought he was being pranked when he heard about the trade to the Cavaliers, but now he’s excited for the opportunity, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Drummond went through his first practice with the team yesterday and is expected to make his debut tonight.

“I was truly excited to be somewhere I’m wanted, really happy to start a new chapter here,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to being with the guys. I’m just looking forward to playing in a Cleveland Cavalier jersey. Everything happens for a reason. I look at it as a bright note for me, for my family to start somewhere new and be with a great group of guys.”

Drummond quickly acclimated himself to his new surroundings, Fedor states. His new teammates were welcoming, including Tristan Thompson, who will move to the bench as Drummond becomes the starting center.

“I’m not taking anybody’s job, I’m just here to play,” Drummond said. “I didn’t come here expecting anything. I’m just here to do my job, whatever they need me to do, I’ll get it done.”

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The chance to add Drummond didn’t arise until Wednesday night, Fedor relays in a separate story. Cavs general manager Koby Altman told his staff to think about it overnight, and the consensus was that the price — the expiring contracts of John Henson and Brandon Knight plus a future second-round pick — was too good to refuse. “I’m sure Detroit has a plan in place in terms of what they want to do either with their cap space or with their future trajectory as a franchise, but our job is to make sure we’re exploring every opportunity out there and making sure we’re doing what’s best for our franchise,” Altman said. “Adding a talent of this magnitude is something that we couldn’t pass up and he also fits our timeline in terms of his age — he’s 26 years old — so he fits with some of our younger guys.”
  • As Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue prepares to return to Cleveland tonight, he tells Joe Vardon of The Athletic that he wishes he could still be coaching the Cavaliers. “What I tried to build there, I think the culture I tried to set … I thought we could do it together,” Lue said. “Koby being a young GM, me being a young coach, having young players. I won a championship there, so you have a chance and an opportunity to do something different, and you should have that leeway to be able to go through a couple challenging years. To win a championship and go to the (NBA) Finals should buy you a little time, you would think.”
  • Jason Lloyd of The Athletic examines why the Cavs have struggled so much after losing LeBron James for a second time, when they were believed to be in a better position than in 2010.

Central Notes: Drummond, Lue, Cavs, Bulls, Rose

It appears likely that the Pistons will ultimately make a deal involving Andre Drummond before the trade deadline, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. However, teams aren’t offering first-round picks right now for the big man, per Edwards, who notes that initial talks between the Pistons and Hawks only involved expiring contracts.

While those offers seem likely to improve by February 6, it still remains unclear how much teams will be willing to give the Pistons for a player who could be had in free agency this summer. Edwards examines a few rumored suitors, arguing that the Hawks and Hornets make more sense than clubs like the Knicks, Celtics, and Cavaliers.

As Edwards explains, both Atlanta and Charlotte will have plenty of cap flexibility to sign Drummond this offseason, but haven’t historically been popular destinations for free agents. Giving up an asset for the Pistons’ center now and getting him familiar with the organization for a few months before free agency could give those clubs a leg up on a long-term deal in the summer, Edwards writes.

As we wait to see what happens with Drummond, here’s more from around the Central:

  • Now a top assistant for the Clippers, Tyronn Lue admits that he wishes he were still the Cavaliers‘ head coach, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “Yeah, I do,” Lue said after a long pause. “What I tried to build there, I think the culture I tried to set … I thought we could do it together. Koby (Altman) being a young GM, me being a young coach, having young players. I won a championship there, so you have a chance and an opportunity to do something different, and you should have that leeway to be able to go through a couple challenging years. To win a championship and go to the Finals should buy you a little time, you would think.”
  • The Bulls‘ first half didn’t play out like the team had hoped, but head coach Jim Boylen insists there have been positive signs of progress over the last three months, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago details. “I’m not discouraged. I’m kind of excited that we have established some things,” Boylen said. “Our shot profile is top-five in the league. Our defense on any given day is between five and nine, top-10 in the league. That’s what we’re building. And we’ll continue to work.”
  • Derrick Rose has been one of the Pistons‘ most valuable players this season and is helping the team stay competitive, but head coach Dwane Casey doesn’t want the veteran guard playing 30+ minutes per night, as he has recently. Chris McCosky of The Detroit News takes a look at Casey’s dilemma.

Knicks Reportedly “Obsessed” With Masai Ujiri

The Knicks are “obsessed” and “enamored” with Raptors executive Masai Ujiri as the next man to run the franchise, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. A front office shakeup is expected in the wake of yesterday’s firing of head coach David Fizdale, especially considering the poor track record of team president Steve Mills.

Begley speculates it would take “significant money and full autonomy” to land Ujiri, who is already in a comfortable spot after building a championship team. Even if the Knicks are willing to grant that, Ujiri may not want to work for a controversial figure like James Dolan, and he is signed with Toronto until 2021, a contract he said in October that he plans to honor.

Echoing a report we shared last week, Begley states that the Knicks believe Ujiri could be drawn to New York City to provide a larger platform for his charitable work with the Giants of Africa Foundation. However, there was similar speculation about Washington, D.C., a few months ago when the Wizards were restructuring their front office, and Ujiri opted to stay in Toronto.

There’s more Knicks news to pass along:

  • Despite a 4-18 start and six straight losing seasons, the Knicks’ front office job is still viewed as appealing around the league, Begley adds in the same story. The team has drafted well under general manager Scott Perry and has held on to its first-round picks. The Knicks also retained cap flexibility by signing seven players to short-term contracts this summer after failing to land their top targets in free agency.
  • A few players got to say goodbye to Fizdale before he left the team, Taj Gibson tells Begley (Twitter link). Gibson said Fizdale was emotional during the departure, adding, “Guys loved him.”
  • Mark Jackson, a former Knicks guard and ex-head coach of the Warriors, is a 5-1 favorite to be the next head coach, relays Adam Zagoria for Forbes. The oddsmakers at BetOnline.ag have Kenny Smith second at 6-1 and Italian coach Ettore Messina at 7-1. Next in line are three college coaches, Michigan’s Juwan Howard, Vanderbilt’s Jerry Stackhouse and Villanova’s Jay Wright.
  • Interim coach Mike Miller thanked Fizdale and the Knicks organization during today’s pre-game press conference (video link from Vorkunov). Neither Mills nor Perry has addressed the media since the firing became official, and nobody from management has commented apart from an unattributed statement that was released Friday.
  • Former NBA player Keith Bogans has been named to Miller’s staff, the Knicks announced on Twitter.