Lindsey Hunter, Michael Beasley

Lindsey Hunter interviews with Suns’ new GM for team’s head coaching job

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When the Phoenix Suns formally introduced Ryan McDonough as their new GM last week, he made it known that hiring a head coach was at the very top of his list of priorities.

It didn’t seem as though interim head coach Lindsey Hunter, who guided the team to just a 12-29 record, would be strongly considered for the full-time position given McDonough’s press conference comments.

But he did say that Hunter was indeed a candidate for the job despite the organization compiling a list of additional people they’d like to speak with, so the fact that a formal meeting took place shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough met with interim coach Lindsey Hunter to discuss the franchise’s head-coaching job on Wednesday, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

McDonough and Hunter met in Chicago, where McDonough had arrived with the Suns’ front office staff for the NBA draft combine.

Meeting with Hunter was the first formal sitdown with a candidate that McDonough has had since his hiring earlier in May as the Suns’ general manager.

It would be difficult seeing the Suns retaining Hunter for the long haul, given both his record while at the helm last season, as well as how he ran the team on the way to getting there. Hunter’s lineup choices and rotations were always extremely spotty, and seemed random at best, especially when considering he was supposed to be developing the young talent on the roster over the final portion of the season.

All signs point to Hunter not being brought back, and McDonough was likely doing nothing more than due diligence here in formally meeting with him before expanding the coaching search to try to bring in a more qualified candidate to fill the position.

Report: Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer urged Danny Ferry to resign

Danny Ferry, Mike Budenholzer
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When Danny Ferry’s racism scandal came to light, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer publicly supported his general manager. Budenholzer called the “African” remarks about Luol Deng “very much out of character” and said Ferry was trying to learn from his mistakes.

And while Budenholzer might not have done anything privately to contradict his public statements, his tone apparently differed with Ferry and then-owner Bruce Levenson last fall.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Budenholzer very much owed his job to Ferry. His former Spurs colleague had pleaded with Levenson that the Gregg Popovich assistant was the man for the position. Yet Budenholzer felt Ferry should resign, lest the Hawks be subsumed in disruption when training camp opened, and he made his wishes known in a heartfelt conversation with Ferry and Levenson at that time.

In some respect, Budenholzer was just doing his job as coaching – trying to maximize his teams chances of on-court success. Ferry didn’t resign. He took a leave of absence that lasted until he agreed to a buyout this summer. That was apparently enough to avoid a paralyzing distraction. The Hawks won 60 games and reached their first conference finals since moving to Atlanta.

Ferry’s departure also significantly benefitted Budenholzer personally. Budenholzer ran the Hawks’ front office during Ferry’s leave, and the new owners have installed him as the teams permanent president.

The only other four active coaches with personnel control experienced much more success before getting the dual president/coach title.

Gregg Popovich coached the Spurs to four championships and 11 playoff berths before they named him president in 2008. Doc Rivers won Coach of the Year with the Magic and then guided the Celtics to a title during his 14 seasons before the Clippers plucked him to run their franchise. Stan Van Gundy steered the Heat and Magic to the playoffs in all seven of his full seasons, including a trip to the 2009 NBA Finals with Orlando, before getting hired by the Pistons. Flip Saunders won more games than every other Timberwolves coach combined, is responsible for every playoff win in franchise history and made four trips to the conference finals (including thrice with the Pistons) over 16 total seasons before Minnesota gave him the huge role.

Budenholzer has been a head coach just two seasons, including a 38-44 debut year. He has done a good job, winning Coach of the Year last season, and he might make a good team president.

But he lacks the track record most coaches need to gain such status. Budenholzer, more than anything, was at the right place at the right time.

Report: Rockets will try to sign Alessandro Gentile next summer

Alessandro Gentile, Paulius Jankunas
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The Rockets tried signing Sergio Llull this summer, but he opted for a long-term extension with Real Madrid.

So, they’ll just turn to another player in their large chest of stashed draft picks – Alessandro Gentile.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Gentile, who was selected No. 53 in the 2014, is a 22-year-old wing for Armani Milano. He’s a good scorer, but he primarily works from mid-range – an area the Rockets eschew. He can get to the rim in Europe, but his subpar athleticism might hinder him in the NBA.

If Gentile comes stateside, he’ll face a steep learning curve. But he’s young enough and talented enough that he could develop into a rotation player.