Flip Saunders, the guy calling the shots in Minnesota, has been looking to hire a general manager. Saunders wanted somebody to do the day-to-day GM work (scouting, dealing with agents who call) and provide another voice on team issues.
Apparently he found his guy in the Wizards front office, reports Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 radio in Minnesota.
Washington Wizards Vice President of player personnel, Milt Newton, will join the Timberwolves as the team’s general manager, according to a team source. Newton will be heavily involved in pro scouting.
The Wolves also plan on elevating Rob Babcock to a vice president of personnel position.
Make no mistake, Saunders will still be the guy with the big hammer who can approve or reject trades, the guy with the final say on contracts, draft picks and all other things basketball. But Newton and Babcock will have a lot of input. For example, when it comes to the draft it will be Newton who will do a lot of the scouting (and dealing with the team scouts) and making the pitch to Saunders on what the draft board should look like.
This kind of arrangement can work if all the parties are on the same page. It should work here.
Saunders is trying to build a different culture than under David Kahn, a guy who had a strained relationship with Kevin Love (Sauders has a much better one) and made some really odd decisions during his tenure (but also put together the core of this team which could well make the playoffs this year if they stay healthy). Newton is part of that change.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.