Rumor: Sam Mitchell moves back to the front of the line for Minnesota coaching job

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The bizarre Dave Joerger situation has come to an end. The hands-on Memphis owner (who wanted to take on one of his players in a one-on-one game for charity) and wanted to fire a coach he hadn’t ever really spoken to since he was hired more than a year before, a coach who was told to go ahead and talk to Minnesota, that owner now thinks said coach is great and everything is just swell. Nothing to see here, move alon. The coach is staying in the land of great barbecue. (Well, there’s that pesky little detail of needing to find a GM to be the boss of said coach, but sure everything is swell.)

So, where does that leave Minnesota?

With Joerger out it looks like Sam Mitchell is the guy at the front of the line, speculates Sid Hartman at the Star Tribune.

With the news coming Sunday that Dave Joerger and the Grizzlies had patched up their relationship and he would remain the Memphis head coach, the new favorite for the Wolves coaching position has to be Sam Mitchell….

It’s surprising that a Memphis team that had gutted its front office would bring Joerger back, but reports are that the Grizzlies wanted to swap first-round picks in this year’s draft and get a second-round pick in order to let Joerger leave, which was far too steep a price for the Wolves.

So look now for Saunders to target his former player and a well-respected voice in the NBA in Mitchell.

Put me in the camp that think the issue of compensation — Minnesota didn’t want to give up anything for a coach Memphis wanted to fire — stalled back-channel conversations, which led Griz owner Robert Pera to call Joerger and that changed his mind on the coach. So stability is the word of the day in Memphis.

Mitchell would be a good hire for Minnesota. Not a “Kevin Love is changing his mind and wants to stay now” kind of hire, but then again that kind of hire never existed. This would a good hire. Mitchell is a quality coach who can guide this roster though some choppy waters ahead. There is a lot of change coming to Minnesota’s roster in the next year, the only question is now well they maneuver through the transition.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.