The Nuggets fired head coach Brian Shaw in early March after a disastrous start to the season. They had something of a turnaround under interim coach Melvin Hunt, who will have a chance to keep the job permanently. But Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Denver’s front office will consider many candidates, with that search beginning this week and including NBA coaching veterans like Mike D’Antoni and Mike Malone.
The Denver Nuggets will begin their coaching search on Thursday, a process that will include serious consideration of interim coach Melvin Hunt, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
After replacing Brian Shaw, Hunt had the Nuggets playing much better basketball, finishing a 30-52 season on a much more competitive 10-13 run.
Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly and president Josh Kroenke plan a broad search with a candidate list that will include – among others – ex-head coaches Michael Malone, Mike D’Antoni, Scott Skiles and Alvin Gentry, league sources said.
The report also lists Blazers assistant David Vanterpool and highly regarded college coaches Billy Donovan and Fred Hoiberg among the names the Nuggets will explore. If Scott Brooks is let go in Oklahoma City, he will also be a candidate.
There’s no clear answer to who would be the best fit, considering nobody has any clue what this Denver roster is going to look like going forward. Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried could very easily find themselves playing elsewhere before the offseason is through, and the rest of the roster is a mishmash of middling vets and young players, with rookie big man Jusuf Nurkic having the most long-term keeper potential.
Malone absolutely deserves another shot as an NBA coach after being fired by Sacramento earlier in the season under bizarre circumstances. D’Antoni’s reputation has taken a hit in recent years thanks to unsuccessful stints with the Knicks and Lakers, but if the Nuggets put together an uptempo roster, he could be a fit. Hunt has done enough in his short time at the helm to earn consideration. There are plenty of directions they could go, but it sounds like we won’t get an answer until they’ve explored all options.
The Los Angeles Clippers want to bring Patrick Beverley back next season, his spark was at the heart of why this team made the playoffs and impressed with their potential.
First, however, the Clippers are going big game hunting for the likes of Kawhi Leonard and/or Kevin Durant (even with the Achilles injury). Beverley isn’t just going to sit around and wait for them, reports longtime NBA reporter Sean Deveney Tweeted.
The Bulls need a point guard and Beverley — a Chicago native — has said he is interested.
The Lakers also are reportedly big game hunting, but Beverley is the kind of guard they could use around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Phoenix and other teams have been mentioned.
Beverley is going to have options, but he loved his time with the Clippers last season, and that means something.
David Griffin, the guy with the hammer in New Orleans, likes Alvin Gentry. They have a relationship that goes back to Phoenix, where Gentry was the coach and Griffin was in the front office (and was eventually GM).
Gentry also has a style of play — he wants to run and be up-tempo. That should fit very well with soon-to-be No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise the Griffin and the Pelicans want to keep Gentry around, as reported by Malika Andrews of ESPN.
This is another smart, stabilizing move by Griffin. The Pelicans want to build an athletic, fast-paced team and Gentry is the right coach for that style. Maybe it doesn’t pan out, maybe the Pelicans ultimately need to go another direction with their coach, but right now this seems a good fit.
Utah feels like it is close — a 50-win team two seasons in a row, an elite defense, an All-NBA center in Rudy Gobert and an elite shot creator in Donovan Michell. They look at the West next season, with a depleted Warriors team, and see an opening.
Yet when Utah fell to Houston 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs this year, it was reminded of what is keeping the team from being truly elite, and another shot creator and shooter is at the top of that list.
Enter Mike Conley Jr. He averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists per game last season, shot 36.4 percent from three, and plays strong defense. Conley would be an upgrade over Ricky Rubio at the spot.
The almost All-Star point guard out of Memphis is available via trade. He’s the kind of veteran floor general, shooter, and shot creator Utah could use. The Jazz and Grizzlies talked but couldn’t come to an agreement at the trade deadline, but the sides are talking again and conversations are “intensifying” in the run-up to the NBA Draft Thursday, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Grizzlies are intensifying talks to potentially move franchise cornerstone Mike Conley Jr., league sources told The Athletic. Memphis has been in conversations with the Jazz and Utah is a frontrunner to acquire Conley should the Grizzlies trade the point guard during draft week, league sources said.
What would be in a trade package? Certainly the No. 23 pick in this draft, plus some young players the Grizzlies like (maybe Grayson Allen, Royce O’Neal, and even someone like Jae Crowder. Reports say Derick Favors is not part of the discussion.
While anything can happen the week of the draft — and things change quickly — don’t be surprised if some version of this trade gets done.
Kawhi Leonard just won again.
He won his second NBA title leading the Toronto Raptors to the franchise’s first crown. He earned his second Finals MVP in the process.
Then on Monday he had the last laugh and won the Raptors’ championship parade in Toronto by ending his speech with his laugh, the same one that went viral at the start of the season.
Of course, what Leonard will do on July 1 was a cloud hanging over the parade, Leonard is a free agent this summer. Kyle Lowry at one point started a “five more years” chant during the parade, which is the maximum number of years Toronto can re-sign Leonard for.
Leonard, exactly as we all should have expected, dodged the question, while praising his time in Toronto.
Unfortunately, this was a parade marred by more serious concerns.