Nick Nurse reportedly enticed by idea of working with Morey again with 76ers

Coach Nick Nurse in Canada vs Czech Republic - FIBA Men's Olympic Qualifying
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When news came out about the Milwaukee Bucks hiring Adrian Griffin to be their new coach, one part of that was a report that Nick Nurse pulled himself out of consideration for the job. That felt a little chicken and egg — did he pull out because he realized he would not get the job?

Either way, he is interested in the Philadelphia 76ers and particularly working again with Daryl Morey, reports Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inqurier. Morey was the GM of the Rockets when Nurse was the coach of their G-League team, the Rio Grand Valley Vipers.

Sources have said that reuniting with Morey is very much enticing to Nurse…

A source has confirmed that Nurse pulled out of being considered for the Milwaukee Bucks head-coaching job, leading to the team hiring his former Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin on Saturday. Nurse interviewed with the Sixers on Monday before meeting with the Suns on Thursday. The 55-year-old coach is pondering the best destination for him, according to sources. However, a source would not say if the Sixers offered him the gig.

Nurse makes intuitive sense for the 76ers or Suns, an out-of-the-box coach who won a championship four years ago to teams with title aspirations next season and beyond. His connection to Morey has had some around the league thinking that would be his ultimate destination from Day 1.

However, the stars of those teams will have a say, as Giannis Antetokounmpo did in the Bucks hiring Griffin (a former player, something Antetokounmpo reportedly prioritized). How does Joel Embiid feel about Nurse? What about Kevin Durant and Devin Booker? Marc Stein reported that Booker endorsed Suns assistant Kevin Young for that job.

Both teams are reportedly getting close to deciding on their next head coach, but for contending teams that need to get this hire right they do not want to be rushed.

Report: Mavericks have no interest in Irving sign-and-trade with Lakers that brings back Russell

Celebrities At The Los Angeles Lakers Game
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Kyrie Irving may say he doesn’t want to be in the middle of NBA free agency speculation, but when he sits courtside in Los Angeles at a couple of Lakers’ playoff games he has to know that will spark talk.

LeBron James has sent his not-so-subtle message he wants more help, and the rumors he’s open to a reunion with Irving are nothing new.

All of that has driven a lot of speculation in recent weeks of a Lakers’ sign-and-trade to reunite the core of the Cavaliers’ 2016 title team. While Irving is a free agent, the Lakers have made clear they intend to re-sign Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura as restricted free agents, making signing Irving directly off the table (unless he wants to take a massive pay cut and play for the midlevel exception, which his actions indicate he does not). If Irving comes to the Lakers, it’s on a sign-and-trade.

Then who goes back to Dallas in this trade? The speculation centered on free agent D'Angelo Russell signing and trading to play next to Luka Dončić. However, the Mavericks have no interest in that, reports Marc Stein in his latest newsletter.

A popular topic all week, in the wake of Denver sweeping the Lakers out of the Western Conference finals, was the notion that L.A. could emerge as a potential sign-and-trade destination for Dallas’ free agent-to-be Kyrie Irving.

While we await a clear indication about the Lakers’ intentions there, with no verifiable signal to date that pursuing Irving is among their offseason priorities, league sources say that the Mavericks would have no interest in a sign-and-trade with the Lakers that features D’Angelo Russell as the primary Dallas-bound player. All indications are that the Mavericks remain intent on re-signing Irving

While one could argue that is early off-season posturing by the Mavericks, don’t bet on it. They want Irving back.

While the questions of fit between Dončić and Irving remain, when the Mavericks traded for Irving they committed to this path, both financially and on the court. If Irving walks in free agency Dallas has no way to replace him, and they are better off with him than without him. Irving is a much better player than Russell and with Dončić on the roster the Mavericks are a win-now team. Their preference is clear.

As for Irving, he wants to get paid (remember he opted in with the Nets rather than leave to play for less, then pushed for a trade when Brooklyn would not give him the extension he wanted). Dallas can pay him more than anyone, and beyond that is more willing to pay than most. There is logic for both Dallas and Irving to work out a new contract and, if this marriage doesn’t work out, trade him down the line. The only questions are money, years, and does Irving really want to be in Dallas (he has said he does).

League sources have told NBC Sports that the Lakers’ front office’s primary focus is not on Irving. While the Lakers could clear as much as almost $30 million in cap space, free agency is not the path the Lakers appear to be walking. Re-signing Reaves and Hachimura and putting them next to LeBron and Anthony Davis — both of the Lakers stars make more than $40 million next season — plus rounding out the roster has the Lakers quickly pushing above the cap and into the tax, and the second tax apron is within sight. The Lakers are more likely to make moves like picking up the $16.5 million team option on Malik Beasley and trading him and or other players for the shot creation and shooting they want. A Russell sign-and-trade is certainly in play, or they could bring him back, just not on anything near the max Russell likely wants (more likely a deal starting around $20 million a year). Russell was good for the Lakers in the regular season and had a 31-point playoff game to close out the Grizzlies, plus a 21-point game against the Warriors, he just was in a bad matchup against Denver.

Irving to the Lakers is a long shot. But if LeBron wants it, and Irving wants it, nothing is off the table.

Coaching carousel update: Nick Nurse has strong, not universal, support in Milwaukee


Five open coaching jobs remain around the NBA: Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons.

Here is the latest on the searches to fill those openings.

UPDATE: The Milwaukee Bucks will hire Adrian Griffin as their new head coach.


• Nick Nurse may be the first domino to fall with him having drawn interest from the Suns, Bucks and 76ers. Nurse has strong support in Milwaukee, but it’s not universal, reports Ian Begley of

So it’s worth noting that, as of earlier this week, Nick Nurse’s candidacy had strong support within the organization. Though not all key stakeholders in Milwaukee were aligned on Nurse, per SNY sources.

• Nurse has interviewed in Phoenix as well. Their top target was current Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, according to multiple reports, but Begley reinforces what has been reported here at NBC Sports and other places: The Clippers are not expected to part ways with Lue. Even if they do, the Clippers will not let their coach walk to a division rival in Phoenix.

• Momentum appears to be building behind Suns’ assistant coach Kevin Young getting a promotion in Phoenix, with Marc Stein reporting he got a key endorsement.

Word is Young, who has also interviewed for the head coaching vacancies in Milwaukee and Toronto, has received a strong endorsement from Suns star Devin Booker.

• It would be risky to put a first-time head coach in charge of a contender in Phoenix. If new owner Mat Ishbia goes that route, look for the Suns to get a former NBA head coach to be his assistant (don’t be surprised to see that in Boston next season as well, where Joe Mazzulla is expected to remain as coach).

• Nurse, former Nets’ head coach and current Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin remain the finalists for the Bucks head coaching job. Stein reports Giannis Antetokounmpo is “intrigued” by Griffin.

• Toronto’s coaching search could be influenced by which direction team president Masai Ujiri decides to take the roster, something else up in the air. From ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on the Hoop Collective podcast (hat tip Real GM).

“In talking to folks that have been in touch with the Raptors recently, the Raptors don’t seem to know which direction they’re going to take. Whether or not they are going to focus on re-signing Fred VanVleet, extending Pascal Siakam, potentially making other roster upgrades. Or whether or not they’re going to send Fred VanVleet in a sign-and-trade, maybe investigate moving other players be it OG Anunoby or Pascal Siakam.”

• Multiple reports have Bucks’ assistant Charles Lee and former UConn coach Kevin Ollie as the frontrunners to be the next head coach in Detroit. Pistons’ ownership reportedly backed the Brinks truck up to Monty Williams’ house but he was not interested, Stein reported. The buzz has been that GM Troy Weaver is backing Ollie.

• The only coaching vacancy filled so far this offseason is Ime Udoka taking the job as the Rockets’ head coach.

Report: If LeBron James has foot surgery, he would be out two months


When LeBron James suffered a foot injury just after the All-Star break, by his own admission, multiple doctors told him he should have surgery to repair what we now know was a torn tendon in his foot. He found a top doctor — “the LeBron James of doctors” — who told him he could recover with treatment and play out the season.

Now he has a decision to make on that surgery, something he knew was coming back in March.

LeBron will undergo further treatment but may need surgery that will sideline him for two months, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

That timeline would not have him missing the start of next season, but it would have LeBron missing months of off-season training to get his body ready for a 21st NBA season.

That’s assuming he comes back after hinting at retirement in his postgame comments after the Nuggets eliminated the Lakers from the playoffs. The sense from league sources is LeBron is not actually going to retire — not with a team on the cusp of being a contender, not with two years and $97 million left on his contract extension, and not with the dream of playing with his son Bronny (or in the league at the same time as him) on the table. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports a source close to LeBron expects him to return and play out his two-year contract extension.

However, if/when LeBron returns for his age-39 season, the Lakers must find a way to lighten the load on him. LeBron can give the Lakers the occasional 31-point dominant half (as he did in Game 4 against the Nuggets) but he can’t sustain his peak level of play like he is 25 anymore. Anthony Davis is Anthony Davis. Which is why LeBron’s retirement talk felt more like a leverage play, more like a message to Lakers’ GM Rob Pelinka to get him some help.

Before that, LeBron has a decision to make about possible foot surgery.

Reports: Wizards to hire Clippers’ Michael Winger as new GM

Photo courtesy Los Angeles Clippers

Michael Winger has been at or near the top of the “when is someone going to give him his own team” list for a long time. A right-hand man to both Sam Presti in Oklahoma City and then the GM of the Clippers with Lawrence Frank, wherever he has gone his teams have won.

The Washington Wizards are giving him that chance.

Multiple reports have Winger about to be named the new president of Monumental Basketball, with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN breaking the news. What this means is he is now the guy with the hammer making decisions for the Wizards, as well as overseeing the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the Wizards’ G-League team, the Go-Go.

Winger deserves this job. He was with Sam Presti and the Thunder through the Durant/Westbrook/Harden years, then came to the Clippers and helped them transition from the Lob City era to the Kawhi Leonard/Paul George era. Winger has been a key figure in front offices that have put together winning and contending teams for years, and he is well-liked and respected around the NBA.

The Wizards had Ernie Grunfeld ensconced as the GM/president for more than a decade — even as his decisions left the team stagnant — and when he was pushed out owner Ted Leonsis kept things in-house with Tommy Sheppard. None of that has worked, the Wizards have missed the playoffs four of the past five years, and Leonsis wants a team that gets into the postseason.

The biggest question facing Winger is simply this: Will he be given the freedom and resources to make radical roster changes over the coming years, even if that means a rebuild to focus on the long term?

The buzz out of Washington is yes, but what happens when push comes to shove for owner Ted Leonsis? At his urging, this has been a franchise desperately trying just to be good enough to get into the postseason — one often thinking short term — rather than looking to build a sustainable threat and maybe a contender around an All-NBA level talent (when healthy) in Beal. Winger knows how to win, but will he be under orders just to make the playoffs, or can he reshape this roster into something more serious?

The Wizards are locked into four more years of Bradley Beal‘s five-year max deal — where Beal has a no-trade clause — and this summer with both Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis able to become free agents (both have player options and could be extended or re-signed by the team). Is a core Beal/Porzingis/Kuzma core what the Wizards want to build around, or is the idea to re-sign Kuzma and Porzingis to contracts that can be traded and start to flip this roster into something more than an okay playoff team if everyone stays healthy? In the short term, this team needs more shooting around its stars but operating as an over-the-cap team trades are more likely than signing free agents.

Washington also has the No. 8 pick in this June’s NBA Draft (plus a couple of second-rounders).

Winger has work to do, but this is a franchise with potential. And it’s his.