Tag:coaching carousel
Posted on: January 5, 2012 4:37 pm

What's next for Kings after Westphal?

By Matt Moore

With the predictable, yet sooner-than-expected firing of Paul Westphal today, the Kings seem to be in disarray. But looking at the roster and the talent available, plus the job being in California (be it Sacramento or Anaheim), you have to consider it to be one of the more attractive positions likely to open this year. Yes, the franchise is in disarray from an ownership and organizational perspective, but this is the NBA. Those things magically fade to the background if you start winning with a talented roster, and the Kings have a talented roster.

So who's on the radar for the Kings? We're going to give you a few options the Kings might explore and how those options play out with the different coaches, but first you need to understand the complexities of the situation.

The Kings are not, publicly or reportedly, under any financial strain, beyond the losses which were poured over in lockout talks. But the Maloofs were hit hard by the economic recession, which helped fuel their desire for the move to Anaheim last year that was thrwarted by the NBA. One of the primay reasons many believed Westphal would not be fired this season was due to the salary that must be paid to him in addition to a new coach. That the Kings felt it was imperative to move on is a good sign for Kings fans, indicating that they're willing to pay out the rest of the deal to get started on a new chapter. Still, the price tag on many of the options below may be too high. The situation in Sacramento goes beyond "get the best coach available."

Keith Smart: In November of 2008, P.J. Carlesimo was fired from the Thunder after a 1-12 start. A young
assistant and former player Scott Brooks took over. Voila. OK, so Keith Smart is 47, and this is his third stint as interim head coach. But if Smart somehow manages to get through to this team (including yes, DeMarcus Cousins), that would be the best possible situation for all. Smart wouldn't cost a fortune and has continuity. Drawbacks? Well, he was part of the horrible start and he's failed to stick at the two previous interim spots. Smart drew mixed reviews in Golden State before the Warriors hired Mark Jackson. He's got his work cut out for him.

Larry Brown: Yahoo Sports already brought up this possibility, via an executive. Brown might be great for DeMarcus Cousins with his brutal, intense ways. It also might detonate. Brown has experience (there's the understatement of the year) and brings a high-value name to the project. But Brown is also renown for crushing the souls and dreams of young guards. Let's see. Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, Jimmer Fredette... yeah, this is like an execution line of hope under Brown. Brown's also 71, so he's not a long-term solution. He's also going to want more organizational control than GM Geoff Petrie is willing to surrender.

Don Nelson: Fast guards that don't play defense and a mercurial, angry forward? What could possibly go wrong here for Nelson? Nelson would likely want more control as well, and is no spring chicken either. But man would that team be fun to watch. This idea's already been floated by the Mercury News

Mike D'Antoni: See, it's a jump-to-conclusions mat! This one's out there, but it makes so much sense from a strategy standpoint. Say D'Antoni gets scapegoated (already happening) in New York because his front office listened to a former GM that wrecked their franchise and gave up the farm for a high-usage small forward who stuggles with anything except shooting out of ISO sets and rebounding. D'Antoni lands in Sacramento. Warmer weather. An explosive big man who's a bit of an enigma. Multiple players with liquid position skills. And a shoot-first undersized guard. Come on now. You want to watch this. Even a little. This has about zero percent chance of happening, but the idea was so good I couldn't resist listing it.

Phil Jackson: Haha, just kidding.

Mario Elie: Another Kings coach. Elie is popular with the players though, and has a longer history with the team. This is pretty unlikely given the team passing him over once, but if Smart is sent out at season's end after Westphal, Elie might be promoted.

Brian Shaw: The man many felt should have gotten the job in Los Angeles might want the chance to go after his old team. Shaw is a players' coach, which might be just what the Kings need. If he were to want to put the triangle in place, though, run as fast as humanly possible.

Quin Snyder: Snyder worked under the Spurs system in Austin as the Spurs' D-League coach, then as an assistant in Philadelphia under Doug Collins and this season as an assistant for Mike Brown and the Lakers. He's a development coach who can get through to players and has had nothing but good marks since his departure from Missouri. Plus Kings fans could get wigs of the hair, which is fun.

Posted on: November 18, 2011 10:42 am

Doc Rivers misses his guys

By Matt Moore 

Doc Rivers was considering hanging it up, being with his family, going to a lot of Duke games, and taking it easy. But instead, he came back, immediately after the Celtics lost to the Heat in the playoffs, returning for another stretch with Boston to make one last run with the core. 

Or not.

Rivers isn't locked out, but his players are. He's a general without his troops, and it's been difficult for him to deal with it, especially considering how close Rivers is to this particular group of guys. From the Boston Herald: 
"It’s like I was telling Danny Ainge,” he said. “The blessing of this is that I’m nowhere near ready to not do this. I miss it. So there’s some good things to this too.”

The lack of contact with his players is probably the oddest aspect of the NBA lockout for Rivers, as evidenced by his chance encounter with Ray Allen during a recent golf tournament in Florida. Player and coach, walking in opposite directions, shook hands and kept moving.

“That was strange, really strange,” he said. “We walked by each other, so you could shake hands, but you couldn’t say much to each other. Just the way it is, but I miss it. I miss being around them – all of them."
via BostonHerald.com - Blogs: Celtics Insider» Blog Archive » Rivers anxious to return from the lockout vacuum.

The lockout is ridiculous from any angle, and this is another. Two people who won a championship together, who would bleed for one another can't talk at a golf tournament. This, my friends, is sheer idiocy.

But it's how it is. And if this thing plays out like it looks it will at this particular moment in time, Rivers may miss out on his last opportunity to make a run with this group of guys he believes in so much.

The damage of the lockout goes so much deeper than just owner and player money.  
Posted on: August 30, 2011 1:40 pm

Report: Adelman to meet with Wolves' owner

By Matt Moore

Second interviews are always kind of a big deal. The first one is like a blind date, really. Seeing a resume is the equivalent of a friend telling you "Yes, he/she is human and yes, he/she has all his/her facial parts." But a second interview means there's something there and you're looking to see if things could actually go somewhere. Usually it's the applicant trying really hard to seal the deal and beat out the other potential employees. But in the case of Rick Adelman and the Minnesota Timberwolves, it's the team trying to convince the coach not to take a year off and instead to come coach a team that has been an abject trainwreck since KG left. 

From ESPN:
Rick Adelman is returning to Minneapolis on Tuesday to meet with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor about the team's coaching vacancy, according to a league source.

Two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Aug. 24 that Adelman had met with Taylor during his first interview in Minneapolis, but the league source said Monday that Taylor's health issues kept the two from talking face to face.


Sources say that Adelman's family remained at his offseason home in Portland, Oregon, for much of his four seasons in Houston and another relocation or separation is a factor in Adelman's thinking.
via Rick Adelman, Minnesota Timberwolves owner set to meet face to face - ESPN.

Every indication is that the Wolves would love to have Adelman, they've already reportedly agreed to a general price range for his services. It's just a matter of convincing the former Rockets head coach not to take a year off to spend with his family. Which can be a hard sell. That's why Taylor himself is meeting with Adelman again. 

Also notable are the health issues mentioned here, which haven't been reported elsewhere. Taylor is known to be a major player on the labor committee for the NBA Board of Governors. Peter Holt has taken the lead in most of the negotiations as the owners' representative, but Taylor's condition is certainly something to watch as the NBA tries to get a deal with the players (or tried to force them to submit, depending on your interpretation). 

Adelman has a prior relationship with Kevin Love, which would make getting the young All-Star back on board the Timberwolf Train a lot easier (Love has made repeated comments about free agency and the questionable direction of the Wolves). Adelman has had success with speedy point guards facilitating a transition game, so Ricky Rubio would likely benefit from his direction. And Derrick Williams would probably enjoy some of the tutelage Adelman gave Chris Webber in Sacramento. In short, this would not only be the best fit for the Wolves, it would swing a lot of opinion on where the team is headed. 
Posted on: August 29, 2011 3:03 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 5:24 pm

Report: Adelman, Wolves have pay range set

By Matt Moore

This thing might actually be happening, which is strange and disconcerting to the world view that David Kahn can never hit a home run. Rick Adelman interviewed with the Wolves last week and it didn't go badly. Now Monday, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the two sides may have figured out a big piece of the puzzle:
I'm hearing today what I heard 5 weeks ago: Adelman's presence 4 interview means #Timberwolves already have agreed to pay range: $4-6M per
via Twitter / @JerryZgoda: I'm hearing today what I h ...

Now that's prior to the interview, but that's a big piece of the puzzle.  If the money's right, and the interview went well, that would seem to lead to the idea this thing could be moving in a good direction. Adelman reportedly is already lining up assistants for the gig

Adelman would be a revelation for Kahn who has been a punchline during his time with the Wolves. But as SBNation points out, all that would change with the Adelman hire.  

Are the Wolves "back?" Wait, were they ever really "there?"
Posted on: August 29, 2011 11:49 am

Knicks officially hire Mike Woodson as assistant

By Matt Moore

It's been coming for quite some time, and now the Knicks made it official. The Knicks announced Monday that they have hired former Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Woodson as an assistant coach. 

Woodson's playing career actually started with the Knicks as he was drafted 12th by them in the 1980 NBA Draft. He joins the Knicks as a defensive assistant to help shore up the Knicks' porous D.  The question will be whether the personnel is there to make an impact, as Ken Berger recently questioned. Unfortunately, the thing that would help the Knicks defensively the most is to get different habits out of Amar'e Stoudemire, but at his age, it's difficult to see him becoming a dramatically different or better defender at the rim or in the post. Stoudemire's help defense is actually surprisingly good, but man-up he struggles considerably, whether due to skill, effort, or energy conserved for the offensive end. 

There's a certain level of irony that between Joe Johnson who was a free agent in 2010 and Woodson, it's Woodson who was the first one to end up in New York with the Knicks.  
Posted on: August 25, 2011 9:09 am

Report: Woodson to join Knicks bench

By Matt Moore

Apparently Mike Woodson's interview with the Knicks for "defensive coordinator" went pretty well. The New York Daily News reports that Woodson has been telling those close to him that he expects to get the gig. (Side note, who are these people? Family? They're the ones calling up reporters? Is it his pastor? Maybe his dry cleaner? I'm pretty close with my dry cleaner.) From the Daily News:
In the past few days, Woodson had told two confidantes that he expects to join the Knicks. The move might become official next week, according to sources, when Garden and team executives return from vacation. Woodson had what he called a good meeting with D'Antoni earlier this month, but he had people above D'Antoni in his corner from the start.

Woodson's hiring was recommended by Isiah Thomas, a long-time friend and former teammate who continues to serve as Garden chairman Jim Dolan's top unpaid consultant.
via Knicks ready to add former Hawks head coach Mike Woodson as defensive coach on Mike D'Antoni's staff. 

Oh, thank Goodness. I was worried that the Knicks were making decisions based off the recommendations of their former G.M. who is considered one of the worst executives in the history of pro sports and managed to drag the organization into a sexual harrassment suit. But it was just Isiah Thomas. 

Woodson pulled the Hawks up from 18th in defensive efficiency in 2007-2008 to 13th in his final season with the Hawks, before being released in search of a different direction (or however you'd like to characterize Larry Drew). He's not a defensive mind on par with Tom Thibodeau or Lawrence Frank, but in reality, the change of emphasis for the Knicks is really what's important. The only question is if the principles of Mike D'Antoni's offense, even if it's modified to fit this specific set of players, will hinder Woodson's ability to to draft a scheme, should he in fact get the job. 

Woodson may not be a long-term answer for the Knicks, however, as he did interview several times in the last few months for head coaching positions. If nothing else, he'll make a prime candidate to see how D'Antoni handles a defensive assistant who is outside of his usual circle of assistants. 

Posted on: August 2, 2011 12:54 pm

Rick Adelman says no plans to return to coaching

By Matt Moore

Rick Adelman is still at the top of most coaching lists. With his experience, history of success, and familiarity with both the players and the league, he's a prime candidate for anyone needing a coach. Adelman has hinted in the past he'd like to enter the GM side of things, to enjoy the perks of not being on the coaching grind. But with his being linked to talks with the Timberwolves, surely he's back open to coaching, right?

Maybe not.

From an interview with his hometown Statesman Journal:
"Its a hard grind in the NBA, and Ive been doing it for 20-plus years," he said. "Im just looking forward to getting away from it."Adelman said he tries not to pay attention to media reports, waiting to hear from the teams themselves."

They had me interviewing a couple of places that I never even went to," he said. "Its all part of it now. If you dont have a job and youve coached in the league, the first thing that happens if a job opens up, they throw the same names out there."

Sometimes you know things are happening, but until you hear from teams, I dont believe a lot of things I read."
via Ex-NBA coach Adelman back for Chemeketa event | Statesman Journal | statesmanjournal.com.

Now, that's pretty standard talk from a coach on the interview circuit, downplaying the media and talking about how he's going to just enjoy life. There continues to be talk that a phone interview was conducted between Adelman and the Wolves last week and that the interest is mutual. The only real question is if Adelman wants the player control he wouldn't be afforded with Minnesota. 

It's hard to say Adelman's off the market, despite his claims otherwise. 

Posted on: July 25, 2011 9:00 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 9:07 am

Larry Brown to interview for Wolves job

By Matt Moore

Larry Brown! You're the next contestant on... "Who Wants To Coach A 17-Win Team That's 'Done Rebuilding?!" 

From the Minnesota Star-Tribune:
After interviewing Rick Adelman and Don Nelson over the weekend, the Timberwolves intend to interview Larry Brown and possibly one or two others in this first phase to replace fired coach Kurt Rambis.

When the Wolves will interview Brown, who has coached teams to both NBA and NCAA titles, is uncertain because of a recent death in his family, according to a league source with knowledge of the team's search.
via Larry Brown next to talk to Wolves' Kahn | StarTribune.com

The Star notes that there is a previous connection between GM David Kahn and Brown, Kahn worked as a student reporter when Brown coached at UCLA. Setting aside the fact that this puts into perspective just how long Brown has been doing this, it should be noted that Kahn himself has been around for two decades in pro basketball's management side, and nearly 10 before that as a writer. He knows everyone. 

Brown's an odd fit in Minnesota, as he is most places. He's known to clash with younger players and to be notoriously hard on young point guards. The Wolves are a clashing young outfit with a notoriously young point guard. Kahn has gone on record saying that rebuilding is over in Minnesota, yet the roster isn't ready to compete for a title, or a playoff spot, or .500 ball yet (it would seem; it's entirely possible Rubio and Derrick Williams are the difference in winning more games than they lose for the Wolves, but they're not skyrocketing into a top seed or anything). Brown would essentially be trying to rehab his image after failed stints in New York and a dispiriting end in Charlotte. 

Brown is also linked to be vying for a spot on the Celtics' support staff. That kind of puts it in perspective. Minnesota interviews Boston assistant coaching candidates for its head coaching position. Then again, Brown's a Hall of Famer, so it's not as if he's a terrible choice. Maybe Brown could make an impact. It's certainly not as crazy of an idea as Don Nelson, who interviewed Sunday with Minnesota

(HT: HoopsHype)
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