Jon Krawczynski: To be clear: The search will be for a new president of basketball ops and coach. Could be the same person, could not be.
Among the five interim jobs, the Knicks (Kurt Rambis), Timberwolves (Sam Mitchell) and Suns (Earl Watson) are expected to give the incumbents strong looks, sources say. Barring something unforeseen, Tony Brown in Brooklyn and J.B. Bickerstaff in Houston will be moving on.
Andy Greder: #Twolves interim coach Sam Mitchell said he spoke to Glen Taylor about a search firm used to hire next coach. He remains confident.
Sam Mitchell has the support of Wolves veteran Kevin Garnett, whose endorsement does have impact with owner Glen Taylor. Garnett is expected to eventually have an ownership stake in the team upon his retirement.
Jon Krawczynski: AP sources: Wolves will open head coaching search, using a search firm to aid process, confirming @Adrian Wojnarowski report.
Darren Wolfson: #Twolves owner Glen Taylor is in NYC for an #NBA function. Said many people have come up to him saying how impressed they were last night. Taylor said Sam's future is all his call. But he'll talk to Milt/others. "Sooner the better" on a time-frame for a decision. #twolves
Taylor was asked if it would be difficult to fire the coaching staff and front office that has helped develop those players. “I like my coach [Sam Mitchell], I like my general manager [Milt Newton], they’re really nice people,” Taylor said. “We’re working together. What I told them is in this business of basketball, we’re going to do the whole season first and then at the end of the season we’ll do the evaluation.”
You don't see this every day: Kevin Garnett came over to the media after this morning's shootaround without being requested for an interview because, he said, he had some things to say before tonight's game against the Lakers in Los Angeles. Much of it was to express support for interim head coach and his former teammate, Sam Mitchell, and the direction the 14-35 Wolves are headed. "I feel real good about the progression of this team since Day 1 and I think it needs to be said and needs to be understood that I'm endorsing Sam Mitchell and our coaching staff and this organization," he said. "More importantly, I'm excited about our future. I'm excited about our young players. I feel like we're getting better. These last 10, 15 games, we've gotten better. You see it and I think that needs to be said. I think you all need to understand we're supportive around here."
"Just because I haven't done a lot of interviews and voiced my opinion on a lot of things," he told three of us media members gathered, "I want you guys to understand that not only do I endorse Sam Mitchell, but the other players do, too. We believe not only in him, but the system and what we're trying to do here. I think everybody needs to understand that. The transformation and what we're trying to do here is build something for the future and these are the first steps of that. I don't really come to you guys a lot and say two weeks, but I just want you guys to know that needs to be heard and said."
But nearly half the roster of 15 players privately expressed concerns to The Associated Press about Mitchell that centered on three basic tenets: His outdated offensive system, his tendency to platoon his rotations and a lack of personal accountability for the struggles. The players spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to publicly criticize their head coach.
Mitchell said he can't be concerned with his job status. "It's bigger than me. And I learned that a long time ago," Mitchell said. "It may turn out that I'm here to see it (through). But it may turn out I'm not. The people in this league know there's a certain way we have to do this." The team is 2-3 after a miserable 1-13 stretch, and Mitchell likes what he sees. "There's no other team I'd rather coach right now," Mitchell said. "These young guys are turning into pros before our eyes."
"It's not fun. Sometimes unfair," LaVine said. "But he's the coach, I'm the player and sometimes that's what you have to deal with. You can't really do anything about it but play good on the court."
"I talk to the players. I talk to the coaches," Glen Taylor said. "I'm glad that they're frustrated. I'm sure they're trying very hard in practice to improve their skills. I know they want to win. I'm confident that it's just going to be some game that we win against somebody that probably has a better team than us and it just kind of gets us going."
"If anything at the beginning of the year I said I needed to be patient. If anything I have learned this year I probably have to be even more patient," Taylor said before the Timberwolves beat Memphis on Saturday. Taylor told Mitchell at the start of the season that he would give the coach the season to perform before making a complete evaluation and he plans to keep that timeline. "I've got to realize where we're at and I've just got to stay with the coaching and stay with the players and not do something that disrupts the long-term plans," Taylor said.
Taylor also said during an interview that Sam Mitchell, appointed as interim coach when Saunders was hospitalized, will direct the team this season. Milt Newton will have expanded duties as the team’s general manager. “Sometimes, positives can happen,” Taylor said. “In this particular case, let’s see what these people do, let’s see what their leadership is. Going through difficult times, maybe we’ll see people bloom into what they might not have been otherwise.”
Andy Greder: #Twolves will have "major announcement" during press conference Friday. Per @Adrian Wojnarowski, it's Sam Mitchell being named interim coach.
July 30, 2021 | 11:47 am EDT Update
Andrew Greif: Clippers president Lawrence Frank, post-draft, acknowledged Kawhi Leonard’s recovery will take “a great deal of time.” The team wants its relationship with the star to also last a very long time: latimes.com/sports/clipper…
Marc Stein: The Jazz will be pressing hard to re-sign Mike Conley, league sources say, and are preparing an offer estimated in the three-year, $75 million range. More coming soon in my This Week In Basketball column you can get directly by signing up here: marcstein.substack.com
Chris Haynes: Free agent point guard Emmanuel Mudiay — the No. 7 pick in the 2015 Draft and only 25 — intends to play Summer League for the Portland Trail Blazers, league sources tell @YahooSports.
Tomer Azarly: “We want them back as Clippers. We respect that they have a choice to make. With Kawhi, we hope to have a very long-term relationship with him… We’d like to bring Reggie, Nico back. We hope Serge opts in. We have other FA as well.” Lawrence Frank on free agency.
July 30, 2021 | 11:19 am EDT Update
Marc Stein: Teams interested in Atlanta restricted free agent John Collins have grown increasingly pessimistic that Collins can be signed away from the Hawks, league sources say. More coming in today’s This Week In Basketball column at marcstein.substack.com
Paul has a $44.2 million player option for 21-22 with the Suns that he could decline to become an outright free agent. Paul could also pick up the option and sign an extension with the Suns. “The feeling within the league now is that Chris Paul is going to stay put in Phoenix,” said Brian Windhorst on The Hoop Collective podcast. “The belief is Chris Paul will not ever be on the open market.”