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 27, 2021 | 11:06 am EDT Update
New York will pursue Evan Fournier in free agency and are considering making a push for Spencer Dinwiddie, according to sources. Dinwiddie declined his player option for $12.3 million with Brooklyn Nets to become an unrestricted free agent.
The Boston Celtics acquired Fournier from the Orlando Magic in March. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent. The French guard, who helped his native country upset the U.S. in the Olympics earlier this week, is expected to ask for around $18 million per season, while Dinwiddie’s asking price is $25 million per, sources say.
If they lose Ball and miss on Lowry, the Pelicans might be on the lookout for Spencer Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie is looking for big money; in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, he tossed out a five-year, $125 million contract as what he would be looking for to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets.
A reasonable number of these players are expected to move in August with potentially more being involved in trades. Collin Sexton of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves are among those who so far have been floated on the trade market.
Milwaukee Bucks guard Bryn Forbes is declining his player option for the 2021-22 season and will become an unrestricted free agent, sources told ESPN on Tuesday. Forbes played a significant role off the bench as the Bucks delivered the franchise’s first NBA championship in 50 years. He had his most efficient NBA season in several offensive categories, including 3-point percentage and true shooting percentage. Forbes, 28, was fourth in the NBA in 3-point shooting (45.2%) — and third best among players with 200-plus attempts. Forbes averaged 12.2 points on 48% 3-point shooting in February when starting guard Jrue Holiday was sidelined.
Davis suffered a knee sprain in Game 3 but played through the pain in Game 4; however, he took a hard fall in Game 4 and suffered a groin strain. From that moment on, the balance of the firepower tilted towards Phoenix, who ensued to blow out the Lakers in the final games of the series. Though it’ll never be known how things would’ve transpired with a healthy Davis, Metta World Peace believes the Lakers would’ve advanced when discussing his thoughts on the Bucks-Suns matchup and Giannis Antetokounmpo being a great player, via Chris Sheridan of BasketballNews.com: “Now imagine, Giannis, one of the greatest players in the league, doesn’t really have to go up against the greatest team, then you would say Giannis was going to win. Because the Lakers got hurt. The Lakers were going to beat Phoenix before Anthony Davis got hurt.”
The Dallas Mavericks are on the verge of hiring Igor Kokoskov to join Jason Kidd’s coaching staff, sources confirmed to ESPN. Kokoskov, whose two decades of NBA experience includes a one-season stint as the Phoenix Suns’ head coach, has a strong relationship with Mavs superstar Luka Doncic stemming from his time coaching the Slovenian national team. Kokoskov coached Slovenia for two years, culminating with the EuroBasket 2017 title, when Doncic and Goran Dragic led the nation to its first championship in that event.
Ahead of the 2021 NBA draft, projected top overall pick Cade Cunningham has signed a multiyear footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Nike. After a COVID-19-impacted market found a majority of last season’s rookies playing out the 2020-21 season without a sneaker deal, brands are now returning to aggressively sign top players heading into this week’s draft. Nike had its eyes set on Cunningham, who starred at Nike-sponsored Oklahoma State University and has long had an affinity for the brand. “More than anything, they show that athletes are more than just athletes,” Cunningham told ESPN. “They really put the right message out for people to see. That was important to me. … I felt like it was a perfect match for me.”