Lillard told The Athletic that a series of conversations with Billups over the summer helped center his thoughts back to Portland and what could happen if he stayed. Those conversations — Billups said it was five or six, some of them in person, some on the phone — dealt with basketball philosophy, strategies and concepts. But they also involved topics that penetrated to Lillard’s core. They talked about family, life after basketball, and the qualities found in a winner.
June 2, 2023 | 2:53 pm EDT Update
Jovan Buha: The Lakers’ pre-draft workout participants on Friday: Nadir Hifi – France, Jalen Wilson – Kansas, Morris Udeze – New Mexico, Cam Shelton – LMU, Terquavion Smith – NC State, Oscar Tshiebwe – Kentucky
Madeline Kenney: Prospects invited for a pre-draft workout with the Warriors on Monday: Colin Castleton (Florida), Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State), Arthur Kaluma (Creighton), Dereck Lively II (Duke), Jalen Wilson (Kansas)
June 2, 2023 | 12:55 pm EDT Update
The Phoenix Suns are finalizing a five-year, $31 million deal with Frank Vogel to hire him as their coach, league sources tell The Athletic. Vogel, who guided the Lakers to the 2020 NBA championship, is known for his defensive acumen and detail-oriented approach.
After parting ways with Monty Williams on May 14, the Suns had a thorough coaching search process that led to five finalists. Vogel, former Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers, now-76ers coach Nick Nurse, Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez and Suns assistant Kevin Young each met with Suns owner Mat Ishbia, president of basketball operations James Jones and other team officials in the final stage of the search over the past couple weeks. For the Suns, Vogel’s connectivity and collaborative approach provided the organization confidence that this could be a long-lasting partnership with staying power.
Evan Sidery: Frank Vogel is one of the best defensive tacticians in the NBA. Consistently has his teams elite on that end of the floor. Vogel also puts a heavy emphasis on rim protecting bigs (ex: Roy Hibbert and Anthony Davis). The big question now pivots to whether Deandre Ayton is a fit…