Five-time NBA All-Star Chauncey Billups has emerged as a candidate in the Indiana Pacers’ coaching search, sources told ESPN. As the Pacers begin preliminary interviews with a number of candidates, Billups and the Pacers officials have recently engaged and are planning to talk further conversations about the job, sources said.
For the Pacers' management team and Billups, there will be a process of getting to know each other in these interviews and discussing the depth of Billups' preparedness for the job --- and how they'd work together to build a coaching staff around him. Billups' force of personality, leadership style and basketball savvy has long made many NBA executives believe it was just a matter of time until Billups landed a significant role with an organization, but thus far he's been searching for the right fit.
Does this mean he’s hiring Hammon? Of course not. Nor am I saying he should. That’s not the point of this story. Point is: Hammon is a fascinating candidate, and the Pacers have a history of being out in front on this issue. And the NBA is inching closer to its first female head coach. Eleven women were NBA assistants this past season, including former Notre Dame star Niele Ivey of the Memphis Grizzlies. She’s not there anymore; Notre Dame hired her in April to replace McGraw.
The Pacers are said to have serious interest in hiring D’Antoni to replace the suddenly ousted Nate McMillan, which would give a needed jolt to Oladipo and Myles Turner. But there’s no guarantee they get D’Antoni — even with his contract in Houston about to expire and pressure mounting on the Rockets’ coach with a Game 7 looming Wednesday night against Chris Paul and the Thunder.
Eric Woodyard: Pacers Prez of Bball Ops Kevin Pritchard says they’ll consider a college coach during this search. The ability to connect with younger players will be huge throughout this process, but it won’t rule out an established older coach either. “Let's keep an open mind,” Pritchard said.
J. Michael Falgoust: Pritchard on what he wants to see in next coach: "A modern approach. Communication would probably be my top thing. Playing more of a modern game. You've got to look to the future. Look where the hockey puck is going, not so much where it is" #Pacers
Adrian Wojnarowski: Mike D'Antoni isn't an inexpensive hire and that'll be a question for Pacers and small market teams with league revenue stagnant in pandemic: How far will they go to pay a coach? Indiana also plans to search pool of those they'd consider 'program builders' over long-term, per sources.
January 23, 2021 | 8:06 pm EST Update
Ryan Saunders will remain coach of the woeful Minnesota Timberwolves, at least until he gets an opportunity to coach a stretch with star Karl-Anthony Towns in the regular lineup. “I haven’t even talked to (basketball president Gersson Rosas) about that — he hasn’t brought it up, but you’re asking me, and it’s probably hard to tell a guy that you aren’t doing the job when your best guy isn’t playing,” Wolves owner Glen Taylor said Saturday from his home in Mankato.
Taylor could make a popular diversity statement by naming hard-driving Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve to coach the Wolves. “I kid her about that, but I’m not making any changes — I’m talking to Cheryl, and we’re trying to put a really good team together for the Lynx right now,” Taylor said. “She’s planning on coaching them. “But,” Taylor added, “she’s an interesting person, isn’t she?”
For most of a year, Taylor has explored a sale of the Wolves and Lynx. How’s that coming? “Well, it’s not coming is the best way to say it,” Taylor said. “I haven’t found anything that for sure says I should move ahead.” Taylor’s price tag for the Wolves and Lynx is estimated to be in the $1.5 billion range. With NBA expansion — Las Vegas and Seattle have been mentioned — current team owners could each be in for a reported $160 million expansion fee windfall. “Obviously I’m aware of that — you’ve got to pick your time,” Taylor said, adding that no definite decision for expansion has been made. “The other question: Is now a good time to sell when you don’t have fans? And it’s not a good time.”