Utah Jazz add Sergi Oliva to coaching staff

The Utah Jazz added Sergi Oliva to their coaching staff today.

Oliva joins the Jazz after spending the past six seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, most recently as Vice President of Strategy.

A native of Gelida, Catalonia, he first joined the 76ers in 2014 as a Basketball Operations Analyst after he’d earned multiple degrees from Polytechnic University of Catalonia, including a PhD in Computational Complexity and both master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science.

Oliva spent 12 years previously as a head coach at the youth and senior amateur levels in Catalonia. He is also a regular collaborator of the Catalan Basketball Federation (FCBQ), particularly as a lecturer in their coaching certification courses.

Will Timberwolves trade No. 1 pick in 2020 NBA draft?

Will the Timberwolves keep their No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA draft, or trade it? Usually, if a team has the first pick in the entire draft, they use it. But exceptions happen. Here’s the Star tribune noting what one betting site’s odds suggest on the matter:

They are trying to build around [Karl-Anthony] Towns and D’Angelo Russell, the top two picks from that 2015 draft, and timelines are different when your projected cornerstones are in their mid-20s instead of below legal drinking age.

Combine that with the notion that there is no sure thing at the top of the draft and there emerges the notion that the Wolves might trade the top selection instead of keeping it.

It’s rare for a top pick to be dealt before playing for the team that held the pick; the last time it happened, in fact, was when Wiggins came to the Wolves in 2014.

But this year, it’s a intriguing combination of something rare being perhaps more likely to happen than not — at least according to betting markets.

Online bookmaker Sports Betting Dime this week put the odds of the Wolves trading out of the No. 1 spot at 4 to 5 — better than even money. Adding to the intrigue, the site listed Anthony Edwards (3 to 2), James Wiseman (3 to 1) and LaMelo Ball (7 to 1) as the most likely No. 1 picks — hardly a consensus.

If a team with the draft’s first pick loved two or three prospects fairly equally, it makes perfect sense for them to consider trading down a slot or two, just to see what they can get in return.

Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets parting ways

The Houston Rockets will be in search of a new general manager. Statements from the team:

Daryl Morey: “After returning from Orlando and reflecting on what has been an amazing 14 years with the Houston Rockets, and after discussing my thoughts with family and close friends, I’ve decided I’ll be stepping away from the Rockets organization effective November 1st. Tilman and I have had many conversations since I returned, and his unwavering support and counsel during our time together has been critical to our success. It has been the most gratifying experience of my professional life to lead the Rockets basketball organization, and I look forward to working with Tilman and the management team on the transition. I am very confident that the future – for the Rockets, and for our incredible fans – is in great hands, and that the Rockets will continue to perform at the highest level.”

Rockets Owner Tilman J. Fertitta: “On behalf of the entire Rockets organization, I would like to thank Daryl Morey for his hard work and dedication over the past 14 seasons. Daryl is a brilliant innovator who helped the Rockets become a perennial contender. I have truly enjoyed working with Daryl and couldn’t have asked for a better general manager to have at the start of my ownership. I wish him and his family all the best.”

Sixers will reportedly add Dave Joerger to their coaching staff

NBA coaching news is coming out fast and furious today. Here’s Philly Voice with some Sixers news:

Dave Joerger will join Doc Rivers’ staff as an assistant coach for the Sixers, a team source confirmed on Thursday afternoon. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the news.

At 46, Joerger already has an abundance of coaching experience under his belt. Fresh out of college, he took a GM job with the Dakota Wizards that eventually led to a prolific minor league basketball run. Joerger won five championships in the minor leagues and had 18 different players called up to the NBA during a four year stretch from 2003-2007.

Rivers has a big job ahead of him, in trying to maximize the Sixers’ talent. Seeing which assistants he adds is of interest. The Sixers are one of the only playoff teams in the league that on the one hand certainly look like they should be a playoff team again in 2020-21, but on the other can definitely use some changes, either in the form of roster moves or coaching decisions that shake up the current structure.

Clippers will reportedly name Tyronn Lue new head coach

The Clippers were one of the best teams in the NBA this past regular season, but fell short in the playoffs, getting sent home in the second round. Head coach Doc Rivers, well-respected a good coach but doubted as a great one, was soon out of a job. And now the Clippers have quickly found a replacement, per reports. Here’s the OC Register with the latest:

After a couple of weeks of careful consideration, the Clippers on Thursday closed the deal with former assistant Tyronn Lue to replace his former boss Doc Rivers as the team’s head coach, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and confirmed by a league source. Wojnarowski reported Lue agreed to a five-year contract.

Lue’s coaching staff reportedly will include five-time All-Star Chauncy Billups and former NBA head coach Larry Drew, according to the Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Lue, a 43-year-old native Missourian, who played point guard for 11 NBA seasons, this past year served as an assistant under Rivers after spending parts of four seasons as the head coach in Cleveland, where he directed LeBron James-led teams to an NBA title and two other Finals appearances.

The Clippers should be one of the league’s best teams again next season. This is a great opportunity, and a coveted job. Congrats to Lue for reportedly landing it.

Chauncey Billups will reportedly become a coach, either with Clippers or Pacers

Chauncey Billups will be moving from the broadcast booth to NBA coaching sidelines. The only question is on which team he’ll be a part of. Here’s the Indianapolis Star with the latest:

Chauncey Billups accepted an assistant coach position with the L.A. Clippers on Thursday, but that doesn’t take him out of the running to be head coach of the Indiana Pacers.

A league source with direct knowledge of the situation told IndyStar that Billups, who has been a TV analyst for the Clippers, will join them on the bench “if he doesn’t get the Indy job.” He’s still a candidate to replace Nate McMillan, who was fired in August after a first-round playoff exit.

Since the Lakers won the 2020 NBA championship last week, the latest NBA news has been all about coaching jobs.

New Raptors uniforms revealed for 2020-21 NBA season

The Toronto Raptors have unveiled three of the five uniforms the team will wear in the 2020-21 NBA season.

The now-familiar “north” pointing chevron remains a key element of the latest editions – it was first introduced on the jersey side panel in 2015-16 as part of the team’s rebrand.

The new Association and Icon Edition jerseys – white and red – both feature a chevron across the chest.

The new uniforms are reminiscent of the red Earned Edition jerseys worn for much of the 2019 postseason season and which the team sported on court the evening they captured the franchise’s first NBA Championship.

“Uniforms do matter to players. Our team made the choice to wear the Earned jerseys during the 2019 Finals, for example,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said. “We want to give our players – and our fans – jerseys they’re proud to wear not just because they say Raptors on the front, not just because they’re a symbol of our city and country, but because they also look great. I think that’s what we’ve achieved with these.”

The Statement Edition jersey – black with red accents – tips the hat to the Raptors’ original “dinosaur” uniforms by running dark grey jagged pinstripes through the design. It will also be the only one of the five uniforms that has the Jordan Brand Jumpman logo on the right shoulder, replacing the Nike swoosh.

The concept was a collaborative effort between MLSE’s in-house design team and Nike. The new threads are comprised of recycled PET bottles, a combination of Alpha Yarns and recycled polyester. Each uniform represents approximately 20 recycled bottles.

“As we began to think about the decade ahead, we aimed to create uniforms that not only reflected our franchise’s historic accomplishment in 2019 but also inspired the pursuit of our next championship,” MLSE Chief Marketing Officer Shannon Hosford said. “Our goal was to continue to evolve our ‘We The North’ Raptors brand identity highlighting our key chevron design, which is synonymous with the North and our championship, while also providing our fans with some added swagger while they show their support.”

The NBA and Nike eliminated traditional “home” and “road” uniform designations prior to the 2017-18 season and created four core uniforms for each team classified as “editions” – Association, Icon, Statement and City. Home teams pick which of their uniforms will be worn at all home games and visiting teams choose a contrasting uniform within their own assortment.

Prior to the 2018-19 campaign, the NBA and Nike added the Earned Edition uniform as a fifth option for all 16 teams that made the playoffs from the previous season. The uniforms are colour variations of each team’s Statement or City Edition jerseys.

Heat guard Goran Dragic did not like initial idea of coming off bench when season began

Miami Heat veteran guard Goran Dragic had an excellent season as a super-sub off the bench, then wound up starting for the Heat in the 2020 NBA playoffs, but missed much of the Finals against the Lakers due to injury. Here’s the Sun Sentinel reporting the 34-year-old’s words:

“I don’t feel old, if I’m honest,” he said. “But it does affect you in a good way, when they say you’re old, because then I want to prove, ‘Yeah, OK, you can say that I’m old, but I can still play basketball.’ ”

He paused and laughed.

“I do have to admit, in my case it doesn’t help this gray hair that I have,” he said. “But 30, 40 is just a number.” …

“At the beginning of this season, it was really tough for me, when Spo told me, ‘G, you’re going to come from the bench,’ ” he related. “You know, it was not easy. I was in shock. I was angry. And that was sad. I was sad.

“Then, I looked at this, ‘OK, you can do two things: I can go against Spo and prove you were wrong, ‘I should play more minutes.’ Or I can just give in and get the best out of this situation.’ “

Goran is a free agent this summer. On a list of teams he may play for next season, the Heat should be considered the favorites.

Sacramento Kings hire Wes Wilcox, Phil Jabour and Paul Johnson to basketball operations group

The Sacramento Kings hired Wes Wilcox, Phil Jabour and Paul Johnson to the team’s basketball operations group today.

Wilcox will serve as Assistant General Manager. He will support General Manager Monte McNair in all facets of front office operations including roster construction, strategy and player evaluation. He joins the Kings organization with nearly 20 years of experience in the NBA, including serving as General Manager (2015-17) and Assistant General Manager (2012-15) of the Atlanta Hawks.

Jabour was named Vice President of Player Personnel. He will be primarily responsible for overseeing the structure and processes of the scouting department. He comes to Sacramento’s front office with 14 years of experience in the league, most recently serving as Director of Scouting for the Philadelphia 76ers where he was heavily involved in day-to-day personnel operations, including talent evaluation, leading intel processes and collaborating with player agents.

Johnson was named Director of Basketball Operations and General Manager of the team’s G League affiliate, the Stockton Kings. He will lead Stockton’s front office and have a hand in multiple aspects of Kings basketball operations. He joins the Kings basketball operations department with seven years of NBA experience, most recently serving as the Assistant General Manager of the NBA G League’s Oklahoma City Blue.

These three executives join Chief Strategy Officer Joe Dumars, Assistant General Manager Ken Catanella, Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance Teena Murray and Vice President of Kings Academy and Professional Development Galen Duncan in rounding out McNair’s management team.

“I am excited to have Wes, Phil and Paul join the front office,” said McNair. “Wes’ background as an executive in the league combined with Phil’s veteran leadership through the scouting ranks and Paul’s proven experience in evaluating talent will be strong additions to the basketball operations group. Their diverse skill sets and unique perspectives will add valuable knowledge and innovative thinking as we focus on executing our vision of building a winning culture in Sacramento.”

Will there be a 2020-21 G League season?

Will there be a 2020-21 G League basketball season? Hopefully. But there are rough waters to navigate, due of course to the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

According to industry sources, there have been discussions of various scenarios for a G-League campaign, including not holding one at all and expanding NBA rosters instead.

One plan could feature having a handful of week-long G-League showcases in a bubble setting to ensure young players stay active. If a more normalized G-League season is attempted, sources said it would have to be with a regionalized schedule to reduce travel.

Because G-League teams have modest budgets, clubs mostly fly commercial, which is risky amid the COVID-19 crisis. Teams occasionally bus to games against nearby clubs…

There are safety concerns stemming from G-League players intermingling with NBA players, whether through emergency signings or the recently established two-way contracts.

All of these concerns are perfectly logical.

One idea I’m proposing right now is, they could have a G League season that doesn’t involve “call-ups.” Where G League players stay in the G League all season. Which would eliminate two-way contracts for a season. Which solves one issue. Leaving many far more complicated issues left to navigate.