Jazz Rumors

Pacific Rumors: Randle, Bradley, Looney, Kokoskov

Lakers power forward Julius Randle could wind up in his hometown of Dallas next season, Frank Urbina of Hoops Hype speculates. Randle would be a nice fit alongside guard Dennis Smith Jr. and the Mavericks have plenty of cap space to sign him. He played very well against them this season, averaging 21.8 PPG, 11.5 RPG and 5.6 APG on 66% shooting, Urbina notes. Randle would also slot in well with the Suns and Pacers, Urbina adds, though it’s more likely he winds up staying with the Lakers. Randle will be a restricted free agent if, as expected, the Lakers extend a $5.564MM qualifying offer by the June 29th deadline.

Also around the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers shooting guard Avery Bradley could wind up with the Sixers if Philadelphia loses J.J. Redick in free agency, Urbina writes in a separate piece. Bradley’s spot-up shooting and man-to-man defense would make him a good fit with their young core, Urbina continues. The Spurs and Thunder, who were involved in trade rumors for Bradley this winter, could be potential landing spots. The Pelicans might also be interested in upgrading the shooting guard spot, which would allow them to move Jrue Holiday back to the point if they lose free agent Rajon Rondo, Urbina adds.
  • Big man Kevon Looney has emerged as a key player for the Warriors and that won’t change throughout the postseason, according to Dieter Kurtenbach of the San Jose Mercury News. The Warriors’ first-round pick in 2015 has battled injuries during his first two seasons. Now healthy, Looney gives the Warriors another quality defender with length who guard all five positions, Kurtenbach adds. Looney could be plying his trade somewhere else next season, as he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Warriors declined their team option on him last October.
  • Igor Kokoskov has Jared Dudley‘s endorsement as the Suns search for a new head coach, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic reports. Kokoskov, 46, was instrumental in drawing up plays when Lindsey Hunter was Phoenix’s interim coach in 2013, according to Dudley. Kokoskov, who has interviewed for the Suns job, is currently a Jazz assistant. “It’s not like Igor is young,” Dudley said. “He’s had plenty of experience. It’s like Brett Brown in Philadelphia and Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta. They put the right staff around them. That’s the critical part. I think he’s shown he deserves the opportunity.”

Snyder Happy To See Kokoskov In Running For HC Job

  • Jazz head coach Quin Snyder is happy to see assistant Igor Kokoskov receive consideration for the Suns‘ coaching job, per Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News. “I’ve told him for a number of years that I think he’s a head coach in the NBA,” Snyder said. “It’s taken him some time to see himself that way because he’s just been focused on doing his job.”

Suns Interview Igor Kokoskov For Head Coach Job

The Suns have interviewed Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov for their vacant head coach job, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Salt Lake City Tribune (Twitter link). We noted yesterday that Phoenix planned to interview Kokoskov as they continue their search.

Kokoskov has served an assistant for Utah since 2015 as part of Quin Snyder‘s staff. Before joining the Jazz, Kokoskov was an assistant coach for several teams, including the Clippers, Pistons, Suns, Cavaliers, and Magic. While Kokoskov has never been a head coach in the NBA, he does have experience coaching the Georgian and Serbian national teams.

Phoenix’s pool of candidates shrunk this week when Mike Budenholzer reportedly withdrew from consideration on Thursday. However, the Suns are still considering several names for the job. John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM (via Twitter) confirmed yesterday that Spurs assistant James Borrego and former Rockets head coach Kevin McHale are in consideration.

Several former NBA coaches are also reportedly in the mix, including David FizdaleSteve CliffordFrank Vogel, and David Blatt. Interim coach Jay Triano, who took over after the firing of Earl Watson this season, will also interview for the job.

Suns To Interview Jazz Assistant Igor Kokoskov

Another potential head coaching candidate has entered the mix in Phoenix, as John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM reports (via Twitter) that the Suns will interview Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov for the open job.

Kokoskov, a member of Quin Snyder‘s staff in Utah, was recently identified by league executives as one of the top head coaching candidates among NBA assistants, and has been mentioned as a possible dark-horse candidate for the Orlando job. It’s not clear when Kokoskov will get a chance to interview with the Suns, since the Jazz remain alive and well in the postseason — presumably though, Utah has already granted Phoenix permission to meet with the veteran assistant.

Before arriving in Utah, Kokoskov worked as an assistant for several other NBA teams, including the Clippers, Pistons, Suns, Cavaliers, and Magic. While he doesn’t have any NBA head coaching experience, Kokoskov has served as the head coach for the Georgian and Serbian national teams.

The Suns are conducting an extensive head coaching search, so even though Mike Budenholzer reportedly withdrew from consideration on Thursday, there are still several names to watch for the vacancy.

Gambadoro confirms that Spurs assistant James Borrego and former Rockets head coach Kevin McHale are being considered. Ex-NBA head coaches like David Fizdale, Steve Clifford, Frank Vogel, and David Blatt are also said to be in the mix, along with interim coach Jay Triano, who will interview for the permanent position.

Donovan Mitchell To Be Game-Time Decision

Donovan Mitchell will be a game-time decision for the Jazz tonight, according to Kyle Goon of The Salt Lake Tribune. Mitchell, who stubbed a toe during the second half of the series opener with Oklahoma City, plans to go through warm-ups before deciding if he can play.

Thabo Sefolosha Helping Against Former Team

  • Jazz swingman Thabo Sefolosha may be out of the lineup with injury, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t playing a role against his former team, the Thunder, reports Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News. “I try to just help when I see something like offensively, defensively, something that we can do a little differently,” Sefolosha said. “Just whatever I see, I like to communicate, whether it’s with the coaches or with the players, so I try to stay involved as much as I can.”

Injury Updates: Mitchell, Anderson, Harkless, Irving

Jazz star rookie guard Donovan Mitchell is questionable to play in Game 2 against the Thunder because of a left foot contusion, Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News reports. Mitchell, who scored 27 points with 10 rebounds in his playoff debut, is optimistic he’ll play Wednesday after undergoing an MRI. “I can walk. I’m good. I’m not limping,” Mitchell told Woodyard and other media members.

In other injury-related news:

  • Rockets power forward Ryan Anderson could return from an ankle sprain to play in Game 2 of their series against the Timberwolves, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. He missed the last four regular-season games and Game 1. “The last I heard is he had a good workout before the game,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told Feigen. “He has a real good shot [to play on] Wednesday and definitely on Saturday.” Anderson shot well against Minnesota this season, averaging 12 PPG while making 50% of his 3-point tries.
  • Trail Blazers small forward Maurice Harkless has been upgraded to questionable for Game 2 against the Pelicans, Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest tweets. Harkless missed the last 10 games with a left knee injury. Harkless averaged 14.8 PPG in his last six outings prior to the injury.
  • Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving is already walking around without a noticeable limp just a little over a week after knee surgery, Taylor Snow of Celtics.com writes. Irving underwent season-ending knee surgery April 7 to remove two screws in his left knee. “I had just got done literally 10 minutes ago talking to our training staff and the people who are working most closely with him, and they feel great about his early [progress] a week in, or whatever it is,” coach Brad Stevens said. “That’s exciting, that’s encouraging. Again, he’s going to make a full recovery.”

Community Shootaround: Possible First-Round Upsets

Game 1 is in the books for all eight of the NBA’s first-round playoff matchups, and several of those games set up potentially fascinating series. Six of the eight higher seeds held their home-court advantage in the first game, but some of those favorites looked a little shaky in their victories, leading to plenty of speculation about first-round upsets.

We’ll start with the weekend’s biggest upset, which took place in Cleveland, where the Pacers dismantled LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Game 1. It won’t be a surprise if the Cavs eventually pull out this series, but their 98-80 loss on Sunday was something we haven’t seen since James returned to Cleveland in 2014. In their last three first-round series, the Cavs have swept the Celtics, Pistons, and – one year ago – the Pacers.

Of course, these Pacers are a much different team than the squad swept out of the postseason a year ago. Victor Oladipo looked like the best player on the floor on Sunday, and players like Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Lance Stephenson looked great in supporting roles. This Pacers team was overlooked and underappreciated all season, and appear poised to give the Cavs all they can handle in round one.

The other Game 1 upset occurred in Portland, where the Pelicans edged out a two-point win over the Trail Blazers. Anthony Davis (35 points, 14 rebounds) was the best player on the court in that game, but Jrue Holiday‘s impact shouldn’t be understated. Besides posting 21 points and seven assists, Holiday also locked up Damian Lillard on the other end of the court — Lillard made just six of 23 shots.

The Pelicans don’t have a whole lot of standout talent behind Davis and Holiday, but Nikola Mirotic (16 points, 11 rebounds) stepped up as a reliable third option on Saturday. If he – or another Pelican – can continue to support Davis and Holiday throughout the series, New Orleans should have a chance.

Elsewhere, the Raptors, Rockets, and Thunder had to battle to the end to hold off the Wizards, Timberwolves, and Jazz, respectively, but came away with Game 1 victories. The Bucks pushed the Celtics to overtime before losing Eric Bledsoe and Giannis Antetokounmpo to foul problems and ultimately losing the game. None of those four favorites is a mortal lock to advance, though Houston is probably close.

The Warriors and Sixers took care of business with comfortable wins over the Spurs and Heat, respectively.

What do you think? Will we see an upset – or multiple upsets – in the first round of the postseason? Which lower-seeded teams do you think look like the best bets to advance to round two?

Head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

2018 NBA Draft Order Tiebreaker Results

After a series of tiebreakers were conducted Friday night, the lottery odds for the NBA Draft have been finalized. Similarly, the draft order for teams outside of the lottery has been decided as well.

While a total of four two-way ties and one four-way tie were all broken by coin toss, the biggest winner of the night would have to be the Mavs who will now officially boast the third-greatest odds when the lottery is drawn on May 15.

Although the Hawks equaled Dallas in futility, both teams limited to 24 wins on the year, they’ll slot in one spot behind them at No. 4. That means, if neither team secures a top-three pick when the lottery results are revealed, they’ll just pick after them, the same as if they had won one more game. Both teams, however, will have nearly identical odds (13.7% versus 13.8%) of securing a top-three pick in the lottery.

The Bulls also won big today, edging out the Kings for the No. 6 spot. Sacramento will have an identical shot at landing at top-three pick, however.

The four-way tie between Utah, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Indiana ended with the Thunder at No. 20, the Jazz at No. 21, the Pelicans at No. 22 and the Pacers at No. 23.

That Oklahoma City pick will head to Minnesota while the 22nd pick will go straight to the Bulls as part of the Nikola Mirotic deal.

The Heat won the tiebreaker for the the 16th pick, ahead of the Bucks, and will send that to Phoenix as part of the Goran Dragic trade back in 2015.

Milwaukee claiming the No. 17 pick is particularly interesting since, had they won the tiebreaker, they would have had to flip the pick to the Suns as part of the Greg Monroe trade. Since they didn’t, they’ll keep the pick and send a protected first-rounder in 2019, so long as it falls between 4-16.

The Spurs won the coin toss between themselves and the Timberwolves and will now pick at No. 18. Minnesota’s 19th pick will go to Atlanta as part of a 2015 Adreian Payne trade.

As is always the case, the loser of any tiebreaker will end up with the better pick in the second round. In the event of the four-way tie, all four teams will simply be flipped, giving the Pacers the 50th pick and so on.

Here’s a rundown of what the draft order currently looks like, prior to the results of the May lottery.

Pick Team
1 Suns
2 Grizzlies
3 Mavs
4 Hawks
5 Magic
6 Bulls
7 Kings
8 Cavaliers
9 Knicks
10 76ers
11 Hornets
12 Clippers
13 Clippers
14 Nuggets
15 Wizards
16 Suns
17 Bucks
18 Spurs
19 Hawks
20 Wolves
21 Jazz
22 Bulls
23 Pacers
24 Trail Blazers
25 Lakers
26 76ers
27 Celtics
28 Warriors
29 Nets
30 Hawks

Igor Kokoskov A Candidate To Replace Frank Vogel In Orlando?

  • Mannix also weighs in on the newly-opened Magic job, tweeting that Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov could be a dark horse candidate to replace Frank Vogel. Current Orlando GM John Hammond helped bring Kokoskov to the NBA, Mannix notes.