Adrian Wojnarowski

  • Sources: Monty Williams joins Thunder staff as top assistant coach

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 19 hrs ago

    Monty Williams has reached an agreement to become the top assistant under Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    For Donovan, who is transitioning from the University of Florida to the NBA, the securement of Williams stands as the first significant coup of his regime.

    After winning 45 games and reaching the Western Conference playoffs this season, Williams was fired as New Orleans Pelicans coach last month.

    Donovan and Thunder general manager Sam Presti targeted Williams and sold him on a prominent role on the staff. The Thunder have championship aspirations with a core of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, and playing a part in helping Oklahoma City into a deep run in the postseason could become a springboard for Williams, 43, to ascend into another head coaching job.

    Under Williams, star Anthony Davis developed into one of the NBA’s dominant talents. Williams is a member of Mike Kryzyzewski’s coaching staff with Team USA. Williams had a nine-year NBA career, after starring at the University of Notre Dame.

  • Sources: Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry hires defensive coordinator Darren Erman as associate head coach

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    A disciple of ex-Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, Erman was the architect of a Golden State Warriors defense that developed into one of the league’s juggernauts. 

    When Erman took over the Golden State defense, he transformed a 26th-ranked unit to 11th in 2012-13, and ultimately third in 2013-14. Erman worked under Thibodeau and later Lawrence Frank with the Boston Celtics as members of coach Doc Rivers’ staff. 

    Several Golden State players, including Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, point to Erman's individual work as a key asset to their development. 

    Erman spent the 2014-15 season on Brad Stevens' staff with the Boston Celtics, where the defense showed significant improvement. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has been a proponent of Erman's, and brought him back for a second tour in 2014-15 to work under Brad Stevens.

    The Toronto Raptors recently pursued Erman to become defensive coordinator under Dwane Casey, sources said, but the chance to become associate head coach with Gentry and work with superstar Anthony Davis apparently swayed him.

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  • Sources: Fred Hoiberg signs contract worth nearly $25M to coach Bulls

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    Fred Hoiberg has signed a five-year contract worth nearly $25 million to coach the Chicago Bulls, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Chicago has a news conference set for Tuesday afternoon to introduce Hoiberg as coach.

    Hoiberg's contract is comparable to deals that Golden State's Steve Kerr and New York Knicks' Derek Fisher signed a year ago.

    Hoiberg had been making $2.6 million a year at Iowa State.

    Bulls management considered the partnership that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens had developed as a model for the Hoiberg hiring, league sources said. Stevens made the leap to the NBA from Butler University three years ago.

    The Oklahoma City Thunder hired Florida coach Billy Donovan, agreeing to what sources say is a five-year, $30 million contract. Donovan won two national titles at Florida.

    The New York Daily News first reported that the deal would be in the five-year, $25 million range.

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  • Why Bulls management could never accept Tom Thibodeau's success

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

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    For all the issues that inspired Chicago Bulls management to carry out such a ferocious campaign to discredit Tom Thibodeau – minutes restrictions and personnel disagreements and an inability to simply interact – perhaps the most powerful had been jealousy.

    Over and over, those listening to John Paxson and Gar Forman would tell you that Bulls management could never make peace with the praise heaped upon Thibodeau for 60-victory seasons and deep playoff runs. For them, it was too much about the best defense in the NBA, too much about his development of journeymen into rotation contributors, good players into All-Stars, great players into an MVP.

    To them, Thibodeau represented a Chicago folk hero who needed to be leveled. Tell them that he was a great coach, and league officials say you'd often hear back from Bulls management that simply, "He's good."

    [Slideshow: Coaches sent packing despite winning]

  • Sources: Pelicans interviewed Vinny Del Negro for coaching job

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    Vinny Del Negro discussed the New Orleans Pelicans coaching vacancy with general manager Dell Demps, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    The Pelicans' opening is the most sought-after in the NBA, largely because of superstar Anthony Davis. Former Houston Rockets and New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy and Golden State assistant Alvin Gentry are the frontrunners for the job, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Del Negro emerged as a candidate based upon his successful five-year run as head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers.

    In five seasons he reached the playoffs four times, including the 2011-12 Western Conference semifinals. In his final season with the Clippers, Del Negro led the franchise to its best regular season in history, winning 56 games. His career record is 210-184.

    Del Negro was credited with playing a part in the development of several talented young players in both jobs. He worked in the Phoenix Suns' front office, where he ascended from player personnel director to assistant general manager. Del Negro had a 13-year playing career in the NBA.

    Since leaving the Clippers in 2013, Del Negro has been an analyst on NBA TV.

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  • Sources: Scott Skiles progressing toward deal to become Magic coach

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    Scott Skiles is continuing discussions with the Orlando Magic, inching closer to a partnership to become the franchise's head coach, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Magic officials are convinced that Skiles is the best choice to deliver a young roster into playoff contention and have moved to the cusp of contract negotiations, league sources said.

    Conversations between the Magic and Skiles will continue on Thursday in Orlando, league sources said.

    Skiles has been the preferred choice of Orlando ownership, which has been fond of him since his playing days with the Magic in the 1990s. Skiles fits the candidate profile that general manager Rob Hennigan outlined for the search: a successful head-coaching résumé that includes strong emphasis on upgrading Orlando's defense and accountability.

    Before turning full attention back to Skiles, Hennigan met with Los Angeles Clippers assistant Mike Woodson in Southern California over the weekend, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Woodson built a young, lottery-ridden Atlanta Hawks roster into a consistent playoff team. Atlanta reached the Eastern Conference playoffs three times, including two trips to the East semifinals.

  • Sources: Pelicans interview Jeff Van Gundy for coaching vacancy

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    The New Orleans Pelicans’ coaching search is gathering momentum, a process that included a formal interview Tuesday with Jeff Van Gundy, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Van Gundy, one of the NBA’s top available coaches, and New Orleans officials met in the Bay Area to discuss the opening. The sides had spoken over the phone, but this was the first face-to-face meeting, league sources said.

    For now, New Orleans officials and Van Gundy are beginning the process of getting to know each other. Van Gundy had traveled to the Bay Area for his role as a television analyst for the Western Conference finals.

    New Orleans general manager Dell Demps met with another candidate, Golden State assistant Alvin Gentry, in the Bay Area prior to the start of the Western Conference finals.

    It is possible Demps will meet with Gentry a second time in the near future, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Golden State officials will only allow interviews between playoff series.

    New Orleans officials have been active in making calls on Van Gundy, researching his successful seasons as head coach of the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks.

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  • Warriors can live with Game 4 loss after Stephen Curry survives terrifying fall

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    HOUSTON – One by one, these Golden State powerbrokers left courtside seats and started a solemn walk through the concrete corridors of the Toyota Center. Soon, Joe Lacob gathered speed, pushing faster and faster. Behind him, his Warriors co-owner, Peter Gruber, simply started to run. Steph Curry had gone down hard, been hustled into the locker room and suddenly everything about this championship chase hung in the air – hung the way that the NBA's Most Valuable Player had in those terrifying moments before crashing down onto his head.

    The Warriors had come for a Western Conference coronation on Monday night, and now Curry lay flat on the floor, face down. He had flipped over a Houston Rocket, lost his balance and his bearings, and slammed into the court. Dazed, Curry had been unsure of how badly he had hurt himself. He made a surreal, sluggish walk to undergo the NBA's concussion protocol. Every step of the way, a part of Curry wondered whether they'd let him back onto the floor again.

  • Stephen Curry is on a collision course with LeBron James to determine NBA supremacy

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    HOUSTON – The shots kept falling, those long, gorgeous arcing balls that scrape the sky and destroy the wills of men. Stephen Curry had immersed himself in a ferocious flurry, the greatest shooter the sport's ever seen turning these Western Conference finals into the sublime. Out of nowhere, out of so much doubt, Curry has become the most improbable superstar in the sport.

    "I don't think we've ever seen anybody shoot the ball the way Steph does," Warriors coach Steve Kerr marveled.

    And so on Saturday night, something more washed over Curry on his way to 40 points, something seldom witnessed out of one of the most polite, obliging MVPs in the NBA's modern history. He stopped ignoring the taunts of courtside Houston Rockets fans and started giving it back to them. Another 3-pointer dropped, and he stood in the corner, preening, his scrawny chest puffed out, telling one befuddled fan to, "Sit down."

    "If they want to talk," Curry said late Saturday, "hopefully they can take some back."

  • Sources: Scott Skiles the frontrunner to become Magic's next coach

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    Scott Skiles has emerged as the strong frontrunner to become head coach of the Orlando Magic, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Magic general manager Rob Hennigan has discussed the opening with several possible candidates, but Skiles has clearly separated himself in the process, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Although Orlando has thus far shown no inclination to rush into a hiring, discussions could soon advance into contract negotiations, league sources said.

    Skiles, 51, has been the preferred choice of Orlando ownership, which has been fond of him since his playing days with the Magic in the 1990s. Skiles fits the candidate profile that Hennigan privately outlined for the coaching search: a successful head-coaching résumé that includes strong emphasis on upgrading Orlando’s defense and accountability.

    In head-coaching stops in Phoenix, Chicago and Milwaukee, Skiles developed a reputation for turning bad teams into competitive ones, and tightening porous defensive units. Nevertheless, Skiles also built a reputation for burning out teams and wearing out a path to his exit.

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