Adrian Wojnarowski

  • Did 'bush league' play complicate Love, Celtics' mutual free-agent intrigue?

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 3 hrs ago

    For as much as Kevin Love has publicly resisted the discussion of free agency this season, it has been on his mind. He has never been completely comfortable in Cleveland, with his role, nor his connection to those around him. Throughout the year, league sources say, one destination grew in possibility as his exit strategy: The Boston Celtics.

    Boston has been no sure thing to lure Love, but it had a better shot than most had believed. If Love left the Cavaliers, the Celtics had closed the gap on the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    The Celtics were waiting for July, and the chance to let coach Brad Stevens lay out Love's expanded role in his system. General manager Danny Ainge wanted a chance to sell Love on a vision for surrounding him with complementary talent, on maximizing his popularity as New England's next star.

    And so, suddenly, maybe everything changed on Sunday. Kelly Olynyk and Love tangled, Love's left shoulder apparently separated and clearly he's beyond furious. He called the play "bush league," and insisted that Olynyk "did it on purpose."

  • Why Kawhi Leonard will be the NBA's most intriguing free-agent recruiter this summer

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    SAN ANTONIO – Amid a gulf of salary-cap space in Los Angeles and New York, the promise of glitzy pitches and powerful personas, the summer's most impactful recruiter promises to come with a muffled grunt, a shrug of his shoulders and hands so massive that they could snare the biggest free-agent star of them all.

    San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard can sell Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge on something that Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony are unable: the chance to play with basketball's best burgeoning two-way player, to secure his standing within a Spurs monolith rumbling beyond the genius of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili and into the second act of this generation's greatest basketball dynasty.

    In a perfect scenario, the Spurs have a full understanding of the futures of Duncan, Ginobili and Danny Green when they walk into a 12:01 a.m. ET meeting on July 1 with Leonard and his agent, Brian Elfus, in Los Angeles. The Spurs will offer Leonard a full maximum contract extension, get a commitment and turn themselves toward prying Aldridge back to his Texas roots.

    "Can anybody tell? I don't know."

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  • Antony Ressler finalizes deal to buy Hawks

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    Private equity billionaire Antony Ressler is leading a group that has finalized an agreement to purchase the Atlanta Hawks.

    Ressler’s group will purchase the team from majority owner Bruce Levenson for a figure somewhere between $800 million-plus and $900 million, sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Former NBA All-Star Grant Hill and Atlanta entrepreneur Jesse Itzler will be investors in the group, sources said.

    The new ownership group, which will need to be approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors, is planning to retain Hawks CEO Steve Koonin and keep him in charge of the organization’s day-to-day business.

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  • Sources: Providence guard Kris Dunn plans to return for junior season

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    Providence guard Kris Dunn plans to return for his junior season and bypass the NBA draft, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    A formal announcement is expected soon, sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Dunn is the highest-rated underclassman still publicly undecided about entering the June NBA draft. NBA executives believe the 6-foot-4 Dunn could have ascended into the late lottery – or the mid-part of the first round.

    Draftexpress.com has Dunn pegged at No. 13 in its most recent mock draft.

    Dunn, 21, averaged 15.6 points, 7.5 assists and 2.7 steals for the Friars last season.

     

  • Thunder fire coach Scott Brooks

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    The Oklahoma City Thunder has fired head coach Scott Brooks.

    Thunder general manager Sam Presti traveled to meet Brooks near his California home on Wednesday and delivered the news, sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Presti's decision wasn't a reflection of the job Brooks did this season, but ultimately a long view for the franchise, sources told Yahoo.

    Oklahoma City missed the playoffs for the first time in six years this season, finishing 45-37 with superstar Kevin Durant lost for most of the year.

    Florida coach Billy Donovan is expected to become a serious candidate to replace Brooks, sources told Yahoo.

    Presti has a longstanding friendship with Donovan, a two-time national championship coach who has been open about his interest in moving to the NBA.

    Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie could be a candidate for the Thunder's coaching job, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Ollie was a teammate with Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City and he's an individual whom Presti holds in high esteem. But before Brooks' firing, Ollie issued a statement through a UConn spokesman on Wednesday saying he had no "plans" to pursue other jobs.

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  • Josh Smith's partnership with Dwight Howard flourishing as Rajon Rondo unravels with Mavs

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    HOUSTON – Josh Smith felt like a teenager again, ferocious and free and forever young. He had broken down Dallas' defense, a soft, vulnerable underbelly reduced to rubble. These were old times, tossing those lobs into the air, watching Dwight Howard slam through passes. Old AAU teammates in Atlanta, bringing a barrage to these Houston Rockets, bringing down the house.

    "This was the Peach Jam, the Big Time tournament in Vegas," Smith told Yahoo Sports. He was remembering old AAU circuit stops for the Atlanta Celtics, laughing in the locker room now, awaiting to share a news conference podium with Howard. The fourth quarter belonged to Smith and Howard, the kind of rim runs that long ago sent these two past college and directly into millionaire NBA lives.

    They had run him out of Atlanta and Detroit, and now Josh Smith had run the Dallas Mavericks out of Houston with a 2-0 series lead, with a deeper regret for failing to sign him in January.

    "This is why I came here," Smith told Yahoo Sports.

    Yes, this is why Josh Smith had come here.

  • Sources: Nuggets begin coach search with several candidates on list

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    The Denver Nuggets will begin their coaching search on Thursday, a process that will include serious consideration of interim coach Melvin Hunt, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    After replacing Brian Shaw, Hunt had the Nuggets playing much better basketball, finishing a 30-52 season on a much more competitive 10-13 run.

    Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly and president Josh Kroenke plan a broad search with a candidate list that will include – among others – ex-head coaches Michael Malone, Mike D'Antoni, Scott Skiles and Alvin Gentry, league sources said.

    Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach David Vanterpool will be one of a handful of assistant coaches contacted about the job, sources said.

    The search will include several college coaching candidates, including Florida's Billy Donovan and Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    With the uncertain future of Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks, his potential availability on the market would make him a strong candidate for the Nuggets job, as well as Orlando's opening, league sources said.

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  • Sources: Thunder to evaluate Scott Brooks' future as coach

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    The Oklahoma City Thunder are expected to spend time evaluating the partnership with coach Scott Brooks before committing to bring him back for the final year on his contract, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Brooks is guaranteed for the 2015-16 season on his deal, with the Thunder holding a team option for 2016-17, sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Oklahoma City missed the playoffs for the first time in six years on Wednesday, finishing 45-37 with superstar Kevin Durant lost for most of the year. Thunder general manager Sam Presti has to decide an organizational direction for the final year of Durant's contract, and that will include a decision about whether Brooks is ultimately the coach most capable of delivering a healthy Thunder roster to a championship. Brooks is well liked within the organization and has forged close relationships with management and players in his seven years as head coach.

    Several league sources close to Brooks have doubts about his job security.

    Brooks was the NBA coach of the year in 2010 and led the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012.

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  • Source: Lakers plan to sign guard Vander Blue

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    Depleted by injuries, the Los Angeles Lakers plan to sign guard Vander Blue for the season’s final two games, a league source told Yahoo Sports.

    Blue has averaged 23.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists for the Lakers’ NBA Development League affiliate, the Los Angeles Defenders.

    The Lakers were left with only two able guards, rookie Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown, for their two remaining games against the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers have lost Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Ronnie Price, Xavier Henry, Nick Young, Wayne Ellington and Jeremy Lin to season-ending injuries.

    Blue, 22, played in the D-League All-Star game and had a brief stop with the Boston Celitcs a year ago. He was undrafted out of Marquette in the 2013 NBA draft.

     

  • Sources: Rod Thorn to retire from NBA

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    Rod Thorn, on his second run as the NBA's president of basketball operations, plans to leave the league office and retire in August, sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Thorn is highly regarded around the league, a figure who commands respect among executives, coaches and players.

    Thorn, 73, returned to the league office in August 2013 to oversee the league's daily operations under commissioner Adam Silver, an appointment that had been planned to be a two-year bridge to a longer-term successor, sources said. Kiki Vandeweghe, the NBA's vice president of basketball operations, is a strong candidate to be promoted to take Thorn's job, sources said.

    Thorn had three stops as a general manager – with the Chicago Bulls, New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. He was the NBA’s Executive of the Year in 2001-02 for orchestrating the Nets’ dramatic turnaround that led to an NBA Finals run. Thorn might best remembered for drafting Michael Jordan to the Chicago Bulls with the third overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft.

    Before joining the Nets in 2000, Thorn had run the league's operations under former commissioner David Stern for 14 years.

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