That it happened before this week’s annual draft combine in Chicago, where off-season trade talks typically begin to percolate, won Stevens points for being proactive. You can also safely assume that even the ever-friendly Walker did not want to be shipped to the rebuilding Thunder, who are expected to try to route him elsewhere in a subsequent trade — if they can overcome Walker’s recent knee trouble and the more than $73 million remaining on his contract over the next two seasons.
Ime Udoka, an assistant coach with the Nets, is believed to be at the top of Boston’s list to replace Stevens on the Celtics’ bench.
Washington decided not to retain Scott Brooks as coach despite the steady guidance he gave the Wizards in their recovery from the team’s many coronavirus challenges and a dispiriting 17-32 start. His departure was even more curious given that Brooks is known as a coach who, in two different stops, has reached Russell Westbrook, which is no given for his successor. If the Wizards hire a current assistant coach, as many expect, how Westbrook reacts will be key given the two years and $91 million left on his contract.
Orlando management is said to prefer hiring a candidate with previous head-coaching experience, even with a roster full of younger players who will need time to develop. The Los Angeles Lakers’ Jason Kidd and Kenny Atkinson, who coached the Nets before becoming an assistant with the Clippers, are two names that keep coming up.
Indiana, in its search to replace Nate Bjorkgren after just one season, is even more likely to than the Magic to seek a coach with prior head-coaching experience. Terry Stotts, who just left Portland, continues to generate the most buzz.
In Portland, there is a growing belief that Jody Allen, the team’s owner, has a strong interest in Becky Hammon, who has been an assistant coach in San Antonio for seven seasons in her quest to become the first woman to serve as a head coach in any of North America’s four major men’s team sports. Neil Olshey, Portland’s general manager, continues to be relentlessly linked to Chauncey Billups, the former N.B.A. finals M.V.P. working as an assistant alongside Atkinson with the Clippers. As for the Portland star Damian Lillard, who initially voiced public support for Kidd before Kidd withdrew from consideration, we await an updated preference.