Tagged in: staff

Mike D’Antoni joins Steve Nash’s staff with Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets sideline is going to be filled with a lot of offensive masterminds next campaign, as Mike D’Antoni has agreed to a deal to become an assistant coach on Steve Nash’s staff, the team informed Friday.

D’Antoni stepped down as head coach of the Houston Rockets shortly after the team lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Lakers, and many thought he would find another head coaching position around the league. 

Early during his coaching free agency, D’Antoni was attached to multiple jobs, including the Pelicans and the Pacers. But it was reported in mid-October that the two-time Coach of the Year was a potential candidate to join the Nets coaching staff. 

With D’Antoni joining Brooklyn’s staff, it reunites him with Nash, who he coached during two separate stints throughout Nash’s profession. Most notably, though, was their time in Phoenix, where with D’Antoni at the helm and Nash as the star point guard, the two orchestrated one of the most prolific offenses in league history, with the Seven Seconds or Less Suns. 

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Now, with Nash beginning his first head coaching job, he’ll be able to lean on a coach who helped him secure two league MVP awards and played an integral role into him becoming a Hall of Fame player.

Between the two of them, they’ll be able to come up with creative ways to use their two stars in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, and will no doubt have an offense that can put a lot of points on the board. 

Also joining D’Antoni on the coaching staff is Ime Udoka

Udoka spent seven years under Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, and most recently a season with the Philadelphia 76ers. Like D’Antoni, Udoka was being considered for several head coaching gigs around the league, including the Bulls and the Sixers, however both teams went in different directions.

Now, Udoka will be able to bring what he learned under Popovich’s stewardship to a Nets team that has championship objectives next season. With the addition of D’Antoni and Udoka, Nash has assembled quite the impressive coaching staff for a first-timer.

Jacque Vaughn will remain the Nets top assistant coach, and former teammate Amar’e Stoudemire will also join him as an assistant focusing on player development. Stoudemire and Nash spent several seasons together playing for the Suns where they formed one of the best pick-and-roll combinations in the mid-2000s.

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NFL coaching staff can return to facilities beginning friday

NFL coaches will be permitted to return to team facilities beginning Friday.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport obtained a memo sent to teams from Commissioner Roger Goodell that allows coaching staffs to be among the employees eligible to return to club facilities starting Friday, June 5.

Players not seeking treatment for injuries are still barred from working at team facilities.

According to the memo, coaches may return only if the team has “received necessary permission from state and local governments to reopen its facility.” Clubs may also increase the number of employees in the facility to a total of 100, if allowed by local authorities.

Rapoport reported that the league anticipates only the San Francisco 49ers are not able to get to their facility Friday. The Niners are aware and supportive of the plan and have communicated with local authorities to obtain all necessary permissions when available, per Rapoport.

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“It is what it is,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Thursday. “I’m not too upset about it. Yeah, you want every advantage possible, but our county is not there yet and it doesn’t bother me that much because I do understand. Plus, the players aren’t allowed in. Us coaches, we can meet like we’re doing right now on Zoom.”

The NFL closed all 32 team facilities earlier this spring as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the U.S.

Team facilities were allowed to start reopening on May 19, but coaches and players were barred from returning as many states continued with lockdown orders. Protocols put in place will continue to be followed as additional members of the teams are allowed to re-enter the building.

Friday’s return to the office for coaching staffs will be the next step in gearing up for the 2020 campaign. The Eagles announced later Thursday that their facilities are set to reopen Monday to limited employees.

The memo to teams noted that coaches and other staff, “particularly those who may be in a higher risk category or who have concerns about their own health conditions,” are expected to meet with medical staff or a personal physician about any special precautions that must be taken while at the team facility. The league office will also work with team medical staff to implement COVID-19 testing for coaching staffs and other personnel prior to players becoming eligible to return to club facilities.

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Utah Jazz undergo layoffs amid coronavirus pandemic

The first organization in the NBA has formally made layoffs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A small percentage” of the Utah Jazz workforce — as part of larger overall layoffs within the Larry H. Miller Group — lost their jobs on Friday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The layoffs, per the report, were limited to non-basketball staff members, though it’s unclear how many lost their jobs. Some employees will also start taking pay reductions.

“Due to the impact on our customer-facing businesses from this unprecedented pandemic, the [Miller Group] …. unfortunately had to make difficult decisions to reduce a small percentage of our workforce,” the organization said in a statement, via Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune. “Over the past several weeks, we have worked to manage and reduce costs, including executive compensation, and have reached a point where we have had to say farewell to a limited number of our valued employees.

“We have connected with our associates with outplacement services and aligned them with employers who have immediate hiring needs. We remain focused on helping our communities stay healthy.”

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The NBA suspended operations on March 11, just moments after Jazz veteran Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

Several others across the league have since tested positive, including Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, Knicks owner James Dolan and others. There is still no plan in place for a return this campaign, though plenty of ideas have been floated should the league be able to return at all.

Many teams have created plans and funds to help displaced arena and staff workers amid the league hiatus in recent weeks, led by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who announced he was setting up a plan the same night the league shut down. 

The Philadelphia 76ers briefly announced that it was planning to reduce employee salaries, however quickly shut that down after immense public backlash. 

The Jazz are the first organization to officially introduce layoffs, however several others are looking into that option, according to ESPN.

The NBA reportedly asked players to take a 50 percent pay cut starting on April 15 on Friday, though the NBPA countered with a 25 percent pay cut starting in mid-May.

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Reds staff member in Arizona tests positive for coronavirus

An Arizona-based employee of the Cincinnati Reds has tested positive for COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, the team informed on Wednesday.

The Reds have their spring training facility at Goodyear Ballpark in the West Valley and share the facility with the Cleveland Indians. The camp is on Estrella Parkway and Yuma Road near Phoenix Goodyear Airport.

The latest update on Wednesday stated the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Arizona was 27, the Arizona Department of Health Services announced. It’s not clear whether that total included this Reds employee.

“As part of our commitment to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Reds are sending a precautionary notice to those who were inside the building of the Reds Spring Training Complex in Goodyear, Arizona, that an Arizona-based Reds employee has tested positive for COVID-19,” a statement from the team said.

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“For your reference, the dates involved are February 29, 2020 through March 14, 2020. The Reds staff who came in close contact with this employee are being tested and have self-quarantined. We will continue to follow the state and local guidelines for the prevention and treatment of COVID-2019.”

The city of Goodyear stated in a press release that team staff in close contact with the employee are being tested and have self-quarantined.

“Goodyear continues to practice very strict sanitizing measures at all city facilities, including the Goodyear Ballpark where spring training games have been cancelled since March 12. City staff continues to practice social distancing to reduce human-to-human contact.”

In a conference call, Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen said he isn’t aware of any impact this has on D-backs players or employees.

“I have not been notified that there would be concern as of this minute in terms of that. I do know our last spring training game was with the Reds, but I don’t believe we’ve had any contact,” he said. “But we’re asking those questions.”

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