Phase one of the Clippers offseason is complete, as Ty Lue has finalized his coaching staff for the 2020-21 season. The news was first reported by Andrew Greif of the L.A. Times, and confirmed via the team in its press release.
Building out the bench with experience, depth, and versatility.— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) November 16, 2020
Introducing this year’s staff. pic.twitter.com/tMDk0J8mg8
As was reported earlier, Dan Craig, Chauncey Billups, Larry Drew, and Kenny Atkinson will all be joining Lue on the bench. Another assistant will be Roy Rogers, who has been an assistant coach for the last 12 years with the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics and New Jersey Nets. He also had a brief NBA career spanning 137 games.
As expected, the Clippers are also keeping Jeremy Castleberry. Brendan O’Connor is also sticking around, but Armond Hill, John Welch, and J.P. Clark appear to be on the way out. The team’s release makes no mention of Natalie Nakase, who has been a part of the organization for eight years, including the last two as a player development coach. However, Greif reports that Nakase will be retained.
Another member of Ty Lue's staff, per source: Natalie Nakase.— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) November 16, 2020
Nakase has been with the Clippers since 2012, when the former UCLA player was an intern. Most recently she has been one of team's player development assistants.
It was previously rumored that Billups would be Lue’s lead assistant, but that role will instead go to Craig. Craig is certainly the more experienced of the two, as this will be Billups’ first season as a coach and Craig spent 17 years on the bench in Miami. Given the allure of coaching for the Heat, a team that just made the NBA Finals, becoming the head assistant may have been part of the Clippers’ recruiting pitch for Craig.
The Clippers also announced that Cam Hodges, Shaun Fein, Dahntay Jones, and Beau Levesque will be player development coaches. Fein and Levesque both come from the Nets, where Atkinson was the head coach from 2016 through March of this season. They both got their start as video coordinators, and Fein was the head coach of the Nets’ G League team last year.
Hodges started his coaching career in the G League and has spent the last four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers. Jones is the lone coaching neophyte among the new hires; as an NBA player, his career spanned stops with the Clippers and with the Cavaliers under Lue, where Drew was also an assistant.
Now that this piece of the puzzle is in order, the Clippers can focus full steam ahead on their roster for the upcoming season.