According to Marc Spears, Jamelle McMillan will be joining the Phoenix Suns coaching ranks come next season.
At the conclusion of the 2017-18 campaign, many speculated that at least one of either Chris Finch or Darren Erman could be pried away from Alvin Gentry’s coaching staff, but in the end, it appears that another wonderfully helpful mind — who will be greatly missed — has succumbed to a better offer within the Association.
New Orleans Pelicans assistant Jamelle McMillan is joining the Phoenix Suns’ coaching staff, a source tells @TheUndefeated. The son of Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan is one of the youngest assistants in the NBA at 29 years old.— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) June 18, 2018
After working for Drake University as the Director of Basketball Operations, McMillan joined the New Orleans franchise as a coaching intern shortly after Anthony Davis was selected by the Hornets in the 2012 NBA Draft. In all, Jamelle spent six seasons with the organization and worked his way up the ladder, serving in player development and leading the 2017 Pelicans Summer League team as the Head Coach among other positions and responsibilities.
As far as McMillan’s replacement, it appears New Orleans may already has their eyes set on Ainars Bagatskis, the former national coach of Latvia, as he is slated to assist Kevin Hanson in Las Vegas next month.
New Orleans Pelicans and Kevin Hanson add Ainars Bagatskis to their Summer League staff. He coached Kristaps Porzingis with Latvia's national team and served as an asst for David Blatt.— David Pick (@IAmDPick) June 15, 2018
Bagatskis has achieved results throughout his career. In two seasons at the helm, he led Budivelnyk Kyiv to consecutive Ukrainian Basketball SuperLeague titles. The following year he joined Nizhny Novgorod (Luke Babbitt played for them in 2013-14), and despite salary payment issues, he was lauded for his accomplishments. And for eight years in coaching for clubs across Europe, Bagatskis helped put the Latvian National Team on the map.
‘’Bagatskis has been at the helm of the national team since 2010. With him as coach, the Latvian squad gradually improved it results each year, from 22nd place at EuroBasket 2011 to 5th place at EuroBasket 2017,’’ Voins said. ‘’This is what I call excellent growth. The whole coaching staff was productive in their work.’’
If New Orleans decision-makers like what they see and hear during the upcoming slate of Summer League games, it seems natural to think that Bagatskis will find himself on the Pelicans bench next season.