The Grizzlies are on a shoestring budget and don’t have the room necessary to bring coach Tom Thibodeau over from the Bulls, writes Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News. “Do they realize how much that will cost?’” said one Chicago official, when word surfaced that the Grizzlies will look at Thibs if Memphis winds up allowing Dave Joerger to take the Timberwolves’ head coaching position. An Eastern Conference president, factoring in Stan Van Gundy’s $7MM/year deal in Detroit, estimated that it would cost Memphis $8MM per year to have Thibodeau serve as their coach and president. Here’s more from today’s column…
- The Cavs are making noises that they aren’t going to offer Kyrie Irving “max money’’ this summer via a long-term extension. They don’t want to deal the 2014 All-Star Game MVP, but it could come to that, especially if the guard and his family continue to tell people that he wants out. Irving hasn’t been a leader in his first three seasons and he’s also gained the unwelcomed reputation as a locker-room problem. “He was just handed too much, too soon,’’ said one source. “You’ve got to make these young guys earn it, and that’s where this team did a bad job with him.’’
- The Cavs are not looking for a coach with a strong veteran presence who wants to do things only his way. That probably rules out Jeff Van Gundy, George Karl, and Lionel Hollins, although Lawrence is a fan of all three. New GM David Griffin is looking for a college or NBA coach who agrees to accept input and instructions from himself and hands-on owner Dan Gilbert.
- The Cavs know they can’t get Kevin Love from the Wolves in a deal for the No. 1 pick. If they keep it, they’re expected to take Kansas big man Joel Embiid, unless the stress fracture in his back injury from last season has the chance to become a long-term issue. Meanwhile, agent Arn Tellem might not make his client’s medical records available to teams with which he doesn’t want Embiid to play.
- The Nuggets aren’t going to allow coach Brian Shaw to come to the Knicks if they fail to land Derek Fisher, even if the Knicks offer compensation. “We didn’t hire Brian for a one-year position with our team,’’ Nuggets president Josh Kroenke said. “We see Brian being with us for years to come.’’ If Fisher turns Jackson down, Kurt Rambis is the next in line.
- Just because Bucks GM John Hammond and Pelicans exec Dell Demps came to New York for the lottery doesn’t mean that they’re going to be around for the long haul. Lawrence gets the sense that both are on the hot seat.