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And-Ones: Simmons, Cuban, McHale

A major reason Kevin McHale was fired by the Rockets on Wednesday was the front office’s belief that he had lost the locker room, Chris Mannix of relays in response to a reader’s mailbag question. Mannix also notes that McHale’s strength as a coach is not in devising strategies or calling plays, but rather in his ability as a motivator. Houston swingman Corey Brewer has gone on record defending McHale, and emphasized that his former coach did not lose the team, and instead placed the blame for the Rockets’ slow start on the players.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, with an assist from three NBA scouts, ran down the top 10 hoops prospects for the 2015/16 season, including Ben Simmons (LSU), Skal Labissiere (Kentucky), and Brandon Ingram (Duke). The top of next year’s draft could be filled with more international players than usual, Spears notes. “The top three picks might not be from the United States next year,” an NBA scout told Spears. “Blame AAU basketball in America for that.”
  • Simmons had the opportunity to play overseas this season rather than in college, but the talented forward wanted to get a head start on acclimating to the U.S. as well as the style of basketball played here, Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News writes. “I felt like it helped me develop my game more,” Simmons says. “I was able to get the chance to experience different teams, different playing styles. For me it was just more going to high school and competing against the best players every day. It helped me mature, living by myself in Orlando while my parents were back home. A lot of different things come into it: new team, new coaches, different style, system, and living in a different country.
  • Mavs team owner Mark Cuban, who isn’t one to mince words, acknowledged that last season’s trade for Rajon Rondo was a risk that didn’t work out as planned for the team, Ben Rohrbach of WEI 93.7 FM relays. “[Expletive] happens, right? There are a lot of risks I’ve taken that have worked out just fine. They’re not all going to work,” Cuban said.
  • Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant, speaking about his potential retirement during a radio appearance on SiriusXM, said, “If something changes I’ll come back and play next season. If something doesn’t change this is it for me,” Frank Isola of the New York Daily News relays (Twitter link).

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