Pacific Notes: Walton, Warriors, Belinelli, Metta

The Warriors plan to hire the replacement for assistant coach Luke Walton from outside the organization, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Stein notes that former Cavaliers coach David Blatt came close to joining Steve Kerr on Golden State’s bench in 2014 but adds that Blatt may not be willing to become an assistant now as he waits for his next head coaching job (Twitter link). The Warriors say they won’t look at candidates to take Walton’s place until they are finished with the playoffs (Twitter link).

There’s more news out of the Pacific Division:

  • Walton and Alvin Gentry, who left after last season to coach the Pelicans, could be the first of many Warriors assistants to land head coaching jobs, speculates Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN.com. Jarron Collins, another highly regarded Golden State assistant, could be next, and Strauss believes Chris DeMarco, Nick U’Ren and Theo Robertson may eventually follow. Kerr is a fan of all three, and their responsibilities in the organization are growing.
  • Kings swingman Marco Belinelli blasts the organization in an interview with Sky Sport Italy (h/t to Sportando). He believes the tension between former coach George Karl and star center DeMarcus Cousins created dissension on the team from the start of the season. Belinelli says executive Vlade Divac tried to broker peace between Karl and Cousins, but without much success. Belinelli adds that he saw “very bad stuff” in the Kings locker room and contrasts it to the atmosphere he was accustomed to in San Antonio. Belinelli has two years left on his contract with the Kings.
  • His improbable comeback with the Lakers this season has helped Metta World Peace find balance in his life, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The 36-year-old, who entered the NBA in 1999 as Ron Artest, was out of the league for a full season before earning a roster spot with L.A. last fall. “I always tell people there was only one black hole that was able to be a star again,” World Peace said of changing his reputation. “That was Ron Artest. There should be no turning back. Once you’re a black hole, you’re a black hole. But I was able to resurface and do what I had to do. And that’s something I’m proud of.”

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