An Eastern Conference executive who spoke to Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News points to Nets coach Jason Kidd as a prime example of why the Knicks can’t replace Mike Woodson with Allan Houston, a possibility broached earlier this week. Houston, like Kidd, has no previous coaching experience, and “would be a disaster,” in the exec’s opinion. Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:
- Within the previously linked piece, Lawrence writes that he heard Lawrence Frank “regularly honed in on other assistant coaches’ work and often acted like he was in charge,” which was one reason for his re-assignment. Lawrence adds that Kidd won’t really be in trouble unless he gets a fully healthy roster and still struggles to win games.
- Frank has hired attorney David Cornwell, who also represents Jonathan Martin of the Miami Dolphins and Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. As we heard on Wednesday, Frank intended to retain legal counsel to help work out a buyout agreement with the Nets.
- Asked about a report suggesting that Carmelo Anthony had been recruiting him to sign with the Knicks in 2015, Rajon Rondo was bemused, writes Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. “[Steve Smith] must know something that I don’t know,” Rondo said of his old Oak Hill Academy coach, the source of the rumor.
- It looks like Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel will each be a part of the Sixers‘ future, but Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier-Times wonders if there are any other “keepers” currently on Philadelphia’s roster.
LaMarcus Aldridge spoke to Jim Rome of CBS Sports Radio this week about the trade rumors that surrounded him this summer, chalking it up to passing frustration, as Ben Golliver of Blazer’s Edge notes in his transcript of the most notable passages.
“It was just me being overly emotional at the time,” Aldridge said. “Nobody wants to lose. I’m in my prime right now. At the time, I was a little emotional about not winning or what not. After I had time to talk to (Blazers GM) Neil (Olshey) and the team, I knew they were going to make some moves, bring some guys in.”
Aldridge is eligible to sign an extension, and when Rome asked whether he’d sign one, Aldridge said he’ll deal with the matter in the offseason. His decision will be a key story next summer, and as we await that, there’s more out of the Northwest Division:
- Damian Lillard, the Blazers‘ other linchpin, doesn’t seem at all reticent about his willingness to commit to the team long-term, judging by his comments to Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune. “I love it here,” Lillard said. “Hopefully this is where I’ll always be. I’m not saying that just to be politically correct. I really hope so. My family likes it here. Hopefully it will be a career-long thing for me.”
- Gordon Hayward discusses this year’s steep increase in his on-court responsibilities with USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt. Hayward professes his love for the team and calls himself a “Jazz guy” in response to a question about his upcoming restricted free agency.
- Brian Shaw had been passed over multiple times for head coaching jobs, but before landing his Denver gig this summer he was confident he’d wind up with the Nuggets, Nets or Clippers, tweets Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.
Knicks fans have had little to celebrate this year, but they can point to last night’s blowout of the crosstown Nets for intra-city bragging rights. They may also glean some hope from today’s report that Carmelo Anthony believes he can convince Rajon Rondo to come to New York, since recruitment of Rondo, who isn’t a free agent until 2015, would seem to signal that Anthony wants to stick around New York for the long term. Here’s more on New York’s teams:
- Newsday’s Al Iannazzone speculates that the Knicks could trade Anthony if they believe he’ll leave in free agency, but I’d be shocked if New York counted itself out of this summer’s Anthony sweepstakes before it even began.
- The Knicks will have a tough time contending even if Anthony re-signs, writes Chris Mannix of SI.com, who believes a parting of ways would be best for both player and team.
- The struggles of the Nets and Knicks suggest the provisions in the collective bargaining agreement designed to protect small-market teams are working, fellow SI.com scribe Ian Thomsen observes. The failure of Brooklyn’s aging stars may dissuade other teams from copying the Nets’ approach, Thomsen adds.
- Iman Shumpert‘s resurgent play could make the Knicks less inclined to trade him, writes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The Nets made Jason Kidd aware of all the consequences of demoting former lead assistant coach Lawrence Frank, including the negative perception it would entail for the franchise, a source tells ESPNNewYork.com columnist Ian O’Connor. The result is that the pressure is squarely on Kidd now, O’Connor writes.
- There’s plenty of blame on both sides of the Kidd/Frank saga, opines Dave D’Alessandro of the Newark Star-Ledger.
- P.J. Carlesimo, the coach of last year’s Nets, is optimistic this year’s Brooklyn team can turn it around, as he tells D’Alessandro.
Derrick Rose was asked to comment on the idea that the Bulls should look to move on without him after his latest injury, and he had this to say: “What do you mean?…You can be a fool if you want to…I know I’m going to be alright…I know I am (going to be the same player). A better player…If anything, this should even me out. When I think about it, the injury, I just turned and this happened, kind of like a freak accident. I put all I had into coming back and if this was to happen 10 more times I’d be able to deal with it” (Sam Smith of Bulls.com).
Here’s more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
- Earlier today, we made note that Rose wouldn’t rule out a return to the court if he managed to get healthy in time for the postseason. On the other hand, head coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t seem willing to entertain the thought of looking that far ahead: “To me, he’s out for the season…If something changes along the way…We want him to be completely healthy before he moves forward…We can’t worry about whether he may come back. Right now, it’s been determined that he’s out for the season, so that’s the way we’re going to approach it” (Sean Highkin of USA Today).
- In responding to one of his Twitter followers, Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld said that the notion of dealing Larry Sanders for a lottery pick next year would not even be a consideration (Twitter link).
- Keith Pompey of Philly.com talks about how James Anderson has excelled in his reserve role as of late after beginning the season as a starter for the 76ers.
- We’ve relayed quite a bit from the Knicks and Nets this evening, and five ESPN writers decided to chime in on why both teams have been playing poorly, who has the hotter seat between Mike Woodson and Jason Kidd, which team will be worse in April, and which has a rougher future ahead.
- Hawks GM Danny Ferry voiced his support for Cavaliers coach Mike Brown, telling FOX Sports Ohio’s Sam Amico: ”(Brown’s) a relentless worker and a quality, high character person. He is a good teacher and holds players accountable. His will and passion for defense will always give any team a strong chance to be successful. This will have such a strong impact for a team establishing a foundation for years to come.”
- There may have been a chorus of boos for Kidd tonight at the Barclays Center during the pre-game introductions, but the Nets coach gets a vote of confidence from his former teammate J.R. Smith: “Criticism is going to come…He’s a first-year coach and he’s a great basketball mind. Just unfortunately, he’s going through it early. Some coaches have success early, some struggle early. He just happens to be struggling right now…I think he’s the best fit for that job and he knows how to get out of it. He’s got a great core of vets, so he’ll be fine” (Roderick Boone of Newsday).
- The Celtics sit atop the Atlantic Division, but the team isn’t letting their early success get to their head and remains focused on continuing to work hard (Marc D’Amico of Celtics.com).
We’re less than an hour before tip-off between the Atlantic Division’s cellar dwelling Knicks and Nets, and despite both teams’ struggles to start the season, one of the two will be able to avoid sinking further for now with a win tonight. Here’s some of the latest out of Manhattan and Brooklyn:
- SB Nation’s Tom Ziller goes into detail about what’s ailing the Knicks and Nets, how both teams should fare over the course of the season, and what may be in store if things continue to go poorly.
- To those who doubt that Knicks owner James Dolan would be willing to work with Jeff Van Gundy again after the latter’s abrupt in-season exit over a decade ago, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reminds us that in April 2008, Van Gundy had been considered for the the head coaching job by then-team executive Donnie Walsh. Isola also states that Dolan approved of the team’s interest in Van Gundy back then as well, although the former head coach would later tell Walsh that he wasn’t interested (Twitter links).
- Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld ponders what the current trade market for Carmelo Anthony is, and, considering that the Knicks star has the option to become an unrestricted free agent after this season and/or won’t necessarily have to commit long-term elsewhere if traded, argues that the team will have no other choice but to explore low-ball offers at this point.
- Following last season’s team exit interview, Mike Woodson was under the impression that Jason Kidd would be returning for another season with the Knicks, and was caught off-guard by the 40-year-old point guard’s retirement: “Absolutely I thought he was coming back…I did. I was surprised. Jason spent a long time in this league. He has the right to retire and move on. Obviously he had something else going and wound up here as a head coach. We would’ve loved to have him back. It wasn’t the case” (Marc Berman of the New York Post via Sulia).
If you had December 5th circled on your calendar to make sure you didn’t miss the Knicks and Nets squaring off in Brooklyn…feel free to make some alternate plans instead. With the Knicks at 3-13 and the Nets not looking much better at 5-13, there are serious doubts about whether NYC’s teams will recover this season. The latest from the Big Apple..
- Knicks owner James Dolan was largely motivated to trade for Carmelo Anthony in 2011 so that he didn’t wind up in Brooklyn. “There was definitely a fear that Carmelo would wind up with the Nets if the Knicks didn’t get him,” a former Knicks employee told Harvey Araton of the New York Times. “Dolan was annoyed by the billboard [of Prokhorov and then minority owner Jay-Z near MSG] — you couldn’t blame him for that — and he was determined to make sure he got Carmelo.”
- Araton checked in with Prokhorov via email for his story and the Nets owner indicated that he’s not ready to panic. “We’re only a month into the season! Give it a little time. And have a little faith,” Prokhorov wrote.
- The Russian owner also took the opportunity to send a jab in Dolan’s direction. After the pow-wow earlier this year featuring the two owners and commissioner David Stern, Dolan quipped that he got a “free lunch” out of the meeting. Asked what he got out of it, Prokhorov wrote in his email, “As logic would dictate, the check.”
- At least one person is optimistic that the Nets and Knicks will rebound in 2013/14. ”I believe New York and Brooklyn are too talented of teams to continue on the track that they’re on,” said Celtics GM Danny Ainge, according to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). Ainge’s Celtics currently occupy the top spot in the Atlantic Division, but they’re also three games from last place.
Timofey Mozgov might be the hottest player in the NBA right now and that can be largely attributed to assistant coach Melvin Hunt, writes Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post. ”All the Russian I know can’t be repeated,” Hunt explained, “because when he gets frustrated and says them, I know they’re bad words.” More from around the Association..
- Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer doesn’t expect Dennis Schröder to stay in the D-League for long. ”My guess is he’ll be back sooner but we’ll see how it’s going down there and how it’s going up there,” Budenholzer said, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter). Atlanta assigned the rookie guard earlier today.
- Sean Deveney of the Sporting News attempts to fix the Eastern Conference for all the teams not named the Heat or Pacers. The list, unsurprisingly, starts with the Nets and the struggles of offseason addition Kevin Garnett.
- A few league executives and scouts indicated to Adam Zagoria of SNY (on Twitter) that Glenn Robinson III‘s stock is falling. The Michigan standout is currently slotted to go No. 17 on DraftExpress’ mock draft.
- The Nets and Knicks better hope that they can turn things around this season because they can’t hope to build through the draft, notes Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. Both NYC teams have mortgaged their futures in an effort to contend in the present.
The Eastern Conference will have a few chances to improve its dismal record against the West tonight, as the Cavs and Hawks host the Nuggets and Clippers respectively, while the Pacers play in Utah. As we look forward to a night of NBA action, let’s check out a few items from around the East….
- Having been demoted by the Nets, Lawrence Frank will retain “high-powered” legal counsel, likely in the hopes of working out a buyout agreement with the team, a source tells Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. As various reports have noted since Frank’s “re-assignment” yesterday, the Brooklyn assistant signed a lucrative six-year contract with the club this summer.
- In spite of Derrick Rose‘s season-ending injury, the Bulls are still excited about their future, GM Gar Forman said on ESPN Radio on Tuesday. Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com has the key quotes from Forman.
- Along with ESPN’s Scoop Jackson and Doug Padilla, Friedell debates whether the Bulls believe they’ll re-sign Luol Deng next summer, in a separate piece.
- Given the way Michael Beasley has played this season, it’s clear that at least one of the Heat‘s two non-guaranteed players will have his salary guaranteed, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Roger Mason is the other Miami player on a non-guaranteed contract.
- Beasley ranks among the best bargain signings of the offseason, according to Lang Greene of HoopsWorld, who also includes Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll in his list.
A strange season in Brooklyn continued yesterday, as the team lost at home to the Nuggets by 24 points to fall to 5-13. Prior to the game, head coach Jason Kidd told reporters that top assistant Lawrence Frank had been “re-assigned” due to philosophical differences. While there had reportedly been some friction between the duo, the move still came as a shock, considering Frank signed a lucrative six-year deal this summer, and was viewed as an experienced right-hand man for Kidd, a first-time coach.
Here’s more on Frank’s demotion and a reeling Nets team:
- Sources told Marc Stein and Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com that the friction between Kidd and Frank began when Joe Prunty, rather than Frank, was chosen as the Nets’ interim coach for the first two games of the season. Frank appeared to be hurt by the decision, according to the ESPN report.
- Nets players tended to side with Kidd, and felt that Frank was overcoaching early in the season, team sources told Stein and Youngmisuk.
- According to the ESPN.com duo, Frank’s six-year contract is worth $1MM in years one and two, then increases to $1.65MM in the third and fourth seasons. The deal includes a position within the organization for the final two years.
- Speaking to Newsday’s Rod Boone, Kevin Garnett acknowledged that Frank’s re-assignment may not be the last of the team’s shake-ups, especially if the team keeps losing.
- Here’s Garnett on the Nets’ situation: “I’m sure management will do what they feel is best for this team and organization, and every guy here has to understand that, and that’s the business part of this. You have to expect that and you can’t think that that’s not going to happen or that it does not exist. That’s just the reality and part of the NBA and sports.”
- Despite all the drama in Brooklyn, the Nets remain the top pick to win the Atlantic Division, according to last night’s Hoops Rumors poll.
Divergent coaching styles and philosophies ultimately prompted Jason Kidd to demote Nets assistant coach Lawrence Frank, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com, but that doesn’t appear to be the only reason for the move. Frank has been badmouthing Kidd around the league, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has additional details on the troubled relationship between the two coaches. Here’s more on the Nets soap opera and the rest of the NBA:
- The Nets maintain their strong support of Kidd, and they still believe he’ll develop into an effective head coach, Mannix writes. Brian Shaw, whom the Nets passed on when they hired Kidd, has “thrilled” Nuggets brass so far, Mannix notes via Twitter.
- Lamar Odom isn’t yet performing basketball drills in workouts, a source tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. The earliest he could be ready to play is mid-January, Berger hears. The Clippers appear in no rush to sign him, even with other teams in the mix.
- Tyler Hansbrough wasn’t pleased with his limited role on the Pacers last season, and while he signed with the Raptors hoping to be a more integral part of his team, he never expected to become the starter he is now, as Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun details.
- A short-term injury to Mike James will force the Bulls to cut Marquis Teague‘s D-League assignment short, reports K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. The Bulls are down to 10 healthy players, but they don’t plan on signing anyone, Johnson says.
- Amid a rough week for the top four college prospects, Kansas center Joel Embiid‘s performance made him a legitimate candidate to become the No. 1 overall pick in June, as Chad Ford of ESPN.com writes in his latest Insider piece on the draft landscape.