Spurs owner Peter Holt is stepping down as chairman of the NBA’s Board of Governors, notes Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Timberwolves owner and former chairman Glen Taylor will replace him on an interim basis until a new chairman is selected in October (Twitterlinks)
Suns GM Ryan McDonough is confident the team will be able to re-sign Eric Bledsoe this summer, writes Bob Baum of the Associated Press. McDonough said that the backcourt of Bledsoe and Goran Dragic is as good as any in the league, according to the article. Bledsoe is a restricted free agent and the team has repeatedly said they will match any offer another team may make, but the team hopes to work out a deal prior to the free agency period beginning, writes Baum.
The Suns front office discussed the team’s season and their future, including the upcoming NBA Draft and the free agent signing period, writes Matt Petersen of NBA.com.
Despite having ample cap space this summer the Lakers might just stand pat during free agency, writes Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders. It’s possible the team limits itself to possibly re-signing Pau Gasol, hoping to land a good player in the lottery, and waiting until the summer of 2015 to strike in the free agent ranks, opines Koutroupis.
It is certainly no surprise that, after we rounded up the Lakers’ exit interviews earlier tonight, there is already more buzz coming out of Los Angeles. This is the Lakers, after all. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Pau Gasol would consider reuniting with former coach Phil Jackson, now running things with the Knicks. Citing a source, Spears hears that the interest is mutual.
Meanwhile, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report mentions both Van Gundys, Stan and Jeff, as names that stand out to him should the Lakers part ways with Mike D’Antoni. Within the same story, Ding breaks down the team’s draft lottery odds as well as maps out the complicated status of their draft picks beyond this season. Here is what else is going on in the Western Conference:
The fate of Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin will hang in the balance just a little longer, according to Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune, who writes that the team will take a “decompression period” before making a decision on whether or not to bring the coach back. Luhm reports that a decision could come down as soon as this weekend.
With Rick Adelman’s departure imminent, the Wolves head coaching wish list includes Tom Izzo, Fred Hoiberg and Stan Van Gundy, reports Spears in his final power rankings column.
It’s a small silver lining in an otherwise ugly season in Minnesota, but ESPN’s Marc Stein tweets that the Wolves can take solace in the fact that they refused to deal rookie Gorgui Dieng at the trade deadline before they knew what they had (Twitterlinks). The Louisville product was a bright spot in Minnesota down the stretch and figures to be a key contributor in his second season.
Flip Saunders would make himself the Timberwolves next coach if it was up to him, writes Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. Team owner Glen Taylor wants Saunders to focus on one job because he believes a coach lives in the present and a good manager must think for the future, writes Zgoda. He still could change Taylor’s mind, particularly if he convinces Taylor that his coaching system and style will help keep Kevin Love in Minnesota, opines Zgoda.
If the Nuggets can get all of their players healthy to start next season, there could be a big man battle brewing, writes Aaron J. Lopez of NBA.com. The play down the stretch of Timofey Mozgov has put JaVale McGee‘s job as starting center in danger, opines Lopez. Over his past seven games, Mozgov is averaging 17.4 PPG and 9.6 RPG.
The Lakers are limping their way toward the offseason. Both Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman are likely done for the year, per a pair of tweets from Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. Kobe Bryant will not take part in the team’s scheduled exit meetings, opting to meet with GM Mitch Kupchak at a later date, per Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report (via Twitter). Kobe has expressed his frustration with the front office this year, but Kupchak recently said that Lakers brass won’t be making roster or coaching moves at Bryant’s behest. Here’s more from the Western Conference:
Dan Bickley of USA Today wonders whether contract concerns for Eric Bledsoe and Gerald Green could disrupt the Suns‘ chemistry next year. President Lon Babby tells Bickley that Phoenix can’t count on a repeat of this year’s dynamic. “I think chemistry is very, very important,” Babby said. “But I also know from experience that if we brought back the entire group with no changes in personnel, it would be very difficult to re-create the same chemistry…The analogy I use is that it’s like a new year of school. You come back, and everything is a little different. Your friends are a little different.”
Will Barton is enjoying his role with the Blazers, but is uncertain about his future with the team, he tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. “I try not to think about it as much but I do sometimes,” said Barton, whose contract is non-guaranteed for next year. “You just never know what people are thinking. Hopefully I make it past the deadline…Portland took a chance on me. It would be huge if I can stay in Portland. But like I said, it’s a business and I’m aware of that. You just never know.”
In an on-air interview with the Spurs broadcast team, Adam Silver commended San Antonio as a model franchise (transcription via Mike Monroe of San Antonio Express-News). “This is a model franchise, not only for NBA teams but teams in any sport,” said Silver. “This is the prototype of a small market team that is competing in a first-class manner and a well-run business on top of that.”
As we approach the end of the NBA regular season, it’s the time of year when the annual coaching carousel begins to spin and a slew of faces will end up in brand new places. Heading into the 2013/14 season there were a total of 13 coaching changes, which if you’re keeping score at home, is the most ever in a single offseason.
We won’t know for sure just how many teams will be making a change on their bench until the playoffs are over. Normally you would think a playoff spot would ensure job security, but Lionel Hollins, Vinny Del Negro, and Larry Drew all weren’t retained after reaching the playoffs last year. So the exact number of vacancies are up in the air, but we know there will be some.
If your team is making a head coaching change, which would you prefer in your new hire? Do you want a veteran coach with years of experience to lead your team? One who has a proven track record, but also could be carrying baggage and bad habits picked up throughout the years. Or, would you prefer the energy and new ideas a first-time coach can provide? A new coach has more to prove, and might be more in touch with the pulse and culture of his players, but has no experience to rely on, and no track record to predict future performance.
Let’s look at how this year’s crop of new coaches fared as an example. First up, the ones with prior experience:
Doc Rivers (Clippers): The team is 55-24, first in the Pacific Division, and the third seed in the playoffs. Last year’s team went 56-26 under Vinny Del Negro, before Del Negro wasn’t retained and the team traded for Rivers.
Maurice Cheeks (Pistons): He was fired 50 games into the year with a record of 20-29. Detroit was 29-53 in 2012/13 under Lawrence Frank. After the team signed Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings in the off season, owner Tom Gores expected a much better record and for the team to make the playoffs.
Mike Brown (Cavaliers): The team sits at 32-47, which is good for tenth in the eastern conference. Last year under Byron Scott the team had a record of 24-58 and ended up with the first overall selection in the draft.
Larry Drew (Bucks): The Bucks sit at 14-64. which is good for the worst record in the league. In 2012/13 under Scott Skiles and Jim Boylan the team went 38-44.
Now for how the first-time coaches performed:
Jason Kidd (Nets): The Nets are at 43-35, which is good for the fifth overall playoff seed. Kidd replaced interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, whose team finished 2012/13 with a record of 49-33.
Brad Stevens (Celtics): Stevens, taking over for Doc Rivers, has gone 23-55, but has the re-building team heading in a positive direction. Last year’s team went 41-40.
Mike Budenholzer (Hawks): The Hawks have gone 35-43 and currently hold the final playoff spot in the east. Last year’s Larry Drew led squad went 44-38.
Steve Clifford (Bobcats): Clifford has led the Bobcats to a 40-38 record and the sixth seed in the east. Under Mike Dunlap the team went 21-61 during last year’s campaign.
Brian Shaw (Nuggets): The Nuggets have been hampered by injuries all season, and sit at 35-44. Shaw replaced coach of the year winner George Karl, who led the team to a record of 57-25.
David Joerger (Grizzlies): Joerger replaced Lionel Hollins and has guided the team to a record of 46-32, and has the team is one game out of the final playoff spot. Last year the team went 56-26.
Brett Brown (Sixers): Under Brown the Sixers have the second worst record in the league at 17-61, including a record-tying 26 game losing streak. Last season under Doug Collins, the team went 34-48.
Jeff Hornacek (Suns): The Suns are one of the most improved teams in the league with a record of 47-31, and hold the seventh seed in the western conference. Last year under Lindsey Hunter and Alvin Gentry the team went 25-57.
Mike Malone (Kings): Under Malone the Kings have gone 27-52. During the 2012/13 season under Keith Smart the team ended up 28-54.
This means that in their first seasons with their new teams, experienced coaches went 121-164 (.424), and the first-timers went 313-391 (.444). There are many different factors outside a coach’s control that contribute to the team’s final record, but the nature of the NBA is that the coach is the first one to take the heat.
Now it’s time to vote. If your team makes a coaching change this off season, do you want an experienced person hired, or would you prefer the team brings in a brand new face? Cast your vote below and feel free to give your thoughts in the comments section below.
Adam Silver tells Darren Rovell of ESPN.com that the NBA is willing to consider subsidizing costs for collegiate players’ career insurance and basic living necessities, as part of the league’s push to increase the age limit for the draft. “It does, in my mind, need to be a three-way conversation,” Silver said. “You heard college administrators at press conferences around the [NCAA] tournament say that it’s the NBA’s problem or the union is putting up resistance. It’s a more complex problem than that.” Here’s more from around the league:
Nuggets forward Jan Vesely has many fans among Denver’s brass, tweets Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post. Vesely, who came over to the Nuggets at the trade deadline, will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders says that the Bobcats owe most of their dramatic turnaround to the addition of Al Jefferson, who signed a three-year, $40.5MM contract with Charlotte last summer. Kennedy argues that Jefferson’s impact has been worthy of MVP consideration.
Mike Woodson tells Al Iannazzonne of Newsday that he still hasn’t had a sit-down with Knicks president Phil Jackson, but insists he’s focused on the immediate future and trying to get New York into the playoffs. “I gather he’s kind of staying out of the way and letting me do my thing in terms of trying to get this team in the playoffs,” Woodson said. “That’s okay. I’m sure when the time comes he and I’ll have a chance to sit down and talk and see where we are.”
Woodson also responded to Larry Brown‘s recent comments, which were critical of the treatment Woodson has received from the Knicks. “Larry’s his own guy and I have a great deal of respect for Larry,” Woodson said. “But Mike Woodson’s his own guy as well. For me, it’s been a roller-coaster year — for all of us. I’ve never shied away from taking responsibility of this team. I’m the coach of this team and I take great pride in that.”
The Nuggets aren’t worried about playoff seeding for the first time in over a decade. Instead, their fans can monitor the reverse standings to see what Denver’s lottery odds will be, heading into a promising draft class. Here’s more from Denver:
Coach Brian Shaw thinks the Nuggets have to alter their roster this summer, but he doesn’t think the change needs to be sweeping, as he told reporters today, including Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post. Shaw is looking for one or two players from inside or outside the organization “to come to the forefront as leaders,” and he’d like to have a perimeter “lock down defender,” Dempsey notes (AllfiveTwitterlinkshere).
While Denver plays out the season, losing six of their last seven, Shaw tells Dempsey in a separate piece that what happens on the court still matters, ”There’s a lot of things that we can learn from,” Shaw said. Dempsey highlights recent performances by 21-year-olds Quincy Miller and Evan Fournier, who have been improving their play.
Aaron Brooks‘ strong play since joining the Nuggets in a midseason trade has increased his market value. The sixth-year point guard tells Aaron J. Lopez of Nuggets.com that he hasn’t ruled out re-signing with Denver next season, despite the presence of Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson on the roster. “Any place that has me, I’ll be happy,” Brooks said. “I like it here. It’s kind of jammed at the point guard spot, but I like it here. They have a good team coming back.”
The Nuggets asked a handful of teams six months ago whether they’d be interested in acquiring Kenneth Faried in exchange for a 2014 first-rounder or an attractive wing player on a rookie contract, sources tell Grantland’s Zach Lowe. Faried has improved measurably this season, as Lowe details, and while the power forward tells Lowe that he and the Nuggets haven’t talked about an extension, which he’d be eligible to sign this summer, Faried adds that he’d like to stay in Denver.
Lowe’s report adds credence to early-season rumors about a trade involving Faried and Iman Shumpert of the Knicks. Part of the reason the Nuggets made those calls was out of fear that Faried and agent Thad Foucher would seek and find an offer with eight-figure salaries when the former 22nd overall pick hits restricted free agency in 2015, Lowe writes. It’s unclear how much the Nuggets value Faried now, but Nuggets GM Tim Connellyspoke highly of Faried recently, and coach Brian Shaw referred to Faried and Ty Lawson as the team’s cornerstones. Lawson is in the midst of a four-year, $48MM extension he signed when Masai Ujiri was still Denver’s GM.
Faried’s name was in rumors off and on before the deadline, and he said after the deadline passed that the chatter gave him confidence that other NBA teams think of him as a commodity. Executives around the league view him differently than they did before the season, according to Lowe, but his defense continues to be a weak spot. Still, the 24-year-old has become an efficient post-up player and remains a threat on the offensive glass, so the negotiations that he and Foucher have with the Nuggets figure to be among the most intriguing of the offseason.
Here’s a look at the latest out of the Southwest Division..
Brian Roberts achieved a key milestone Sunday, starting his 41st game for the Pelicans this season. That means he’s met the NBA’s starter criteria for restricted free agents, and the value of his qualifying offer surged from $1,115,243 to $3,450,156, as we detailed. It’ll be interesting to see if that prompts New Orleans to decline to make that qualifying offer for a player who’d likely return to a backup role behind a healthy Jrue Holiday next season. Without the qualifying offer, Roberts would become an unrestricted free agent.
The Nuggets did not pick up the fourth-year option on Jordan Hamilton’s contract before the season, assuring he will be a free agent this summer, but he’s making the most of his situation now with the Rockets. “It’s a contract year, so I’m definitely auditioning for whoever,” Hamilton said, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “I just have to come out every day and just play my ‘A’ game every chance I get when I’m out there. This is a great team, a great group of young guys. I’m young (24), as well. I think I would fit right in next year. I need to stay in shape and do all the little things they want me to do. This is a good situation.” Hamilton, who came to Houston in exchange for Aaron Brooks, went on to say complimentary things about coach Kevin McHale and the rest of the staff for helping him grow as a player.
Former Rockets guard Scott Machado has signed in France with ASVEL Basket, according to a tweet from Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The team has also confirmed the signing via press release (French link).
Kenneth Faried is headed toward the final year of his rookie-scale contract and will be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2015. Re-signing him to an extension this summer will certainly cost the Nuggets, but figuring out what he’s worth is the harder question, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. The article analyzes what the top power forwards are paid, and Faried’s financial place amongst them. In 74 games this season, Faried has averaged 13.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 1.2 APG in 26.6 minutes per contest.
More from around the league:
Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv runs down the NBA Draft prospects who will be playing in Monday night’s NCAA Championship game.
Despite being able to opt out of his current deal this summer, Rudy Gay feels that there is a good chance he could be back with the Kings next season, writes Bill Ingram of Basketball Insiders. Gay said that, “Everything is a possibility. For right now I just owe it to my teammates to finish out the season to the best of my ability, and not to comment too much. Obviously this team has the talent and the coach to put it all together.“
Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link) believes it’s a good move for Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky to return to school for another season. Mannix thinks another year could improve their draft stocks, as he had them both slotted as second-rounders this year.