Los Angeles Clippers Rumors

Los Angeles Rumors: Rivers, Bazemore, Nash

April 16 at 12:59pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Los Angeles has never seen an NBA season like this one. The Clippers won their franchise-record 57th game on Tuesday, while the Lakers are in the mix for the fifth-worst record in the league. Here’s the latest on a pair of franchises that have switched places in recent years:

  • The Clippers will end up only a game or two better than last season, but the change in atmosphere that coach and senior VP of basketball operations Doc Rivers brought about suggests they’re primed for a greater step forward in the postseason, opines Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com“It’s one thing when your general manager is trying to trade you,” Matt Barnes told Markazi. “It’s another when your coach is the general manager and trying to trade you.”
  • Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News believes Jodie Meeks, Jordan Farmar, Ryan Kelly and Kendall Marshall are those most likely to return among the Lakers without guaranteed contracts for next season (Twitter link). Medina looks at what’s ahead for several Lakers in a full piece, suggesting the team is likely to extend a qualifying offer to Kent Bazemore to make him a restricted free agent this summer.
  • Steve Nash tells Mike Trudell of NBA.com that he remains unsure of whether he’ll be able to return to the court next season, even as he holds out hope of making a positive contribution in the Lakers lineup.

Knicks Move Closer To Signing Lamar Odom

April 15 at 7:59am CDT By Eddie Scarito

MARCH 15TH: The Knicks and Odom are making progress toward striking a deal before the regular season is over on Wednesday, according to Stein. Odom probably isn’t healthy enough to play in either of the Knicks’ final two games, Stein hears, but the contract would cover 2014/15 with non-guaranteed money, the ESPN.com scribe adds.

MARCH 11TH: The Knicks are considering signing Lamar Odom prior to the end of the season, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). According to Stein (Twitter link) the team is considering a deal with a team option for the 2014/15 season so they could take the summer to evaluate him and his health.

Odom had recently met with Knicks president Phil Jackson, but the reason for the meeting wasn’t made public. Odom, who played for Jackson when both were with the Lakers, had his NBA comeback stalled due to an injury while signed overseas.

He last saw NBA action with the Clippers during the 2012/13 season. In 82 games he averaged 4.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 1.7 APG in 19.7 minutes per game. His career averages are 13.3 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 3.7 APG in 33.4 minutes a night.

Poll: Experienced Coach Or First-Timer?

April 11 at 8:01pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Western Rumors: Jackson, Redick, Franklin

April 2 at 9:41pm CDT By Cray Allred

If the Clippers beat the Suns tonight, they will clinch the Pacific Division title. Here’s more from out west:

  • Marc Stein of ESPN.com writes that Warriors coach Mark Jackson has a uniquely loyal roster in Golden State, and that Warriors brass ought to be very convinced his weaknesses are insurmountable before choosing to part ways with the third-year coach. Stein believes that the most important factor for an NBA coach’s success, other than a talented roster, is player buy-in. Star point guard Steph Curry is adamant that he supports Jackson, and Stein warns that there’s no guarantee a new coach with a winning pedigree could earn the same level of commitment from the Warriors locker room.
  • The Grizzlies have recalled Jamaal Franklin from their D-League affiliate per a team release. The rookie has been sent back and forth between the NBA and D-League a handful of times this season, averaging 1.5 points and 1.1 rebounds in 7.9 minutes per contest in his 19 games with Memphis.
  • J.J. Redick is planning on returning for one of the Clippers next three home games, sources tell Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link). Redick has been out with a bulging disc long enough to raise the question of whether he could miss the rest of the season.
  • Rockets coach Kevin McHale told reporters including Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle that Houston’s staff will miss Kelvin Sampson. “He’s had success wherever he’s been. We’ll all miss him. He’s been a great addition,” said McHale. Sampson was hired by the University of Houston and will leave the Rockets after tonight’s game. Sampson himself had no comment on his departure.

Pacific Notes: Rivers, Warriors, D’Antoni

April 1 at 1:23pm CDT By Chuck Myron

SB Nation’s Paul Flannery checks in with Doc Rivers one year into his shift from the hallowed Celtics to the traditionally woebegone Clippers, and while the coach has himself undergone a change in cultures, he’s busy trying to implement a new attitude in Clipperland.

“I took the gamble, that’s what I always tell people,” Rivers said. “It was me taking this gamble. It’s worth it. If we get it right, it will be worth it. If we get it wrong, it will be a great attempt. It gives me a lot of life and it’s a task. If you know, there’s a lot, not just the basketball part that we’re trying to change here. It’s more the mindset.”

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors ownership and management haven’t publicly dismissed rumors surrounding Mark Jackson because they believe his actions fomented the media storm, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. Amick seconds the frequent suggestion that the team’s postseason performance will determine the coach’s fate.
  • Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report explains the personality conflict between Jackson and Brian Scalabrine, the former assistant coach whom the Warriors reassigned to a gig with their D-League affiliate at Jackson’s behest (video link).
  • Mike D’Antoni has no shortage of affection for Marshall University, his alma mater, writes Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, who wouldn’t be surprised if D’Antoni winds up coaching the school’s basketball team next year. D’Antoni and Marshall reportedly have mutual interest.

Pacific Notes: Jackson, Kings, Cap Space

March 29 at 12:54pm CDT By Cray Allred

Both Tim Kawakami of Bay Area News Group and Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report believe the Warriors players and coaches made a statement of support for coach Mark Jackson with their effort and emotion in a win against the Grizzlies last night, with both Andrew Bogut and David Lee injured (Twitter links). Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • After the game, Warriors forward Draymond Green told Kawakami that the team is in fact unified behind Jackson. “Coach is a guy we fight for and we’re going to continue to fight for,” said Green. “He’s given his all to us and we’re going to continue to give our all to him.”
  • Marcus Thompson of Bay Area News Group thinks that the Warriors would be more at risk by parting ways with Jackson than the coach would be (Twitter link). Thompson says that Jackson would land another job, but the team might not find a suitable replacement as easily.
  • The Kings don’t plan to use their open roster spot on a guard yet as they monitor the health of injured Isaiah Thomas, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. The roster spot remains vacant after the team opted not to sign Royce White for the rest of the year following his second 10-day contract with Sacramento.
  • The Kings struggled in a loss to the Thunder while Thomas sat another game, but Jones finds a bright side to the situation: opportunity and development for Sacramento’s rookie backcourt pairing of Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum. Both players said they were excited to see more minutes. “I’ll take all the minutes I can get,” McCallum said. “I’ve been waiting for the opportunity all year and getting a good opportunity to go out here and get some good experience and go out there and play.”
  • Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders takes a look at the projected cap space for teams in the Pacific, and how each team might use its cap space this summer.
  • We looked at the latest with the Lakers in an earlier roundup.

Warriors Rumors: Jackson, Barnes, O’Neal, Green

March 27 at 1:00pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Impatience from the ownership suite is at the root of much of the tension surrounding the Warriors, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes in his NBA AM piece. The front office is under pressure, and that affects coach Mark Jackson and his coaching staff, according to Kyler, who says the owners often push for roster changes when the team isn’t performing well. The principal owners of the Warriors are Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, but Kyler doesn’t specify whether it’s one or both of them or someone else within the ownership group who is putting the squeeze on. Still, Kyler has other specifics about the uneasiness in Golden State, as we detail below amid our look at the latest from the Pacific Division:

  • Harrison Barnes was the subject of trade rumors before the deadline, and Kyler hears that Warriors ownership started those talks in hope of flipping Barnes for a veteran big man who could help the team win in the short-term. For what it’s worth, Lacob said in February that he wasn’t anxious to move Barnes.
  • Jackson previously denied that there’s dysfunction within the Warriors, and Wednesday he also tried to shoot down the idea that he sought head coaching jobs with the Clippers and Nets, among other teams. Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com has the details.
  • Jackson is an ordained nondenominational Christian minister, and that’s a draw for many players, including Jermaine O’Neal, who said it was one of the primary reasons he signed with the Warriors, and Draymond Green, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News observes.
  • The Warriors expected to contend for the Western Conference title this year, and if they reach the conference finals, Jackson will “almost certainly” return as coach, but if they lose in the first round, he’s a goner, Deveney believes.

Mark Jackson Sought Clippers, Nets Openings

March 25 at 3:29pm CDT By Chuck Myron

3:29pm: Scalabrine will work with the Santa Cruz Warriors, tweets Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group.

1:56pm: Mark Jackson has attempted to become a candidate for several head coaching vacancies over the past several months, including the Clippers and Nets openings, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. A dispute over assistant coach Brian Scalabrine is the latest in a series of disagreements between the Warriors and Jackson, who’s come under increased scrutiny from the front office. The coach’s contract runs through 2014/15, but there have been no extension talks, and none are expected to occur, Wojnarowski writes.

The Warriors are reassigning Scalabrine at the behest of Jackson, in spite of the assistant’s popularity with the front office and ownership, Wojnarowski reports. It’s unclear what Scalabrine’s new role will be, but Warriors management wants to keep him within the organization. The Warriors have decided that they want to let Jackson have decision-making power regarding his staff, but Jackson’s struggles to manage the staff and foster a functional working environment threaten his job security, sources tell Wojnarowski. Kings coach Michael Malone, a former Warriors assistant, went weeks without speaking to Jackson last season, Wojnarowski hears.

Jackson has drawn mention as a possible candidate for the Knicks job, but it’s unclear if that holds true now that Phil Jackson is in charge of basketball decisions for New York. Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob recently said there was “pressure” on Mark Jackson, but it’s unclear if he meant to imply that it was related to his job security or just the common, day-to-day pressure inherent with an NBA head coaching gig. Lacob recently told Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group that he would evaluate the coach after the season.

I do think our coach has done a good job; we have had some big wins, a lot of wins on the road, and that’s usually a sign of good coaching,” Lacob said to Kawakami. ”But some things are a little disturbing; the lack of being up for some of these games at home, that’s a concern to me.”

The Warriors picked up Jackson’s team option for 2014/15 this past July, and Lacob said at the time that he envisioned Jackson remaining his coach for the long-term. That was after the Nets hired Jason Kidd and the Clippers brought in Doc Rivers, but just how much Lacob knew about Jackson’s reported desire for other jobs is not clear.

Sasha Vujacic Signs To Play In Italy

March 25 at 8:03am CDT By Chuck Myron

Former Lakers, Nets and Clippers shooting guard Sasha Vujacic has signed with Reyer Venezia of Italy, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). Massimo Oriani of La Gazzetta dello Sport originally reported the deal. The contract covers the rest of the season for the 30-year-old, who had briefly returned to the NBA last month on a 10-day contract with the Clippers. Doc Rivers said shortly after the deal expired that the club might re-sign Vujacic at some point this season if there was a roster spot available, and though the Clippers have just 14 players at this point, it looks like a reunion won’t materialize.

Vujacic spent most of this season attempting to revive his NBA career, which had been dormant since 2010/11, but his recent decision to join the Interperformances agency might have signaled a shift in plans. He spent 2011/12 and 2012/13 playing for Anadolu Efes in Turkey.

The Slovenian native last played in Italy before the Lakers drafted him 27th overall in 2004. He won a pair of championships with the purple-and-gold, but in parts of eight NBA seasons, he’s never averaged more than 9.8 points per game. He set that career high with the Nets in 2010/11, the only year he averaged as many as 20 minutes per contest.

Western Notes: Westbrook, Jazz, Davis

March 22 at 10:26pm CDT By Cray Allred

While a lot of attention has shifted from the NBA to March Madness this weekend, there are still plenty of good games and intriguing stories around the league. Let’s take a look out West:

  • Today’s MRI and exam of Thunder star Russell Westbrook‘s knee following last night’s collision revealed no issues of concern, per Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman. Royce Young of Daily Thunder adds that Westbrook won’t miss any time from the injury, outside of the pre-existing plan of rest for back-to-backs.
  • Glen Davis is still getting acclimated to the Clippers style of play, telling Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times that he’s still trying to get a feel for his new teammates. “I’m not looking to get a real groove, as far as thinking without thinking kind of method, until the playoffs. So every day is a grind and just a way to get to know everybody,” says Davis. What Chris Paul wants. How he wants it done. What Blake [Griffin] wants. How I should play with Blake, because he’s usually playing with a guy who’s above the rim all the time. So it’s easy for him. I’m different. I’m a different player. I’m below the rim. I’m different from DeAndre [Jordan]. So it’s learning that system and just knowing the guys on the floor.”
  • Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin tells Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune that he wants to see maximum effort from his young roster as the season closes, even though Utah is well out of contention. “The fans deserve to see our best effort,” Corbin said. “I want us to play hard and do this thing the right way. We’ve got to play hard and play well and be professional.” There are plenty of Jazz players with incentive to impress; Utah has nine players that will either be free agents next year or working on non-guaranteed deals heading into 2014/15.