Mike D’Antoni didn’t exactly endear himself to Lakers fans when he revealed that he was unaware of the draft lottery implications of the team’s game against the Jazz on Monday night, as Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding chronicles. The Lakers are the sixth-worst team in the league, as our Reverse Standings show, but they could have moved into a three-way tie for fourth with a loss. Here’s more on the Lakers and their Pacific Division rivals:
The Warriors recalled Ognjen Kuzmic and Nemanja Nedovic from the D-League on Monday, the team announced. The rookies helped Golden State’s D-League affiliate sweep the affiliate of the Lakers in the D-League playoffs.
Sources identified a long list of potential NBA GM candidates to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Doug Collins, Mavs director of player personnel Tony Ronzone, Blazers director of college scouting Chad Buchanan, Bucks assistant GM David Morway, Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks, Knicks director of pro personnel Mark Hughes, Wizards director of player personnel Frank Ross, Pacers director of scouting Ryan Carr, Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, Magic assistant GM Matt Lloyd, Jazz assistant GM Justin Zanik, and Rockets executive VP of basketball ops Gersson Rosas all earned mentions. Here’s tonight’s look around the Association..
The Kings have recalled Willie Reed from the Reno Bighorns, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee (on Twitter). The Bighorns were eliminated from the D-League playoffs on Sunday.
Jordan Farmar reiterated his interest in re-signing with the Lakers following the club’s 102-90 loss yesterday to the Grizzlies, writes Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News. ”Of course, I’d be a Laker,” Farmar said. “And if I was [General Manager] Mitch [Kupchak], I would sign me.” The guard averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 assists despite playing in only 39 games this season due to injury.
DeMarcus Cousins received his 16th technical of the season during tonight’s Kings/Wolves game. If the technical isn’t rescinded by the league, he will incur an automatic one-game suspension and have his season ended prematurely. Here’s more from out west:
Mitch Kupchak told Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News that the Lakers are interested in re-signing Pau Gasol this summer. “There’s great interest in re-signing Pau back,” the Lakers GM said. “I don’t know why there would not be interest. He’s a Hall of Famer. But by virtue of being a free agent, he’s in the market place. By being in the market place, we have to see how things play out.”
For his part, Gasol told Mike Trudell of Lakers.com he’s excited about meeting with multiple teams when he becomes a free agent, including the Lakers (Twitter link).
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.
The loss the Warriors suffered to the Nuggets on Thursday puts them just two games up on the ninth-place Grizzlies, and the Jazz, who own Golden State’s first-round pick, will surely be rooting for the Warriors to lose in the season’s final days. Here’s more from the Western Conference:
Kent Bazemore is set to become a restricted free agent at season’s end, and while his value appears to have surged since he joined the Lakers at the trade deadline, he’s not simply looking to cash in, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News observes. “I’m all about the basketball aspect of things. I don’t want much. I’m not a guy who’s going to chase money on a bad team. I want to win,” Bazemore said. “This is the Los Angeles Lakers. I don’t see many people turning down an opportunity to be here.”
Rockets GM Daryl Morey confirmed that the conclusion that Greg Smith will miss the rest of the season led the team to waive him and sign Dexter Pittman, as Feigen passes along in the same piece.
The Rudy Gay trade muted the effect of Sacramento’s acquisition of Derrick Williams, who’s seen his playing time continue to decline of late, notes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Kings coach Michael Malone wants to give Williams more minutes, but his lack of consistency dissuades him from doing so, Jones writes.
10:00pm: Cunningham has been signed for the remainder of the season, the team announced via official press release.
8:18am: Jared Cunningham‘s 10-day contract with the Kings expired Wednesday night, but the team plans on re-signing him for the rest of the season, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. The 24th overall pick in the 2012 draft joined the Kings on the final day in March after the Hawks waived him in late February.
Cunningham, a 22-year-old shooting guard, saw action in six games on his 10-day deal with Sacramento, averaging 3.0 points in 6.3 minutes per contest. Injuries have left the Kings thin in the backcourt, opening an opportunity for the Sam Goldfeder client. The 38 total minutes he’s seen in his brief time with the Kings represent more than 44% of the total minutes he’s played over his two-year NBA career, one in which he’s been an afterthought for both the Mavs and Hawks.
The plan to keep Cunningham signals that the Kings aren’t thinking of bringing Royce White back to the team this season, since Cunningham has been occupying the team’s final open roster spot. Sacramento had debated signing the power forward for the rest of the season after his second 10-day contract expired. Coach Michael Malonespoke glowingly of White’s time with the franchise, seeming to indicate that there had been no issues regarding the mental health struggles of the former Rocket and Sixer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Kings sign White in the offseason.
Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob told reporters that he, coach Mark Jackson and GM Bob Myers all get along, refuting reported dysfunction within the team, as Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group transcribes. Lacob referred to the re-assignment of assistant coach Brian Scalabrine and the firing of fellow assistant Darren Erman as “minor setbacks.” A little over a week ago, Myers gave Jackson a public vote of support, saying that he’s done a tremendous job; however, we’ve also relayed the belief from some writers who think that Jackson’s future in Golden State could be tied to how the team fares in this year’s postseason.
Here are a few other notes to pass along out of the Western Conference this evening:
Lakers swingman Nick Young is “very confident” that he’ll reach an agreement to remain with the team beyond this summer, reports Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News. This isn’t the first time that the Los Angeles native has gone on record saying he’d like to stay, but he also hinted that it could be difficult to pass up a hefty pay raise somewhere else if the opportunity presented itself.
Some members of Lakers brass are high on the idea of bringing in a young, up-and-coming head coach who wouldn’t command too much money, making him cheap to get rid of if he doesn’t pan out, according to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding.
In addition to making the argument that Dirk Nowitzki ranks among one of the NBA’s 12 greatest players, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle thinks that Dirk – currently the 10th highest scorer in NBA history – has plenty left in the tank to surpass a few more names on that list: “He’s got a lot more good basketball left in him…A lot more great basketball. So I think he’s going to pick off a few more guys going up the ladder” (ESPN’s Marc Stein reports).
The Kings have assignedWillie Reed to their D-League affiliate in Reno, according to GM Pete D’Alessandro.
Former Spurs training camp invitee Courtney Fells has signed a deal with Bucaneiros de la Guaira in Venezuela, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Fells played in 47 games for the Spurs’ D-League affiliate in 2013/14, averaging 20.5 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 40.4 MPG.
While the names of former NBA head coaches Stan Van Gundy and Jeff Van Gundy pop up each year as rumored candidates for coaching vacancies, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders says that both brothers have promised their families they won’t move (via Twitter). Of course, that doesn’t rule out every opening, and restless coaches often return to the bench despite similar family vows. Here’s more from around the league:
LaQuinton Ross plans to sign with agents Jeff Schwartz and Sean Kennedy of Excel Sports tomorrow, per a tweet from Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. The small forward out of Ohio State announced his plans to enter the draft late last month, and is considered a second round talent.
Daniel Orton reflects on his time with the Maine Red Claws this year, telling Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside that he chose to play in the D-League to give himself a better shot at finding an NBA roster spot. “The decision (to play in the D-League) was all about trying to get back into the NBA,” Orton said. “I’m trying to get a call-up. I had offers to go overseas and make some money, but I’m trying to get back into the NBA more so than anything.” The big man has only managed to play in 51 NBA games across his three-season career, and was waived by the Sixers earlier this year.
Sixers coach Brett Brown says that Nerlens Noel has made major developmental gains despite sitting out all year. Brown tells Mark Narducci of Philly.com that he envisions Noel becoming polished offensively over a three to five year window. “How many opportunities do you have like this when you have a whole year where you can invest time with somebody?” Brown said. “I think it is a huge part of his development and I am thrilled he is with me and I am glad I am the guy who has the chance to help him.”
The Kings have recalled Willie Reed from their D-League affiliate, per a team release.
While the Pistons would never embrace the notion of tanking, interim coach John Loyer tells Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News that being out of contention does give him some flexibility to play and evaluate younger players. “Like I said the other day, you hope to play some of the younger guys,” Loyer said. “But you see how the game goes, how the matchups go.”
There are no NBA games scheduled this evening as the spotlight falls on the NCAA title game between Kentucky and Connecticut. Eight players on the rosters of the two teams are among the top 61 prospects in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings, though potential lottery pick Willie Cauley-Stein is injured and won’t play for the Wildcats. It’s nonetheless a bevy of talent on display, and with multiple sources telling Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times that just about every one of Kentucky’s decorated freshmen will declare for this year’s draft, it looks like it won’t be long before that talent is in the NBA (Twitter link). Here’s the latest on the next wave headed for the Association:
The Magic have Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum, Jabari Parker and Marcus Smart, in that order, atop their draft board, Chad Ford of ESPN.com reports in his latest Insider-only “Tank Rank” piece. Exum also has “some traction” with the Sixers, and the Lakers are high on him, too.
The Kings don’t have Wiggins within their top three prospects, Ford hears. The ESPN.com scribe makes note of the draft plans for several other teams, too, though some of it appears to be educated guesswork.
Wiggins has chosen BDA Management’s Bill Duffy for his agent, sources tell Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling (Twitter link). Duffy beat out Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports, and Wiggins was also linked to Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.
Parker, Randle and Joel Embiid are all expected to sign with Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group, Woelfel tweets. Woelfel includes Smart’s name on that list, too, reiterating what Zwerling reported last week.
TNT’s David Aldridge ranks the shooting guards expected to be available for the draft in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com, giving Michigan’s Nik Stauskas the slight edge for the No. 1 spot over Gary Harris of Michigan State.
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.