Although Phil Jackson recently criticized Mike D'Antoni and seemed skeptical about the thought of Dwight Howard wanting to re-sign with the Lakers, the eleven-time NBA champion coach appeared to backtrack on those comments during an appearance on the Willard and Thompson Show on 710 ESPN Radio in Los Angeles (Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News). Also, Jackson reiterated that he has no plans of coaching again and explained how he's still somewhat connected with his former team: "I’m playing a role regardless whether I’m hired and on the staff and part of the payroll, I’m here to be a sounding board and personal companion to my fiance, who’s the chief operating officer I guess you would say of the Lakers. As they ferry their way through these contract problems they have and the whole mess they have right now in the organization, I’m listening. There’s not a whole lot I’m doing. But my role right now is to be attentive and supportive.”
Here are more of tonight's miscellaneous news and notes:
- The Pistons and former Hawks coach Larry Drew appear to have some mutual interest in an interview for Drew, sources tell Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News. Drew is believed to be one of two finalists for the Bucks' coaching opening, along with Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson.
- Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida tweets that Heat guard Ray Allen hasn't thought about whether or not he'll pick up his $3.23MM player option this summer.
- Marc J. Spears of Yahoo tweets that the Nets, Clippers, and Bucks have not contacted the Grizzlies for permission to talk to Lionel Hollins as of yet. Coincidentally, we relayed a report yesterday which indicated that the 59-year-old coach doesn't expect to be granted permission to speak with other teams before his contract expires on June 30.
- In light of the rumblings that the Nuggets might not match the Raptors' five-year, $15MM offer to Masai Ujiri, SBNation’s Tom Ziller makes the argument that coaches and general managers should be paid more.
- Ben Couch of BrooklynNets.com reviews Gerald Wallace’s season in Brooklyn. Just over a month ago, Wallace had alarmingly admitted that he didn’t “have a clue” as to what his role on the team was, but as of today the veteran forward seemed to be encouraged about what his future holds with the Nets: "All in all I think this was kind of a down year for me, but I feel comfortable and excited about the way I finished the season," Wallace says."I'm going into the summer knowing the things I can do to get better."
- Marcus Thompson of Mercury News reported that Warriors big man David Lee had surgery to repair a torn right hip flexor today and is expected to begin rehab within the next two weeks.
- According to Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post, Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari had a slight setback in rehab and won't have surgery on his ACL for another two weeks. Consequently, an expected return date of January 1 has now changed to late January or February.