With the Cavaliers‘ coaching situation still uncertain, Alabama coach Avery Johnson could become a candidate, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Johnson has plenty of NBA coaching experience, spending seven seasons with the Mavericks and Nets and taking Dallas to the NBA Finals in 2006.
Johnson also has a strong connection with Cavs’ rookie point guard Collin Sexton, coaching him last year in his lone season of college basketball. Johnson attended Cleveland’s home opener last week as Sexton’s guest. Windhorst notes that owner Dan Gilbert has wanted to hire a college coach before, making offers to Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Kansas’ Bill Self and Kentucky’s John Calipari.
In the wake of Tyronn Lue‘s firing over the weekend, Larry Drew continues to act as interim head coach, but without the title. Drew said Tuesday that he’s “very disappointed” with the pace of negotiations to make his role more permanent.
There’s more from the Central Division:
- Bulls forward Bobby Portis is sidelined with a sprained right MCL, but it hasn’t changed his mind about his decision to pass on a contract extension, relays Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Portis, who may be out of action until mid-December, opted to test the market as a restricted free agent next summer rather than accept a deal now. “Can’t second-guess yourself,” he said. “Basketball gods don’t bless people that way. It doesn’t work that way. In life, obviously you have a choice. I made mine, I’m happy with what I did, and I’m just living life one day at a time.”
- Bulls point guard Shaquille Harrison didn’t have his confidence shaken after being waived by the Suns, notes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Injuries to Kris Dunn and Denzel Valentine have given Harrison an opportunity, and he has responded with 10 and 13 points in the past two games. “The Bulls brought me here for a reason,” he said. “I don’t need to do more than what’s being displayed. Try to continue to play hard, be a leader and be a playmaker.”
- Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has cleared concussion protocol and is expected to play tomorrow in Boston, according to Matt Velazquez of The Journal-Sentinel. Antetokounmpo has missed one game so far after being elbowed in the head Saturday. “It’s kind of scary because, you know, you get hit in the head and you feel pain for 10 seconds,” he said. “But it was lingering and I had a headache the next day and it was kind of bad, but at the time, I felt – I’m Giannis – I felt great. I wanted to play. … I think the NBA medical staff did a great job protecting me, keeping me out of the game.”