Morning Shootaround — March 13


VIDEO: The Daily Zap for games played March 10

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Challenges ahead for PJax in New York | Report: Kobe wants D’Antoni out | Griffin, O’Neal exchange words after game | Kings’ Thomas opens up on journey, season

No. 1: Knicks now Jackson’s situation to fix — As our NBA TV’s own Greg Anthony reported last night, Phil Jackson is headed to New York as the team’s new President of Basketball Operations. That’s a fancy title, but it basically means he’s in charge of fixing what ails the Knicks and setting up their future for more long-term success than they’ve enjoyed over the last 10 or so seasons. Our own Scott Howard-Cooper writes that whether or not Jackson can be a success at building a team remains to be seen:

Jackson has been training internally for this moment for years, having viewed himself more and more as a front-office guy, especially after being passed over for a third stint as Lakers coach in favor of Mike D’Antoni. If the Kings had been sold to the Chris Hansen group and moved to Seattle as the new SuperSonics, there is a good chance Jackson would have become president of basketball operations or some similar gaudy title that meant general manager. He has been looking for this kind of opportunity.

In that way, strangely, he needed the Knicks more than the Knicks needed him. New York got the name, which is obviously something to them, but Jackson got the job. They could have gone a lot of other directions, albeit without the same star power to soothe the masses, while Jackson, at 68, didn’t have the same options among teams that had job openings in a city he would live.

Jackson is very smart and will show up with a plan, and maybe he conquers this just as he did coaching. That wouldn’t be the biggest shock. But all we know for now is that the Knicks hired someone to run basketball operations who has never worked in basketball operations and that they will be cheered for it in New York.

Jackson won’t be out grinding on the college scouting circuit and he won’t get into emotional wrestling matches with agents unhappy with a client’s playing time. Someone else will handle the day-to-day. But there will come times when Jackson will have to make a major roster decision that involves proper use of the salary cap in addition to basketball acumen.

He can’t shape the roster in his coaching vision either, because coach Phil Jackson would never want a ball-stopper like Carmelo Anthony yet the Knicks have made it clear the idea is to keep ‘Melo and surround him with veterans, not split with Anthony this summer in free agency. New York could miss the playoffs and still have people asking them about the possibility of championships within a couple years. The new general manager, by some title, arrives with expectations.


VIDEO: GameTime’s crew discusses Phil Jackson’s move to the Knicks

***

No. 2: Report: Kobe has ‘no interest’ in playing for D’Antoni — The Lakers and Kobe Bryant issued the final word yesterday — Bryant won’t be coming back for the rest of this season. While the news was another letdown for Lakers fans, it wasn’t exactly a shocker either as word of his official shutdown had been looming for days. Bryant, not surprisingly, remains as steadfast as ever that he’ll come back and perform at his high level. He said as much during his news conference yesterday in Los Angeles, where he also made a point to express his desire for L.A. to get back to a championship level as fast as possible. But could part of that plan include ousting coach Mike D’Antoni? Sean Devaney of The Sporting News has more on that potential move:

With a 22-42 record and little hope of further improvement, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni is merely coaching out the string this year in Los Angeles—and likely won’t be back next season.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported on Wednesday morning that he had heard D’Antoni would be out, and that the Lakers’ potential pursuit of free-agent Carmelo Anthony would be the reason. But multiple sources told Sporting News that the reason for D’Antoni’s potential dismissal is closer to home—star guard Kobe Bryant.

Bryant, sources said, has “no interest” in playing for D’Antoni next season, and wants a new coach in place for the 2014-15 season.

The Lakers are expected to undergo a massive overhaul in the offseason, with enough cap space available to sign a max-level free agent—like Anthony. But Anthony played for D’Antoni with the Knicks and was never able to see eye-to-eye with the coach, who eventually agreed to walk away from the job in New York in March 2012.

Bryant has let it be known in recent weeks that he would like the Lakers to keep free-agent forward Pau Gasol this summer—a maneuver that can be read as a shot at D’Antoni, with whom Gasol has openly feuded.

L.A. is also in position to have one of the top picks in this year’s draft. With a returning group that includes a top-notch rookie, plus Bryant—Gasol and a free agent—the Lakers figure to get out of the Western Conference basement quickly, if they can stay healthy.

But the question remains: Who will be the coach?


VIDEO: Kobe Bryant speaks with the media about his season-ending injury

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No. 3: Griffin, O’Neal get into postgame war of words — If you missed last night’s Warriors-Clippers game from Staples Center last night, do yourself a favor and watch it today on League Pass. It had the environment, both on the court and in the crowd, of a playoff game and had plenty of physical play throughout. The excitement and emotion of that game may have spilled over once things were over as Golden State’s Jermaine O’Neal and Los Angeles’ Blake Griffin got into a verbal altercation, writes Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

Golden State Warriors forward Jermaine O’Neal confronted forward Blake Griffin in the hallway outside the Los Angeles Clippers’ locker room at Staples Center after L.A.’s 111-98 win Wednesday night.

The two had a heated conversation that was quickly broken up by a Clippers official who led Griffin to the adjacent news conference room.

O’Neal, 35, had dressed and was waiting outside the Clippers’ locker room to talk to Griffin.

Griffin, who was walking to the news conference room to take questions from reporters, could be heard telling O’Neal to “leave that s— on the court” before the two were separated and briefly shook hands.

With 8:55 left in the fourth quarter, O’Neal got a technical foul as he walked toward the Clippers’ bench and continued talking to Griffin before O’Neal’s teammates and officials directed him back to the Warriors’ bench.

Griffin did not care to discuss his conversations with O’Neal when later taking questions.

“Nah,” he said. “That’s between me and him.”


VIDEO: The Clippers best the Warriors at Staples Center

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No. 4: Kings’ Thomas opens up about NBA journey – The Sacramento Kings, as has been the case the last few seasons, find themselves at the bottom of the Western Conference pile and looking to another NBA Draft to try and build a winner. There is some talent on the current roster, though, starting with big man DeMarcus Cousins, swingman Rudy Gay and perhaps the most little-known star of the Kings, point guard Isaiah Thomas. The diminutive playmaker sat down with SBNation.com’s James Herbert to talk about his NBA path, dealing with losing in Sacramento and much more:

Everybody knows your dad was a Laker fan, but you were in Seattle. How did that work? Were you a Laker fan?

I was a little brainwashed. My dad’s from LA, so growing up in his house, I was a Laker fan. But I loved the Sonics, I loved Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp. The Glove and the Reign Man, those were my two favorite players. But growing up, like I said, I was in a Laker household and got brainwashed. My favorite player is Kobe Bryant. I like the Lakers.

It sucks. I mean, it doesn’t suck I got drafted by the Kings, but that’s their biggest rival, so you gotta watch what you say about the Lakers around Sacramento.

Lots of guards in this league have trouble finishing at the rim. What is it that allows you to be able to finish so much better than a lot of guys who are 6 and 7 inches taller than you?

I think it’s just a skill. I don’t know what it is. I’ve always been short, so it’s not like I’m making adjustments. It’s just something I’ve learned to do since I was a little boy. I’m always going in there and finishing around the giants. It’s something that I gotta do as a small guard, though. Like, I gotta be able to finish around them and make adjustments and things like that. But it’s definitely a skill.

I mean, people ask me that a lot and I can’t really tell ‘em how I do it. I just go in there and try to make adjustments in the air and get away from the shot blockers.

One thing I definitely do, I go in there with no fear. If I do get my shot blocked, I feel like you’re supposed to do that and I’ma get back up and do it again.

I’ve never seen an interview with you where you haven’t been smiling and friendly, but you’ve had a lot of losing in your career. Is it harder than we think or is it easy for you to stay positive?

It’s hard. ‘Cause I’m not used to losing. And in my whole career in the NBA, I’ve lost. It’s tough ‘cause I’m a winner, I’ve come from winning, I’ve always been a winner.

But at the same time, when you go out there and give it your all each and every night, you got to go home and you can’t dwell on those moments. If you know that you gave it 110 percent, then that’s all you can give. And it’s a team sport, it’s not an individual sport like tennis or something where you can really win on your own. You can’t. Everybody has to be together.

We’re trying to turn this around and if we just keep working and become a more consistent team, I think we can get more wins and turn it around.


VIDEO: The Seattle area still holds a special heart for Isaiah Thomas

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the concept of “tanking” yesterday and Thunder GM Sam Presti, did, too … New Bobcats guard Gary Neal was benched for last night’s game in Washington over an “internal team matter” … Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, a former player for Phil Jackson, thinks Jackson’s move to N.Y. is a good thing … Don’t look now, but Amir Johnson might go down as one of the greatest Raptors ever … Kings forward Jason Thompson has gone from starter to reserve and is trying to deal with the demotion

ICYMI of the Night: So many great moments from so many games, but this morning, we’re riding with Mike Conley‘s buzzer-beating shot to sink the Pelicans and cap the Grizzlies’ big comeback win…


VIDEO: Mike Conley sinks the Pelicans with a clutch floater

53 Comments

  1. Let's go Heat! says:

    No blog writes about Heat lost 1 point by the Nets on 12/3. I just want to point out in many times, Heat make the loss themselves but not the opponent. 1 technical foul on D-wade, followed by another T-foul on Rio, after the Nets make these two FT, at that time I think that Heat deserve the loss if within 2-point game. Finally, it becomes true……Every little things make you win or lose.
    The Heat’s
    1) Over-commit/ poor pick-n-roll defence
    2) Poor free throw shoot
    3) Lbj and Dwade have time to argue why don’t get the foul calls, come on man, pls come back and defense opponent fastbreak first.
    Really really hope the Heat can fix the problems asap. As a Dwade fan, really don’t wanna mad at him.

  2. Deuce says:

    “top-notch rookie, plus Bryant—Gasol and a free agent—the Lakers figure to get out of the Western Conference basement quickly”

    LMAO LMAO LMAO. really? last year with kobe/gasol/dwight the lakers barely managed a 7 seed. now, with a twice injured and rapidly fading kobe, a gasol who looks done, maybe exum or randle or gordon (btw rookies struggle in this league), and exactly what big free agent? luol deng? hahaha. melo and lebron arent coming. MAYBE kyle lowry? raps will most likely resign him anyways. not to mention some of the players who shined for the lakers this season (henry, marshall, hill, meeks) probably leave for bigger multi-year paydays. this team will not be a playoff team next year.

  3. Robo1212 says:

    As great as players like Kobe and Carmelo are, what i can’t stand is the lack of accountability when things go wrong. When the team is doing well these guys take the credit. When the team is losing they are the first to point fingers and make demands. Obviously Kobe is a champion, a HOFer, and him being injured all season is out of his control. But i can’t put these guys on the same level as MJ, Magic, Bird, Kareem, and Bill Russell with their sense of entitlement, me over we mentality, and refusal to make sacrifices for the organizations which spoil them so much. That said.. Mike D’Antoni is not a great coach and should have been let go by now.

  4. Danilo B. says:

    D.ROSE WILL NEVER LEAVE CHI BULLS !!

  5. fired mike antoni and sign george karl ,vinny del negro,van gundy brothers,lionel hollins as head coach LA Lakers and sign President and consultant magic johnson to Next Season

  6. Mr Net Breaker says:

    The Lakers Need

    Coach = Dr Xavier From X-Men

    Team = The Avengers

    Giant-Man = Center
    Hulk=Power Forward
    Thor=Small Forward
    Captain America =Point Guard
    Iron-Man=Shooting Guard

  7. Dennis says:

    Kobe Bryant is such a sore loser like any other player who can’t have it their way. In my opinion, he will retire sometime in the next couple of seasons.

  8. None of the above says:

    Opponents are trying mind games on Blake Griffin because they don’t know how to stop his game.

    • bruiser brody says:

      The Spurs stopped his game during the playoffs, twice. Lob City was changed to Sob city.

  9. Nano says:

    Finally! It is clear for the rest of the basketball world to see — Mike D’Antoni needs to go! He is not the right fit for a coach in Los Angeles. Gasol is not the one we need to get rid of, D’Antoni is. Keep Gasol, fire D’Antoni and hire a capable coach like Jerry Sloan, Don Nelson or George Karl. Mitch Kupchak has been making horrible decisions these last few years beginning with the trade of players such as Odom, Shannon Brown, D-Fish & Co. and culminating with the hire of D’Antoni over Phil! His reason for going with D’Antoni was that we needed a coach immediately whereas Phil was asking for more time to consider the decision. What a poor excuse considering D’Antoni could not fly out to L.A. initially because he was not cleared for flight yet after his knee surgery! We need to get back to the team the late Dr. Buss had built!

    Incidentally, with all due respect to him as a player for his many accomplishments during his illustrious career, Steve Nash needs to consider retirement. It helps neither the Lakers nor Steve himself to have him under contract when he can barely stay healthy to be on the floor.

  10. hellon says:

    I’m really interested how PJ will change Knicks’ situation,it’ll be tough….and for Kobe’s comment:Who would like to play for a coach,who praises only offense?

  11. dustydreamnz says:

    Kobe has no interest in playing for D’Antoni. Does anyone? Can’t say I’m surprised.
    Such a gutsy player Isaiah Thomas, not just the fact he’s in the NBA at 5′ 9” but because he’s in amongst it all the time. A bit like Nate Robinson but more consistent.

  12. AJC says:

    Hilarious. Not only is Drummond untouchable, when he is a free agent, his salary and Kevin Love’s together will be more than the Salary Cap. You’re talking about 2 players who are going to command 15-20 million a year each when they renegotiate their contracts. Add Kobe and you’re above the luxury tax. Can’t field a game with just three players, and no way those other guys are going to take the NBA minimum to play with an aging Kobe, Love and Drummond.

  13. Felix says:

    Kobe needs to stop whining so much. All he does is whine, and the Lakers listen. “Wah! I want a new coach! I don’t like this one! Wah!”

  14. BG The Flyin Lion says:

    Blake Griffin has shut up all his critics and his NBA rivals are still envious of him. Incredible player, good looking and several high paying endorsement deals. Yep, he is a marked man in the game. It’s gonna be great to see him and the rest of the clippers raise that trophy after the NBA finals.

  15. BieberJ says:

    Gary payton is the GLOVE! I think Blake needs a HELMET! The helmet ! Catchy!

  16. JayTee says:

    Seems like players need to now confront Griffin off thecourt due to the fact when they try it on the court they get POSTERIZED! Maybe the MVP Flyin’ Lion is rules the NBA jungle!

  17. buraot_3001 says:

    George Karl should replace Mike D’ Antoni as Lakers coach! And Steve Nash should just retire. Give way to younger generation Steve, father time has caught up with you and there’s nothing you can do about it! Don’t be selfish!

  18. bodjee says:

    People want a piece of Griffin because he committed a lot of fouls that the refs does not call!

    • Game Time says:

      Yet he’s he one getting tossed to the ground and elbowed. I haven’t seen a single thing Griffin has done that warrants what teams are doing. The truth is these guys are mad that he’s stronger and can back them down, dunk on them, and shoot in their face. The coach I yelling at them to stop it and all they can do is resort to foul play, sad really.

  19. bodjee says:

    That’s a charge on Bogut!

  20. Lowbudgetballer says:

    LA should stay away from Melo if they ever want another championship. The guys is probably one of the most overrated players in the NBA. Just look at the knicks this year and all the years hes been there. Sure he scores a ton of points, but he needs to take 25-30 shots per game just to score 25+ points. He doesn’t really rebound or set up his teammates. Pair him with kobe and they will account for 75% of the laker’s shot attempts per game. What should they do then? I don’t know but I would stay away from giving melo a max contract. They will regret it if they do. If i were LA, i would be looking to rebuild. They need to get lucky in the draft and get a stud and build around him. The only way they will probably ever win a championship again.

  21. LBJ says:

    ONLY WAY TO WIN A RING IS TO PLAY WITH OUR KING. HE IS THE BEST IN THE WORLD.

    C – DWIGHT HOWARD / DEMARCUS COUSINS
    PF – CHRIS BOSH / KEVIN DURANT
    SF – LEBRON JAMES / CARMELO ANTHONY
    SG – DWAYNE WADE / PAUL GEORGE
    PG – CHRIS PAUL / DERRICK ROSE

  22. Game Time says:

    Hahaha so much hate for Blake. Is it because he’s knocking down perimeter jumpers in peoples face now while continuing to dunk over them? Must be. These teams (especially the Warriors) look like big old losers when they have to send 3 or 4 guys after one player.

  23. Hmmmm everybody wants a piece of Blake G lately…..I wonder why?

    Is there a warrant for him this season? hihhii

  24. daniel says:

    to lakers : pls bring back acting coach bernard bickerstaff.

    • Shaq says:

      Bernard??? you’re tripin’, homie. Kobe, about time you speak up for the fans!!! Although Kobe is a scorer, somehow he plays better with a coach with defensive mind. Mike D wore him out by making everybody on the team play offensive so everybody is always ready to shoot instead of setting up play for Kobe to shoot. Same thing with Camelo that’s why it didn’t work. Hopefully Lakers wont go for Woodson either. How about Jerry Sloan????????????????????????

    • vincent says:

      I always wondered what whatve happened if they kept bernie as coach. I mean, he was 4-1 right?
      And regarding the decision to keep d’antoni, i think lakers were just stubborn with pride in thinking they made the right choice and were not gonna back down? ITS DAM SIMPLE. coaching style doesnt fit this team. he shoulda stayed in phoenix.

  25. Jaccques Durceille says:

    We all knew Kobe was not coming back. Whoever thought others is a fool. The guy is 35 years old, just had an achilles and knee injury. Get real folks, no shocker here. I wonder how the lakers would have been had they kept MIke Brown and wait for the system he was running to take root. I think the first mistake was ousting a coach out not even 20 games into the Reg. Season. It was foolish, and then they signed a grand clown known as D’antoni. The only hope for the lakers is the draft, kobe will never be the same, and Gasol is almost out of gas.

    Phil Jackson in New York will end in Failure. Phil Jackson is a coach, not an executive. It is a steep learning curve and he is too old for it now. Pat riley had a head start years ago, a decade ago, more than a decade ago. Phil Jackson will just muddy up the situation. Time for Carmelo to mail it in and get out of that hideous city and organization.

    • slider821 says:

      Yeah, Mike Brown is really turning heads with his excellent coaching in Cleveland isn’t he?

      • NBA Gumbo says:

        Every year Brown continues to coach, is just more credit for Lebron during his Cleveland days.

  26. BluesGypsy says:

    i heard Ralph Lawler call Blake Griffin “the Flyin’ Lion” & think that it is one of the best nicknames in the NBA !!!
    i hope it sticks as Griffin’s “above the rim” style of play [along with Deandre Jordan] & fiercely competitive offensive
    style of play as well as what a Griffin is in Greek Mythology all combine to aptly describe = ‘Da Flyin’ Lion !!!!!

  27. thejerr says:

    get dantoni outa here! now! rawr! let him go and laugh while you dont look back…ever

  28. ANONYMOUS_16 says:

    LAKERS 2014-2015 ROSTER

    DEMARCUS COUSINS
    KEVIN LOVE
    ANDREW WIGGINS
    KOBE BRYANT
    RUSSELL WESTBROOK

    STEVE NASH
    GERALD GREEN
    SHANNON BROWN
    LAMAR ODOM
    ANDRE DRUMMOND
    KENT BAZEMORE
    RYAN KELLY
    ROBERT SACRE

    LAKERS RULE!!!

    • THE HEAT IS ON says:

      versus

      HEAT 2014-2015 ROSTER

      TYSON CHANDLER
      CHRIS BOSH
      LEBRON JAMES
      DWAYNE WADE
      DERRICK ROSE

      RAY ALLEN
      RASHARD LEWIS
      MARIO CHALMERS
      CHRIS ANDERSEN
      GREG ODEN
      UDONIS HASLEM
      SHANE BATTIER
      MICHAEL BEASLEY

      LETS GET IT ON!!!

    • bryanjoelgarcia says:

      Are they paying all those young stars 5 mil a year while Kobe gets 25mil? Only way those numbers will work. Lol at Drummond on the bench.

      Obvious troll is obvious.

      • steeel says:

        Cousins is a better center than Drummond, not saying he’s bad though, he puts up good numbers.

    • ggggg says:

      nice, and klove and westbrook are gonna play on vet minimums?