Morning Shootaround — May 1



VIDEO: Daily Zap for games played April 30

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Fisher next to lead Lakers? | Report: Magic interested in owning Clippers | Hawks unveil revamped ‘Pac-Man’ logo | Report: Bulls trying to trade Boozer | Nets’ Twitter account blasts own fans

No. 1: Should Lakers look to Fisher next? — ICYMI last night, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni resigned from his position … and the speculation about who will have one of the NBA’s most glamorous jobs began almost immediately. Our Sekou Smith thinks Duke legend Mike Krzyzewski would be a good fit in Lakerland, and there’s buzz out there that ex-Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins might be interested in the gig, too. But what about a former Laker (and Kobe Bryant running mate) coming back in the fold to lead L.A.? Adrian Wojnarowski broaches the idea of current Thunder reserve guard Derek Fisher taking the reins some time soon:

As little as Mike D’Antoni wanted to coach Kobe Bryant in the end, Bryant wanted to play for D’Antoni even less. They had barely communicated for months, steering clear until a permanent parting on Wednesday night. They would’ve been miserable together, would’ve inevitably imploded the Los Angeles Lakers locker room.

D’Antoni is a great offensive mind, but his difficulties with Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Bryant have played a part in the unraveling of his coaching career. Lakers management had a willingness to bring him back next year, but refused to make a commitment beyond 2015.

The Lakers have lost talent, lost stability, lost what separates winning and losing franchises. Bryant won’t pick the next coach, the way he had no input into Mike Brown and little into D’Antoni. Bryant will wish for Tom Thibodeau to free himself from Chicago. He loves Jeff Van Gundy, and shares management’s affinity for Euro legend Ettore Messina, who spent a season on Mike Brown’s staff.

Bryant has long admired Byron Scott, but there’s a different ex-Lakers guard who could go much further to regenerate the franchise’s culture and hold the insight into getting the most out of Bryant’s final two seasons: Derek Fisher.

The Lakers need to make themselves a destination again. Free agency has major importance in 2015 and ’16 for the Lakers, and they’ll need to be positioned to make a run at Kevin Durant.

Superstars want desperately to consider the Lakers in free agency, but they won’t go anywhere based only on geography and banners. They’ll need to see an infrastructure of talent, management structure and coaching. Durant will want a culture, and Fisher could’ve grown into the job by ’16 to sell him on the Lakers’ brand.

It is risky to hire a coach with no experience, but the right minds and right coaching staffs can make it work. Fisher will command respect and he’ll be synonymous with a championship heritage that Lakers fans crave as a face of the franchise. Fisher is close to the end with the Thunder, and he’ll be the rare non-star to choose his next direction: management, coaching or television.

Derek Fisher is nearing the end, and willing to listen. This is a call the Buss family and Mitch Kupchak must make, a conversation with Fisher they owe it to the franchise to have sooner than later.

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No. 2: Report: Johnson expresses interest in owning ClippersOn Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a lifetime NBA ban to Clippers owner Donald Sterling as the league is going through the process of removing him as the team’s owner. Seemingly hours after that announcement, potential purchasers of the team were bandied about, with famous folks like Sean “Diddy” Combs, Rick Ross, Floyd Mayweather, Oprah Winfrey and others making the unofficial list. Former Lakers star (and Lakers part-owner) Magic Johnson was also thought to be on that short list, too, but on Monday Johnson tweeted that he wasn’t interested in buying the team. That stance seems to have changed after Johnson addressed business leaders at a conference in Beverly Hills. Ben Bergman of 89.3 KPCC has more:

The Donald Sterling saga could be coming full circle: What began as the owner’s racist rant about not wanting Earvin (Magic) Johnson attending Clippers games could end with Johnson owning part of the team.

“I will be owning an NBA team sometime,” Johnson told a gathering of business leaders Wednesday at the Milken Global Conference in Beverly Hills. “Is the Clippers the right situation? Of course. It’s one of the premiere franchises.”

Johnson said that — whatever you may think of Sterling — he ran a good business, one Johnson and his partners at the Guggenheim Investment Group would like to buy if the price is right.

“I think the fans have already spoken,” Johnson said. “They would like us to own the team. But we have to wait and see.”

Johnson cautioned that any possible purchase “is a long way off,” and he told KPCC he that expects Sterling to fight to block the sale of the Clippers.

Johnson praised NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s lifetime ban on Sterling and said without it, the Clippers and the Warriors wouldn’t have taken the court and the entire NBA playoffs would have shut down.

“If the decision would have come down differently than it was, you wouldn’t have seen that game last night, or any other games from here on in the playoffs,” said Johnson. “The players were ready to boycott. This was much bigger than a basketball game or the NBA.”

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No. 3: Hawks unveil revamped secondary logo From 1972-95, the Atlanta Hawks sported a logo that many fans called the Pac-Man because, well, it looked like the iconic 1980s video game character. Since then, the team has gone through a couple of different logo and color scheme changes before settling on its current look. But tonight, before a potential series-clinching win against the top-seeded Indiana Pacers, the Hawks are showing off a new look that nods to its past. Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more:

It’s Pac-Man – Version 2.0.

The Hawks will unveil a new secondary logo tonight at Game 6 of their Eastern Conference playoff series with the Pacers. The team is giving away red T-shirts to everyone in attendance that features an updated version of the franchise’s iconic image.

The Pac-Man logo, used from 1972-95 and associated with some of the best seasons in franchise history, has been redesigned. It features a more pronounced hook of the beak and a new eye. The Hawks have had two secondary logos since the Pac-Man version, including the current one that has been used since 2007.

Fans can sign up to purchase merchandise with the new logo at the Hawks website.

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No. 4: Report: Bulls looking to deal Boozer:The conventional wisdom concerning Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer — who has one year and $16.8 million left on his contract — as that Chicago would use the amnesty provision on him to make some salary cap room. But according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, the Bulls may be looking to find some way to trade him this summer rather than amnesty him and get nothing in return:

There are only 10 amnesty-eligible players left in the entire NBA. And eight of them realistically face zero threat of being released by their teams via the amnesty provision this summer: Atlanta’s Al Horford, Boston’s Rajon Rondo, Chicago’s Joakim Noah, Memphis’ Mike Conley and Zach Randolph, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Nick Collison and San Antonio’s Tony Parker.

Which leaves only two players on the entire NBA map who still have to worry about the A word.

The Thunder’s Kendrick Perkins. And Boozer.

But here’s the thing: You continue to hear rumbles that Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is adamantly against the idea of setting Boozer free via amnesty, even though the 32-year-old is finally poised to enter the final year of his contract, valued in 2014-15 at $16.8 million.

Sources briefed on Chicago’s thinking say the Bulls are going to do everything they can to try to find a trading partner for Boozer before seriously considering the amnesty option.

Bear in mind that Chicago essentially has until July 15 to craft a deal that finds a new home for Boozer after a season in which he lost much of his fourth-quarter run to Taj Gibson. The NBA’s amnesty window this summer runs through July 10-16.

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No. 5: Nets’ Twitter account rips own fans — The Toronto Raptors have a 3-2 series advantage over the Brooklyn Nets after a wilder-than-it-should-have-been Game 5 win at Air Canada Centre last night. The crowd there for every game has been perhaps the best in the playoffs, with the arena sold out and a large throng of fans packing Maple Leaf Square to watch a broadcast of the games. That kind of devotion is hard for any fan base to match and as much as Nets stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce want a similar atmosphere in Brooklyn, they haven’t experience it there. Last night, the team’s Twitter account took a shot of sorts at the Nets’ own fan base, writes Ian Powers of the New York Daily News:

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have been critical of the energy of Brooklyn Nets fans early in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series compared the to Toronto Raptors fans. Now the Brooklyn Nets’ Twitter account is joining the fray.

“#Nets fans take note- this is what a playoff crowd sounds like..set your DVD and take notes #RAPTORSvNETS – LR,” tweeted Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center senior reporter Lenn Robbins, who took over the club’s official Twitter account during the second and third quarters of Game 5 of the series in Toronto Wednesday night.

Just before tipoff, Robbins tweeted from his personal Twitter account: “Welcome to Air Canada Centre for pivotal Game 5..got to give it to fans here..they’ve been louder, prouder, better #RAPTORSvNETS

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Over at Grantland, writer (and Clippers season ticket holder) Bill Simmons offers up his view on the Donald Sterling era in L.A. … Ex-Lakers reserve Andrew Goudelock took home Eurocup MVP honors … Is Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos in danger of losing his team as Sterling did? … The venerable Bill Plaschke offers up his view on the Lakers’ recent coaching hires … Ex-Raptors exec Bryan Colangelo is a leading candidate to get the Detroit Pistons GM job …

ICYMI OF THE NIGHT: Simply put, Kyle Lowry put in serious work in Game 5 last night to lead the Raptors to a win and a 3-2 series advantage …


VIDEO: Kyle Lowry burns the Nets for 36 points in Game 5

 

24 Comments

  1. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    By the way, Kevin Durant will likely end his career in OKC. He will probably play there for the rest of his career.

    Thunder will never be like Cleveland. Thunder are too good (will win the next 10 – 15 NBA Titles), too young, and OKC loves KD (OKC sells out every home game).

    For starters, Russell Westbrook is the second-best player in the entire NBA. KD, of course, is the greatest NBA player. Lebron James could be the 3rd-best in the league.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Westbrook is like a modern-day Oscar Robertson. I wonder how many more triple-doubles he is going to put up this year?

      Clippers are a poor defensive team (can’t even stop Golden State) and Chris Paul usually gets injured around this time of the year.

      Russ is going to utterly dominate.

      Thank goodness we don’t have to deal with Conley anymore. He was killin’ us. Now we just have to deal with injured Chris Paul? If we can handle Zach Randolph, we can easily handle Blake Griffin.

      This series is a wrap. OKC in 4 or 5 games.

  2. A.J. says:

    Earvin Johnson, Pathological Liar.

  3. goatballhogkobe says:

    Lakers will be in the dumps until ballhog retires. He ballhogged most of the lakers salary cap. They can bring in any coach they want. Always blaming dantoni yet it is not his fault that majority of the season kobe nash gasol is injured. Dwight left for better teammates unlike in lakerland its only me myself mr kobe. Next year lakers misses the playoffs again who do you fanboys blame again? Still dantoni?

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      No more “news” about Kobe Bryant. He’s been injured this whole time; he probably hasn’t been able to do any real exercising yet. By the time he is healed, it may be too late. He usually takes summers off, these days. His career is over. He may never recover from major injury.

  4. FilipinoFan says:

    I think the Clippers should relocate and rename its franchise after this post-season. New ownership, city, logo would help them move on from the horror of Mr.Sterling.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Move them to Seattle! Why does L.A. get 2 teams in the same arena? LAME! Bring the Supersonics back!

  5. Jack says:

    Should have left the Pac in the archive. Go Pacers!

  6. pavel says:

    has anyone realized if sterling is this big racist that he wouldn’t sell his team to any black buyers?

  7. Turd Ferguson says:

    I am a huge, huge, huge Phoenix Suns fan but remember being a kid and loving the Charlotte Hornets. Really excited to see what’s in the future for them after watching them this season.

  8. ScubaSteve says:

    I agree that the Raptor fans have been amazing. Second place is the Bobcat’s fans who, instead of hitting the exits as they were being swept by the Heat, stayed and gave their team a standing ovation in the final seconds. Good things to come from that franchise (especially now that they’re the Hornets again).

  9. Paul says:

    Imagine how cool it would be if Rick Ross owned the Clippers!

  10. Invader Neider says:

    The nets just need to hire a new hype man. play the “defense” signs more often! play more intense sports music. something… anything. that person has to go, i could fall asleep at one of the nets games. Especially a “new” franchise location. needing to establish die hard fans, need some encouragement to get involved or to yell. The canadians are taking over the crowd atmosphere by far.

  11. Bucks4Life says:

    Brooklyn fans will be the next Lakers fans. Expect to win, and more people on their phones in the arena than watching the game.

  12. Matty D says:

    Raps fan are always loud and proud even when they almost blow a huge lead haha go raps send brooklyn fishin

  13. euro says:

    the best hawks logo

  14. Bmh says:

    AMNESTY KENDRICK PERKINS !!!! SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE A LONG LONG TIME AGO…OKC COULD HAVE KEPT HARDEN BY DOING THIS AND MOVING A FEW OTHER PIECES……. GET SOME PLAYS FOR KD ON THE BLOCK OR MID-POST AREA AND TAME WESTBROOK…… RUN HARDEN AT THE 1, WESTBROOK THE 2, DURANT THE 3, IBAKA THE 4, AND STEVEN ADAMS AT THE 5 … They may not have had a chance at Adams if they made this move, so I put Lamb or Jones in the starting lineup…..

    GET AN OFFENSE THAT DOES SOMETHING MORE THAN JUST TAKE TURNS JACKING 3′S

  15. RAPTORS FAN says:

    Raptors all the wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

    NBA, when will you realize the raptors can be your biggest and most profitable franchise if you give them a hand at being successful. If there is no bias from the refs and more coverage in the u.s this can be one of the more high profile and bigger markets… Which is something we Raptors fans have been expressing for a while, but now you see for yourself…

  16. Angelo says:

    ^^ Says a Toronto fan..

  17. asdf says:

    Magic only said he’s not interested in buying Clippers to take some attention away from himself, I’m pretty sure he’s had a lot to do with the leaking of the record and the lifetime ban for Sterling

  18. bodjee says:

    Magic plan of acquiring the Clippers is working.

  19. NBAAllDay says:

    The Toronto fans have been the best so far this playoffs.

    • Jean Luke says:

      So have the Toronto players. Nets must be re thinking their tanking the last game strategy to face Toronto and Miami instead of Chicago and Indiana. #PlayHardAlways

    • Erlo says:

      True, but the Heat have been the best team. Toronto’s going down! Just some friendly trash talk ;)