NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Kerr could make decision soon — TNT’s Steve Kerr met with Phil Jackson about the Knicks’ coaching job last weekend, and said afterward that “we’ve got a lot of things to discuss.” A week later, Kerr could be close to taking the job, as Marc Berman of the New York Post writes:
Steve Kerr likely is making his swan song for TNT on Saturday night when he announces Game 7 of the Grizzlies-Thunder series in Oklahoma City. According to an NBA source, Kerr likely will make his final decision on accepting the Knicks head-coaching job soon after the weekend.
As The Post reported, the Lakers’ coaching vacancy is a non-factor for Kerr, who is not a candidate. The Lakers are in store for a prolonged search after Mike D’Antoni resigned, and neither side has interest.
However, one thing that can derail Kerr’s getting hired by the Knicks is if the Warriors lose their first-round series to the Clippers on Saturday and coach Mark Jackson is let go. Kerr, whose family lives in San Diego, may listen if approached by the Warriors. Kerr is represented by former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum.
No. 2: Rivers encourages Clippers employees — The Los Angeles Clippers’ players and coaches aren’t the only ones who have had to deal with the distaste of working for Donald Sterling. Behind the scenes is the rest of the Clippers’ staff, those working in the office to support the team. Those folks have never had the benefit of a Doc Rivers pep talk … until Friday, when Rivers took some time out of his Game 7 preparation to help the staff deal with the fallout of Sterling’s comments and ban. Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times has the story:
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said he had an emotional meeting Friday with Clippers employees who work in downtown Los Angeles to try to help them deal with the Donald Sterling scandal.
Rivers said that during his conversation with the employees, who work in ticketing, marketing, group sales, sponsorship, finance, human resources and fan relations, they were “sitting there crying.”
Rivers said he got a call for some of the Clippers’ department heads who asked him to speak with the employees.
Rivers said he quickly agreed to do so despite trying to prepare the team for Game 7 of its first-round Western Conference playoff series against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday at Staples Center.
No. 3: Ollie a coaching candidate? — Including the Knicks job, there are currently five coaching openings around the league. And there may be more after the first round of the playoffs are done. There are some guys who have already won in this league (Lionel Hollins, George Karl, Stan Van Gundy) that are available, but the success of guys like Jeff Hornacek, Steve Clifford and Jason Kidd will encourage executives to keep an open mind. And maybe they might be willing to reach into the college ranks, where 13-year NBA vet Kevin Ollie just won a championship in his second season at UConn. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo has an update on where things stand with Ollie, his alma mater and the NBA:
University of Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie has started discussions on a new contract with school officials, but hasn’t ruled out listening to NBA overtures, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Fresh off his masterful national championship coaching run this spring, Ollie is a consideration for the Los Angeles Lakers and is expected to move onto short lists as more NBA teams make coaching changes, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
So far, no NBA teams have reached out to make formal contact with Ollie, sources said.
Across the NBA, executives are enamored with Ollie as a tactician and leadership force. UConn officials are moving quickly to rework his contract and reward him for so quickly developing into an elite head coach.
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Joakim Noah had arthroscopic surgery to clean out his left knee … The Magic extended the contracts of GM Rob Hennigan and coach Jacque Vaughn through the 2015-16 season … The Heat are trying to stay sharp as they await the winner of the Toronto-Brooklyn series … and the Wizards are doing the same as they wait for either the Pacers or Hawks.
ICYMI of The Night: Damian Lillard hit the first series-ending buzzer-beater since 1997:
VIDEO: Lillard Wins The Series