Morning Shootaround — May 24



VIDEO: Get geared up for Game 3 of the Heat-Pacers series


VIDEO: Get geared up for Game 3 of the Thunder-Spurs series

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: Yao, Hill want to buy Clips | Scott says he’d be ‘perfect’ fit as Lakers coach | Cuban pulling for Spurs | Gibson set to become Bulls’ starter? | Noel says he could have played sooner

No. 1: Report: Hill, Yao want to buy Clippers — As of today, Donald Sterling remains the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. But as the NBA moves closer and closer to June 3, when fellow owners can officially vote to oust him as owner, the chatter about who might own the team next continues strong. The latest talk, per Marc Stein of ESPN.com, is that former NBA All-Star Yao Ming and Grant Hill are both interested in buying the team:

Sources told ESPN.com on Friday that Grant Hill and Yao Ming are working separately to line up investors to lodge bids for the Clippers when the team is ultimately made available.

Donald Sterling has agreed to allow his wife, Shelly, to negotiate a sale of the Clippers, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com on Friday.

Hill is just completing his first year in retirement after a 19-season career that ended with the Clippers after seven All-Star berths. Sources say Hill has made it known within league circles that he is in the process of putting a consortium together.

Sources say that Yao, meanwhile, also plans to pursue the Clippers hard with a group of Chinese investors. The former Houston Rockets All-Star center owns the Shanghai Sharks in his native country and has maintained close ties to the NBA through the league’s various initiatives in Asia.

Yao was seriously interested in purchasing the Bucks, sources say, but dropped out of the bidding when outgoing Milwaukee owner Herb Kohl made keeping the team in that city mandatory for any new owner.

The number of bidders for the Clippers is expected to stray well into double digits, assuming the league can force the sale of the team, as NBA commissioner Adam Silver continues to believe.


VIDEO: GameTime provides an update on the latest news on the Clippers

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No. 2: Scott says he’s ‘perfect’ to fill Lakers’ vacancy — Many names have been bandied about in the Lakers’ search for a new coach, but according to ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin, two are confirmed candidates: Mike Dunleavy and Byron Scott. Scott, a former star with the Lakers and a veteran on the team when Kobe Bryant was a rookie, thinks he can best fill what Bryant and L.A. need now:

“I don’t feel I’m a very arrogant guy, but I feel like I am the perfect guy for this job,” Scott told the “Max & Marcellus” show on ESPNLA 710 Radio on Thursday. “I got a great relationship with Kobe. I know the team, know the roster. I watched them all season long and I just think it would be a great fit.”

Scott said making sure he and Bryant were on the same page would be his priority.

“Obviously, if I get the job, the first conversation I have is with Kobe,” said Scott, who spent last season as an analyst for Time Warner Cable SportsNet, the Lakers’ television partner. “We have to talk about the future of the Los Angeles Lakers. We have to also talk about which type of direction we’ll be taking and also talk about the type of game that he’s going to be playing because he’s going to have to change his game a little bit, and I think he knows that.

“We got to sit down and talk about the minutes and things like that. We just got to come to an agreement. But he knows me. I’m an old-school type guy. I’m an old-school type guy and I want him to understand that and I think he does understand that. We communicate during the summer by text, and every now and then I’ll run into him somewhere and we’ll talk a little bit more about basketball. But I think the biggest thing is, No. 1, I respect the hell out of Kobe and I think he respects me. That’s the first hurdle we got to get past, and then other things, we’ll be able to solve all those little issues.”

Scott promised to bring a defensive focus back to the Lakers after they ranked 29th in the league in opponents’ points per game (109.2) and 28th in defensive efficiency, allowing 107.9 points per 100 possessions.

“That’s what I was taught when I came to the Lakers, that defense wins championships,” said Scott, who was coached by Pat Riley in L.A. “I think Kobe knows that. I think Pau [Gasol] knows that, because they won championships with that formula. And I think that’s the first thing we got to get better at, the defensive part of basketball. Then we got to get better at the rebounding. So, it’s something that we would do on a day-to-day basis. You got to work on that every day, and it has to be a team’s identity and a staple.”

While Scott conceded that next season should be a “bit of a rebuilding year” for L.A., he does not believe the Lakers will take long to rebound.

“Obviously there are a lot of holes to fill, but unlike a lot of people who think this is a three-, four-year process, I really don’t think so,” Scott said. “Again, this is one of the best organizations in basketball. Mitch has done a fantastic job, and I think Jim really has a good idea of where they want to go and what direction they want to head in. So I don’t think it’s going to take three or four years. I think it might take a couple of years at the most to get right back where they need to be.”

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No. 3: Cuban hopes Spurs win title — The  Mavericks put up quite a fight against the Spurs in the first round, pushing top-seeded San Antonio to a Game 7. Dallas owner Mark Cuban, therefore, got a really good look at these Spurs and is actually pulling for the Mavs’ longtime rival — for a reason that might not surprise you. Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com has more:

The San Antonio Spurs winning two more series would make the Mavs feel even better about the way their season ended, pushing the top overall seed to seven games in the first round. More importantly to Cuban, earning a fifth championship ring might cause longtime nemesis Tim Duncan to decide to ride off into the sunset.

“I want San Antonio to win,” Cuban said on 105.3 The Fan’s “Ben and Skin Show” on Friday. “I want Tim Duncan to hit a game-winning shot to win Game 7, then go to the Finals, do the exact same thing, hit a game-winning shot in Game 7, run down the tunnel, never to be seen from again.

“I want him to retire on the spot. I hope he gets that last ring and it’s all the incentive he needs to retire.”

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No. 4: Gibson readying to be Bulls’ starter? — As a rookie in 2009-10, Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson started 70 of the 82 regular season games he appeared in. The summer after that season, the Bulls signed ex-Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer to a lucrative deal and made him the new starter. Since then, Boozer’s results haven’t lived up to his deal and, over the last few seasons, coach Tom Thibodeau has inserted the defense-first Gibson into games in the fourth quarter in place of Boozer. The Bulls are still able to use the amnesty provision on Boozer’s deal and according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, it looks like Boozer is headed out of town and Gibson has the starting gig next season:

General manager Gar Forman has remained poker-faced about Carlos Boozer’s future as a Bull, but several sources indicated that reserve power forward Taj Gibson was told by the coaching staff to start preparing this offseason to be a starter in 2014-15.

And Gibson has.

With about a week left of rehabbing his left ankle, which he injured in the Game 5 playoff loss to the Wizards last month, Gibson confirmed that he has been told “to get my body and mind right to be a starter.’’

“I mean, this will be exciting,’’ Gibson said in a phone interview. “This is what I’ve always thought about. When I started [six games] for Boozer when he was hurt during the season, I just know how excited I was, how good it felt to come to the arena.’’

The 2013-14 season long has been perceived as Boozer’s last with the Bulls.

They simply could invoke the amnesty clause on Boozer, still paying him $16.8 million next season, but not having it count against the cap. Or they could use him as a key trading piece in a splashy deal because of his expiring contract.

Considering the growing asking price in the Kevin Love sweepstakes, the Bulls likely will choose the amnesty option.

Gibson didn’t know how the Boozer situation would be resolved and instead focused on his rehab and his future.

“The ankle is good,’’ Gibson said. “It was just a bad sprain, and they said I could start moving forward [to basketball activity] by next week.

‘‘Still rehabbing, but my focus now is on getting better.’’

Shortly after this story came out, however, the son of Chicago Bears legendary running back Walter Payton, Jarrett, tweeted that Gibson said he has not been promised the starting gig …

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No. 5: Sixers’ Noel says he’s been ready to play for months — As we reported in this space yesterday, Nerlens Noel, the No. 6 pick in 2013, will finally make his NBA debut in Summer League. Noel missed all of last season recovering from a torn ACL as Philadelphia took it easy in getting him back on the mend. Could he have been in the lineup sooner than this summer? Noel says he could have, according to a story by Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe:

“I’ve been 100 percent for months now,” Noel told the Globe. “I feel great and continue to get stronger in all parts of my body, just continuing my growth really. I will be playing in summer games and summer league.”

Noel averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in his lone season with Kentucky and is considered an impact defensive player. He said he has been working on his perimeter jumper to improve his offensive prowess.

“It’s beyond words [to play], it’s been a long time coming,” he said. “I feel I’m definitely ready and focused. The whole offseason, I’ve focused on being stronger and working on my skill points, working on my shot, which I have progressed a lot with, working on my technique. Every part of my game I feel I’ve definitely improved on.”


VIDEO: Nerlens Noel talks with the media after the Sixers’ season

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Ex-Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro among the names on the Cavs’ coaching list … Might Greg Oden play in Game 3 tonight? … Grizzlies defensive ace Tony Allen takes some shots at Thunder big man Steven Adams

30 Comments

  1. Jess says:

    If the Lakers really wanna be top contender’s again they’ll bring back a player that over the years was often overlooked and under appreciated. It even sounded like he was boo’d when he came off the bench. But LUKE “THE MILKMAN” WALTON should be back in a Lakers uniform very soon if they expect to win a championship before Kobe retires.

  2. Z for 3 says:

    Lionel Hollins could make things interesting in Lakerland. They would be smart to bring him in and revamp their porous defensive system

  3. cory says:

    u ppl need to realize that only 3-4 players are still currently under contract…this rebuilding stage will NOT take 4 years for sure! although, kobe cant be our number one option anymore. i think he should stay, but there must be a new number one for my lakers to succeed. and will someone pls fire steve nash…he can no longer guard his position..

  4. philme says:

    Byron Scott is a established coach been to the to the top two times as a coach he should the the job no one else Mike Dunleavy will not be good he go not have a wining record

  5. Greg says:

    Give the Lakers their due and just stop talking about them. The Clippers are LA’s team now. Showtime comes to the 21st century.

  6. Nerlens Noel says:

    Definitely

  7. Great Western Forum says:

    Without Phil Jackson they need a whole team of unselfish players with little egos. The only reason Kobe has any rings at all is because of Phil Jackson. He not only managed Kobes ego, but he managed everyone else. He had them meditating and doing yoga for a reason. It’s not easy to play on a team where one guy always wants the ball and complains every time you make a mistake yet gives himself all the excuses in the book when he messes up…He’s ridiculously talented and dedicated to his craft more than anyone, but he’s never been a good teammate…

  8. Im a Man Im 40 says:

    Great Job with the Nuggets there Scott.

  9. sophie1150 says:

    Will take 3-4 years for Lakers to become contenders. Go Spurs 2014

  10. sophie1150 says:

    Probably take 3-4 years for Lakers to get into the playoffs. Mark Jackson should not waste his talents nor good name on the Lakers. Mark, wait for a better offer. Top tier players won’t go to the Lakers till Kobe is off the court and rides into the sunset. Name one player (maybe Fisher) who liked being his teammate. Go Spurs 2014

    • Paul Ramirez says:

      Your an idiot too he should be very lucky to go there .. what makes u more of an idiot is saying nobody wants to be his teammate ..Kevin love, carmelo, and everybody else that’s like saying nobody wants to be on LeBron team .. he’s being the most ball hogger then kobe looks at the stats and how many shots he gets …. spurs will never win a championship for the next decade the reason you is cause the coach can’t cheat and rest his players like he does every season which is your he’s fined all the time … Heat gonna take it

  11. LakersProdigy says:

    Fantasy Lakers Roster for 2014: Kyle Lowry, Dante Exum, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Jordan Hill

  12. alex davis says:

    I am afraid, the Lakers have a reached a point. In their “Reality” that others have seen. There is no 19 year old Kobe Bryant, coming through that door. I am sorry, but that’s just keeping it REAL!

  13. r says:

    wow byron scott sounds like a top tier buttkisser

  14. The Logical Laker Fan says:

    The Lakers need to stop with mindset of keeping things in the family and consider more than one established coach as a serious option for them to hire. As for this coming NBA Draft, rather then trading away their 7th pick, they should have their eyes set on an ambitious young player who has the right mindset, as well as the ability to be a possible key factor for them in this rebuilding process.

    P.S. It wouldn’t be such a bad idea to pick up a few players who want to win rather then have fun.

  15. okc2014 says:

    Nerlens Joel. Can he state just one more time for the record that he is ready to play? Nobody cares but the 76ers.

  16. agent44 says:

    until now, there are still a lot of people out there nnot waken! keep on dreamin’ a@# your Lakers is DEAD!!!

  17. Kome the Black Dumba says:

    I love how crazy Lakers boy fans are.

    Next season Roster:

    Bryon Scott(Or whoever coach): clash with Kobe. Result: fired

    Rookie: clash with Kobe. Result: Not develop until Kobe leave for good.

    Any free agent: clash with Kobe. Wait, do they still have money left?

    Kobe: Break a leg, pun intended.

    Lakers: DOOM! Until your favorite son Kobe finally move out of the basement.

  18. Aktom says:

    Mark Jackson is aviable and so is lionel hollins. This two should be taken in consideration at first place for the Lakers.

  19. HellFire says:

    Nope… 1st pick = tom thibodeau | 2nd = kurt rambis | 3rd = stan van gundy | 4th = anyone that knows D-FENCE ! and is respected enough to bring good players !

  20. Paul says:

    Well it will be an improvement if the Lakers bring a coach who knows that defense is an important part of basketball…

  21. heat hater says:

    Nice dream, albeit a modest one. But how do they get Love without trading something of value? And what do they have worth trading? This year’s draft pick surely won’t satisfy Minnesota. Sign and trade Pau/Farmer/Kelly?

  22. Cadu says:

    Lakers with that team ll be a contender:

    PG:(maybe OJ mayo?) and steve nash
    SG:Kobe -Reserve:Nick Young
    SF:Luol Deng reserve : james Johson can fit too
    PF:Kevin Love reserve:James Jhonson(MEMPHIS)
    Center:Asik or Tyson Chandler reserve : Reggie Evans ….

    Improbable but …

    • jmals says:

      The Lakers will not be able to get Kevin Love sadly. If the Wolves fear he will walk and are willing to trade, we don’t have anywhere near the best package. We don’t have players, and only our one pick. Nick Young will get paid after last season and I doubt we’ll be the top bidder. I didn’t think Chandler is a free agent, nor Asik. And didn’t OJ just sign with the Bucks last season? Not to gripe at you Cadu, but it reminds me of LBJ and his posts about bringing every star to Miami (he’s obviously high) you didn’t go crazy, but really only Deng is someone we could grab (I have no idea about Eveans or Johnson)

    • Rhedz03 says:

      @Cadu:

      i dont think lakers can hav elove with asik and chandler…mayo might be possible..but with love, asik and chandler…it’s way to impossible…lakers getting mayo+asik or chandler could be possible but not love…i dont think love will fit lakers…he needs a team thats ready made not a team that’s ready to be re-made…and yeah..deng won’t be in lakers…not a chance…

      so it will be

      pg – mayo, nash
      sg – young
      sf – bryant
      pf – p.gasol
      c – asik

      • cadu1009@hotmail.com says:

        Agreed guys…But we are talking about Lakers…they bring Gasol and company…do you guys remember when?hahaha i realy thing they gonna bring Love and a good group…James Jonshon with the right coach can be a new Lamar Odom,Asik can be the anchor of the D in the paint,i really thing they can hire Luol Deng or Trevor Ariza…both good defensive players,and the lakers need one to guard Durant in semi or conf finals or Finals against Lebron…Reggie Evans is a good defensive players and bring a lot of rebounds…good bench guy