Morning Shootaround — June 10


VIDEO: The Starters discuss the Spurs’ struggles late in Game 2

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: Lakers delaying coaching hire for LeBron?| Report: Cavs offered Calipari $80M | Various factors helped Fisher become coach | Suns’ brain trust shares bond

No. 1: Report: Lakers delaying coaching search for an Anthony-James push News broke yesterday that ex-Lakers guard Derek Fisher has agreed to become the New York Knicks’ new coach, thus taking a name once thought to be on the Lakers’ list off the market. Los Angeles continues to churn through names and interviews in search of its next coach, but could the delayed/slow search be due to its interest in landing Carmelo Anthony and/or LeBron James in free agency this summer? Sam Amick of USA Today has more:

The slow pace of the Lakers’ coaching search that began April 30 when Mike D’Antoni resigned has been timed deliberately with the upcoming free agency period in the NBA, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Specifically, the idea that the Lakers could beat the odds and land the likes of the Heat’s LeBron James, the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony or any of the other superstars who may be free agents on July 1 has led the Lakers to plod through their process so as to not limit their potential options. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the search.

But how much allure do the Lakers still have after their 27-55 season that was the franchise’s worst since they moved to Los Angeles in 1960? We’ll soon find out.

While it appears highly likely that James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will remain with the Heat, the outcome of these Finals is expected to play a part in their decisions. And there is a strong hope outside of Miami — from Los Angeles all the way to New York — that the Spurs can pull off the series win and inspire some of the league’s best players to explore their options elsewhere.

Yet according to two people with knowledge of the situation, Anthony’s part in this fluid free agency situation is worth monitoring as James is known to be interested in eventually playing with his close friend. Anthony also has a player option on his deal for next season (worth $23.5 million), and his connection to James has teams like the Lakers, Knicks and even the Heat wondering whether he may be able to join the four-time NBA MVP. The people requested anonymity because of sensitive nature of free agency talk.

Should some iteration of the Heat’s Big Four decide to head West to join Kobe Bryant and offer the Lakers an instant rebuild, they would be more than welcome to the team that has only three players with guaranteed contracts on their roster for next season (Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre). The Knicks, meanwhile, would love for everyone to delay their plans for one season by opting in only to head for The Big Apple in the summer of 2015 when their payroll drops all the way down to about $17 million.

The reality that the Lakers may not hire a coach until July leaves their candidates in limbo, as they have already interviewed six former head coaches in Byron Scott (New Orleans Hornets, New Jersey Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers), Lionel Hollins (Memphis Grizzlies), Mike Dunleavy (Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers), Kurt Rambis (Minnesota Timberwolves), George Karl (Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Seattle SuperSonics, Bucks, Denver Nuggets) and Alvin Gentry (Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons, Clippers, Phoenix Suns).

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No. 2: Report: Cavs offered Calipari $80M deal The next name on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ coaching search list is that of former player/Cavs legend Mark Price. One of the past names on the team’s list was none other than Kentucky coach John Calipari, who, according to ESPN.com, got quite the pricey offer to take over as coach and team president:

NBA coaching sources have told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ recent pitch to Kentucky coach John Calipari was a 10-year offer worth nearly $80 million and included the role of coach and team president.

Kentucky on Thursday announced that Calipari has been signed to a new seven-year deal worth $52.5 million guaranteed.

Sources told ESPN’s Andy Katz that Kentucky’s new deal with Calipari was completed in April and that the Cavs’ proposal was made within the past two weeks.

During an interview on Kentucky Sports Radio, Calipari confirmed he was approached by NBA teams “in a hard way.” Calipari did not offer any details of his discussions to return to the pros. He coached the Nets from 1996-99, making the playoffs once.

Sources told Stein that part of Cleveland’s motivation to chase Calipari for its job was the belief that hiring Calipari — who is well known to be a good friend of LeBron James – would greatly enhance its chances of convincing the NBA’s best player to return to his home state in free agency this summer.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has been highly motivated to recruit a marquee coach to be the new face of the franchise, but Calipari and UConn’s Kevin Ollie are off the market now thanks to the new contracts at their respective schools. Florida’s Billy Donovan and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo also rebuffed the Cavs during the current college basketball offseason.


VIDEO: GameTime’s crew discusses what steps are next for the Cavs

 

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No. 3: NBPA stint helped Fisher land new gig; Relationship with Jackson was key — At 11:30 a.m. ET today, Derek Fisher will be officially announced as the next coach of the New York Knicks. That move will reunite him with his former coach (and current Knicks president) Phil Jackson as the duo tries to lift the Knicks from their up-and-(mostly)-down ways of the last few seasons. As our Steve Aschburner points out, Fisher’s past role as president of the National Basketball Players Association helped prepare him for his coaching job. That, plus his long-standing relationship with Jackson (as Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck points out) helped push Fisher from player to coach in weeks, not years.

Here’s Aschburner on the NBPA factor for Fisher:

That’s where Fisher might have an edge over other former players who were hired with no prior coaching experience.

What Fisher had to do as union prez sure seemed a lot like coaching to me, at least in the skill set required.

Leadership? Check.

Weighing the demands of various constituencies, each with its own agenda? Check.

Keeping the guys who dislike you away from the guys, as MLB’s Billy Martin used to say, who haven’t quite made up their minds? Check.

Staying true to your own vision, knowing when to bend and when to stiffen? Check.

Dealing with the media and looking good in a suit? Check and double-check.

We never saw Jason Kidd, Steve Kerr, Mark Jackson or other recent NBA coaching neophytes – no assistant’s apprenticeship or D League prep work required — handle chores as complex and urgent as Fisher did during the lockout. He coped with the owners on one side, his peers in the players union on another, the NBA brass – commissioner David Stern and deputy Adam Silver – on yet another side and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter (with his own undisclosed agendas at the time, as it turned out) on another side still.

And here’s Beck on how the coach-front office bond is becoming the most important hiring factor in the NBA today:

Fisher, 39, will bring a wealth of knowledge to the job—as an 18-year NBA veteran, a five-time NBA champion and a general student of the game.

What might matter most however, is his bond with the man who hired him: Phil Jackson, the Knicks’ team president.

Jackson and Fisher spent nine seasons together, as coach and player, with the Los Angeles Lakers. They toasted five titles together, navigated the Kobe-Shaq feuds together, took bus rides and plane rides and all sorts of metaphorical detours together, over two separate periods between 1999 and 2011.

The rookie Knicks president and the rookie Knicks coach know each other well.

There is a mutual trust, a mutual understanding and a general agreement about how basketball should be played.

Those were Jackson’s clearly stated priorities on the day he took the job in March, the same priorities that made Steve Kerr his No. 1 target once Jackson fired Mike Woodson. Kerr, like Fisher, has played for Jackson and is steeped in the triangle offense, the equal-opportunity system that Jackson cherishes and wants to install in New York.

Being triangle-fluent was not a prerequisite for the job, but it was a strong attribute.

Fisher certainly has the personality and the intellect to succeed as a coach. In Jackson, he will have the perfect mentor, a daily resource on strategy, practice routines and player management.

This, too, is what Jackson wanted when he embarked on his big Knicks adventure: a student to mold.

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No. 4: Hornacek, McDonough form bond in Phoenix — Suns coach Jeff Hornacek just finished up his first season on the bench after a long an illustrious playing career. The team’s GM, Ryan McDonough, has his first season behind him as well after helping Phoenix amass a roster that became one of the surprising success stories of 2013-14. Phoenix has cap room to spare this summer and an overall bright outlook for 2014-15, something that can be attributed to the close working relationship McDonough and Hornacek share, writes Paola Boivin of The Arizona Republic:

Just 16 days away from the NBA draft, the Suns are poised to piece together a team that could make an impact in 2014-15. Credit the behind-the-scenes relationship between Ryan McDonough and Jeff Hornacek, who were dropped into this tempest together and emerged with a common vision and surprisingly comparable dispositions.

“Personality-wise, we’re pretty similar, as we are in how we evaluate players,” said McDonough, who replaced Lance Blanks as general manager. “I think that’s a big advantage for us because we’re not fighting much if at all about players. We usually see guys the same way and kind of agree on the best course of action for the team.”

The two are 17 years apart, but it doesn’t feel that way. Hornacek seems younger than 51 and McDonough, despite his youthful face, projects a professionalism and maturity behind his 34 years.

McDonough was hired on May 7 and Hornacek three weeks later. They connected fairly quickly. Credit the coach for his open-mindedness. A runaway ego might have been rattled by a partner in crime relatively new to his field, but Hornacek never saw it that way.

“I think the big thing is if you know basketball, and you’ve been around basketball for a while, I think the thoughts start to be the same for the most part,” he said. “Everyone has seen he’s been with an organization and won a championship, so he saw what it takes to get there.

“I’ve been on some teams that have been almost there. When you have that thought and you’re on same page that way, sometimes we’re looking at other teams going, ‘What are they doing?’ It’s good to be on the same page with the GM.”

Maybe their best shared trait is patience.

It’s easy in the NBA to be seduced by simple athleticism or off-the-chart statistics. The best talent evaluators are relentless in gathering appropriate data and weighing it accordingly. That’s McDonough. He has logged endless hours watching players and is meticulous in his gathering process.

Hornacek’s personality is an ideal fit. He doesn’t overreact. He is not easily seduced. His analysis is thoughtful and measured.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Derek Fisher‘s staff in New York is may include Kurt Rambis, Rick Fox, Luke Walton and Bill Cartwright … Quite the flopper in his day, Vlade Divac says he’s a big fan of the NBA’s anti-flopping rules … Kings star DeMarcus Cousins is on a bit of an offseason media blitz to try and change the perception about him … A handful of youngsters on the Blazers are already starting to gear up for 2014-15 …


VIDEO: GameTime’s crew talks about Derek Fisher being the Knicks’ new coach

47 Comments

  1. Bandz says:

    Most of yall aint even making no sense, atleast be somewhat realistic. If Miami lose to the Spurs, LBJ will more than likely go back to the Cavs. Wade will retire as a Heat, Bosh will more likely stay there as well. Melo would probably go to a WINNING TEAM. Not no Lakers, they don’t even have nobody there. So I’ll say Houston will be the best fit.

    • HeatFansDon'tExist says:

      I think Carmello is better off going to the Bulls. They have one of the best defenses and he’s the scorer that they’re missing. And if Rose can actually stay healthy they have a really good shot of at least getting to The Finals.

  2. M1978 says:

    Lakers are doing something really wrong.They need 2-3 young talented guys, 1 or 2 of the of superstar quality. Kevin Love fits this description, but Anthony or James do not fit it. They don’t need another Bryant, thats for sure. Signing Howard last year was a good try to make the team more flexible, unfortunatly he turned out quite immature to achive anything. Now the Lakers should bulid a humble team with small or medium egos, because they have Bryant who has a huge one. Many of the big teams work this way: MJ was the biggest star in Chicago at that time, Pippen, Rodman, Longley, Harper knew that and never try to question his leadership or supremacy. It was the same with the last two Lakers victories, and now, its the same with James supported by Wade, Bosh and the others.

    In my opinion James will stay in Miami next year. He earns a lot and has a good perspective on getting a new ring. Why should he let it go? To join a bad Cleavland team or Lakers team to earn a little more money?

  3. B Radd says:

    For me, It makes more sense that Lebron goes to a team that is a contender, so what make sense to me is that Lebron goes to Chicago, Melo goes to the Clippers, Love goes to Golden State, Blake to Houston, Bosh to the Pacers. As long as D Wade and Lebron aren”t on the same Miami Cheat team, I’d be more than happy to sit in front of a t.v. and watch a Miami game..

  4. ant. says:

    harden howard anthony will be the bst trio in the nba history

  5. LAKERS? HAHAHAHAHA says:

    damn this is total non sense. If LeBron take his talent somewhere it will be back on CLEVELAND or just stay hot on HEAT. he will not teaming up with ballhogger overrated MJ WANNA BE.. damn

  6. HeatFansDon'tExist says:

    Maybe the Heat will resign everyone. And then sign Carmello. And then trade for Kobe, And then trade for Love, And then sign Gasol. And then sign Westbrook and Durant in a few years. And win every Finals until the world ends. Why don’t you Heat “fans” think logically for once. First off, there are only so many roster spots incase you “fans” didn’t realize. And second, there’s this thing called a salary cap.

  7. Kirk says:

    Lebron to the Seahawks

  8. bitcoinvalues says:

    All of ya dreaming of Heat winning the championship this year should keep dreaming. You think the Spurs is going to make the same mistake twice? Melo should go to the Bulls, they play hard over there. I would advice any big time players to stay out of LA until they settle that mess over there!

  9. realist says:

    Not sure if idiotic comments or over the top sarcasm o.O

  10. keithmon says:

    For what it’s worth: Melo wants to play with Rondo, LeBron wants to play with Melo. Melo and Love are rumored to be heading to Boston. Potentially Melo and Love get traded in a multi-team deal where Melo comes to Boston and Love goes to a team other than Boston. LeBron opts out in Miami and signs with Boston. Results in a happy big 3 and a fractured fan base. But I would find a way to deal with it!

  11. Stir says:

    Trade Chris Bosh for Kevin Love. Sign Love, he will take a pay cut.
    Then sign Melo
    Get Pau Gasol for mid level
    Battier will retire, they need to get Marion
    They cant afford to sign Chalmers. Get Hinrich for minimum.

  12. axystix says:

    It’s not great to team hop but Noah had a complex, D-Wade no so much- so Lebron sits still. The companionship amongst the Heat players is thick. It good to see nowadays. Hence why they are making title runs. Same thing with the Spurs. If the Heat win this year(which they more than likely will), than it’ll be the same teams again next year…unless the Mamba gets something equally as poisoness in LA.

  13. Jim says:

    If Lebron is not stupid (and I don’t think he is), and unless there are some other dysfunction within the Heat organisation that no one knows about, then he should not be moving anywhere. Period. At this point in his career, legacy should be on the top of Lebron’s mind. He’s already got the money, the MVPs, the championships (including a chance at a three-peat and beyond), the all star appearances etc, and is already widely known as the best player in the world. There is nothing more for James to prove. What he needs to think about now is how the world will see him in 20 years time.

  14. Steve says:

    Lebron I think stays in Miami for one more season.

  15. ALLNBAFAN says:

    Do i need to talk about his defense?

  16. LOL@NBABLOGIDIOTS says:

    Lebron Bosh and Wade are going to Opt out sign for 5 mil less and sign Melo get darko for the minimum and you already know

  17. OKC says:

    melo to the bulls, he wants to win a ring, so he wont go to the west

  18. KaashMoneyy94 says:

    Remember when Laker fans were chanting Mitch Kupchicks name as if he were some sort of god after he got Dwight Howard and Nash to the Lakers! Haha Mitch is the best GM ever right? Lol Danny Ainge is the good one cuz he just fleeced the Nets into giving up 3 1st round picks for 2 guys who are near retirement

    • NameNo says:

      LOL!

      Mitch Kupchak:
      14 Seasons
      12 Playoffs
      7 Division Titles
      6 Conferen Titiles
      4 Championships

      Danny Ainge:
      11 Seasons
      8 Playoffs
      6 Division Titles
      2 Conference Titles
      1 Championship

  19. tops says:

    durant to the cliffs or warriors. all he need is a super point guard and a better center

  20. Titus says:

    We’ll see what happens…Kobe did say next year will be epic!!

  21. Kimmy says:

    I think OKC will do something spectacular this off season, but it won’t be acquiring King LeBron James! Congrats to Derick Fisher. I think he will make an EXCELLENT coach. We OKC fans will miss his leadership to the young bucks on the team. GO THUNDER!

  22. bballjunkie1 says:

    If I was lebron winning or losing this championship run I will need moving forward:
    1. An unselfish point guard who plays defense and looks to create for teamates first.
    2. An unselfish shooting guard that can post up and prides his defense.
    3. An unselfish power forward with both inside/outside game.
    4. An unslefish center that plays can be ran for and who is a decent rim protector.
    5. A coach that who will employ a system in which I will not have to play every game every nite like its the playoffs or we lose. But when we have the hot hand ride it regardless if its not a starter or not, regardless if it means coming out at half time with that same combination for a few plays, who coaches each game as it is played not scripted as i am not a scripted talent.
    6. I am willing to sacrafice money for wear and tear on my body.
    7. Maybe I play one more season in Miami and wait and see who and what is availible next season.
    After all I have been going to championships over half of my career in this league, so I know what it takes.
    I have showed that I am willing to let other guys make their money, and I’ll take less, but I wont moving forward be taken 4 granted nor do I have alot of TIME left 4 my talents too not be utilized correctly.

    • SharpieOne says:

      Well it’s a good thing you aren’t Lebron. So you’re trying to say, arguably, the best player in NBA history needs a complete Superstar team in order to win? Maybe Lebron should just sit out all season long, wait till the finals and then sign a 7 game contract on whichever team is better or maybe Adam Silver could put the top 12 players all on one team. It’s sickening the way the NBA is being ran and the way it’s being played. Yeah M.J. won 6 championships. Imagine how many he would have won if he joined Karl Malone and John Stockton or if Dream, Charles Barkley and M.J. all got together.

  23. 3Peat4Peat says:

    Lebron Aint going nowhere……with white sand beaches, women and 3 championships,,,,,,WHY WOULD HE LEAVE!!!

  24. Anton says:

    They would have to get rid of Ibaka and other players for that to happen, and the league might not even allow it. EX. chris paul trade via lakers

  25. If I was LeBron says:

    If I was leBron…I would either go to the Clippers, Warriors, Rockets or Cavs…and consider lakers & Pacers

  26. Greg says:

    lebrick won’t play for the thunder

  27. Kobe-Carmelo-James-Love-Nash says:

    These is a team that would get the 2015-2017 Championships.. Be ready for us NBA!!

  28. josh says:

    melo will resign with knicks , love will go to celtics , james lakers , 3 more rings for him

  29. josh says:

    The thunder dont have James Harden becasue they werent going to be able to pay him. WHat in the world makes u think they can now all of a sudden afford Lebron. He isnt going to OKC keep dreamin.

  30. Brlo says:

    Anthony will be in OKC after next season. Westbrook, Durant, James, Anthony. Championships 8,9,10 for Anthony. Win first one together, lose the next and finish off back to back.

  31. LBJ is going to stay in Miami. Can’t imagine him leaving. But Melo…that’s different story. But Melo next season in LA…..I don’t think so. I give the Bulls a better chance to get Melo.

  32. Erlo says:

    James will be in OKC after next season. Westbrook, Durant, James. Championships 5,6,7 for Lebron. Win first one together, lose the next and finish off back to back.