Morning shootaround — Dec. 17


VIDEO: Highlights from games played Dec. 16

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: Kings talk with Jackson | Reports: Cavs, Rockets still interested in Brewer | Bucks’ next moves after Parker’s injury | Kobe offered support to George

No. 1: Report: Kings’ brass meets with Jackson — Two days ago, the Sacramento Kings fired coach Mike Malone and replaced him with his top assistant, Tyrone Corbin, on an interim basis. Since then, there have been names aplenty — the foremost being George Karl and Chris Mullin — who have popped up as potential Sacramento hires for the coaching gig. Add another name to the list, writes Sam Amick of USA Today, as the team has also spoken with former Golden State Warriors coach and current ESPN analyst Mark Jackson:

In the days that have followed the Sacramento Kings’ surprising firing of coach Michael Malone, the only thing certain about where they go from here has been the uncertainty.

Tyrone Corbin was deemed the interim for the foreseeable future, though no one was quite sure how long that term might last. Longtime head coach George Karl was widely seen as a frontrunner to replace him, but his reported candidacy was followed by proverbial crickets. Golden State Warriors legend and current Kings advisor Chris Mullin was and remains an intriguing possibility, but early indications are that he won’t be taking on the head coaching title anytime soon.

Yet late Tuesday night at Sleep Train Arena, after the Kings fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-92, another possible candidate emerged in the most convenient of ways: former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson. After calling the game courtside for ESPN, Jackson had a lengthy meeting with Mullin, Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro and franchise centerpiece DeMarcus Cousins inside the “Chairman’s Lounge” where they had requested that arena workers and others give them some privacy.

Jackson, Mullin, and Cousins entered the room at approximately 10:20 p.m. Pacific time, with Cousins sporting a black suit as he continues to recover from his bout with viral meningitis that has kept him out of action since Nov. 26. D’Alessandro joined them approximately 20 minutes into the meeting, and the group finally exited just before midnight, long after the room had been cleared so that they could have a moment to discuss, well, connect the dots yourself.

Or, of course, maybe it was just a couple of old childhood pals sharing stories with their Kings friends. Mullin and Jackson have been the best of friends since their high school days, when Jackson was coming up at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn and Mullin was a star at Power Memorial Academy in New York City. They played together at St. John’s University as well, then later spent three seasons side by side yet again with the Indiana Pacers (1997-2000).

What’s more, D’Alessandro was a video coordinator at St. John’s during Jackson’s senior season. Jackson, Mullin, and D’Alessandro have made a habit of visiting in this nature whenever their paths may cross, but the involvement of Cousins was certainly enough to warrant notice.

The Jackson possibility was previously known, and the dynamics on display leading up to their meeting said everything about why the Kings might be seriously interested in bringing him aboard. According to one of the participants, Cousins expressed a desire to meet Jackson, whose ability to connect with his players during the last three seasons with the Warriors was a very real and valuable part of his successes there.


VIDEO: Who should be the next coach of the Sacramento Kings?

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No. 2: Reports: Wolves’ Brewer remains on trade radar for Cavs, Rockets — It’s been a while since Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Corey Brewer had his name bandied about in trade talks, but that chatter may be heating up again. Back in mid-November, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets were sniffing around on potential deals for him — which is something that hasn’t changed a month later. Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group has more on the Cavs’ interest in Brewer (and others) and Darren Wolfsen of ESPN1500 in Minneapolis has more on the Rockets’ interest in Brewer, too:

To upgrade the position, Cleveland was in talks with the Minnesota Timberwolves for Corey Brewer, but those conversations have subsided.

As of now, a rash of injuries has deterred Minnesota from handing over their best perimeter defender.

The idyllic fit for the Cavaliers to fill their void for toughness, shooting and defensive tenacity resides in the Pacific Northwest: Wesley Matthews of Portland Trail Blazers. Cleveland has adored Matthews for quite some time and its quest of him has been repeatedly vetoed, league sources told Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Portland, at 19-6, is one of the best young teams in the league and is off to its best start in 15 years. Breaking up a sturdy nucleus entrenched in a winning culture isn’t in the team’s plans.

Barring an unexpected plummet, the Trail Blazers are dismissing all overtures for Matthews. He is a free agent at the end of the season and they have every intention of re-signing him next summer, a league source said.

When it comes to big man needs, Memphis Grizzlies’ center Kousta Koufos is certainly a legitimate target. His $3 million salary would absorb perfectly into the $5.3 million trade exception Cleveland acquired in the Keith Bogans deal during training camp.

It’s no secret that Koufos desires more minutes than what the Grizzlies are providing. With Memphis occupying the second-best record in the NBA, there is no rationalization for switching things up.

The Grizzlies value Koufos. They know you can never have too much depth in the frontcourt. But sooner or later, they’ll have a huge decision to make. He is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year and at this stage in his career, he wants to play.

If the Grizzlies elect not to move Koufos, they risk losing him for nothing over the summer along with All-Star center Marc Gasol, who will be unrestricted. Losing both would be a decimating scenario.

Cleveland is high on Koufos, we’re told. They view his talent as a remedy to their lack of protection around the paint. However, beyond this season, a team is going to have to make a financial commitment.

Longtime NBA agent Mark Termini, renowned as a masterful negotiator, represents Koufos. He is also the senior advisor of negotiations for Rich Paul‘s Klutch Sports Group agency. Termini has an excellent relationship with Cavaliers ownership and management.

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No. 3: Next steps for Bucks in wake of Parker injury? — The Milwaukee Bucks’ feel-good season got some decidedly depressing news last night as the team found out talented rookie Jabari Parker has a torn ACL and is likely done for the season. As of this morning, the Bucks have the sixth-best record in the Eastern Conference. So what can the team do to hang on to a playoff spot in Parker’s absence? Charles Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel chimes in:

The former Duke star was flourishing at power forward and was named the Eastern Conference rookie of the month for November.

“I want to be here as much as possible, I want to stay as long as possible,” Parker said recently. “I want to just grind it out and see what happens. Even if I were to slump and they wanted to trade me, I would probably want to try and get better so I could stay here.”

So what do the Bucks do now with Parker out of the lineup?

It could mean more small ball for Kidd, who has used small lineups with success early in the season.

And it should provide an opportunity for expanded playing time for veteran Ersan Ilyasova and third-year player John Henson when they return from injuries.

Both players are expected back soon. The 6-10 Ilyasova suffered a broken nose Dec. 2 in Cleveland when he collided with Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson. Ilyasova underwent surgery and has missed the last six games.

Henson sprained his left foot when he stepped on teammate Brandon Knight‘s foot in a Nov. 25 game against Detroit. The 6-11 Henson has been sidelined for the past 10 games.

Parker and 20-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo were playing well together as a forward tandem. Antetokounmpo, who has played every position on the floor this season, also could spend more time at power forward in Parker’s absence.


VIDEO: Jabari Parker suffered a knee injury against the Phoenix Suns on Monday

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No. 4: Bryant reached out to Pacers’ George after injury  — When Indiana Pacers star Paul George suffered his gruesome leg fracture during Team USA’s scrimmage last summer, players from that squad, the Pacers and more offered him well-wishes on his recovery. One such player who also offered some support was Kobe Bryant of the L.A. Lakers, a player whose game George has long been a fan of. Mark Medina of the Los Angeles News Group has more:

With the frustration still raw and the pain still overwhelming, Indiana Pacers forward Paul George received a phone call from someone who could relate to his circumstances.

Kobe Bryant.

George had just fractured his lower right leg during an intrasquad scrimmage in August with the U.S. national team in Las Vegas, an injury that has still sidelined him through the Lakers’ 110-91 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Bryant immediately called George, offering both sympathy and perspective after playing only six games last season with injuries to his left Achilles tendon and left knee.

“I just wanted to check on him and let him know I was here to support him,” Bryant said. “Having been through these types of situations myself, I wanted him to know if he needed some advice on how I tried to work on my game, even though I wasn’t playing, to give me a call. I’d like to talk to him a little bit.”

George gladly returned the message.

“What I took away from him reaching out is that you have to become the best teammate, be a student and observe the game,” Paul said in an interview with Los Angeles News Group. “Being out, you have to take it as a positive and sit back and learn.”

George gushed plenty about Bryant, praising the Lakers’ star for his work ethic, his recent play and his feedback. That partly explains why George found it surprising a recent ESPN.com article reported that he represented one of many potential free agents that did not want to join the Lakers because of Bryant’s demanding leadership style. George strongly disputed that notion.

George said “there wasn’t even a chance for me to look at going to L.A.”

He resigned with the Pacers in the fall of 2013 to a five-year extension worth around $90 million. Because he would have become a restricted free agent had he not signed his extension, the Pacers would have matched any offer George received from any other team.

“Second of all, I want to write my own chapter and be a player to come into my own,” George said. “As great it would be to team up with a guy like Kobe, he’s still built his legacy and has paved the way for himself. I want to do the same thing he did with sticking with one franchise and riding it out.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut will have his knee re-evaluated on Wednesday … Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler says he feels sorry for his ex-New York Knicks teammate, Carmelo Anthony … The Oklahoma City Thunder are enjoying their run of good health after a disastrous November … If you missed it, here is the Peja Stojakovic jersey retirement ceremony in its entirety … The Brooklyn Nets just can’t seem to shake their past, it seems … The Utah Jazz are growing up together, at last, even as they lose more than they win … Now that veteran Ronny Turiaf is out for the season, the Minnesota Timberwolves have some roster decisions to make

ICYMI OF THE NIGHT: Rudy Gay drives the lane with power and flushes it home strong on Serge Ibaka …


VIDEO: Rudy Gay jams on Serge Ibaka

 

17 Comments

  1. Someone says:

    Looks like the Bucks were playing too well for their own good

  2. harriethehawk says:

    Next steps for Milwaukee? To take big steps down the Leastern Conference seeding ladder. It’s wrapped up in a bow and ready for Christmas Day. Sorry and best wishes to Jabari Parker. too bad, so sad.

  3. AEL says:

    Wish the best to all the injured players

    Seems there is a plague or sth

  4. mhars says:

    this is whT ive said, that kind of foul by mr tucker to jabari is not a common foul,he should be fined by the comm.of nba bec hes intentionally move his knee to the knee of jabari..sigh….

  5. jmndodge says:

    Wolves could benefit from a Brewer trade. They likely will lose value – Brewer would be a help off the bench for any team who needs an energy boast and player with the hops to reach the rim and defend. The only reason Brewer should be traded, however, is to bring in a backup for C/PF – where injury to PEK/Turiaf, and the lack of height with Young/Bennett/Hummel/Ardean make it necessary to beef up the lineup. PG is also a problem, but when Rubio returns healthy, that problem goes away. Bazz/Wiggins/LaVine once Rubio returns, make Brew unnecessary. That said, Brew has been a very good player for the wolves – not disciplined, but very competitive.

  6. Rändom says:

    Damn, cool stuff. Stojakovic got his jersey retired. A bit surprising, but still great to hear, and glad he won a championship in his last year as a Dallas player. I think it was his first title since 2001 Eurobasket.

  7. Dan says:

    Kobe to Paul George: “hey man – you can sit on the sidelines recovering from an injury while you talk to the media about how bad the current team is and how the people who are still playing THROUGH their injuries are soft and weak…but in the background you can beg them to keep playing so when you come back you have a selfish shot at the playoffs still. – at least that is what I did in LA with Dwight….”

  8. Caldron Pool says:

    Mark Jackson would be a catch for any NBA team. Now, with a good core of Collison, Cousins, and Gay, as well as several other talented young players, they can start to push for the middle seeding in the WC. Jackson proved he can take a team from bottom feeder to top 10 with talent on the roster.

    If he were still coaching the Warriors they’d probably be just as good as they are now. Kerr isn’t helping them out at all. He’s a complete hot head, and he’s going to crack at the fist sign of adversity, which he doesn’t know how to deal with as a coach. He was completely unable to explain how or why the Warriors lost to the Grizzlies, and was incapable of making an adjustment to the Grizz defense. They crowded Curry into shooting 1 for 10 on 3 point shots, Kerr never made the adjustment. Alvin Gentry is the real coach there, Kerr is just taking a large paycheck and getting techs. Not a good hire.

  9. Mike says:

    You don’t Mark Jackson. He’ll convert his players by giving them the option of “practice or church services”

  10. Rocksteady says:

    Mark Jackson is a no brainier! Proven track record as a coach. Builds confidants in his players. Deserves an opportunity to restart his coaching career that was senselessly cut short.

  11. Rhedz03 says:

    Mark Or George…I have no question with this 2 elite coaches…Taking any of them would put the kings into a sure win win situation…Mullins is a legend but his style does not meet what the owner wants. As for the current sub coach..well not today maybe some other time..you still have alot to learn when it comes to head coaching…But goodluck and hope to see you as a head coach in coming years.

  12. Game Time says:

    You’d think one of the top stories for the morning shootaround would be GSW’s streak being ended by the Grizzlies. Little or no credit for them, as usual.

  13. T gas TT ako says:

    corey will be a really good fit for the cavs,, hes like shane battier of heat,, and also koufos will also fit in

  14. Rocket Fan says:

    Would love to see brewer in a rocket jersey, lets sign jj watt to the rockets to if possible lol

  15. joe says:

    yes please, mark jackson to the kings!!!😎

  16. HaKO says:

    come on down to houston corey

  17. timpson says:

    that’s what he gets