Posts Tagged ‘David Falk’

Van Gundy ‘not wavering’ on Monroe

VIDEO: A Detroit journalist talks about the Pistons

ORLANDO — Stan Van Gundy might be wearing two hats now as coach and president of basketball operations for the Pistons, but he is of one mind on free-agent forward Greg Monroe.

“I’m not hesitant at all about that. I didn’t mean to be. We want Greg Monroe back,” Van Gundy said Tuesday afternoon in a hallway of the Amway Center before the Pistons took on the Heat in the Orlando Pro Summer League. “It’s obviously got to be a mutual thing too. But there’s no hesitation there.

“From Day One, Greg can tell you, I went down and met with him. He was the first player I met with. I went down and met with him within a few days of getting the job and made it clear to him … that we want him back and we haven’t wavered on that at all.”

The 6-foot-11 Monroe is a restricted free agent after averaging 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds for a dysfunctional Pistons team that finished with a 29-53 record. After the elite level of NBA free agents that includes LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh, the 24-year-old is one of the hottest commodities on the market.

It’s expected that Monroe will eventually get an offer in excess of his $10.2 million salary cap hold. The Pistons can match any offer Monroe receives as a restricted free agent.

“There’s been a lot of back and forth,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s been productive and good. There’s no doubt on my part, on the basketball side of things, that we want him back.

“It comes down to the business part of the game. … That’s always a different thing than just the coaching and playing side. There’s a business part of it and that’s where we are right now and these things are a big part of it. You take your summer and do your business and you go from there.”

Van Gundy refuted a story from last week that claimed Monroe had made it clear in negotiations that he wanted fellow forward Josh Smith traded or else he would only sign a one-year qualifying offer for $5.4 million and then became an unrestricted free agent next summer.

“It wasn’t true,” Van Gundy said. “We’ve been in constant conversation with Greg and his agent [David Falk]. Not one time have either one of them voiced any displeasure about Josh Smith. Not at any time has either one of them intimated that Greg didn’t want to play with Josh. So Greg was very bothered when that stuff came out, which I understand. Because it’s a teammate. You wouldn’t like it if it came out and you said it. But if you didn’t say it, it’s really troublesome and he’s never said that to any of us throughout this situation.”

Van Gundy would not go say for certain whether the Pistons would match any offer that Monroe might received from another team. A maximum contract offer for Monroe would be roughly $15.8 million next year.

“I’m not going to get into the business side of things and I’m certainly not going to help other teams in terms of building their strategy or anything else,” Van Gundy said. “I’m just going to say that Greg Monroe is a very important piece of the puzzle in Detroit and that we want him back very, very much, and we’ll see what happens over the next weeks, months, whatever it takes.”

Morning Shootaround — May 8

VIDEO: Daily Zap for games played May 7


Whose house? Russell’s house! | Blazers have to prove they can hang with Spurs | Hibbert feeds off of positive vibes from teammates, mentors | Heat always ready for “lineup Twister”

No. 1: Round 2 of an epic point guard battle goes to Russell Westbrook: Chris Paul fired the first shot in Game 1. Russell Westbrook‘s response … whew! After spending the opener as a guest on his own floor, Westbrook made it clear whose house it was with a wicked Game 2 effort, finishing with a triple-double* that helped lift the Thunder. Before things head for Hollywood for Games 3 and 4, Westbrook took his star turn. Jenni Carlson of the Oklahoman has the details:

Russell Westbrook made it clear early that Game 2 was going to be different.

On the first possession of the night, he snagged a steal, then in the process of gathering the ball and heading up court, he ran counterpart Chris Paul into an official. It was whistled a foul on Paul. Then, Westbrook got an offensive rebound and drew a foul on Blake Griffin. Then, he dished an assist to Kevin Durant.

The game was less than a minute old, but the Thunder point guard was already filling the stat sheet.

Setting the tone, too.

“I think Russell probably played harder than all of us combined,” Paul said. “He was all over the place.”

On a night when the Thunder needed to win on home hardwood and even up this Western Conference semifinal – and did just that with a 112-101 victory — Westbrook made sure that this series turned around. He scored. He rebounded. He assisted. He defended. He hounded.

In the process, Westbrook notched his third triple-double of these playoffs.

No other player has even one triple-double in this postseason.

Roll that around in your head a minute. Westbrook 3, rest of the NBA 0.

His triple-double numbers: 31 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists. He became the fifth player in the last 25 seasons with three or more triple-doubles in one postseason. The others: Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Jason Kidd and Rajon Rondo.

Westbrook added three steals and plenty of defensive headaches for the Clippers. What’s more, Westbrook contained Paul, who managed only 17 points and 11 assists. Maybe that seems like a lot, but compared to what he did in Game 1, the damage was minimal.

Two nights after Paul dominated this matchup with eight three-pointers, 32 points and a career night, Westbrook showed that he wasn’t going to back down. Yes, Paul is great. Sure, he might be the best point guard on the planet.

Then again, maybe not.

The point guard battle royale is back on.

And it is because Westbrook went right at Paul. He drew that foul on the opening possession. Then, he just kept coming. He crashed the boards. He looked for contact. He drove to the basket. For as good as Paul is, he’s more jitterbug than bruiser, and with Westbrooks height and size advantage, he used that to his advantage.

Less than halfway through the first quarter, Paul picked up foul No. 2 and had to go to the bench.

“It’s tough to guard him as it is,” Paul said, “but you get two bad fouls early in the game … it makes it that much tougher.”


Love Wasn’t Going Anywhere … Today

Kevin Love has another year left before his current contract with the Wolves end.

Kevin Love has another year left before he can opt out of his current contract with the Wolves.

Now that the trade deadline has passed, it’s safe to relate a random tidbit that otherwise might have blown up the Internet, at least in the Upper Midwest:

At one point during All-Star Weekend, in the lobby of the NBA players’ hotel in New Orleans, Stan Love – father of Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love – was spied in conversation with agent David Falk.

Cue the ominous dun-duh-DUH! music.

Keep in mind that this was Stan Love, who played four seasons in the NBA (Bullets, Lakers) and ABA (Spurs), not Kevin, and that the Wolves’ All-Star is a client of agent Jeff Schwartz, not Falk. Doesn’t matter, close enough: Falk is the guy who tore a hole in the Wolves’ first great blueprint for success, hired by Stephon Marbury to get him out of the Twin Cities in 1999 in the me vs. we move that basically thwarted Kevin Garnett‘s dream of a Minnesota championship.

If nothing else – and there’s no evidence there is anything else – a little Love pere-“Prince of Darkness” intrigue might have prepped Wolves fans for what they dealt with leading up to the deadline Thursday, and given a glimpse of what they’ll endure for the next year or so as the countdown to Love’s 2015 contract opt-out ticks louder.

The “he said/he didn’t say,” back-and-forth Twitter fight Wednesday between longtime NBA writer Peter Vecsey and Wolves president Flip Saunders, eventually joined by Love, was just the start. And let’s face it, largely academic.

Even if, as Saunders and Love said, there was no specific ultimatum, the basketball world knows that a) Love still smarts from not getting a fifth year on his Wolves extension, b) longs to reach the postseason, something Minnesota hasn’t done since 2004, c) at 26-28 hasn’t seen enough (or contributed enough to) progress toward that goal to commit emotionally or financially to re-upping, and d) has little reason not to explore his opt-out.

That same hoops world knows that Saunders and the Wolves have about 15 months to settle this by convincing Love to stay. That means nailing down one or ideally two playoff berths, despite some dire math for this spring. It means developing and shaping the talent already in house – Ricky Rubio and the currently injured Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin – and adding pieces to aim higher. It also means weighing the team’s options with Love – trades or otherwise, reluctantly or not – this summer. And again at the deadline next year. And, if it’s not too late, in the offseason of 2015.

Saunders’ first shot at sprucing things up, last June’s draft, didn’t help much; Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng have not been factors. His most recent passed Thursday afternoon without adding Andre Miller, Tayshaun Prince or a few other rumored names who might have provided a boost.

So if there is panic in play in Minnesota, it remains the low-level kind, based on the continuing failure to get traction toward 50 victories and May tip-offs. Panic of the more hysterical sort can wait, though it creeps closer by the day.

Then again, this is a franchise that, whether with Love or Garnett, has spent nearly half its existence nervously wondering, “Do you think Kevin is going to stay?” Its fans unfortunately should be pretty adept at coping by now.

Jordan’s First Retirement, 20 Years Ago, Hit NBA Hardest


It was 20 years ago today, Michael Jordan said he wouldn’t play…

Hmm, nothing very lyrical about that. More like Sgt. Peppers Broken Hearts Club Band.

As anniversaries go, this one may have lost some oomph after two decades because, sooner rather than later, it lost its exclusivity. Jordan, the consensus pick as the greatest NBA player of all time, eventually would make that same statement again, and then again. But when he dropped the news on the sports world and the American culture on Oct. 6, 1993, that he was retiring from the Chicago Bulls at age 30, no more pebble-grained worlds to conquer, as far as any of us knew, he meant it.

That was it. One and done.

“I didn’t understand it,” Hakeem Olajuwon said a few days ago, looking back across time. Olajuwon, the Houston Rockets’ Hall of Fame center, and Jordan were born 27 days apart. They famously entered the NBA in the same 1984 draft. When Jordan stepped away, it was Olajuwon’s Rockets that stepped up to win consecutive championships. As the 1993-94 season approached, the two stars were in their primes, nine seasons into their treks to Springfield, Mass.

“It was more of a drastic decision,” Olajuwon said, “where I couldn’t imagine that he was comfortable to walk away for life. So I was surprised.”

Jason Kidd was a 20-year-old sophomore at Cal, one more college basketball season away from being drafted into the suddenly Michael Jordan-less league.

“As a guy you looked up to and wanted to be like, here he retires,” said Kidd, also Hall-bound and now the Brooklyn Nets’ rookie head coach. “Now you’re saying ‘The best has left the game,’ and you’ll never get to guard him or play with him. That was disappointing.”

Jordan’s decision to quit the NBA after capturing three consecutive championships with the Bulls from 1991 to 1993, earning three MVP awards and three Finals MVP trophies and winning seven scoring titles was harder to absorb and believe than it was, upon reflection, to understand. He had lived life, for most of his pro career anyway, at a fever pitch, with nonstop basketball commitments, the pressures and obligations of being the game’s most dominant player, the Olympics and other offseason endeavors, and the time and commercial demands generated by his unprecedented rise as a marketing icon and corporate pitchman.

Added to that, in barely a month after the Bulls’ ’93 title, was the loss of his father James Jordan, murdered in a roadside robbery. Then there was the ongoing speculation about Jordan’s golf and casino-style gambling habits, and his alleged association with unsavory characters who might have dragged down not just the player’s integrity but the league’s.


Report: Green Will Return To Celtics

LAS VEGAS — What looked like it might be a complete rebuilding job for the Boston Celtics in January is turning out to be more of a refurbishing effort by the somewhat surprising Eastern Conference finalists.

They are poised to keep yet another significant piece in place with the news that Jeff Green has a deal in place that will keep him in green and white, according to a report from

Green’s agent, David Falk, would not reveal the specific length or value of the contract, but confirmed that the details have been ironed out and a deal likely will be consummated after the leaguewide moratorium on new business lifts Wednesday.

“This is where Jeff always wanted to be,” said Falk, who continued to heap praise on the Celtics organization for the way it handled Green’s heart ailment last season.

Falk stressed that Boston’s goodwill played a major factor in his decision to return and said he’s not surprised a deal got hammered out since the two sides were on the same page from the start of the process.

Both Falk and Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge expressed optimism that a contract would get done earlier this week and, after watching Ray Allen elect to sign with the Miami Heat on Friday night, the Celtics appear to have moved quickly to finalize with Green.

Green, traded to Boston in February 2011, sat out all of last season after undergoing surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm that was detected in training camp as the two sides prepared to sign a one-year, $9 million deal.

It looked like time was running out on Boston’s Big 3 as they struggled during the early stages of the lockout-shortened season, part of that due to the sudden twist of not having Green available.

But the Celtics rebounded and slugged their way to the conference finals, falling to the Heat in seven games. Instead of breaking things up with Allen, Kevin Garnett and Green all set to hit free agency, the Celtics went about trying to keep the band together.


Celtics Hopeful On Allen, Green

At last February’s trade deadline, Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge sounded like he was ready to break up the team’s vaunted Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to start over in 2012-13, either rebuilding around Rajon Rondo or dealing Rondo and starting over altogether. But a few months later, the Celtics look like they are determined to keep the band together and make another run at a championship next season with their veteran core.

The Celtics, according to sources, are increasingly optimistic they’ll be able to re-sign unrestricted free agent forward Jeff Green to a new contract, and are also more hopeful now they can keep Allen in the fold instead of losing him to the Miami Heat. The final decision is Allen’s, of course, and he’ll weigh offers from several teams (including the Heat and Grizzlies) in the next few days.

But Boston is hopeful that the last few days’ worth of events, starting with Garnett’s decision to agree on a three-year extension, combined with the selection of Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo in last Thursday’s Draft and the team’s strong showing in the East finals, will convince the 36-year-old Allen to accept the team’s two-year, $12 million offer.

That offer is more than what Miami, which only has its mini mid-level exception starting at $3.09 million, can offer Allen. The Grizzlies have their full mid-level exception starting at $5 million, however, and want to sign Allen to replace O.J. Mayo, the now-unrestricted free agent that Memphis did not tender with a qualifying offer last week. The Celtics had initially targeted Mayo as a primary free agent possibility, but now believe he’s going to get more money elsewhere. Several other teams, including the Pacers, are interested in him.


Labor Talks: A Different Take On Things

— For labor updates, follow: @daldridgetnt | @AschNBA

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Opinions on the current state of affairs between the NBA and its players are flying in every direction and from all manner of so-called expert, with the emphasis on the “so-called’ portion of the equation.

The blame-game is still in the first quarter with everyone from former union director Billy Hunter and NBA Commissioner David Stern to the attorneys for both sides and the hundreds of players that comprise(d) the union all being identified in one way or another as the main culprits for this fiasco that has cost us games through at least Dec. 15, and counting.

Lawsuits have been filed and reportedly there could be more on the way, news that no doubt sends more chills up the spines of NBA lovers around the globe. The potential for settlement talks, provided by our very own Steve Aschburner, also seem to be making the rounds right now. Anything seems possible at this juncture.

But we are admittedly in unfamiliar territory here. No one is quite sure where this process goes from here … because we’ve never been here before.

So we figured a little perspective is needed. And in trying times, that perspective might come from unexpected places. We found one of those places on this morning’s playback of NBA TV’s Game Time from Tuesday night.

David Falk, once a super agent and the man that helped guide the likes of Michael Jordan during the zenith of his career, provided a sobering perspective on where things stand right now in this labor dispute:



Speculation about the 2011-12 season, and if and/or when it might get stated, remains the hottest topic on the minds of most. Hopeful is the magic word being used here at the hideout.


Ready For The Long Weekend?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Depending on what you choose to believe, we’re either days away from the beginning of a resolution to the NBA’s labor mess … or on the verge of an even bigger chasm between the owners and players.

No one seems to know for sure, but everyone seems to have a theory (or two or three) about how this weekend’s meetings (things begin Friday in New York) will play out.

In order for an on-time start to the regular season, the sides have to come together as soon as possible. So there is a very obvious reason for all of the extra emphasis on the coming talks (as expressed by NBA Commissioner David Stern, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA President Derek Fisher):

Players Prepared To Sit?

Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated: Unless major concessions are made by the owners by then, the sources said players are prepared to show a united front and express their willingness to sit out the entire season — if not more. There is a growing sentiment that missing the start of the regular season could mean missing the entire season, one that was recently reflected in the comments of agent David Falk. There has even been renewed talk of players starting a league of their own, which may or may not be realistic but is certainly indicative of their level of frustration and the types of strategies being considered.

There were hints of this we-determine-our-own-destiny approach in the latest letter from NBPA president Derek Fisher to the league’s players, which was first obtained by

“We are a group of some of the most talented, savvy businessmen and business owners in the world,” Fisher wrote. “We have built our own brands, launched our own and other people’s companies, helped our communities. I keep that in the forefront of my mind each time we go into a negotiating session.

“If a Bill Gates, Warren Buffett or Russell Simmons were in this, there is no way they would take a deal that is unfair. Not when we are the talent, the most coveted asset, the most valuable resource that drives this business. Keep that in your mind as we walk down this road shoulder to shoulder.”

And the talent is far from happy.

According to sources who have been briefed on the talks in New York this week, the discussion over basketball-related income and how it is divvied up is the most maddening for the NBPA. While the owners have shown a willingness to give between 46 percent and 48 percent to the players (depending on other components of the deal that are in play), it is believed that the players — who received 57 percent in the previous deal — won’t accept anything less than 53 percent (again, depending on other aspect of the potential agreement). With the league’s revenues totaling about $4 billion last season, each percentage point represents approximately $40 million.

Season Hangs In Balance

Marc Stein of When NBA labor talks resume Friday, NBA commissioner David Stern is planning to threaten players with the cancellation of the entire 2011-12 season if the sides haven’t made major progress toward a deal by the end of the weekend, according to sources close to the talks.

Although sources said the union views such an extreme stance as more of a negotiating tactic than a legitimate threat, Stern went almost that far in his comments to reporters in New York on Wednesday after a second straight day of negotiations.

Referring to meetings scheduled Friday that are expected to attract as many as 15 owners and star players such as the Heat’s LeBron James, Stern said: “I’m focused on let’s get the two committees in and see whether they can either have a season or not have a season, and that’s what’s at risk this weekend.”

In 1998-99, the only season in NBA history in which regular-season games were lost to a work stoppage, no deal was reached until Jan. 6, 1999, with a 50-game season finally starting on Feb. 6, 1999.

It remains to be seen if Stern’s remarks Thursday will have the intended “scare” effect and convince players to accept a deal now on the premise that the NBA is not willing to stage a shortened season this time.

At a minimum, sources said, cancellation of regular-season games next week is a certainty if a deal isn’t within sight by Monday.

It’s Over When Stern Says It’s Over

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports: When Stern dictates this lockout is over, it ends.

That’s the hard truth, the hard road to labor peace. Stern’s job is convincing the owners to pull off the press, take the 30-point victory and leave the floor with some grace and dignity.

This has been rigged for years and months and weeks, and here’s how a deal happens this weekend: In the carnage of a devastating collective bargaining loss for the union with billions of dollars redirected into owners’ pockets, Stern has to give Hunter something to take back to the players, so that the union’s bloodied, bruised and beaten executive director can still raise his arms and declare that, yes, we won.


Friday’s Free-Agent Frenzy


Posted by Sekou Smith

BOSTON — No practice today here at the NBA Finals.

That means we’ve got more time to snoop around and see what else is going on in the world of basketball, namely the continuing coaching carousel, the Draft and everybody’s favorite, the free-agent frenzy.

— First and foremost is this on-one-minute, gone-the-next free-agent summit. Hang Time sources have indicated that many of the central figures and even players that are not free agents this summer have been in contact with each other already regarding who does what come July 1.

They haven’t set up shop in a backroom at some restaurant or anything, but who needs to do that in this day and age of social networking?

Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony was at Game 2 of the Finals in Los Angeles and admitted that he was supposed to be meeting LeBron James there, only to have James back out at the last-minute, per Yahoo! Sports. Chris Bosh did show up that night, making the rounds around courtside and getting recruiting pitches from Lakers fans non-stop as he made his way around the court.

Free agents Dwyane Wade and Joe Johnson have been in LA the past few days for a Brand Jordan photo shoot where they’ve mingled with (non-free agents) Chris Paul and Anthony, surely they’ve had some conversations about what will go on in a few weeks.

So it’s obvious these guys have been in constant contact with each other, making sure to stay on top of who is going to do what when the free agent alarm clock goes off in a few weeks.

And we didn’t even get to Amar’e Stoudemire yet:



Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic: Amar’e Stoudemire has wavered on favoring the Suns in this process, especially after another round of trade talks involving him. He was back to prioritizing the Suns on Thursday, a day after his agent, Happy Walters, met with Suns General Manager Steve Kerr for the first time since April. Stoudemire said no offer was made but “it sounds like the Suns definitely want to make an effort. I’m just not sure what type of effort. They’re definitely looking to keep me around. So we’ve just got to figure out what the proper math is.” They have until June 30 to agree to an extension or Stoudemire becomes an unrestricted free agent. He said they plan to meet again this month. “I’ve established great relationships around town,” Stoudemire said. “My family is now pretty much from here because all my kids were born and are being raised here. It’d be great to remain a Phoenix Sun for my whole career. “That’s my ultimate goal. And then to win a championship with the team. But we’ve just got to make sure that we can try to get that done sooner than later because we want to capitalize on the opportunity. We did a great job this season but we definitely want to have a better season and go further the next few years.” Even if he gets to free agency, Stoudemire said he would give the Suns a chance to counter any offer he would receive. “My loyalty is here with the Phoenix Suns,” he said. “Once free agency starts and teams are offering me X amount of dollars, then I would definitely say, ‘You know what, Phoenix? These guys are offering this much. So if you guys want to step up to the plate, we can hit a home run.’ If not, then I could settle for an inside-the-park home run. Just as long as I make it home.”

HT’s TAKE: Give Stoudemire credit for taking the proactive approach. It’s up to the Suns at this point. If they are willing to offer the max, Stoudemire isn’t going anywhere. But the Suns always seem to make the summer interesting. And no one loves the spotlight or the drama more than Stoudemire, so this saga is probably just getting started.



Brian Windhorst of the Plain Dealer: Tom Izzo came, he saw, he dined. What he’ll do next, however, remains uncertain. The Michigan State coach and his family spent all Thursday afternoon and evening with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, General Manager Chris Grant, and assistant general manager Lance Blanks. According to multiple sources, the visit went well and Izzo and his family were impressed with the Cavs’ facilities and the city. But Izzo left town after nearly nine hours without accepting Gilbert’s offer. After arriving on one of Dan Gilbert’s private jets around 1 p.m., Izzo and his family were ushered away in two black SUVs. He visited Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence, met Cavs staff and then had dinner. As Izzo was spending the day in Cleveland, Spartans fans in East Lansing, Mich., held a rally at the university hoping the coach who has led the team to six Final Fours in the past 12 years would stay. When he got back home, Izzo declined to talk about what happened in Cleveland and told reporters he felt bad about the situation. “I feel bad about that, I feel bad about all that stuff,” Izzo said. “But I do feel good that I did what I had to do and I will, uh, apologize to everybody for not commenting.”

HT’s TAKE: Izzo won’t drag this out much longer. After speaking with one of Izzo’s closest confidants who is here in Boston for the Finals, it’s clear that Izzo wants to take the NBA leap. There are $30 million reasons for him to step into the void, whether the Cavaliers can retain James or not.



Sam Amick of Fanhouse: Byron Scott had an hour-long phone interview with Cleveland general manager Chris Grant and assistant general manager Lance Blanks today, according to his agent. Brian McInerney, who has represented Scott for more than 20 years, exclusively told FanHouse that the discussion focused on Scott’s championship pedigree and how it might fit with a Cavaliers organization that will continue to pursue a title with or without LeBron James. There were no future plans made for another interview or conversation, in part because of the looming issue of what Tom Izzo will do. The Michigan State coach was in Cleveland on Thursday to meet with Cavs officials and tour the team’s facility. While Izzo has reportedly been offered the job, it’s clear Cleveland is considering other options while it remains unclear what Izzo will do. McInerney said Izzo was not discussed. Scott’s appeal is simple, as he won three championships with the Lakers as a player and had much postseason success as a coach. His New Jersey Nets team went to the Finals in 2002 and 2003, and his New Orleans Hornets made a surprise run to the Western Conference semifinals in 2008. The winning history was the main topic discussed in the interview that was heavy on coaching philosophy, according to McInerney. “They asked him what his view was on championships, talked about his mentality that you either win or you come home on your shield trying,” McInerney said. “That being said, everything (information-wise) should go through the team.”

HT’s TAKE: Scott is by far the safer choice for the Cavaliers. He’s already won and won big in the NBA, even though he’s been fired everywhere he’s been. And if his hiring would give the Cavaliers the best chance of keeping James, the Cavs would be foolish to dismiss that. The Cavs are wise to carry on simultaneous discussions with he and Izzo, making sure to cover all bases.




Michael Lee of the Washington Post: When asked on Thursday if the Wizards planned to take Kentucky point guard John Wall with the No. 1 overall pick, new owner Ted Leonsis said he was “not allowed to” make that announcement. “It’s good theater for the NBA to have people wondering what we’re going to do,” Leonsis said at his introductory press conference at Verizon Center. “I won’t make the pick, our General Manager Ernie Grunfeld, will make the pick.” Wonder no more. Although the Wizards have yet to saying anything official, Wall will be Grunfeld’s choice for the June 24 NBA draft. There was little mystery with the decision, but Wall is the only player the Wizards have scheduled for a workout for the top choice – and that will remain the case. David Falk, agent for Ohio State junior Evan Turner, said that his client would not work out for the Wizards. Falk and Turner were both in attendance at Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Boston. Falk said Turner would only work out for Philadelphia, which holds the No. 2 pick, on June 17 – the same day Wall will work out for the Wizards. Wall is currently scheduled to workout for the 76ers the day before.

HT’s TAKE: We’re still not sure this is even news. As soon as the Wizards snagged that No. 1 pick at the Draft lottery, Wall should have started house hunting in the D.C. area. The Wizards not only need a new face of the franchise, they need a potential superstar at his position. And by most estimates, Wall is the only player that fits that mold in this Draft.



Jeff Schutlz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: If general manager Rick Sund and owners were waiting on the conclusion of the Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics’ series to talk to a coach, the wait would be understandable. But there’s no indication they’re waiting to talk to an assistant on either staff (Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau already has accepted the Chicago Bulls’ job). There’s the longest of long shots that former Hawks star Glenn “Doc” Rivers could be available. But Rivers has a year left on his contract. He is likely to either return to the Celtics for one more season or take a one-to-two-year break from coaching to spend more time with his wife in Orlando. What exactly is going on now? Nobody can be certain. Avery Johnson, the strongest of the four candidates, took the New Jersey job. That leaves Minnesota assistant Dwane Casey, Hawks assistant Larry Drew and ESPN commentator Mark Jackson as the known finalists. All have been interviewed. All are waiting. It had been expected that a decision would come by this week. The lack of a decision thus far has fueled speculation in the media and among fans that Sund and owners are not in complete agreement on a choice. For the record, this is generally how things work: Sund makes a recommendation and the owners take it from there. Sund has said that ownership has accepted his recommendation in the past, such as the decisions to give Woodson a two-year contract in 2008 and the one to let him go after this season. So what do you think? Are you concerned neither franchise has a coach yet?

HT’s TAKE: Multiple sources confirmed for us Friday morning that this is a Drew-Casey debate between the front office and the owners, not a dispute between the owners, as has been reported elsewhere. The owners are in the Drew camp while Sund and his staff are steadfast about Casey being the best choice to replace Mike Woodson. Expect a resolution by the end of the weekend and an announcement on the new coach as early as Monday morning, if not sooner. The minute Avery Johnson accepted the Nets’ offer (below), the Hawks were forced to adjust their plans.