Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Bower’

Morning Shootaround — June 5


VIDEO: The Starters discuss the San Antonio Spurs’ changes entering the 2014 Finals

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Spurs, Heat just want another ring | Olympic matchup helps Mills find his NBA way | Pistons next topic? Monroe’s future | Carter-Williams ignoring trade buzz

No. 1: Forget like or dislike, Spurs and Heat just want the title The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat square off in Game 1 of The Finals tonight (9 ET, ABC) and perhaps one of the storylines will be whether or not the teams dislike each other. Spurs star Tim Duncan addressed that topic during yesterday’s Finals media day, as did Heat star LeBron James … and so did just about every other player on either side of the matchup. The overall view to take away, as our Steve Aschburner writes, is not about who likes/dislikes whom, but that both teams are simply gunning for a championship — feelings be damned:

With all the yammering about shared respect and mutual dynasties heading into these 2014 Finals, you might expect to find the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, some night this week, strolling hand in hand along the Riverwalk on a moonlit night.Veteran Miami forward Udonis Haslem made it clear Wednesday, that ain’t happening.

“Just because this series may not be as physical as the Indiana series or may not be as physical as a [past] Chicago series,” Haslem said, “does not mean we like these guys any more.”

An absence of like might not be the same thing as an active dislike, but it’s a reasonable starting point for a potentially long, best-of-seven series that might lend itself to emotions and subplots in ways the 2013 Finals did not. It would take some doing – the Spurs don’t typically seek out headlines, the Heat see no one on San Antonio’s roster who can play the Lance Stephenson knucklehead/pest role.

But if the series is low in vitriol, it still will be high in competition, both sides’ dials cranked hard to the right to take rather than give.

“I don’t think it’s animosity,” Heat forward Shane Battier said. “Indiana wants what we have – and you could tell, there was animosity on their part. We didn’t give much credence to that, and it wasn’t reciprocal. The Spurs are different. They’ve had serial success over a decade and a half. They want what’s out there and we want what’s out there. It’s not so much they want what we have or we want what they have.”

“I think that’s why this series was so great last year: It was about basketball,” Battier said. “It wasn’t about talk. it wasn’t about controversy. It was an awesomely officiated series last year – there were no refereeing controversies. There were no technical fouls, no flagrant fouls. It was about basketball.

“How novel for the NBA Finals to be about basketball. I expect the same sort of respect, and it being about the game, as it should be.”


VIDEO: LeBron James and Tim Duncan square off as the 2014 Finals near

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Morning Shootaround — June 3


VIDEO: GameTime’s crew discusses how the Heat and Spurs are preparing for The Finals

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: Knicks plan to talk to Fisher soon | Rondo:  No Celtics ‘pitch’ to Love | Report: Pistons nearing deal to make Bower GM | Report: Jazz to interview Griffin, Snyder again

No. 1: Report: Knicks to talk with Fisher soon; Lakers cooling on him as coach — After Oklahoma City lost in Game 6 of the West finals, Thunder backup point guard Derek Fisher didn’t sound like he was as ready to make the jump into NBA coaching as most thought he’d be. As such, the teams most associated with being interested in him — the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers — backed off a bit to allow him time to decompress after OKC’s loss. The Knicks, according to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, remain interested in Fisher and plan to talk with him this week about their opening. Out in L.A., though, interest in the ex-Lakers fan favorite may be cooling, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

Here’s Stein & Shelburne on the Knicks’ pursuit of Fisher:

Phil Jackson‘s first substantive chat with Derek Fisher about the New York Knicks’ coaching job is scheduled to take place this week, according to sources close to the situation.

Sources told ESPN.com Monday that Jackson is planning to connect with Fisher by week’s end, giving the Oklahoma City Thunder guard some time to decompress after his team was eliminated by San Antonio Saturday night in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals.

One source cautioned that the discussion shouldn’t be classified as a formal interview, given the long and close working relationship between Jackson and Fisher during their two stints together as coach and player with the Los Angeles Lakers. But another source close to the process told ESPN.com that he thinks Fisher will ultimately find the allure of coaching in New York under Jackson too difficult to pass up.

As ESPN.com reported May 19, Jackson essentially put his coaching search on hold to wait to speak to Fisher first after missing out on initial top target Steve Kerr, who spurned the Knicks to coach the Golden State Warriors.

Fisher said Sunday he remains undecided about retirement, but sources say Jackson continues to hold out hope he can persuade the 39-year-old to make the immediate jump to coaching — as Jason Kidd did last season with Brooklyn — after Fisher’s 18 seasons as a player.

“I’m still struggling with the results of [the series],” Fisher told local reporters Sunday. “I haven’t [had] a chance to talk to my wife and kind of step back emotionally from the end of the season. That’s important to do, so that whatever is next, there has to be a separation from the end of the season and what just happened and then I can go from there.”

And here’s Wojnarowski on the Lakers cooling a bit in their pursuit of Fisher:

As the Los Angeles Lakers remain cool on the pursuit of Derek Fisher as a coaching candidate, the New York Knicks continue to cement themselves as the strong frontrunner to hire him, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

So far, the Lakers have expressed an exclusive desire to explore experienced head coaches in their search, and there isn’t yet an indication that team officials plan to seriously consider Fisher for the job, league sources said.

Los Angeles has so far interviewed four coaches about replacing Mike D’AntoniMike Dunleavy, Kurt Rambis, Byron Scott and Lionel Hollins.

Knicks president Phil Jackson has been eager to sell Fisher, 39, on the possibility of Jackson mentoring him as part of a direct move from Fisher’s playing career into the Knicks head coaching job. Fisher is taking a few days to finalize his thoughts on the likely end of his 18-year playing career before fully engaging in talks to become a head coach.


VIDEO: Derek Fisher discusses his playing and coaching future during his OKC exit interview (more…)

PJax To Orlando Talks Back On?

HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS – Maybe this Phil Jackson-to-the-Orlando Magic idea has legs after all.

A week after it was reported that Jackson had withdrawn himself from consideration to join the Magic in some front office capacity, Sam Amick of SI.com reports that the talks are still alive, but with a few new and interesting twists:

Former Charlotte coach Sam Vincent, who played for the Bulls during Jackson’s days as an assistant in Chicago and also played for the Magic, continues to captain the cause that would have Jackson work remotely (likely from Los Angeles, where his longtime girlfriend, Jeanie Buss, remains with the Lakers) most of the time. Vincent would operate in a front-office role in the plan, while the team would be coached by a protégé (or two) of Jackson’s.

According to the sources, the latest version of the proposal has Pacers assistant and ex-Lakers assistant Brian Shaw coaching the team and Hall of Famer and Bulls ambassador Scottie Pippen as the lead assistant. And as if Jackson’s potential price tag wasn’t daunting enough (he earned $12 million in his last year with the Lakers), one of the sources said he is asking for a slice of minority ownership in the franchise as well. The hope, of course, would be for Jackson to use his cachet to convince Dwight Howard to remain in Orlando for the long-term. Jackson’s agent, Todd Musburger, did not return a call for comment.

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Say Hello To The Big Executive?





HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS – We can see it now: Peaches and Herb’s “Reunited”  blaring from the sound system and a suited and booted Shaquille O’Neal walking to the podium as he’s introduced as the Orlando Magic’s new general manager.

Don’t laugh. It might not be as far-fetched as it sounds.

An ESPN report that TNT’s O’Neal will speak with the Magic about the opening next week has NOT been confirmed by either side. But it hasn’t been scuttled by either side either … not yet, at least. O’Neal’s Inside colleague Charles Barkley confirmed Shaq’s interest it this morning on The Dan Patrick Show:

Dan asked Barkley if Shaquille O’Neal has told him he’s is interested in the Orlando GM job. “Yes,” Barkley said. “I do know he’s interested in the job and he’s going to interview for it.”

Barkley said O’Neal and Dwight Howard have had issues in the past, but that doesn’t mean Shaq can’t go to Orlando.

Barkley thinks Howard needs to make a decision and stay or go in Orlando. He’s sick of talking about it.

“They’re trying to do anything they can to keep Dwight there and get a buzz,” Barkley said. “They have to do something whether Dwight stays there or not. Bringing in Shaquille is an attention getter.”

This gives folks a license to let their imaginations run wild with images of O’Neal back in the city where his Hall of Fame playing career began, the same city he calls home. If Shaq is on the short list of people the Magic want to talk to about replacing Otis Smith, it is noteworthy. Especially considering the nature of his departure from the Magic in 1996 for the Los Angeles Lakers.

O’Neal hasn’t even finished his first year of retirement and already his name is popping up in a GM search. That’s impressive, no matter how it all transpired.

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Hang Time Podcast (Episode 80) With Evan Dunlap Of Orlando Pinstriped Post

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – With the eyes of the basketball-loving public focused squarely on the playoffs and who will emerge from the Eastern Conference semifinals, we decided to take a mini-detour this week on the Hang Time Podcast.

With all the news coming out of Orlando, we simply could not let an opportunity to dig a little deeper into the goings on down there slip away.

So we turned to our good friend of the program Evan Dunlap, the founder and managing editor of the Orlando Pinstriped Post blog, which covers all things Magic. We had to know if Dwight Howard was really behind the departures of both Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith, as so many people believe, or if someone else is really calling those shots?

We also had to talk about the potential replacements for both Van Gundy, the coach, and Smith, the general manager. Names like Brian Shaw, Jerry Sloan and Phil Jackson, yes the Zen Master himself, have popped up on the short list of replacements for Van Gundy. Meanwhile, names like Donnie Walsh, Jeff Bower and TNT’s very own Shaquille O’Neal have popped up on the surprising short list of candidates to replace Smith.

(We first heard these rumblings about O’Neal being a candidate Monday night … talk about things getting interesting if the Big Fella were to return to the Magic after all these years.)

You get conversation about all that and more, we talk plenty of playoffs, flagrant fouls, suspensions and everything else with our main man Evan Dunlap of the OPP.

Check it out on Episode 80 of the Hang Time Podcast:

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of NBA.com, as well as our superproducer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog and the best engineer in the business, Jarrell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

Troubling Times In The Big Easy

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If there is anyone out there that can make good sense of what’s going on in New Orleans this summer, feel free to share with the rest of us.

In the latest twist, Jeff Bower is out as general manager for being well … a general manager.

Seriously, per John Reid of the Times-Picayune Bower didn’t say or do the right things where Chris Paul is concerned and somehow ran afoul of an organization he has worked for the last 15 years (including the magnificent selection of Paul’s backup/eventual replacement, Darren Collison, above, with the 21st pick in the 2009 draft):

Bower did not help matters last month when he didn’t diffuse trade rumors concerning Paul, saying he had a duty to listen and have dialogue with teams about all of the players on New Orleans’ roster.

League sources said the Hornets’ brass wasn’t in agreement with Bower’s stance, and the team hastily sent out a release the next day clarifying with a statement from owner George Shinn that they plan to continue building their team around Paul.

“This is something that we felt working with Jeff that we needed to find a different way of approaching our work, and again we felt it was a good time to get a clean start,’’ team president Hugh Weber said. “You cannot do the same things and expect a fresh result. It was a matter of our organization growing in a way our ownership would feel comfortable.

“We felt we needed to be progressive and different and look at things from a prospective. Again, we talked about this before — you can’t keep doing the same things and expect a different result.’’

It appeared, however, the “mutual” parting of ways caught Bower off guard as the decision occurred while he was evaluating talent on the Hornets’ Vegas Summer League roster and finalizing a deal to re-sign free-agent backup center Aaron Gray.
Bower, who still sounded a bit stunned that his tenure with the Hornets was over, said he wasn’t aware the perceived rocky relationship with Paul.

“I had a great 15 years with the organization,’’ said Bower, who interviewed to be the New Jersey Nets’ president earlier this month before withdrawing his name from consideration. “I had a chance to work just about every role, and I learned from each one of them. I’m sure that I am going to have other opportunities.’’

We pounded on Bower pretty good when he fired Byron Scott and then wound up replacing him as the Hornets’ coach. But we never had a major problem with the work he did as GM.

Sure, the Hornets overpaid for Peja Stojakovic and traded for Emeka Okafor, but every GM has a few skeletons he’ll never get rid of. Bower seemed to be holding things together during a tough time for the Hornets … and then the free agent frenzy hit and Paul’s name kept popping up in rumors.

Again, if anyone has any answers, we’re all ears here at the hideout.

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All Mixed Up

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We thought we had a good handle on this free agent frenzy thing here at the hideout heading into the 4th of July weekend.

LeBron James was headed to Chicago or staying home in Cleveland, with the Bulls having a slight lead after three days worth of recruiting pitches delivered by all the contending teams and a decision set for sometime today.

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were probably headed to Miami or maybe Chicago, if James decided to stay home instead of joining them on South Beach to form their own version of the Big 3.

– Everyone else was going wherever the money was best, as Rudy Gay and Joe Johnson made clear with their choices to stick with their teams.

Now that the grill smoke has cleared and we’ve cleaned up all the fireworks debris from the yard, everything is all mixed up.

James is now taking a few more days to decide, we will know something perhaps by Wednesday night or Thursday morning, and every team (sans the Clippers) is still in play. You can imagine how the fine people of Cleveland spent the weekend?

Wade now has the hometown Bulls clearly in his sights (he listened to their pitch twice in 30 hours Thursday and Friday), with the Heat now worried that all the work they did to clear cap space to surround him with other superstars could be for nothing.

Bosh has faded into the background a bit, though we can always find him on Twitter, but remains the one player both James and Wade would love to pair with wherever they go to chase their championship dreams.

But now Amar’e Stoudemire has crept into the conversation with James and the Knicks, his potential signing apparently played a part in a second meeting between Knicks officials and members of Camp James late Saturday night. And in case anyone was wondering, whatever rift that existed at one time between Stoudemire and Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, has dissipated now that a reunion could be in store.

At least the Hang Time Green Theory held true.

Gay accepted the Grizzlies’ maximum contract quickly and Johnson did the same with the Hawks’ $119 million offer Sunday afternoon. Paul Pierce did the same with the Celtics over the weekend, as did Dirk Nowitzki with the Mavericks.

But the player frenzy isn’t the only high-profile scramble going on right now.

The New Jersey Nets are apparently trying to attract an equally big name general manager to replace Rod Thorn. They’ve spoken with Joe Dumars and Jeff Bower, of the Pistons and Hornets, respectively, and also have their eyes on the Thunder’s Sam Presti, per Al Iannazzone of The Record.

We’d settle for James, Wade or Bosh making a decision, at least before Labor Day.

We can’t have folks spending another holiday with the stomachs in knots, especially all those folks in Cleveland, Miami, Chicago and the New York area.

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CP3 Back In The Crosshairs

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Here we go again with these Chris Paul rumors.

Never mind that the Hornets have made it clear that the do not intend to trade their franchise player and superstar. Somehow Paul’s name keeps finding its way into the speculation regarding LeBron James.

Now that Paul’s good friend and former coach Byron Scott is headed to Cleveland as the Cavaliers’ next coach, you knew the Paul-James connection wouldn’t be far behind.

Per a source of the News-Herald’s Bob Finnan,  Paul wants out of New Orleans.

You can guess where folks are speculating he would land …

We’d like to go on the record now as saying we don’t think this happens. No way the Hornets are crazy enough to touch this one.