Posts Tagged ‘John Lucas’

Quiet Spurs make big noise with Hammon


VIDEO: Becky Hammon is introduced by the Spurs

Last week, when virtually nobody was looking, point guard Tony Parker signed a three-year contract extension.

That’s usually the way the Spurs do business.

But for a franchise that usually goes out of its way to avoid creating even a ripple in the pool, the Spurs have made loud splashes this summer. The first was hiring longtime European coach Ettore Messina as an assistant coach. That was just a warmup.

The addition of WNBA star Becky Hammon to the coaching staff is nothing less than a cannonball.

Hammon, who is retiring as a player at the end of this season, will become the first full-time female assistant coach in NBA history.

Lisa Boyer was a volunteer assistant coach for the Cavaliers under John Lucas during the 2001-02 season, but she did not sit on the bench during games or travel with the team.

Make no mistake. This is big, potentially a game-changer and another milestone for women in sports and as professionals in general. Hammon will have the same duties as the rest of the coaching staff; scouting, writing reports, game-planning and offering her opinions in coaching sessions.

“In some ways it is trailblazing,” Hammon said on a conference call Tuesday afternoon. “But so many other women have done so many great things. I’m just following in their path.”

“I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said in a statement from the team. “Having observed her working with our team this past season, I’m confident her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs.”

Hammon is a 16-year WNBA veteran and was voted one of the 15 all-time best players in league history. Ironically, an ACL injury that forced her to sit out last season may have opened the door to coaching. While in San Antonio rehabilitating during the offseason, Hammon asked Spurs general manager R.C. Buford and Popovich if she could attend practices and sit in on meetings. A connection was quickly established and both sides were on the road toward making history, though with no intention of grabbing the spotlight.

“Coach Pop made it clear to me I was being hired because of my basketball IQ and my qualifications,” Hammon said. ” ‘It just so happens you’re a woman.’ “

It is, of course, the Spurs’ way to push at the envelope, leap outside the box of conventional thinking. They won their fifth NBA title in June with a roster consisting of 10 international players that came from eight different countries. Messina has spent more than a quarter century as perhaps the top coach in Europe and was widely regarded for years as one who could make the jump across the Atlantic to thrive in the NBA. It took the Spurs to actually make it happen.

Still, it is a quantum leap to make Hammon a woman at the highest level of the men’s game.

“People have always asked me if a woman could play in the NBA,” Hammon said. “I tell them no, because there is a difference. The men are too big, too strong. But when it comes to coaching, game-planning and scheming, there’s no reason that a woman can’t do anything a man can do.”

So could a woman one day become a head coach in the NBA?

“I think anything is possible,” Hammon said.

Blatche Seeks NBA Life After Amnesty

HANG TIME, TEXAS – There have been plenty of different reasons for teams to use the amnesty provision in the new collective bargaining agreement.

By severing their ties with Elton Brand, the Sixers put themselves in a position where they could eventually land Andrew Bynum to anchor the middle of their lineuip.

The Rockets let go of Luis Scola in part to clear space for their failed pursuit of Dwight Howard, but also as a next step in an extreme makeover of their roster.

The Suns released Josh Childress so they would have cap space to acquire Scola, who they hope will be a solid, steady veteran presence as they head in a new direction in the post-Steve Nash era.

Then there are the Wizards, who cut big man Andray Blatche because, well, it was time.

The dictionary definition of amnesty is: a forgetting or overlooking any past offenses.

After seven seasons of unrealized potential, frustration and immaturity, it might be difficult for the Wizards to completely forget all that Blatche never became, but it was clearly worth the $23 million it cost to turn him loose and turn the page. (more…)

Wilcox Ready To Resume NBA Career




HANG TIME CAPITAL BUREAU – Free-agent forward Chris Wilcox has been cleared for full-court contact, his agent said Monday, as the 29-year-old attempts to resume his career after undergoing aortic surgery last March. Wilcox had been playing well for the Boston Celtics as a reserve when the team’s doctors noticed what the team called a “significant” enlargement of his aorta. As a precaution, Wilcox was shut down for the season and operated on at the Cleveland Clinic March 29.

Doctors performed what is known as a “Modified David” procedure, in which a graft was attached to a small piece of Wilcox’s aorta to prevent it from enlarging further after he finishes playing. There was no valve replacement or bypass procedure performed.

Wilcox’s cardiologist, Dr. Matt Hook, of the Wake Heart and Vascular Associates in Raleigh, N.C., cleared Wilcox for full contact in the last few days. Wilcox has been working out in North Carolina the last few weeks, lifting weights and doing cardio work, and is planning to go to Houston to continue his workouts with player development guru John Lucas. Wilcox shot 59 percent from the floor last season for the Celtics, averaging 5.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in a little more than 17 minutes per game.

“After the great year he had with Boston, I know Chris could be a strong contributor for any team,” agent Jeff Schwartz said Monday.