Considering how much of what the Los Angeles Lakers do is driven by entertainment, more than any of the other NBA teams, there’s a must-see moment waiting to happen as the team scouts for a replacement for Mike Brown, fired Friday as head coach after a disappointing 1-4 start.
The Buss family that owns the team ought to bring in Stan Van Gundy for an interview, then set up hidden cameras for the moment when it leaks to the players.
The list of “Who’s” was instantaneous Friday, compiled in pieces or in full on the Internet almost as swiftly as word of Brown’s firing spread. Here is a quickie list of candidates with HTB assessments of their pros and cons: (more…)
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — As far as NBA beefs go, this new DeMarcus Cousins–Devin Harris feud is still searching for space among some of the legendary on-court battles of yesteryear.
Kurt Rambis vs. Kevin McHale, Karl Malone vs. Isiah Thomas or Bill Laimbeer vs. half the league, this is not.
But in an era where it seems players around the league are as friendly as they have ever been, this is a budding beef worth taking note of, if for no other reason that both parties have acknowledged the discord.
Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins and Jazz guard Devin Harris were involved in a tense moment early during the Utah’s 103-102 victory on Thursday. Cousins attempted to save a loose ball and felt that Harris blocked his path. Cousins immediately got in Harris’ face, who stood his ground and coldly stared at the Kings forward. Cousins quickly became heated while Harris kept staring — never backing down and barely moving. The two were soon separated.
Cousins on Harris (video included): Yo, honestly I’m tired of the kid. And I mean, like really, I don’t know what his issue is. I’m tired of the kid, honestly. I’m tired of him. I don’t know what his issue is, but I can definitely solve it.
Harris on Cousins: It goes back to the last game. … He’s trying to get in my head and I’m trying to get in his. I can’t let anybody push me around.
The feud dates back to Feb. 28, when the Jazz fell 103-96 at Sacramento. Cousins was called for a technical foul in the game, after bumping into Harris during an inbounds play.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Your anger is understandable.
Mostly because the actions of so many are indefensible.
With this latest breakdown in talks between the two sides in the NBA’s labor madness comes a sobering truth about this entire process. It’s never been about saving the game or even preserving it for the fans. It’s about two sides fighting over a billion dollar pie and each one wanting the biggest piece. Someone has to win and someone has to lose, compromise be damned!
We knew as much when this thing started, but we seemed to lose sight of that in the past few months with all the details tossed into the fray to deflect our attention from the fundamentals of this dispute. Our confidence has been betrayed by the men who have asked for that very thing from us, the basketball loving public,. And here we stand, just days away from what should have been the start of a season, staring at a potential season on the brink.
When the federal mediator both sides agreed to let dive into the middle of this battle packs up his stuff and heads for the door after three days of listening to everyone talk, it’s clear the “gulf” between the positions NBA Commissioner David Stern spoke of last week is greater than most of us imagined.
Unlike many of my less cynical colleagues here at the hideout and beyond, I wasn’t expecting a resolution to this process this week. I did (foolishly) assume that some tangible progress this week could lead to a deal sometime in the very near future.
But not after reading these words from NBPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler after the Board of Governors meeting:
“This meeting was hijacked. Something happened at their [owners] meeting. This is not the move where the owners were yesterday. We were making progress, as you heard.
“They came back, they came without the commissioner. They came with Paul Allen. We were told Paul Allen was here to express the views of the other members of the Board of Governors. And that view was: ‘Our way or the highway.’
“That’s what we were told. We were shocked. We went in there trying to negotiate, and they came in and said, ‘You either accept 50-50 or we’re done. And we won’t discuss anything else.’ “
Point fingers in whatever direction you like. Both sides are doing the same now without hesitation.
The Wolves brass worked for weeks to get Adelman to come in for more than a phone interview. If he wants the job, and they can agree on a salary, the job is probably his.
The salary would probably have to be around $5 million per year.
Adelman joins Don Nelson and Sam Mitchell, likely, as the team’s top candidates. The 65-year-old Adelman has taken time off during his career, and the thought is he might want to take another year off to spend time with his family.
Adelman’s career record is 945-616 in 20 seasons with Portland, Golden State, Sacramento and Houston. He favors an up-tempo style, which is said to be what the Wolves seek.
The list of candidates linked to the job is extensive.
In addition to Adelman, Nelson and Mitchell, names like Larry Brown, Terry Porter, Mike Woodson and Bernie Bickerstaff were all mentioned as possible replacements for Rambis. Of this group, only Woodson has landed elsewhere. He has already signed a contract to join Mike D’Antoni‘s staff in New York.
If Adelman is the choice, the Timberwolves have every right to be excited. He would improve the situation in Minnesota the minute he walks through the door.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — This one sounds too good to be true.
As if the Minnesota Timberwolves haven’t done everything in David Kahn‘s powers to make themselves the most interesting non-playoff team in the league this summer, now comes word that their seemingly never-ending coaching search has taken yet another sharp turn toward yet another Hall of Famer.
After interviewing Rick Adelman and Don Nelson over the weekend, the Timberwolves intend to interview Larry Brown and possibly one or two others in this first phase to replace fired coach Kurt Rambis.
When the Wolves will interview Brown, who has coached teams to both NBA and NCAA titles, is uncertain because of a recent death in his family, according to a league source with knowledge of the team’s search.
If they do, they will have interviewed two coaches among the top six all time in NBA career victories. Nelson is No. 1 with 1,335. Brown is No. 6 with 1,098.
The Wolves so far have interviewed Bernie Bickerstaff, Terry Porter, Mike Woodson, Adelman and Nelson. Add Brown to that list and four of those candidates are age 65 or older, a sign team President David Kahn is looking for experience and track record for such a young team.
Brown, 70, has coached nine NBA teams and was fired by Charlotte 28 games into last season. He would appear to be a long shot for the job, because he’s not the kind of coach with fast-break basketball in his bones and is known for being impatient with young players. He also often wants to trade much of the roster after taking a new job.
But there is a connection here: He and Kahn have known each other since the late 1970s, when Brown coached UCLA and Kahn was a student-newspaper reporter there, and Kahn considers Brown one of his mentors.
We’d be lying if we said we’re anything other than completely intrigued by the idea of Brown and Kahn rekindling their working relationship, albeit with a much different dynamic now with Kahn as the boss.
As infuriating as it can be watching the Timberwolves operate sometimes, we have to admit that Kahn keeps things extremely interesting.
Now if he can just make a decision on his next coach a little faster than he did in firing his Rambis …
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Spend 20 minutes talking basketball with Lawrence Frank and I promise you, it’s impossible not to be both impressed with his knowledge of the game and won over by his straight-shooter personality.
Spend the same amount of time with former Hawks coach Mike Woodson and I guarantee you’d come away feeling the same way. When the Detroit Pistons’ coaching search came down to Frank and Woodson as their final two candidates, there was no way they could lose, right?
Try telling that to Pistons fans (I’m Michigan born and bred, so I’ve got more than a few Pistons diehards dangling from the family tree), who from what we could gather didn’t seem particularly enthused about any of the options they were presented.
Still, for a franchise in need of a strong personality in that head coach’s chair, after several years of misses, Frank offers offer the qualities needed to deal with a young roster that needs shaping.
His selection over Woodson, an offer is coming soon as first reported by Yahoo! Sports, signals more than just an apparent shift in philosophy — the Pistons’ last three coaches have all had some connection to the organization, either player or assistant coach, prior to taking over the top bench job. It’s also a sign of the influence the new ownership group is placing in the hands of Dave Checketts, hired as a consultant by new owner Tom Gores to advise and assist alongside Pistons president Joe Dumars.
Franchises wish the process was as simple the brain trust coming together and choosing between two worthy candidates that also happen to be ideal fits.
But we all know that the only thing tougher than lucking into a transcendent talent at the top of a draft is finding the right coach for the right team at just the right time.
The timing of the announcement is curious, to say the least. Hang Time head honcho Sekou Smith has been blogging about Rambis’ status regularly since April, and the idea that he wouldn’t be back for the 2011-12 season has been out there for quite awhile.
Yet Kahn chose to wait until now to make the official announcement. And in doing so, he’s lost the opportunity to interview some of the best available candidates, guys like Mike Brown and Dwane Casey, who have already been scooped up by teams that decided not to let their current coach twist in the wind for three months. The timing will also make it difficult for the Wolves’ next coach to fill out his staff with available assistants.
Still unable to simply fire a coach he’s determined is done with the Minnesota Timberwolves, general manager David Kahn recently proposed that Kurt Rambis accept a reassignment within the franchise’s front office, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday.
The prospects of Rambis serving out the remaining two years and $4 million on his coaching deal so closely with Kahn in the front office holds little, if any, appeal to Rambis, sources said. Rambis has little respect for Kahn’s basketball acumen, and perhaps even less of a personal affinity for him.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The Indiana Pacers have announced that Frank Vogel has become the team’s permanent replacement for Jim O’Brien.
Two league sources, plus an advisory sent out by the team on Tuesday night announcing that Pacers president Larry Bird and Vogel would meet with the assembled media Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. ET, confirmed what has been the worst kept secret it Indiana basketball since the Pacers’ playoff run ended.
Vogel helped guide the Pacers to their first postseason appearance since 2006, guiding them to a 20-18 record to finish the regular season. The Pacers were eliminated by Eastern Conference No. 1 seed Chicago Bulls in five games in the first round, but put up a fight from start to finish against the favored Bulls.
One of the major factors working in Vogel’s favor, per one of those sources, is that he was able to recruit former Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw to join him as the new lead assistant for the Pacers. Shaw, a candidate for several head coaching positions around the league the past two seasons, brings a championship pedigree, as both a player and coach, with him to Indianapolis. Shaw interviewed for the Pacers job in 2007 before O’Brien was hired.
Vogel’s hiring leaves just two other coaching situations unsettled. Kurt Rambis still has not been told of his fate in Minnesota and the Detroit Pistons’ search for John Kuester‘s replacement is ongoing.