Posts Tagged ‘Quentin Richardson’

Knicks Deal For Raptors’ Bargnani

Andrea Bargnani

Andrea Bargnani played in just 35 games last season for the Raptors.


HANG TIME NEW JERSEY –
The Toronto Raptors have found a taker for Andrea Bargnani, further evidence that no contract is untradeable.

For some reason, the New York Knicks are willing to take on the remaining two years and $22 million left on Bargnani’s deal. The trade, first reported by Howard Beck of the New York Times, was not approved by the league Sunday night. So the original swap — which had Marcus Camby, Steve Novak and the Knicks’ 2016 first-round pick going to Toronto — will have to be tweaked, and nothing can become official until the free-agency moratorium period ends on July 10.

Because Bargnani’s salary goes up on July 1, while both Camby’s and Novak’s salaries go down, more salary will need to go in Toronto’s direction. That can happen if New York works out a sign-and-trade deal with Earl Barron, Kenyon Martin, Quentin Richardson or Pablo Prigioni. Barron and Richardson are the most likely candidates.

As long as the deal goes through, it’s new Raptors GM Masai Ujiri working his magic once again, getting something in return for Bargnani’s burdensome contract. In fact, you have to wonder how the Draft pick isn’t going in the other direction.

Not only do the Raps get a pick and get rid of Bargnani, but Novak is a useful piece for a team that ranked 26th in 3-point percentage last season and has two starting wings — DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay — that don’t shoot particularly well.

Bargnani has shot well at certain points in his career, but has really struggled over the last two seasons, shooting 42 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range. He has tunnel vision when he gets the ball, unable to make plays for others. And even if he finds his shot at Madison Square Garden, he’s a serious defensive liability.

Really, you have to wonder why the Knicks want Bargnani. Though they struggled against the Pacers’ top-ranked defense in the conference semifinals, they ranked third offensively in the regular season, scoring a potent 108.6 points per 100 possessions. More than anything, they need help on defense, where they ranked 16th. You need to be ranked in the top 10 defensively if you have dreams of making The Finals, and Bargnani isn’t going to help them get there.

One of the Knicks’ biggest issues over the last few seasons has been their lack of two-way players. They’ve had some great offensive players and a few good defenders, but not enough guys who can get the job done on both ends of the floor. And Bargnani obviously isn’t that. Could you imagine how awful New York’s defense would be with Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire on the floor together?

Furthermore, the Knicks will now have four guys — Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Bargnani and Stoudemire — making more than $10 million a year. Three of the four play power forward or center full-time, and the fourth (Anthony) is at his best playing the four.

Capped out, a trade is the only way the Knicks can really upgrade their roster. And though they’re not really giving up much value, this just doesn’t seem like the trade to do it.

Having Paid His Dues, Z-Bo Doing Work

H

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Zach Randolph has come a long way, baby.

From a 20-year-old, tantalizingly skilled and pudgy rookie reared by the infamous Portland “Jail” Blazers, to the now 31-year-old supremely skilled and pudgy leader of the first Memphis Grizzlies team to play for the Western Conference crown.

Randolph arrived in Memphis in 2009 still the bearer of a bad rap and possibly even a worse rep. Thirty-nine games into his stint with the Los Angeles Clippers, Randolph was moved out to move in, ironically, No. 1 pick and soon-to-become Randolph’s playoff nemesis, Blake Griffin.

Randolph’s third trade in two calendar years — from Portland to the New York Knicks in June 2007; from the Knicks to the Clips in November 2008; and finally from the Clips to the Grizz in July 2009 for Quentin Richardson — has been the tonic for peace and happiness and maturity and some darn good basketball.

Randolph can now boast being a two-time All-Star with Memphis.  He’s also an emblematic figure of this blue-collar city and a fan favorite of its hard-nosed citizens, and a loyal teammate that his peers pull for and gush over.

“His career has had a lot of ups and downs, and it’s just evident when you think of being in this moment that not a lot of people get here, and Z is a perfect example of that,” Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley said. “He’s been in the league so long and done so many great things, he hasn’t had the experience to go to the Western Conference finals or the Finals yet, and so it’s kind of the message that’s being sent around to everybody, and we’re feeding off what Z’s been through and the fact that this could be special.”

Before the low-post — and lower-center-of-gravity — scoring machine arrived in Memphis, his Portland teams had two one-and-done postseasons. The first, as a rookie, he logged one minute. The next season, in 2003, he averaged 13.9 ppg and 8.7 rebounds as those misfit Blazers almost became the first team to come back from a 3-0 hole against the Dallas Mavericks, but they were blown out in Game 7.

He then went six seasons sitting on the postseason sidelines. Now he’s seizing the moment heading to the biggest stage of his career. Randolph is averaging a team-high 19.7 ppg and 9.3 rpg while shooting 51.2 percent as he and low-post partner Marc Gasol get set to face the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the West finals Sunday afternoon (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC).

Along the way, Randolph dominated Griffin in the final four games to dispatch the Clippers in a rugged, emotion-filled, six-game series. He saved his best game so far to eliminate the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in Wednesday’s Game 5, a punishing performance from the jump that ended with 28 points, 14 rebounds and one wide grin.

“This moment means a lot to me,” Randolph said. “I’m happy, but we still have work to do. I want to win a ring.”

Randolph can be the king of colloquialisms when talking about others, such as when he described the defense teammate Tony Allen was applying to Kevin Durant: “Tony’s a dog, man. He’s in the mud.” The Grizzlies marketing department has crafted slogans and campaigns around Randolph’s colorful descriptors and phrases.

But he’s mostly bland when talking about himself. It’s a subject best left unto others, like Allen.

“I’ve [known] Zach ever since I got in the league, what his skill level was,” said Allen, who joined the Grizzlies a season later in the summer of 2010. “But he was … at first all about going out and getting his. And ever since I got alongside him, he’s done a good job of mixing it up, passing the ball when you don’t have a shot, being more of a vocal leader and just a teddy bear off the court. When I say teddy bear, just a nice guy. He’s the nicest guy in the world. I saw him grow a lot despite what I heard about him previously before I got here.”

Previously?

“Just rough around the edges, that’s all,” Allen said, chuckling. “But me and him pretty much got the same characteristics. Growing up we overcame a lot. Right now, it’s a big time to do something big and I think that’s what his mindset is right now — trying to do something real big.”

Everything with the 6-foot-9, 260-pound Randolph is big, especially his game. Nicknamed Z-Bo back in middle school growing up in gritty, small-town Marion, Indiana, the southpaw’s game is described as “old-school” or “old man.” That’s because his vertical won’t win him any dunk contests and because he relies more on guile and honed skill than athleticism. Randolph’s excellent footwork makes him quick, agile and unpredictable with his back to the basket. He has tremendous upper and lower body strength to gain position and a sublime touch to finish with short hooks and up-and-under bank shots. And he can always float in fall-away jumpers. His arsenal is a lethal combination of power and finesse that few power forwards today posses.

Just listen to Thunder coach Scott Brooks go on and on when asked to detail the difficulty in defending Randolph in the low post.

“He has relentless determination, he’s an aggressive offensive rebounder and he has so many different shots he can throw at you,” said Brooks, who watched Randolph work over Defensive Player of the Year runner-up Serge Ibaka for 18.4 ppg and 10.8 rpg. “He can face-up and hit a shot; he can drive right with one dribble and the little pull-up off the glass; he goes to the left, to the middle very well, and he has so many different release points. He can score down low at the block. He doesn’t look like he can do it, he just doesn’t have that body that you think that can score, and he doesn’t jump very high, but he has that determination and he obviously has the ability to score.

“He’s a handful.”

Allen calls the whole package “backyard ball.”

“He’s the backyard bully. Welcome to the Z block,” Allen said. “He’s just a monster down there; he’s a load.”

He’s now the responsibility of Spurs big men Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter, a tough job compounded by the fact that one of them will be preoccupied with Gasol, also having a brilliant postseason averaging 18.3 ppg and 7.9 rpg.

The big stage has been a long time coming for Randolph, a player many assumed would have run himself out of the league by now. That’s not the case or even any longer an option. The 12-year veteran has found a home and fulfillment in Memphis.

“He just understands the big picture a little bit better. He understands winning better,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. “I think there are lot of good players in this league that have statistics, that have talent, but never win, never understand that it takes more than their 20 points to win; that it takes moving the basketball, it takes playing defense, it takes being a decoy sometimes.

“We just try to challenge him and he accepts being challenged, and he’s risen to the occasion.”

Dwight Update: Many Bodies Involved





HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – Any trade involving Dwight Howard is a big trade. But if the Brooklyn Nets acquire the three-time DPOY in the next couple of days, it will be a big trade in more ways than one.

As Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! writes, this may end up being a four-team trade involving 10 players, four first-round draft picks and $3 million in cash…

In the proposed deal, Howard, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark would be sent to Brooklyn, and the Magic would receive the Nets’ Brook Lopez, Damion James, Shelden Williams, Cleveland’s Luke Walton and three future first-round picks, sources said. Cleveland would receive Orlando’s Quentin Richardson, Brooklyn’s Sundiata Gaines, Kris Humphries (on a one-year guaranteed deal), a first-round pick and $3 million from the Nets. Brooklyn also would send [MarShon] Brooks to a fourth team to get them an additional first-round pick to send to the Magic.

Trades that big aren’t easy to put together. And to further complicate things, five of the six guys that that Nets would be sending out have to agree to new contracts and new locations.

James, Williams and Gaines might be happy to just have another year in the league, but Humphries and Lopez will surely have some say in whether or not this trade goes down. Humphries’ willingness to sign a deal with just one guaranteed season is reportedly a potential hang-up, so stay tuned…

Bearded Buddies in Orlando

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – In addition to playing really well lately, the Orlando Magic have become one of the more interesting teams in the league.

Stan Van Gundy is making MVP declarations, he insists Bull All-Star Derrick Rose has already won the award despite the Magic’s All-Star big man, Dwight Howard, being just as deserving:

“I don’t think it’s wide open,” Van Gundy said. “The media seems to have made their decision and they’re the ones who vote, so I think it’s over.” Asked to make the case for Howard, Van Gundy said: “To me, with his rebounding, his scoring and his defense, I just don’t think there’s anybody that impacts as many possessions in a game as Dwight does. I think Derrick Rose has been great. I will have no problem at all if Derrick  Rose wins the MVP. They’ve got the best record in the East; he’s been clearly their leader. You can make a great case for him. I have never been running down another guy. I think it’s a hard choice to make…but I still don’t think anyone impacts the game as many possessions as Dwight does.”

As much entertainment as Van Gundy provides, the his players are cooking up a hockey-themed stunt for the playoffs that should make things even more hilarious around the locker room in the coming weeks.

After much deliberation, they have decided to grow playoff beards. And they have vowed not to shave them until their playoff run, however long it ends up being, is over. The NBA Finals don’t usually end until mid to late June.

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Time To Show And Prove

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – You waited all summer for this.

And now it’s here.

We get a monster three-game appetizer tonight to kick off the NBA season, Wednesday’s 13-game slate is the outlandish first course and we’ll have eight months worth of goods to work through before a champion is crowned.

Thankfully, the powers that be in the scheduling department decided to give us an opening-night preview, with three NBA Finals favorites on display.

Miami at Boston, 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Phoenix at Portland, 10 p.m. ET

Houston at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT

It’s show and prove time for all of them, too, not just those cats in Miami (who obviously enter this season with unprecedented hype for a team that’s been together for mere months).

All six teams taking the floor tonight have questions that need answering, things that we need to know right now, before they dive in and pledge allegiance to a team they think is the real deal:

HEAT

Who cracks first, the Heat or the competition? Erik Spoelstra‘s team (we can call them that, at least for now, right?) has already adopted the “us-against-the-world” mantra needed to chase a title. In fact, I can’t remember a team preparing itself better for a theoretical championship run than the Heat has done since July, which started with the LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade mega-merger. But now the theory must be applied in an ultra-competitive environment where the Heat will be the hunted team every single night.

That said, you have to give them credit for making all the right moves. Mike Miller goes down with a hand injury that will sideline for months, so the Heat quickly snag veteran swingman Jerry Stackhouse to fill the void (same way he did for the Bucks last year). There have been no major missteps up to this point … but now it’s time to play the games. And we’re going to see if the Heat can hold up to the pressure, internal and beyond.

CELTICS

With five players 32 or older, everybody is wondering the same thing: can the Celtics will hold up to the rigors of the 82-game regular season and a second straight extended playoff run? Their championship window is clearly much smaller than the one those young whippersnappers in Miami are working with, which will no doubt fuel the Celtics’ fire all season. Can the old men hold up?

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Best Handshake!

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The Clippers are an easy punchline when joking about the teams in the NBA that just can’t seem to get right.

But we’ll give them credit for being in the right frame of mind during the dog days of training camp.

They have a couple of youngster that keep the mood just right in DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, the first pair to deliver their entry for the best handshake of the season (it’s not nearly as entertaining/annoying as the Darius Miles-Quentin Richardson fists-to-the-forehead thing from way back, but it has potential on both fronts).

Granted, Clippers fans would love to see something more promising from their team this season than just a clever handshake routine. But hey, you’ve got to start somewhere, right?

Hump Day Hoops Roundup

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We don’t have to wait for the games to start to know what time it is.

If there are sneakers squeaking across a hardwood floor and there’s at least one coach hollering instructions or blowing a whistle (love the teaching going on in Philly, above), it’s the right time here at the hideout.

And on Wednesdays, that means a morning peek at the goings on around the league as training camps have tipped off from coast to coast. Enter this season’s first installment of the Hump Day Hoops Roundup:

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A POSITION CHANGE FOR LEWIS?

Magic power forward Rashard Lewis struggled in the Eastern Conference finals against Boston, a series the Magic saw slip away when they couldn’t combat the Celtics’ size and strength in the low post with just Dwight Howard carrying the lion’s share of the load. Now comes word that Lewis might be splitting his time this season at both power forward and small forward, a move that might have changed the course of that Magic-Celtics series, had it been done then.

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel with the details: Coach Stan Van Gundy has said he will spend the weeks before the Oct. 28 regular-season opener trying to determine if the team is better off with Lewis at small forward.

The Magic’s version of The Great Experiment will have repercussions for the rest of the roster. If Lewis remains the starting power forward, either Quentin Richardson or Mickael Pietrus or maybe even J.J. Redick will serve as the team’s fifth starter. If Lewis starts at small forward, then either Ryan Anderson or Brandon Bass will start at the other forward position.

Either way, Lewis figures to receive plenty of time at both forward spots in the days and weeks ahead. One reason Van Gundy didn’t play Lewis at small forward during the Boston series was that Lewis had barely played the position during the year and the team wasn’t comfortable with him playing there. Making such a dramatic change in the middle of the playoffs might have done more harm than good.

Indeed, when asked Tuesday how the team would differ with Lewis at small forward, Dwight Howard responded, “Well, Rashard’s been playing the ’4′ for so long, I don’t remember him playing the ’3.’ “

For Lewis, the biggest adjustment would come on defense. He would go from guarding bulky bruisers such as Boston’s Kevin Garnett to possibly guarding dynamic wing players such as Miami’s LeBron James.

“The concern with him playing the ’3′ is never at the offensive end,” Van Gundy said. “But it’s whether he can guard the ’3s’ on the move in this league and chase through screens . . . It’s a different set of expectations.”

This is a no-brainer for the Magic. Lewis isn’t a great defender by any stretch. So whether he matches up at small forward or power forward on defense shouldn’t make that big of a difference, so long as Howard continues to protect the paint in Defensive Player of the Year fashion.

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‘MELO MEGA-DEAL IS OFF, FOR NOW

We need to make sure we have this straight: the four-team mega deal involving Carmelo Anthony and a proposed move to New Jersey is off. But the Nets are still pursuing a deal that would deliver Anthony to Brooklyn (in a couple of years)? That’s the way it is as of right now. Of course, just five days ago the ‘Melo-to-Jersey fire was being stoked from all directions. So obviously, things could change in an instant. But again, as of right now, there is no deal to speak of.

Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post with more: In a surprising turn-of-events, Melo did make himself available to the media after Denver’s practice – the first of training camp -– though the small forward didn’t say much about the trade talks.

Asked by our guy Mark Kiszla if it’s possible Melo wouldn’t give 100 percent at practice Melo said sternly: “(Expletive) No. I love the game too much to disrespect the game like that. Anytime I step on the court, I’m going to give it my all, regardless of what’s going on, what’s the situation. I’ve been through so much in my short career so far, earlier in my career, and still was able to perform on the court. Going through bad stuff, facing adversity. This is not adversity. This is basketball. People want me, trade talks and rumors and all that stuff, this is basketball. I focus on basketball, it’s something I know how to do and I love to do. As far as my effort on the court, nobody can question that.”

Melo’s contract expires at the end of this year. A source had previously said, back when all this trade stuff started, that he wants the three-year, $65 million extension offered by Denver –- but wants to use it with another team in a bigger market. Melo is a free-agent-to-be, which would normally be enticing, except that the current collective bargaining agreement expires this summer –- and the new one could affect players’ salaries.

“It’s scary,” he said. “Of course it’s scary. There’s a lot of anxiety to see what’s going to happen. Hopefully we as players and the owners can come to an agreement that suits both, players and the owners. We shall see. It is a little scary.”

Anthony has nothing to be scared about. He’ll command max dollars wherever he plays for the foreseeable future. But it’s good to hear that ‘Melo is concerned about his fellow-man.

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JOSH SMITH TEAM CAPTAIN?

Don’t laugh. It’s true. Hawks coach Larry Drew is showing just how different his regime will be from his predecessor Mike Woodson‘s, by designating Josh Smith as a team captain alongside All-Stars Joe Johnson and Al Horford. If Smith takes to the role the way Drew hopes, this could turn out to be a true stroke of genius — especially with the league’s expanded rule on technical fouls in place. Smith has also earned the right to operate as one of the Hawks’ team leaders. He’s as responsible as any player on the roster for the Hawks’ rise the past three years.

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Everybody Wants A Piece

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – You figured a week later all this hype and hoopla about Miami’s Big 3 would have waned a little bit, right?

There is other stuff going on, summer league, other free agent news, etc.

But the fervor hasn’t let up one bit for what’s going on with the Miami Heat. Almost every player transaction that happens elicits a mention of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James or Chris Bosh and their joining forces on a Heat team that continues to take shape by the day.

Quentin Richardson left the Heat and signed with their Southeast Division rival Orlando but spent as much time talking about what he was walking away from as he did the Eastern Conference powerhouse he was joining, per Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel:

“Definitely, there was a lot of consideration. I have a lot of respect,” said Richardson, who played 76 games for the Heat last season, starting all but one.

“It came down to me considering them heavily. I felt this was the best situation for me and I feel like we have just as good a chance as they do to win a championship.”

Richardson said that Wade — his sometime work-out partner — was in his ear ever since the Heat pulled off the Triple Play last Thursday.

“I definitely heard from D-Wade,” he said. “D-Wade is one of my good buddies. He was disappointed to see me walk away. He knows me. Everytime I go out there, it’s going to be like a war. I told him that and he told me, ‘The intrastate rivalry is on.’”

Richardson said he had a few other offers. There was one other factor in his choosing Orlando — a big factor: All-star center Dwight Howard.

Everybody, it seems, wants a piece of the hottest crew in basketball.

All it took was a recruiting pitch from James to convince Zydrunas Ilgauskas, a Cavalier his entire NBA career, to flip and sign with the Heat for the league minimum.

This is the same man who spurned more lucrative offers elsewhere last season, after being traded by the Cavs to facilitate the deal for Antawn Jamison, to re-sign with the Cavaliers for a playoff run that came up woefully short of the championship folks in the organization were expecting.

David Hyde of the Sun-Sentinel described this stampede to South Beach as well as anyone:

Have you watched the gravitational pull of greatness help the Heat the past few days?

It didn’t just lure season-ticket buyers overnight. It isn’t just bringing a worldwide media buzz to the point that exhibition games are being mentioned in Europe and Asia.

It goes beyond how this team instantly became an easy team to love in South Florida and hate in any other NBA city.

It’s the players lining up outside the arena. The veteran players. The role players basketball analysts said would be hard to find. The thirtysomethings who want to rub against greatness just once in their careers.

Juwan Howard is reportedly the next veteran to sign on for duty in Miami, joining Udonis Haselm and Mike Miller. Something tells us he won’t be the last. Not when everyone else on the planet wants a piece of this team.

More from Hyde:

None of these are great players. Each comes with legitimate questions. Each also can be accused of piggybacking on excellence in the hopes of gaining a ring. But can’t they be praised for that more?

Don’t fans always ask players to value winning above all else?

Don’t media always ask players to fit egos into the bigger team?

So much of sports is about fitting players into proper roles. So if these players aren’t great talents — or even good anymore by NBA standards, in some cases — they can be slotted into a definitive role that makes their game valuable on this roster.

Their first Sports Illustrated cover is already set (below). Surely, it won’t be their last.

This is the first of many magazine covers for the Miami Heat's Big 3!

We’re not pointing fingers around here. We’ve been caught up in the Miami Matrix as well. We can’t get enough of this story either, even when we know we should try to move on to something else.

Two HT faves, Al Harrington and Josh Childress, have found new homes and we’re yet to connect with either one of them to talk details (though, we are in the process of tracking them both down). And the Jazz pulled off one of our favorite moves of the summer, replacing Carlos Boozer with Al Jefferson after Minnesota GM David Kahn made good on his promise to move Jefferson so he could make room for the feared Darko Milicic/Kevin Love/Michael Beasley frontline.

You can probably guess who we think made out best in that deal. And it’s not about our continued ribbing of Kahn or the Timberwolves, a team we are considering for inclusion in HT’s Adopt-A-Team program (it worked for the Grizzlies last year didn’t it?) this season.

With the Western Conference ranks thinning a bit, what with all the concentration of star power in the Eastern Conference during free agency, the move to secure Jefferson by the Jazz keeps them in the mix among the elite. That’s always a good thing.

Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune:

Given the departures of Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver in free agency, Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor wasn’t about to describe the acquisition of Al Jefferson as the second coming of the trade that delivered Pau Gasol to the Lakers in 2008.

At the same time, O’Connor couldn’t help but herald the arrival of a player in Jefferson who he billed as one of the best low-post players in basketball, following a trade in which the Jazz seemingly gave up remarkably little in return.

The Jazz completed their deal for Jefferson on Tuesday, sending two future first-round draft picks and center Kosta Koufos to Minnesota while absorbing Jefferson’s $13 million salary thanks to the trade exception they acquired last week for Boozer.

“What we feel like is that we really added a premium player to our team,” O’Connor said, adding, “If you had put him in free agency this year with that crop that they had out there even yet, I think he’d be pretty highly rated, and that’s how we look at him.”

The 6-foot-10, 265-pound Jefferson averaged 20.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in three seasons with the Timberwolves. O’Connor noted that at 25, after six seasons in the NBA, Jefferson should be entering the best years of his career.

Minnesota general manager David Kahn seemed to echo those sentiments. “Al is motivated to have a career-defining season, and I recognize the Jazz will be the recipients of that, not us. I expect him to help Utah immensely,” Kahn said in a statement.

Who knows, maybe Kahn will give us his take on Miami’s Big 3?

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Be Careful Judging Coaches

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Posted by Sekou Smith

LOS ANGELES – Every time I hear someone yap about the best coaches in the business I think of a guy like Suns coach Alvin Gentry.

A head coach on four different occasions, including his latest gig coaching the Suns in the Western Conference finals, who’d have thought he would have a team in this position after the Clippers canned him after three seasons earlier this decade?

Luminaries like Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Larry Brown and Jerry Sloan tend to be immune to the debate, unless we’re talking about the best of the very best.

But when it comes to questioning who can and cannot handle the basics of the job, I love watching a guy like Gentry prove people wrong. (It’s hard to make lasting judgments about any coach after just one job. Unfortunately for so many of them, they can’t rely on multiple coaching lives.)

I loved Gentry’s style when he was coaching those young Clippers, when Lamar Odom, Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson made up the core of the roster. ESPN had a reality show that followed them around for an entire season (I think it was called The Season, if I remember correctly). It provided a great look inside a young team that was either going to stick together and turn into something or break apart and become … well, the Clippers!

Who knows what might have become of those Clippers had someone in charge decided to make sure they held it all together?

We know what became of Gentry …

Not bad. Not bad at all.

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