Posts Tagged ‘Sam Amick’

Opening Night: Time For Clippers’ Griffin And Jordan To Show Up And Show Out!


VIDEO: DeAndre Jordan abuses Utah’s Enes Kanter and finishes with authority

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Point fingers all you want at Chris Paul, coach Doc Rivers, owner Donald Sterling or anyone in Los Angeles this season. It doesn’t matter. Because it’s not on them … not If the Clippers are serious about making that move from pretender to contender.

It’s on two guys and two big guys in particular.

Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the highlight stars in Hollywood, have to take that next step and put the Clippers in a position to cash in on the immense potential we all see on that roster. They were the missing piece last season in the playoffs, when the Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol exposed the Clippers’ soft underbelly in a first-round playoff ouster of the reigning Pacific Division champs.

The Clippers weren’t tough enough then and Griffin and Jordan clearly didn’t have the seasoning needed to win the series. But Rivers has infused the Clippers’ locker room with a new energy, a new confidence even, that will serve as fuel for Griffin and Jordan.

And it’s time for those two to show up, show out and take some of the pressure off of Paul, the team’s smallest player (in stature). We get our first glimpse tonight, when the Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers open the season at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT). Griffin and Jordan couldn’t ask for a better opening test than the Lakers’ veteran frontcourt of Pau Gasol and ex-Clipper Chris Kaman.

If they want to justify the hype and make Rivers look like a genius for praising and challenging them simultaneously during the past few months, we’ll see it tonight in their play.

When he spoke about Jordan as a potential All-Star, to USA Today SportsSam Amick, his comments had to strike a (positive) nerve with Jordan — a player with big talent who still lacks the polish needed to dominate both ends of the court.

“He’s an All-Star, and whether he makes it or not I could care less about that part but I’m just saying that he’s at that level,” Rivers said. “DJ has the ability to affect an entire end of the floor. So how good was Deion Sanders? That’s how good DJ is. That’s the way I look at it.”

Griffin is already an All-Star. There’s no stroking of his ego needed. Rivers had to challenge his basketball IQ, his personal fabric and find out if he was willing to go to uncomfortable places within himself to improve and make himself more of a factor this season.

Combined, Griffin and Jordan have the ability to push the Clippers into the true-contender atmosphere. They’re talented enough to be the difference-makers in ways that few players in the league can, due mostly to the fact that they are physically superior to most opposing low-post duos.

But are they mentally tough enough? Are they skilled enough? Are they determined enough to become the collective force of nature that elevates the Clippers?

We’ll get a good sense tonight when the curtain comes up on their 2013-14 season!

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 125): Featuring Sam Amick Of USA Today Sports

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — If you read the tea leaves properly, the way most people did, Dwight Howard choosing the Houston Rockets wasn’t much of a surprise.

That doesn’t make it any easier for fans of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors or Atlanta Hawks to get through the first 48 of the free-agent signing period. Not when they all dreamed about Howard picking them.

But as Sam Amick of USA Today Sports (the man who broke the Howard story last Friday night) explains on Episode 125 of the Hang Time Podcast, it was Houston all the way for Howard … no waffle!

The impact of his choice on the rest of those teams and other free agents was swift, save for Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, who had already made his mind up by the time Howard selected the Rockets. Once Howard’s business was done, though, it set off a weekend of activity that saw almost all of the big names agree to deals before the sun went down Sunday night.

Join us as we dissect those moves, the fearlessness of Celtics boss Danny Ainge, the pickle that Mavs owner Mark Cuban is in with Dirk Nowitzki after two straight summers of missed free-agent opportunities, celebrate Independence Day in the Bahamas, chart our winners and losers, debate the best (and worst) moves of the summer and plenty more on Episode 125 of the Hang Time Podcast: Featuring Sam Amick of USA Today Sports

LISTEN HERE:


As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com,  Lang Whitaker of NBA.com’s All-Ball Blog and renaissance man Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand and the best engineer in the business,  Jarell “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.

Howard Picks Houston!



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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Dwight Howard will chase his championships in Houston, not Los Angeles, Dallas or anywhere else the prized free-agent center was rumored to be headed in recent weeks.

The word came down Friday evening, first reported by Sam Amick of USA Today Sports. Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports Sports that his client was in still finalizing his decision and “He hopes to finalize his decision tonight or tomorrow morning.”

But two sources familiar with the situation confirmed to NBA.com that Houston is indeed Howard’s choice. This ends a nearly two-year drama for Howard, who would sign a four-year, $89 million deal with the Rockets on July 10. Howard could have signed a five-year, $118 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, the only team that could offer him that fifth year and extra $30 million.

Late Friday night, after a face-to-face meeting with Howard, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak confirmed it for anyone thinking there was a chance Howard would change his mind:

The Rockets made the first presentation to Howard, just minutes after free agency began at 12:01 a.m. ET on July 1. The Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and the incumbent Lakers followed up that presentation over the course of the next two days.

Howard’s lone season with the Lakers got off to a tumultuous start, head coach Mike Brown was fired five games into the season and replaced by Mike D’Antoni, who never seemed to find common ground with Howard. A summer that began with so much promise, the acquisitions of both Howard and two-time MVP Steve Nash to go along with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, bottomed out into a seventh-seed in the Western Conference playoff chase and first-round elimination at the hands of the eventual Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs.

Howard was coming off of back surgery and didn’t appear to get back into regular form until late in the season, but long after the Lakers’ championship dreams had faded. Bryant’s season-ending Achilles injury just before the playoffs began was the final dagger.

The Rockets won the recruiting battle for Howard and now they have to finish their summer work, the next piece of business being their pursuit and acquisition of Howard’s long-time friend and fellow Atlanta native Josh Smith, who is mulling over his free-agent options right now as well.

Smith, who conducted his own round of in-face meetings with teams in Los Angeles earlier this week as well, is believed to be favoring the Detroit Pistons, whose plans for the combo forward were laid out before he and his representatives met with the Rockets. But the Hawks have interest in Houston center Omer Asik, who one source told NBA.com would be the linchpin to any potential sign-and-trade deal between the two teams.

With Howard, a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and the league’s reigning rebounding champ, and potentially Smith alongside All-Star shooting James Harden, versatile swingman Chandler Parsons and point guard Jeremy Lin, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey will have assembled a core group capable of challenging the Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers and Warriors for supremacy in the Western Conference in 2013-14 and beyond.

“That’s a team that competes for championships, if not right away, certainly in the next two or three years,” said an Eastern Conference executive after hearing of Howard’s choice. “It didn’t work out with the Lakers and that group they had. But he’ll have a coach that will do wonders for him in Kevin McHale and group around him that will make things extremely difficult on anyone that focuses on Dwight in the paint. They’re going to give people fits.”

After Midnight Free-Agent Madness





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Who’s waiting on Dwight Howard?

Not the Detroit Pistons, who have bypassed the Howard free agency sweepstakes for a chance to snag Josh Smith, the versatile forward who ranks as the hottest commodity on the market not named Howard in the first hour since free agency began at 12:01 a.m. ET.

Pistons boss Joe Dumars and his brain trust met with Smith and his camp shortly after midnight with the sides discussing a significant four-year deal that would see Smith join an already impressive young frontcourt group that includes Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.

The Pistons would be the “surprise” team mentioned at the bottom of this report from Sunday morning and per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who highlights the Hawks’ willingness to work a sign-and-trade deal for Smith rather than re-signing him themselves.

Anything is possible now that we have crossed the threshold into what some folks like to call the NBA’s silly season.

Only in the minutes immediately after midnight do we find out that a guy like Chase Budinger, a fine player, could end up being targeted by more teams than a player the likes of Al Jefferson.

Crazy season is more like it. (more…)

The Celtics-Clippers Saga Continues …





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Admit it, you’re going to miss DeAndre Jordan in a Los Angeles Clippers uniform. You’re going to miss the dunks and the off-court comic pairing with Clippers All-Star Blake Griffin.

But if we are reading this Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Clippers-Doc Rivers trade situation right, Jordan is headed to Boston in one part of a complex potential trade scenario that also will include Rivers departing Boston for the Clippers and the chance to chase championships with a few familiar faces (Kevin Garnett and perhaps Paul Pierce) as well as a few new ones (Griffin and potentially Chris Paul).

Monday’s hot name, Eric Bledsoe, the player both sides refused to budge on, is apparently out of the deal now.

It’s complicated, I know. But aren’t these blockbuster scenarios always a bit more complicated than the average trade?

The latest from around the basketball world on this saga …

Celtics ready to deal for Jordan and two first-round Draft picks …

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports: After pushing for the Clippers to take back long-term contracts, the Celtics relented and have shown willingness to complete the deal for DeAndre Jordan and two first-round draft picks, sources said. The Clippers are willing to give the Celtics Jordan and one draft pick, but were resisting a second future pick, sources said.

The two teams are planning to talk again on Tuesday morning, and the fragile negotiations could climax over the draft pick compensation, sources said.

If the Clippers become the championship contenders that they expected this trade will make them, the additional draft pick would likely be near the end of the first round.

 The financial investment in this deal for Los Angeles is unprecedented for the franchise, and it could be giving it 11th-hour pause. The Clippers must pay a $3.5 million trade kicker on Jordan’s contract and finalize an agreement with Rivers on a five-year deal worth approximately $35 million, league sources said.

Serious talks but still no deal …

Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com: Sources close to the process told ESPN.com that the Celtics and Clippers held “substantive discussions” Monday on the proposed multilayered transactions that would send Rivers and Celtics star Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles. But the teams, sources say, remain unable to agree on a final trade framework to go through with the two deals, even after Boston relented on its insistence that the Clippers include prized young guard Eric Bledsoe as part of the package for Rivers and Garnett.

Another element of the talks, sources said, is the negotiations between Rivers and the Clippers on a coaching contract. Rivers has three years left on his original five-year, $35 million deal with the Celtics and will be looking to stay in the same salary range if Boston ultimately receives what it deems sufficient compensation to let the 51-year-old out of that deal.

So the Clippers, in what NBA coaching sources are terming a “separate process,” have moved ahead with their coaching search just in case, for one reason or another, they’ll be unable to pry Rivers out of Boston. They’ve arranged sitdowns this week for Byron Scott (Tuesday) and Brian Shaw (Wednesday) with Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Lionel Hollins, the other finalist for the Clippers’ job before the pursuit of Rivers got serious, already met with Sterling.

Numerous sources connected to talks continued to express optimism Monday that the Celtics and Clippers will eventually agree to terms this week, with some interpreting the Clippers’ plans to resume talks with the likes of Shaw and Scott as their latest thinly veiled message to the Celtics that they aren’t afraid to walk away from the table.

“It’s a dance right now,” said one source close to the process. “I think it’ll eventually happen. They’re just staring at each other.”

Is Ainge satisfied with this haul?

Sam Amick of USA Today: The only question that matters at the moment is whether Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge eventually will decide that acquiring fifth-year center DeAndre Jordan and two future first-round picks is fair compensation for losing his coach and his 37-year-old big man.

If he does, according to two people with knowledge of the situation, this deal will likely get done. If he doesn’t, and instead insists that third-year Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe must also be in the trade, then Rivers and Garnett would stay put and the Clippers would simply hire one of the coaching candidates who have interviewed for their vacant job (former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins and Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw lead that group).

While Celtics small forward Paul Pierce is not part of the trade talks, he could be bought out of the final year of his contract this July ($5 million of his $15.3 million) and join Rivers and Garnett with the Clippers as a free agent if this deal went down. The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the talks.

While Rivers would not technically be part of the trade, the Celtics would allow the Clippers to sign him as part of the agreement. Rivers has a non-compete clause in his contract that would be nullified, and he would forgo the three years and $21 million remaining on his Celtics contract.The Clippers are prepared to pay him just less than $7 million annually, but only if they can bring him in without mortgaging their future by losing Bledsoe.

Yet if Rivers were willing consider giving back some of his earnings as a way to ease Ainge’s pain, that could be a way to nudge these negotiations along. The Celtics could move forward with a new coach whose salary would be, in essence, paid for by the old coach.

Rivers still grappling with his decision?

Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: If the Celtics plan to part with Rivers, they want a young piece, draft picks and salary cap relief. Realizing that signing [Jason] Terry and [Courtney] Lee to multiyear deals at the mid-level exception (5-plus million) was a mistake, the Celtics would prefer the Clippers accept those deals to facilitate clearance to negotiate a contract with Rivers.

Meanwhile, a source close to Rivers told the Globe that Rivers is still grappling with the decision, especially as the trade gets more complicated and negotiations more contentious. The talk of the Clippers acquiring Paul Pierce in the trade are remote, especially since the Celtics would have to honor his deal and send him to the Clippers with a $15 million salary.

And don’t expect the Celtics to waive Pierce just to see him sign with the Clippers during free agency. If they decide to trade Pierce, and NBA sources said the team is open to the possibility, they want a return for his services unless waiving him will allow him enough salary cap space to sign a solid free agent.

The consensus around the league is that a decision on this has to be made this week and Rivers is looking worse by the day because of his indecisiveness.

Key decision makers, Ainge and Sacks, stuck in neutral … 

Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times: The main characters are Boston Coach Doc Rivers and All-Star forward Kevin Garnett, trying to get to the Clippers as a duo. The men calling the shots — Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Clippers vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks — can’t seem to reach agreement on a mutually satisfactory deal.

So both organizations were stuck in neutral by Monday evening after player names were tossed back and forth, the talks at a standstill but not completely over, according to NBA executives who did not want to be identified by name because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the situation.

The two sides intend to keep the talks alive Tuesday. But the Clippers also plan to have coaching candidates Byron Scott and Brian Shaw meet with owner Donald Sterling this week in case the team can’t make a deal to get Rivers, executives said.

Shaw, associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers, on Tuesday is scheduled to meet for the second time with the Denver Nuggets about their head-coach vacancy. Then Shaw is to meet with Sterling on Wednesday. Shaw interviewed face to face with the Clippers last week, but this will be his first sit-down with Sterling, executives said.

Scott, former coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Hornets and New Jersey Nets, is scheduled to meet with Sterling on Tuesday afternoon, the executives said. Scott also met with the Clippers last Tuesday but didn’t talk with Sterling.



Cousins-To-Boston Fun To Ponder, Anyway

The idea of in some sense rewarding DeMarcus Cousins for the havoc he has wreaked yet again on the Sacramento Kings grates on some of us here at the HTB Hideout. When you’re the best player on your team’s roster, you’re supposed to fix things, not escape them.

But the flip side of any rumored Cousins-to-Boston trade coin is that the Celtics would be the ones getting rewarded. Proud, aging stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, along with respected coach Doc Rivers, would get a XXXL-sized transfusion in wring a bit more postseason success from the era begun nearly six years ago.

The third side of that coin, though, would ask: Would a trade from 13-21 Sacramento to 16-17 Boston qualify anymore as a reward?

OK, so that’s a little snarky. But seven years of lottery finishes (and four coaching changes) has left the Kings a core of young talent. Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans, Jason Thompson, Isaiah Thomas, James Johnson and Cousins all are 26 or younger. Chuck Hayes (29) and Aaron Brooks (27 till next week) still are helpful pieces. Rookie forward Thomas Robinson, the fifth pick in the Draft in June, has had a bumpy start but perked up both in performance and in awareness on the road this weekend in Toronto and Brooklyn.

Cousins, of course, remains the key. He has averaged 20.8 points, 13.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.8 steals over the last six games, driving Sacramento’s 4-2 mark. He has exasperated team members, staffers and fans alike with his unprofessionalism, which earned him a team suspension right before Christmas. Yet there is no denying Cousins’ skills and potential – that’s what keeps the apologists alive and the trade market in overdrive.

It’s hard to know what to believe at the moment. Sam Amick, USA Today‘s rock-solid NBA guy who is based in Sacramento, continues to report that the Kings are not moving Cousins.

But NESN.com, like a lot of Boston fans, wondered if the Celtics’ decision to waive Kris Joseph and Jarvis Varnado might suggest – open roster spots! – that some multi-player maneuver was in the works. That speculation had life breathed into it by NBAonNBCBoston.com, via a Twitter item based on an anonymous source to that site’s Patrick Gilroy:

(Notice that the replies to that “tweet” ranged from @JFunkyD_JD’s “We need to do something to shake up the mix” and @RiGronkulous87′s “I’ll believe it when I see it” to @seanoblizalo’s “I just threw up.”)

Meanwhile, Boston sports reporter Mike Petraglia of WEEI was offering up an idea that would have the Celtics headed in an entirely different direction: Trading Garnett, the oldest guy on the roster, in a move for now but especially later.

The Celtics have precious few trading chips to do what they really need to do, and that is move forward.

The Celtics are not going to even sniff the NBA finals as currently constituted. I wrote in this space last week that the Celtics should get Garnett some help. But after what I watched last week on the West Coast and Wednesday against Memphis in person, I’m convinced another big man won’t make up the talent deficit the Celtics face. Even worse, if the Celtics decide to improve the roster, it will come at the expense of at least Bradley, if not draft picks.

That’s exactly what [Celtics basketball boss Danny] Ainge should not do. … This is about rebuilding a roster with the type of younger and more athletic talent it takes to compete year in and year out.

Obviously, the Cousins and Garnett schools of thought could only co-exist in a trade of three or more teams. Even if Garnett were to waive his no-trade clause, he wouldn’t do so to relocate to Sacramento. The Kings, likewise, would have little use, while still on training wheels, for the pricey 36-year-old.

Cousins as the centerpiece of roster renewal in Boston? Garnett landing with a team with real championship potential? Sure, it’s all fun to ponder. All long shots, too.

Surprise! League Execs/Insiders Favor Heat, Thunder And Lakers This Season


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS –
In what has to be the most dependable vote we’ll see this election season, a smattering of anonymous NBA executives and coaches have chosen the Miami Heat as favorites to walk away with the Larry O’Brien trophy at end of the 2012-13 season.

According to the unofficial poll conducted by our main man Sam Amick of SI.com, it’s a three-team race this season between the Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder (with those second two often in flip-flopped order, depending on the ballot). But in the view of the 20 league insiders, it’s strictly a three-team race:

The final tally, with three of the voters submitting only first-place votes: The defending champions in Miami received 16 first-place votes, one second-place vote and two third-place votes; their Finals foe, Oklahoma City, garnered two first-place votes, six second-place votes and nine third-place votes; and the Lakers, who have added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, got two first-place votes, 10 second-place votes and six third-place votes. The Lakers may not be seen as the favorites to win it all, but the idea that they’re the top threat to the Heat is not only a topic of much discussion in the media but also clearly a very real sentiment in NBA circles.

For good measure, my top three — with all of us playing in this pretend world where everyone is fully healthy — would be the Heat, Lakers and Thunder. Reality, of course, may be something altogether different.

Tempting though it was to put the Lakers in the hypothetical top spot, there is a laundry list of factors to keep an eye on as their star-studded season unfolds: the health of Howard, who is still not doing on-court activity after having back surgery in April; the age and mileage of Nash (38 years old, 16 regular seasons and 118 playoff games played) and Bryant (34, 16 regular seasons and 220 playoff games); the question of chemistry and whether Bryant will defer enough to let Nash work his magic while keeping Howard happy enough in his new locale that he wants to re-sign as a free agent next summer; and the installation of Pete Carril‘s famed Princeton offense (former Wizards and Kings coach Eddie Jordan, a Carril protégé, is expected to be hired as an assistant and do the teaching under defensive-minded head coach Mike Brown).

We’re not sure how excited we are about our extra early preseason view of the title contenders coinciding with that of so many league insiders, since we’ve never been particularly fond of the herd mentality that has permeated the front offices of so much of the league.

Then again, what other threesome would you choose right now?

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Report: Anthony Davis Injures Ankle, Could Be Out Two Weeks … Olympics?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – An ankle sprain suffered in a Sunday workout could cost Hornets rookie Anthony Davis the next two weeks and possibly a spot on the team that will represent the United State in London during the Olympics, according to multiple reports.

“I heard that Anthony Davis sprained his ankle yesterday but I don’t know how serious it is,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told Sam Amick of SI.com. “It was in a workout. I’m not going to worry about that unless I’m advised at this point.”

“Just getting a report that his ankle is serious doesn’t mean anything to me until we get an official doctor’s report on what that means. Does it mean he can’t practice for a week? Does it mean he’s out for a month? You know what I’m saying. I don’t like to speculate.”

Asked if there would be any wiggle room at all regarding the inability to add names to the Team USA roster finalists, he said, “I don’t know for sure. I’m not 100 percent certain. So that will be another call.”

The No.1 overall pick in the Draft last week, Davis was added last month to the player pool for the U.S. Team, a group that has been ravaged by injury defections recently.

Heat stars Chris Bosh (abdominal injury) and Dwyane Wade (knee surgery) had to drop out last week, joining Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, LaMarcus Aldridge and Chauncey Billups on the list of injured players who will not be able to participate in training camp that begins this weekend in Las Vegas.

Report: Blazers Offer Pacers’ All-Star Center Hibbert The Max?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The price tag for big men in the NBA, both the stars and the wanna be stars, is always high, just ask guys like the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan or the Mavericks’ Brendan Haywood.

The price for big men in free agency, however, can get a little wild. For proof, look no further than the reported $8 million the Houston Rockets are offering restricted free agent backup center Omer Asik of Chicago or the reported max deal the Portland Trail Blazers have offered All-Star center Roy Hibbert of Indiana.

The Pacers have not offered Hibbert a max deal, according to SI.com‘s Sam Amick, a move that all but forces Hibbert to sign the Blazers’ offer sheet.

Drafting 7-footer Meyers Leonard didn’t answer all of the Blazers’ big man needs. Adding Hibbert to their mix would, theoretically, give them an ideal frontcourt pairing with LaMarcus Aldridge.

But like the Bulls with Asik, the Pacers have the right to match any offer to Hibbert.

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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