Teams that have great chemistry win games. Or is it teams that win have great chemistry? Everything’s all well and good when you’re riding the wave of a big win streak, but what happens when people stop being polite and start getting REAL? Fingers are pointed in a particularly angry fashion, feelings are hurt, and the rumors start to fly.
That was certainly the case with Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat — they of the five-game losing streak. Personnel and execution are undoubtedly the primary concerns in Miami, but in the wake of a tough loss, Dwyane Wade voiced a bit of displeasure. From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
In Monday’s follow-up to the Heat’s winless three-game trip, when addressing Dwyane Wade’s postgame comments Saturday in Chicago, it was mentioned at the top of that story that the Heat guard had “taken issue with the approach of Erik Spoelstra.”
Because he did.
Not with Spoelstra. Not with Spoelstra’s body of work, personality, career. But with the need “to find a way also to mix it up, stop being a team that everybody knows exactly what we’re going to do.”To use Erik’s parlance, the moments after a game are when things can get “raw.”
Monday, the “raw” had given way to reasoned.
In the short-term, I don’t know that there’s anything to worry about. As SLAM’s Marcel Mutoni notes, “everyone in Miami seems to be in agreement that Wade and Spoelstra have a great relationship.” There will be no locker room implosion, despite how dire things may seem.
But the real reason why we keep a close eye on Wade and Spoelstra is because of the impending off-season. Of all the big name stars scheduled to be free agents this summer, Wade has the least reason of all to stay. LeBron James is the hometown here and playing for a contender and Chris Bosh’s team is competent even if underwhelming at times. But Wade? Aside from the extra coin he can get by re-signing with his current team, what reason is there for him to stay with the Heat? Is it worth it just to see if Michael Beasley can realize his potential? To see if Mario Chalmers can be a consistent player? The goings-on of Miami’s locker room beg for our attention because we know that if Dwyane Wade isn’t happy by season’s end, Miami may not even have stories like this one to analyze next year.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.
On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.
But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.
Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:
Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.