Danny Granger signed a massive extension before last season. He hadn’t been to the playoffs, but the Pacers had drafted well, had a good core in place, and it was, you know, a ton of money. An epic load of money.
And that money? Still good. Still buying batcaves. But the rest of the team has fallen apart. Roy Hibbert’s turning into a good, but not great, center. Brandon Rush is getting there, but not getting to the top. A.J. Price? Again, pretty good. Tyler Hansbrough? Ear infection.Okay, freak accident, whatever.
But the team is horrible. Some people toss out the Nets as the worst franchise, because they’re not winning games. Just so we’re clear, winning games is a good indicator of a good franchise, it gets more complicated in determining bad ones. Others dish the Bobcats as the worst, because they’re not shedding salary and planning for five years in the future, and instead trying to win now and trusting their ability to get out of it in the future.
But the Pacers? They’ve been mediocre and getting worse for the last four years. They rely on Granger to save them every game. Larry Bird has done a valiant thing in taking the time to rehab the Pacers’ image, but they’re still waiting on either Granger to become a real superstar or to draft/sign one. As far as Granger’s concerned though, he has no regrets about putting his lot with the Pacers.
Granger told the Indianapolis Star that not only does he not regret the extension, but that it was a “no-brainer.” It’s a good thing, since his contract is big and long enough to make a deal for him tricky, and that’s before you factor in the fact that he’s the Pacers’ best player. It’s also just good to see a player loyal to his team. It says something for the Pacers’ organization that he has faith in them, even if the on-court results aren’t particularly confidence inspiring.
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.