Steve Kerr’s first couple months on the job in Phoenix in 2008 really can only be called an unmitigated disaster — the Shaquille O’Neal trade, sending Mike D’Antoni away and trying to take a team that was a title contender and change it on the fly. Bad idea jeans.
But things are better now — the Suns likely will win more than 50 games, the team is running and gunning with Alvin Gentry, and there are some nice young players like Goran Dragic and Robin Lopez in the fold. The team is fun to watch again. Things are not as good as some Suns fans think — they are getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Jazz, Nuggets for Mavericks — but they are not bad.
And that means Kerr may get a contract extension and stick around, according to the Arizona Republic.
Near the end of his three-year contract with the Suns, Kerr’s image is on the mend, his popularity on the rise. Inside the organization, many believe the Suns general manager will sign a new deal and remain in power, a stunning change to those who believed he would walk away once this season is over.
“(Suns owner) Robert (Sarver) and I have talked about it, and I feel good about the situation,” Kerr said. “We’re going to figure out everything at the end of the season.”
Here’s the real question for Sarver — does he want Kerr to be the one to rebuild this team?
Steve Nash is still playing great ball, but his body is basically held together with that magic spray they use in soccer matches on injured players. Amare Stoudemire is likely to opt out of his contract this summer and may well land in Miami or with another contender. I’m not sure of the exact date, but I think Grant Hill has been playing in the league since George Mikan was a star.
In the coming next couple of years, the Suns will have a roster overhaul and be rebuilt. Kerr is starting to look comfortable as a GM, but the only question that matters becomes: Is Sarver comfortable with Kerr as the one to rebuild the Suns? If so, he should get Kerr and extension.
Like I said, there are better reasons to criticize Phil Jackson than him saying his priority was the Knicks and that he had discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis.
Jay Williams of ESPN:
A top-15 draft pick told me the other day, because we were involved in this out of this conversation about Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and he said, “Phil Jackson was falling in and out of sleep in my workout.”
Yes. “Falling in and out of sleep at my workout.” This is what this guy told me.
Especially given Jackson’s salary and reputation for not being a diligent worker, this story is too good to check out.
The NBA’s invitations to the draft are a good indicator of when players will get drafted. The league samples executives, who are more likely to be honest here than in leaks to the media, about how they rank players. So, the list is worth monitoring.
The players who will attend tonight’s draft nearly match the leaks – with one exception. O.G. Anunoby is going, and Harry Giles isn’t.
Here are the players who will be at the draft – a reasonable placeholder for the players most likely to get picked in the top 20 – via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England:
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:
Harry Giles declined his invite sources told DraftExpress.
Did Giles decline his invite because, with his extensive injury history, he feared falling too far? Or did he just prefer to watch elsewhere?
Was Anunoby simply 21st on the NBA’s list of players to invite? Or was the league too unsure of his medical status to include him until getting a stronger grasp now?
I don’t know, but the possibility that Giles could slip or Anunoby is more secure alters my perception of their draft stock (Anunoby up, Giles down).
What has Phil Jackson actually done? He discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis with other teams and called the Knicks, not Porzingis, his priority. That’s it.
At face value, this is fine. It’s what devoted executives, not always Jackson, should do.
Jackson hasn’t traded Porzingis for meager return. He hasn’t traded Porzingis at all.
Everyone up in arms should take a deep breath.
Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:
David Aldridge of NBA.com:
I wouldn’t rule out the Knicks trading Porzingis. The No. 1 pick got traded, after all. I wouldn’t rule out them trading Porzingis for too little return. Look at Jackson’s track record running the front office.
But wait until they do before bashing Jackson for not understanding Porzingis’ value.
There are plenty of better reasons to criticize Jackson, including overseeing the toxic culture that led to Porzingis skipping his exit interview and setting this latest “crisis” into motion. Publicly discussing trading Porzingis won’t endear Jackson to the budding star, but the problem is how it reached this point. Players in sound organizations can handle this. Jackson has engendered little confidence from his players, the distrust existed well before this round of trade talks.
Lonzo Ball doesn’t play for the Lakers. LeBron James isn’t a free agent.
But they’re headed that way – and Ball is already embracing it.
The Lakers are expected to draft Ball No. 2 tonight, and rumors are heating up about LeBron leaving the Cavaliers in 2018.
Why should LeBron join Ball in Los Angeles?
Ball on ESPN:
LeBron, I like to win. I know you like to win. I think our games can help each other out a lot. Any time you want the ball, just let me know. It’s going to be there.
Ball was asked to to pitch LeBron, so it’s not as if Ball is out here talking so brashly on his own. But answering the question was a rookie mistake.
Besides, I’m not sure Lonzo Ball can undo the bad blood between LeBron and LaVar Ball.