Were the Nets really even interested in Coach K?

1 Comment

It was everybody’s favorite bit of speculation candy yesterday — incoming Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov was going to make Mike Krzyzewski an offer he couldn’t refuse. Some NBA executive told the Bergen Record this.

Two little flaws. First Krzyzewski was quick to take time out of preparing his team to win the NCAA title — by the thinnest of margins — to shoot down the rumor. In direct terms. Not interested, not kidding.

Second, nobody bothered to ask the Nets about this. Well, the New York Post did:

Multiple sources throughout the Nets organization insisted they were unaware of such an offer being prepared for Coach K and had heard nothing about the proposal, which one source called “speculative.” (Current Nets general manager Rod) Thorn, who expects to be able to pick the coach when he officially is retained — a move that is anticipated but has not been finalized — said he has had no conversations with Krzyzewski.

“I have never talked to Mike about the position,” Thorn said. “Anybody looking to hire a coach, I’m sure would have Mike near the very top of the list.”

By all accounts, Prokhorov is a guy who brings in his executives, hires good people, then stays out of their way. Soon after Prokhorov is approved to be the Nets owner on April 16, Thorn is expected to get an extension. He has met with the man.

Right now, rumors swirl around the Nets like bees around the hive. How much of this is idle speculation and how much of it comes from people who actually have knowledge of the inner workings of Prokhorov and his team is unknown. But either this is a brilliant business strategist who is randomly grasping for a plan with the Nets, or a lot of people who have little or no direct knowledge are making crap up.

Who knows where the NBA executive who “leaked” the story to the Bergen Record falls on that scale, but we have a guess. Welcome to the time of year when you need to read rumors, find the source and think, “what is their motive?” Because nobody tells a reporter something controversial just because they like them, there is always a motive.

Russell Westbrook on Rockets laughing at Andre Roberson missing free throws: ‘Probably the guys that don’t play’

Leave a comment

The Rockets bench made a big production when an intentionally fouled Andre Roberson kept missing free throws in the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Rockets yesterday.

Russell Westbrook stuck up for his teammate.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Westbrook:

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it at all. Probably the guys that don’t play, probably over there the ones laughing, if I had to guess.

Good guess. It appears Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Brown – whose only playing time this series came late in Houston’s blowout Game 1 win – led the jeers.

But the most important thing for the Thunder is Roberson making his free throws. They need him on the court to defend James Harden, which exposes him to hacking. If Westbrook deflecting attention onto the Rockets’ benchwarmers helps Roberson at the line, great. But if not, the Rockets will keep having reasons to laugh.

Magic Johnson winks at bringing Paul George to Lakers

Leave a comment

Paul George-to-the-Lakers rumors have swirled for a while.

New Lakers president Magic Johnson will only fuel them.

Asked how he’d interact with the Pacers star to avoid tampering if they ran into each other, Johnson said on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

In explaining how he’d avoid tampering, Johnson probably tampered. Accidental tampering appears to be his specialty.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says team employees can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.” But the league arbitrarily enforces tampering, so who knows whether he’ll be punished?

Johnson almost certainly could have gotten away with the hypothetical conversation he laid out. But going on television and describing it — even as fantasy, even not directly to George — could constitute tampering in itself,

If Johnson helps attract George to Los Angeles, it’d well be worth it. At least he’s trying something.

Report: Austin Rivers returning for Clippers-Jazz Game 5

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

There have been bigger injuries in the Clippers-Jazz first-round series: Blake Griffin‘s toe, Rudy Gobert‘s knee and Gordon Hayward‘s stomach.

But Clippers guard Austin Rivers has yet to play due to a strained hamstring.

It sounds as if that will change tomorrow.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This is neither as big a deal as the Clippers will make it out to be nor as meaningless as Rivers’ many detractors will claim.

The 6-foot-4 Rivers will provide an important defensive upgrade on the perimeter. The Clippers haven’t successfully hidden Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton, allowing Utah too many quality looks. Here how the Jazz have shot when defended by each, per NBA.com:

  • Crawford: 18-of-36 (50%), including 7-of-17 on 3-pointers (41%)
  • Felton: 13-of-24 (54%), including 5-of-8 on 3-pointers (63%)

Rivers needn’t be great to help behind Chris Paul and J.J. Redick.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

3 Comments

Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.