Surprise, surprise: Larry Brown could be moving on to Philly

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Oh, Larry Brown. Behind the “right way” philosophy and his “old school” approach is just a tough-love-’em-and-leave-’em kind of guy, content to leave every coaching job before wearing out his welcome and yet somehow, still wear out his welcome.

Brown hasn’t even come close during his short time with the Charlotte Bobcats, mostly because he’s done a truly admirable job in leading the ‘Cats to their first ever playoff berth. He’s done some things that are decidedly so Larry Brown (like actually start Larry Hughes), but it’s hard for me to fault the man for having this kind of success in spite of all of the questions that face the Bobcats this season.

That said, Peter Vecsey is reporting (and with it, dear reader, I offer you the world’s largest grain of salt) that Brown has serious interest in coaching the Philadelphia 76ers…who currently still have a coach in Eddie Jordan. What gives?

Tom Moore of the Intelligencer has the answer:

An NBA source confirmed that Jordan will be fired after one season on
the bench. The only question is how soon it’ll happen following
Wednesday’s season finale in Orlando.

Oh. Well then. Having a wandering eye is simply part of Larry’s coaching personality, so none of us should be surprised that he’s looking to switch zip codes. Still, I have two questions.

First, is this really the most appropriate time to be flirting with other teams? The Bobcats may not have a reasonable shot at upsetting the Orlando Magic, but it hardly seems right for Brown to buy his plane tickets in advance for the first available flight to Philadelphia.

Second, Philadelphia? Really? I know the Bobcats’ fiscal situation is less than optimal, but there are still some decent pieces in Charlotte. The same could be said of Philadelphia’s talent level, but with Elton Brand’s behemoth of a deal on the books, the Sixers’ financial future is equally dismal. Philly is at least locked-up salary-wise through next season, but in the long-term they have a few decent pieces (Iguodala, Holiday, Williams, Young, Speights) but have no easy way to utilize them all, no clear superstars in the bunch, and not much in the way of cap space.

Maybe if Bobcat fans end up bitter over Brown’s flirtations, they should merely wish that he actually ends up in Philadelphia. 

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

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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

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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
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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)

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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.