Kim Hughes, the Clippers fired the last honest coach

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Even before it was clear that Wednesday night was his last night as a head coach, Clippers interim Kim Hughes was honest.

I was there his first game, when he jokingly called Chris Kaman emotionally retarded (well, half joking anyway) and after the game admitted that he may not have the ball handlers to run the open offensive style he wanted. TrueHoop’s Kevin Arnovitz penned a brilliant ode to Hughes the other day.

But now Eric Pincus of Hoopsworld has posted large parts of Kim Hughes last press conference as head coach — before the Lakers game last Wednesday — when the brutally honest coach had nothing left to lose or hide.

“With free agency, when you have nine guys who are looking for number one (that’s human nature), their objective is to get a contract for next year first,” said Hughes.  “It’s unfortunate that it’s that way but that’s reality.”

“Do free agents listen to you?  I don’t know about that one,” said Kim.  “I don’t think it’s the interim [tag] as much as the free agency that stops the process of entering their ear drums and going to the synapses in their brain.  I think sometimes it short circuits where they’re free agents because their agents are telling them ‘You’ve got to score points’ – and coach says ‘You’ve got to guard and defend.'”

“They’re thinking ‘Who should I listen to?'”

“I understand that it’s not a good system but it’s our system here in the NBA.”

“It’s our fault as coaches and GM’s.  It’s [Commissioner David] Stern’s fault,” continued Hughes.  “I’ve told them if they want to have a good product, you take the base related income and you kick in say $1.5 million per player for winning the title.  You’ll see guys play balls out.  That’s the way you’ll get guys to play hard because right now there’s no inducement to win the NBA Finals other than for the ring because they’re taking a pay-cut.  But If you have some of these eight, ninth, tenth players playing for $1.5 million?  Their girlfriends and wives will be beating the crap out of them to say you play I don’t care if you’re hurt, you play.  You’re playing for something.  Right now players aren’t playing for enough.  They’re playing for salaries and that doesn’t make it.  Back when it was the way it should be you’re playing to win because when you’ve got $200-300k playoff money – that was big.  Now it’s nothing.  It’s not comparable enough to their salaries.  It doesn’t work.”

The night before Baron Davis had said the next year he wanted to be the leader of the Clippers. Hughes called him out on that.

“To be a leader you’ve got to be the first one to practice and the last one to leave.  You can’t talk it.  You’ve got to walk it.  If you truly are the leader, and right now we really don’t have one, you’ve got to be there every day in practice – compete every day through minor injuries, minor illnesses,” said Hughes.  “It’s not a job description that you pick and choose when you want to be a leader.  You’re either a leader every time or you’re not.  [Baron] may not be the leader next year, I don’t know.”

I’m going to miss Kim Hughes

Boston’s Marcus Smart gets flopping warning from NBA

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 17:  Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the second quarter of the preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden on October 17, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Boston’s Marcus Smart is one of the league’s more notorious floppers.

He was at it again Monday night against the Houston Rockets — and the league called him on it and gave him a warning.

It happened on the game’s final play — you were probably focused elsewhere, wondering how Al Horford could miss the game-winning layup. But watch Smart as he gets in position for the rebound on that shot.

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The referees didn’t buy it then.

This warning is barely a slap on the wrist. If — in his case, when — Smart gets caught a second time this season he will get a $5,000 fine from the league. Smart is making $3.6 million this season.

Happy birthday Larry Bird. We celebrate with some highlights.

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Larry Bird — the Celtics legend, three-time NBA champion, three-time MVP, 10-time All-NBA — turns 60 on Wednesday.

We celebrate by looking back at his 60-point game March 12, 1985, against the Hawks (video above, and yes that game was played in New Orleans).

Want more Larry the Legend highlights? We got you covered.

Hawks’ Mike Scott sent to D-League on rehab assignment

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Mike Scott #32 of the Atlanta Hawks poses during media day on September 26, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott is expected to play at least two games in the NBA Development League as he comes back from a knee injury that kept him out of training camp and the first 18 games of the season.

Scott played 15 minutes for the Delaware 87ers in Tuesday night’s loss to the Santa Cruz Warriors. He scored four points on 2-of-7 shooting, missing all four of his attempts from 3-point range.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer says the D-League is the best way for Scott to get “meaningful, competitive minutes” after undergoing a non-surgical procedure on his left knee.

Scott has played three games for Atlanta since his return. In 28 minutes, he has two points on 1-of-9 attempts, to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.

Watch Kyle O’Quinn throw alley-oop to Carmelo Anthony

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Carmelo Anthony isn’t young anymore, but he had the bounce to go get this one.

These were your two best players for the Knicks in their win over Miami Tuesday. Kyle O'Quinn was forced into action earlier than expected when Joakim Noah went on a fouling spree in the third quarter, but O’Quinn played well in the role. ‘Melo dropped 35 on 27 shots — he’s not as efficient as he once was, but he can still get some buckets.

The Knicks picked up a needed win, because they play a back-to-back Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers and a ticked-off LeBron James (New York will pay the price for Phil Jackson’s “posse” comments with a motivated LeBron Wednesday).