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

Anthony Morrow says he’ll switch from No. 1 with Bulls after Derrick Rose fans complain

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 24: Anthony Morrow #1 of the Chicago Bulls participates in warm-ups beofre the Bulls take on the Phoenix Suns at the United Center on February 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. 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 Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Anthony Morrow clearly didn’t follow the Michael Carter-Williams saga.

Morrow, like Carter-Williams, took No. 1 when joining the Bulls.

And Morrow, like Carter-Williams, swiftly changed course when Derrick Rose fans protested.

Morrow:

Morrow had never worn No. 1 in the NBA. The No. 23 he wore with the Mavericks is obviously retired in Chicago for Michael Jordan, and two of Morrow’s other previous numbers — No. 2 (Jerian Grant), No. 3 (Dwyane Wade) — were already taken. As far as Morrow’s other previous number, Cameron Payne, who came from the Thunder with Morrow, kept the No. 22 the point guard wore in Oklahoma City.

So, Morrow needed a new number. I’m just not sure why the Bulls didn’t warn him off No. 1 and the backlash that would come with it.

Doc Rivers on DeMarcus Cousins: “I’m 55. It’s tough for me to call a grown man ‘Boogie'”

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The Kings trade with the Pelicans has made DeMarcus Cousins the NBA’s mostdiscussed player lately.

But Clippers president/coach Doc Rivers isn’t sure he can address Cousins by his nickname.

J.A. Adande of ESPN:

Cool story, Glenn.

Deron Williams clears waivers, intends to sign with Cavs

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 01:  Deron Williams #8 of the Dallas Mavericks brings the ball down the floor against the Charlotte Hornets during their game at Spectrum Center on December 1, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Free agent guard Deron Williams has cleared waivers and told the Cleveland Cavaliers he intends to sign with them.

Williams, a five-time All-Star, was waived earlier this week by Dallas. He will give the defending NBA champions a playmaker they’ve needed all season and one LeBron James demanded.

Williams cannot sign with the Cavs until Monday. Cleveland hosts the Milwaukee Bucks that night. The Cavs will be the fourth team for Williams, who is averaging 13.1 points this season.

Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue can bring him off the bench and also play him with Cleveland’s starters to give James and Kyrie Irving rest before the playoffs.

Kyle Lowry plays through injury in All-Star game, out for Raptors now

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 19:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors and Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors in action during the 2017 NBA All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center on February 19, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 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 Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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Kyle Lowry participated in the 3-point contest. He played nearly 18 minutes in the All-Star game.

But when the Raptors played the Celtics in their first game after the break, Lowry never saw the court.

He was sidelined with a right wrist injury suffered in Toronto’s final game before the break.

Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet:

He can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened and didn’t even feel it during the game, but when Lowry woke up the next morning he knew something was up.

“Honestly, I thought I’d slept on it wrong — I thought it would go away,” Lowry said. “It was a little sore, but I paid no attention to it.”

Unconcerned at the time, Lowry didn’t tell anyone but his wife about the wrist pain, and took off for New Orleans where he participated in both the NBA’s three-point contest and all-star game this past weekend. He received some treatment in between his all-star appearances and iced his wrist on and off, but he still saw little cause for alarm.

“I thought over the break it would rest up and heal up,” Lowry said. “But it constantly stayed bothering me.”

“That’s a blow — that’s a huge blow for us,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said Friday evening after announcing the injury. “I don’t know how long he’s going to be out. But, no, it’s not a one-day thing.”

This is bad — bad for the Raptors and bad for Lowry’s reputation.

Lowry might have wanted to show his toughness by not running to the doctor for every bump or bruise. But this will also raise questions about whether he prioritized the shine of All-Star Weekend over the grind of Toronto’s season. Lowry is not a trained medical professional, so it’s understandable he misdiagnosed his injury. But he makes his living using his body, and his employer provides trained medical professionals to handle these types of things. Lowry’s bet that his wrist would heal over the break clearly backfired.

And now the Raptors pay the price. They traded for Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker to make a push, but that’ll be much tougher without the the team’s best player. Toronto beat Boston without Lowry, but the Raptors are still fourth in the Eastern Conference. Passing the Wizards for third is paramount to avoiding a second-round matchup with the Cavaliers and getting a clearer path back to the conference finals.

Every game matters now for Toronto, and wherever blame falls, Casey nailed the outcome: Lowry’s injury is a huge blow.