NBA players often enjoy throwing one back with the boys. Or a bunch back with the boys. In the VIP area of a club where you’d never get past the velvet rope.
And it’s hard to imagine anyone in his or her early 20s overdoing the partying to the point they showed up hungover to work the next day. Nope. I certainly never showed up to work still buzzing from the night before and confused about what happened during part of said night. Nope, not me. Never.
Now it’s being that suggested that the Raptors partied in a way I certainly never did entirely too much this year, as suggested by the Toronto Star (via Ball Don’t Lie).
But here’s a trickier question: did this team miss the playoffs because it partied too heartily? It’s impossible to say for sure, and Bryan Colangelo, the Raptors president and general manager, has declined to comment on the off-court habits of his players. But there are people close to the club who believe those habits ultimately hurt the win-loss record.
Perhaps it’s a symptom of the TMZ age, but as one team employee who was granted anonymity opined: “This year, (the partying) was a little too much.”
Toronto is a true international city, a place where the nightlife comes in all sorts of flavors and truly goes on into the hours where few good things happen. NBA players genuinely like the city and trips there. For players on the Raptors, it takes a certain level of professionalism not to get sucked into that.
But if this is true — and that is a mighty big if, mighty big — this is more about the players than the place. Frankly, if you want to find trouble in Salt Lake City you can find it. Well, maybe a bad example. If you want to find trouble in Sacramento you can find it. Or Oklahoma City. If you’re undisciplined, the trouble will find you, no need to be in Miami or New York.
If — again big if — this is true, some roster changes may be needed. Because this is about the players, not the city.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.
On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.
But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.
Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:
Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.