Lionel Hollins agrees to extension to coach Grizzlies

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Before last season started, the Memphis Grizzlies were expected to be a laughing stock. The team had talent — O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, and Zach Randolph could score. But they weren’t going to share the ball or play defense. Or be any good.

Oh, yes they were.

Coach Lionel Hollins gets some credit for that. And that is why the Grizzlies have extended Hollins contract, something first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

Hollins had to guide the team through the Allen Iverson distraction to start the season, then after that help the team find its identity. They did. Marc Gasol emerged as a real threat at center, Randolph had his best season showing new facets to his game, and the Grizzlies shared the ball.

The end result was a decent team on both sides o both ends of the court that finished near .500 (40-42). Which was a major accomplishment.

Hollins earned the extension. It will be interesting to see how much the Grizzlies grow next season.

Players’ union, NBA to set up cardiac screening for retired players

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First it was Darryl Dawkins. Then it was Moses Malone.

Two all-time great players who recently died — and at t0o young an age, 58 and 60 respectively — from undiagnosed heart conditions. Even before that, recognizing the issue the NBA players union and the league itself were setting up supplemental health coverage to provide cardiac screening for retired players, something ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan recently broke.

The joint effort between union executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver — at a time when there still may be potentially acrimonious labor negotiations looming for their sides — is intended to ease the health concerns of its retired players.

Roberts said action from the players’ association on providing screening for its retired players is “imminent.”

“I wish I could give you an exact timetable, but we have to make sure all the components are in place,” Roberts told ESPN recently. “I will tell you we hope to have something sooner than later.”

The Cardiologists are affiliated with the NBA already, and some of the money will come from the league, while the union is both pitching in a chunk of cash and is the one organizing this, according to the report.

It’s good to Roberts and Silver working together on this. While you’d like to think this would be the kind of no-brainer move that the league and union would work together on, in the past the relationship didn’t always facilitate this sort of cooperation even on the obvious.

I’d like to think this bodes well for future labor talks, but I’m not willing to completely draw that parallel.


Stephen Curry drops 30 on Portland in preseason (VIDEO)

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Somebody is in midseason form.

Stephen Curry put up 30 on Portland in a preseason game Thursday night, hitting six threes and getting to the line 15 times over the course of his less than 26 minutes. It was quite a show.

Portland won the game 118-101 behind 25 points from Allen Crabbe and 22 from Damian Lillard. Not a lot of defense in this one but it was fun to watch.