Avery Johnson may not be the Hornets man, they keep interviewing

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hornets_logo.gifWhen the New Orleans Hornets went in search of a new coach, the prevailing wisdom was this was Avery Johnson’s job to lose. He’s a Louisiana native, he likes a style and pace that would suit Chris Paul, and the incoming owner Gary Chouest liked him.

Johnson may have lost it.

Depends on who you ask. ESPN’s Marc Stein says he was one of two “standout candidates” along with Boston’s defensive-minded assistant Tom Thibodeau. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski says that Johnson is no longer the front-runner for the job. So much so that they are interviewing Jazz assistant Ty Corbin today.

Maybe Thibodeau moved to the top of the list — his stock had to have gone up after his defensive plan slowed Orlando in Game 1. But that’s a guess, we don’t really know what Chouest — who has been in on the interviews and active in the process — thinks on this. We don’t know where Johnson stands.

What we do know is that Chouest is an oil man whose company works in the Gulf of Mexico, and a lot of his energy has gone toward containing the horrific ongoing oil spill there (that was not related to his company). That could slow down the interview and decision process for the Hornets.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.