Cavaliers interested in Kelvin Sampson?

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According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Cleveland Cavaliers have some interest in former college coach and current NBA assistant Kelvin Sampson. As of right now, the Cavs are reportedly just doing some “fact-finding” on Sampson, and have not yet zeroed in on Sampson as their next head coach. 

Sampson was a college coach from 1981-2008, and was a head coach for all but two of those seasons. As the head coach of Montana Tech, Washington State, Oklahoma, and Indiana, Sampson’s career record as a college head coach was 496-271. Sampson’s teams made the NCAA tournament 13 times, including one Sweet Sixteen appearance, one Elite Eight appearance, and one Final Four appearance. Sampson was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 1991, the Big Eight Coach of the Year in 1995 (he was also named the AP Coach of the Year that season), and the NABC National Coach of the Year in 2002. 
His impressive college career ended in controversy, as he was forced to resign from his head coaching job at Indiana because of a recruiting scandal. Sampson currently has a “show-clause” attached to him, which means any college team that wants to hire Sampson before 2013 must prove to the NCAA that Sampson has served his punishment. 
Sampson was hired in 2008 in an “advisory role” with the San Antonio Spurs, and became an assistant coach with the Bucks a month later. The Cavs’ coaching search involves something of a paradox: they need a coach with enough name recognition and “star power” to draw big free agents to their team (most notably LeBron) this summer, but they also want someone who has proven that he knows the NBA game and can get the Cavaliers the championship they so crave. Sampson has (for better or for worse) lots of name recognition from his time as a college coach, and his pedigree as a Popovich/Skiles student at the pro level is something the Cavs have to love — remember that Danny Ferry has close ties with the Spurs organization, and that Mike Brown was a former Spurs assistant. We’ll see what happens with this. 

LeBron James with two-handed halfcourt bounce pass for assist (VIDEO)

LeBron James
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Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:

Kobe gets great introduction, loud ovation in Philadelphia

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Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game —  but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.

In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.

Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.

That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.

Rumor: Nets testing trade waters for Bojan Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic, Otto Porter Jr.
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If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.

First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.

Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.

Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.

Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.

Just a reminder that Joakim Noah would like some more run

Joakim Noah
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Joakim Noah is playing 20.6 minutes a night coming off the bench for Fred Hoiberg and the Chicago Bulls this season.

And he doesn’t like it. He wants more run. He was getting 10 minutes more a night last season under Tom Thibodeau, and Noah wants some of those minutes back. Nick Friedel of ESPN sent out a tweet that was a reminder of just that.

Three thoughts here.

1) Reducing minutes for guys who battle injuries every season by the time the playoffs roll around was one huge reason Fred Hoiberg was brought in to coach the Bulls and Tom Thibodeau was shown the door. This isn’t just Hoiberg, the minutes reduction comes from management. While it is possible Noah’s spot in the rotation shifts (he could start at some point) and he might get a little more run, the Thibodeau era is gone.

2) There are legit reasons for Noah to want to play. First, he is a competitor who doesn’t like sitting. Second, the Bulls’ defense is elite when he plays (allowing 95.5 points per 100 possessions) and the Bulls outscore opponents by 1.3 per 100 when he plays. Finally, Noah is in the final year of his contract and scoring just 3.1 points per game is not going to help him earn more cash in the next deal.

3) Barring injury to another big, don’t expect a change.