He’s done it before. Pat Riley may have a front office job but he would rather be sitting on the bench, winning titles. He threw aside a very good coach to do it before, when Dwyane Wade and Shaq looked like they could win a title.
If the Heat can land another big star — Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire, maybe even LeBron — to go along side Wade again, then what is to stop Riley from kicking Erik Spoelstra to the curb and take over the team? Riley has said he would take over if a top free agent requested it.
Spoelstra told our own Ira Winderman, writing for the South Florida Sun Sentinel, that he is not worried about that.
“I didn’t really take it the way everybody else took it. And nothing’s really changed,” Spoelstra said of his status, having led the Heat to a No. 5 Eastern Conference playoff seed in each of his first two seasons as an NBA coach.
“We’ve talked every day. There wasn’t really a need to address that. And so I can see how it’s portrayed out there in the media. I didn’t really take it personally or how people think that it might be portrayed.”
“Really, there wasn’t a whole lot of discussion about it,” he said. “More of it has been about our plan and all the different scenarios and there are so many different ways that the draft and free agency can go.”
Spoelstra is a Riley clone in a lot of ways, the Heat run a lot of old Riley sets (although with some variances). Spoelstra also has gotten the most out of that roster anyone would have. He deserves the chance with what may well be a better roster next year.
Tyronn Lue has offered Kevin Garnett a spot on the Cleveland Cavaliers coaching staff, if he wants it.
Garnett was at an NBA practice on Thursday, just about 1,800 miles from where LeBron James and company were. KG dropped in on his old friend Doc Rivers and was at the Clippers’ facility, where he worked a little with Blake Griffin and other players.
So would Rivers’ offer Garnett a spot on his coaching staff? That question is almost rhetorical.
Garnett has a home in Malibu, just 30 miles up the coast from the Clippers’ practice facility (but good luck making that drive in under an hour — traffic in and out of Malibu almost always sucks). KG has a great relationship with Rivers.
While he certainly has the knowledge to be an NBA assistant, do you think Garnett feels like spending his first year of retirement huddled up watching countless hours of scouting video, getting back on the NBA travel grind, and trying to convince Austin Rivers and the Clippers second unit to execute the game plan? All that for a fraction of what he made each year as a player? I don’t see it either.
KG will just be the occasional guest at NBA practices. Nothing more.
The list of traditional ball-handling point guards who liked and thrived in Phil Jackson’s triangle offense is a short one. While guys who could initiate the offense then play off the ball did well (Derek Fisher, for example), traditional points used to controlling the flow of the game chaffed in the system. Ask Gary Payton about it.
So how are things going with Derrick Rose as he adjusts to the triangle in New York?
If Phil Jackson were going to be any of the seven dwarfs, it would be Grumpy.
The Knicks are going to run a hybrid version of the triangle that will incorporate coach Jeff Hornacek’s preferred up-tempo style and the offense Jackson wants in the halfcourt.
Slotting in a number of new players — Rose, Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings, etc. — with a new system likely means some early-season struggles on offense for the Knicks. The team’s offense should smooth out as the season stretches out — so long as they can stay healthy. But that’s a different discussion.
Three all-time greats retired from the NBA this year.
What’s next for Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett?
Kobe is making movies and babies. Duncan is hanging around Spurs practice and is expected to join the franchise full-time.
Garnett? Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, who was an assistant coach for the Celtics when Garnett played in Boston, wants him to join his staff.
Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
“I talked to him about it,” Lue said Thursday, following the Cavs’ practice. “I know his wife is pushing for it a lot. Brandi is pushing for it, trying to get him to come and coach. He says he’s not ready yet. He goes back, ‘I might do it,’ but he’s back and forth. We’ll see.
“But I’d definitely make a spot for him if he wanted to come back and coach.”
Lue said Garnett would be in Cleveland for the Cavs’ opening night ceremonies, which will include the raising of the franchise’s first championship banner.
I’d be surprised if Garnett joins Cleveland’s staff, but I’m also surprised Garnett is joining the Cavs to celebrate a title he played no part in winning. So, maybe ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
More importantly, has Lue checked with LeBron James about this idea? LeBron might not like it.
The ProBasketballTalk Podcast at NBC Sports is done with its summer hiatus, and there will be a couple of podcasts a week now running through the NBA season, trade deadline, playoffs, and eventually free agency. We’ll talk about it all.
We start with NBA season previews, going division by division, and we start that tour on the West Coast. Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News joins Kurt Helin of NBC to talk about the Lakers and their rebuild. From there the conversation goes to questions such as can anyone beat the Warriors? Are the Clippers contenders? Plus we talk about the building processes going on in Sacramento and Phoenix.
As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (check there to see all the NBC Sports podcasts), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.