Pacers assistant coach wins game, gets fired for it

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pacers_logo.gifDue to family situations or health emergencies, every season a couple top assistant coaches get the chance to slide down one seat and become the man for a game or three. They get to be the head coach.

Usually little really changes save for a much worse use of time outs. It’s usually pretty boring and mundane. But not in Indiana this year, Lester Conner shook things up when he became the head coach for a few games.

Now he is being let go, his current contract not being renewed (it expires at the end of the month). An interesting piece by Mike Wells in the Indianapolis Star tells the story.

Pacers head coach Jim O’Brien had a death in the family and left the team for a few days, leaving Conner in charge for a nationally-televised game against Toronto.

As all coaches are required to do, O’Brien met with the media before hand. He was asked how much of O’Brien’s coaching style he planned to keep and use.

“Umm, not a whole lot,” Conner told reporters at the time.

Analyst Jeff Van Gundy heard that and ripped Conner on the air (because if there is one thing you can count on in this world, it is Van Gundy sticking up for coaches). All while O’Brien was listening to the broadcast.

Then there was the player rotation. O’Brien, dealing with injuries to Jeff Foster and Tyler Hansbrough, had decided to go small. Conner changed that for a night and went bigger. For the record, O’Brien’s small lineup was beaten by the Raptors by 15 points two nights before, Conner’s larger lineup scored 130 and won.

But it was seen as another act of defiance. And Conner is now gone, not around the team as it prepares for the draft and works out players.

Next season when some assistant gets the chance, we’ll be watching just a little more closely. But with the warning this message sends to assistants, things will likely return to the mundane.

Report: Ty Lawson’s one-year deal with Kings is non-guaranteed

TORONTO, ON - MAY 01:  Ty Lawson #10 of the Indiana Pacers dribbles the ball in the first half of Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Raptors during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on May 01, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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Ty Lawson is headed to the Kings, as first reported on Monday. The team made the move official on Wednesday with a press release, and USA Today‘s Sam Amick offers up another important piece of information: Lawson’s deal is not guaranteed, making it essentially a make-good camp invite.

It’s staggering how Lawson went from a borderline All-Star level point guard in 2012-13 to signing a non-guaranteed one-year deal with a lottery team three years later. His off-the-court issues have contributed to that, and he didn’t produce last season in Houston and Indiana. Still, he should have a pretty good chance of making the Kings’ roster, with Seth Curry and Rajon Rondo gone and Darren Collison their only proven point guard. They need depth there.

Ben Simmons works out with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (PHOTO)

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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When Ben Simmons declared for the NBA draft this spring, he signed with LeBron James‘ Klutch Sports group for representation. That association would appear to have its advantages for the No. 1 overall pick, including the opportunity to work out with James and Dwyane Wade during the offseason. Wade posted a group photo on Instagram on Wednesday afternoon:

Also, it’s pretty staggering to see Simmons standing next to James and realizing that he’s bigger and taller.

Craig Sager undergoes bone marrow transplant (PHOTO)

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13:  Honoree Craig Sager accepts the Jimmy V Award for Perserverance onstage during the 2016 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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Thanks to a match from an anonymous donor, beloved TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager was able to receive his third bone-marrow transplant since 2014 in an extended battle with leukemia. Sager’s son, Craig Sager II, shared a photo on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon of his father undergoing the transplant, appearing to be in good spirits as usual.

Our continued well wishes go out to Sager and his family in his recovery, and we hope to see him back on the sidelines this season.

Report: Mychel Thompson, brother of Klay, working out for Kings

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 04:  Mychel Thompson #15 of the Pepperdine Waves appears on the court during a game against the San Diego Toreros during the first round of the Zappos.com West Coast Conference Basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena March 4, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pepperdine won 84-81.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Last season, the Sacramento Kings signed Seth Curry, brother of Stephen Curry. He left this summer for Dallas, and now the Kings are working out the brother of the other Splash Brother — Klay Thompson‘s brother Mychel — according to international basketball reporter David Pick.

Mychel Thompson’s only NBA experience is five games with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011-12. He spent some time in the D-League after that, and played in Italy during the 2015-16 season.