In an interesting move that could be brilliant or backfire horribly, the Cleveland Cavaliers are hiring Lakers assistant Brian Shaw as their head coach.
The reports are conflicting. Shaw is the man and a deal is being finalized according to a report from Sam Amick at FanHouse. However, the well-connected Brian Windhorst says that no formal offer has been made and that the two sides are “not close.” Windhorst does say that Shaw is the clear frontrunner.
Usually how these things go is that the two sides unofficially negotiate a deal then later a formal offer is extended. You can decide for yourself where on that scale the talks are.
Shaw has been on the Lakers bench for the past five years and has been the lead assistant to Phil Jackson this year after Kurt Rambis left for Minnesota. Shaw would have been a lead candidate for the Lakers job if Phil Jackson decides to leave. Shaw was among those who during the playoffs said he does not expect Jackson to leave.
If Jackson does leave, former Laker Byron Scott — who Shaw beat out for the Cleveland job — would now be the leading candidate. Nobody would be shocked if Scott is calling Jackson right now to talk about how much those long February road trips to Toronto and Detroit suck. “You’re too old for that, Phil.”
Bringing in Shaw and the triangle offense is a gamble by the Cavaliers in the LeBron sweepstakes. It is possible that LeBron is intrigued by the offense that won Kobe and MJ 11 titles between them. It requires a balance and passing that LeBron would fit into well.
But Shaw has never been a head coach — does LeBron want that risk? (Same is true of Tom Thibodeau in Chicago.) And to build a team that will win with the triangle means shaking up of the Cavaliers roster to get the right role players that could take a few years. Shaw may not mean instant titles.
It’s a gamble, but right now the Cavaliers and owner Dan Gilbert may feel they need to gamble.
Derek Fisher is out as coach of the New York Knicks.
In this latest podcast, NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman discuss the odd timing of that move — we expect another shoe to drop as to why. It’s not that Fisher was a great coach, but replacing him with Kurt Rambis mid-season is not an upgrade. And Luke Walton isn’t available until this summer.
After struggling to figure out what the Knicks are thinking, Helin and Feldman answer questions off Twitter from readers/listeners on the coming trade deadline including discussions of Blake Griffin, Jeff Teague, the Pistons, the Jazz, the Knicks, and more.
As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes, download it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.
Festus Ezeli has been a rock-solid backup for the Warriors this season, playing almost 18 minutes a night behind Andrew Bogut giving the team 7.5 points and 5.9 rebounds a contest. Golden State’s defense is 3.6 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court, and he’s part of the team’s long-term plans.
But he’s going to be out for a while now following knee surgery, the team announced and as reported by Monte Poole at CSNBayArea.com.
The surgery is exploratory, which is why the Warriors say there is no timeline for recovery yet.
The surgery is on his left knee; it was his right one that had reconstructive surgery and forced him to miss all of two seasons ago.
This is a blow to the Warriors’ depth, but little has slowed their march this season. More Mo Speights is not ideal, but the Warriors can just go small more often and run teams out of the building that way.
Ezeli is a restricted free agent this summer and the Warriors would like to keep him on the roster and expand his role, particularly if they do not retain Andrew Bogut. The severity of this knee injury could impact Ezeli’s ability to earn a big contract this summer, but hopefully for him, it’s not that serious.
Choose your spin.
This is why Kevin Durant is leaving the Thunder. Russell Westbrook doesn’t respect him.
This is why Kevin Durant is re-signing with the Thunder. He and Russell Westbrook have so much fun together.
Tobias Harris signed a four-year, $64 million contract with the Magic just last summer.
Now, just 50 games later…
Marc Stein of ESPN:
I’m skeptical this is significant. Teams discuss trades for many players for a variety of reasons. That doesn’t mean the player is likely to be dealt.
Orlando in particular has a roster of players who cause significant debate about their value. It’s helpful to know what other teams think of Harris, and soliciting trade offers is a good method to learn his worth.
It’s more intriguing the Magic are looking to add experience. They should probably go the opposite route, but they’ve tried (and failed) for years to accelerate their rebuild. At 22-28 – four games and three teams from playoff position – now is not the time to seek shortcuts. Spend the rest of the season developing young players – and probably securing a higher draft pick in the process.
One of Harris’ best traits is his youth. He’s just 23. See what other teams would offer for him, sure. But, in all likelihood, it’s better to let him grow into the veteran Orlando needs rather than trading him for one when the rest of the team isn’t ready to win, anyway.
My guess is that’s what Orlando will do. Remember, always consider who has incentive to leak this information anonymously and what they’d be positioned to know.