Report: Brian Shaw to be head coach of Cleveland Cavaliers

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Thumbnail image for shaw_coach.jpgIn 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.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.