Former NBA coach Eric Musselman to coach Reno of the D-League

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musselman.jpgTalk to former NBA coach Eric Musselman and this much becomes clear — he loves basketball. Loves talking about it. Loves coaching it.

And he’s going to get to do what he loves in the D-League next season with the Reno Bighorns, according to Scott Schroeder of FanHouse. Reno just a short drive from Lake Tahoe, one of the most beautiful places on the planet, so not a bad spot to land.

Musselman had conversations with a few teams this summer about an assistant coaching job, but nothing ever rose to the level of serious. So he has decided instead to go the route of former Toronto coach Sam Mitchell and return to the D-League to hone his craft.

However, this landing spot is a bit interesting because Reno is the D-League team for the Sacramento Kings and the Golden State Warriors — the two teams Musselman coached in the NBA, on his way to a 108-138 record over three seasons.

In Sacramento, Musselman’s credibility was undercut by a DUI before the first practice, and from them on the team seemed to lack a real direction and understanding of what it was trying to do. Brad Miller (a solid veteran) said he didn’t understand his role, and that was 50 games into a season. The Kings let Musselman go after one season (then hired Reggie Theus, which exacerbated their problems, but that’s another story).

Musselman was the color commentator on Versus for D-League games last season, so he has some understanding of the league. He also understands that while winning matters, player development is the real reason for the league. Golden State in particular loves to snatch up D-League players and watches the entire league closely.

If he does a good job here, Musselman could find his way back to the NBA (almost certainly as an assistant at first).

PBT Extra: Who do you want to see most in first All-Star Game?

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Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.

This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.

The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.

Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.

Russell Westbrook: ‘Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—’ (video)

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Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.

Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”

You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.

Russell Westbrook commits epic travel (video)

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Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.

The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.

And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:

Are Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on speaking terms after apparent conversation? Westbrook: ‘Nah’ (video)

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Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.

That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.

Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.

ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.

After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:

 

  • Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
  • Westbrook: “Nah.”
  • Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
  • Westbrook: “What exchange?”
  • Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
  • Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”

This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.

That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.

I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.