You now it is the slowest time of year when we have daily updates on Erick Dampier. Nonetheless, here we go:
Dampier is finalizing his list for meetings and it is expected to include the Miami Heat, Houston Rockets and — the newcomer to the party — the Atlanta Hawks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.
Dampier gave the Mavericks 6 and 7 last season in 23 minutes a game, and this season should be playing at or near the league minimum. Not usually the kind of guy who draws this kind of interest, but Damps would really help the three teams above.
Miami has about 48 guys coming to camp who can play center, but they don’t have the kind of classic big man they want to match up with Dwight Howard and the O’Neals in Boston. Dampier would give the Heat even more versatility and options.
The Rockets are trying to keep Yao Ming’s minutes down — capped at 24 a game to start the season — in an effort to keep him healthy. That means they could use another big man, and Dampier and Brad Miller could fill that role together. Also, the Rockets can offer more money than the Heat, by about $600,000 a season.
The Hawks got pushed around by Howard in the playoffs and finding a big man to help remedy that was one of the offseason goals. Damps is no Howard, but it would allow Al Horford to play some four, which is a good idea.
Dampier has not set a timetable for his decision, but smart money says it should come next week so everything is set before camps open at the end of the month.
Dampier is available because he was waived by the Bobcats this week, saving them his $13 million contract.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.
On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.
But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.
Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:
Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.
Stephen Curry might be back sooner than expected. It’s been one week since he suffered the sprained MCL in his right knee that led the Warriors to rule him out for at least two weeks, but head coach Steve Kerr said Saturday that there’s at least an outside chance he could play Tuesday in Game 2 of Golden State’s second-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Via ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:
Obviously, the smart money is on Curry not playing this early in his timetable. But the fact that it’s even on the table would seem to indicate that, barring a setback, he’ll be back for at least some of the series, which tips off Sunday.