Jacque Vaughn made a career out of backing up the backup and stepping in as a stopgap during times of crisis. He averaged just 9.8 points and 5.5 assists per 36 minutes for his career, which are both less than exemplary marks to say the least.
Regardless, Vaughn will take that pedigree (if we can call it that) with him as he joins the San Antonio Spurs, the team with which he spent his final three NBA seasons, as an assistant coach. From Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News:
On paper, Vaughn replaces video coordinator James Borrego, who left
after seven seasons to join new coach Monty Williams’ staff in New
Orleans. In truth, Vaughn will fill a role on Popovich’s bench that
didn’t exist last season.
Tony Parker’s former backup is now an extra assistant coach.
didn’t really have a spot for him — I just made it up,” Popovich said.
“That’s how badly we wanted him. We didn’t want to lose him to someone
Vaughn may not have been an especially productive player, but having an
accomplished NBA playing career isn’t a prerequisite for coaching
success. Gregg Popovich clearly thinks enough of Vaughn’s basketball know-how to add him as a member of his staff, and Pop is not a basketball mind I’d like to make a habit out of disagreeing with.
When Popovich, who made the Spurs one of the most successful sports franchises of the decade in part due to his knack for surrounding himself with intelligent coaches and managers, tells me that Vaughn is worth a spot on his bench, I’ll nod along.
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.