Atlanta Hawks guard and reigning 6th Man of the Year award winner Jamal Crawford is entering the last year of the 7 year, $55.44 million contract, but he’s not letting contract negotiations become a distraction to him.
There were good reasons Luke Walton wanted five fully-committed years from the Lakers on his coaching contract. The Lakers’ current front office doesn’t exactly project stability, Luke wanted some insurance.
The most commonly mentioned front office scenario for Los Angeles is that next summer Jim Buss steps aside after another rough season for the Lakers, and in the summer of 2017 — when he has an out in his New York deal — Jeanie Buss brings in Phil Jackson to take over the Lakers basketball side and save the franchise.
Who says no to that? Well to start, Buss. Here is what she said on ESPN Radio with Ramona Shelburne and Michelle Beadle:
“No,” Buss said, “To visit, yes..but in terms of basketball, he’s committed to New York for many years. He’s building something there. He has a mission, he’s on that journey to get the team back to where he believes it can be and it will be. He’s a former Knick…he loves New York, he loves the fans, he wants to make them proud. In terms of the Lakers, we have a front office. They’re putting together a team…they have a vision. I’m excited to see what the future holds for us. So, to answer your question….no, there’s no plans for Phil to come back here.”
On one hand, what else is Buss going to say? “Sure, I plan to force my brother out of power and bring in my fiance to run the team next summer, it’s all very Shakespearean isn’t it?”
That said, I do tend to believe her (at least that there is not a master plan), and if I were a Laker fan I’d be okay with this. The Knicks have gotten better under Jackson and did draft Kristaps Porzingis, but Jackson also hired Derek Fisher, and was wed to the triangle until that was forced out of his hands and he hired Jeff Hornacek as coach. Now comes Jackson’s biggest test as the guy in the big chair because there is some serious roster work to do with the Knicks (starting with finding a point guard who can play up-tempo). Jackson has kept owner James Dolan at arm’s length from basketball decisions, which is worth every penny he is getting paid, but he’s not been brilliant.
If and when Jim Buss moves out of basketball operations, the Lakers will have options as one of the premier GM jobs in the NBA. They likely can do better than Jackson.
MADRID (AP) — Pau Gasol is considering not playing at the Olympics because of the Zika virus.
The Spanish basketball player said Monday there is too much uncertainty about the situation in Brazil and anyone going to Rio de Janeiro for the games should “think about” whether it’s worth the risk.
The Chicago Bulls player said other Spanish athletes have also expressed their concerns about the virus and are also considering skipping the games.
“It wouldn’t surprise me to see some athletes deciding not to participate in the games to avoid putting their health and the health of their families at risk,” Gasol said, adding that he was among the athletes making such considerations.
“I’m thinking about (whether or not to go),” he said. “Just like every athlete, or any other person considering going to Rio, should be thinking about it.”
Without giving names, Gasol said he talked to other athletes who told him they may not participate in the games.
“Some of these athletes are planning to have children in the near future and this could affect them, it could affect the health of their kids and their wives,” he said at an event for one of his sponsors in Madrid. “Their health should come first.”
Brazil has been badly hit by Zika, the mosquito-borne virus linked to severe birth defects and possible neurological problems in adults.
Gasol said officials involved in the games must come forward with “more clear information” about the risks athletes could be facing if they decide to compete in Rio.
“I hope the national Olympic committees and the health organizations can be as clear as possible about the risks in Brazil so athletes can decide whether or not to take risks,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve been told enough about it.”
Gasol mentioned the call from 150 health specialists to consider postponing or moving the Aug. 5-21 Olympics, something the World Health Organization rejected last week.
“We need to understand the seriousness of the situation,” Gasol said. “Even though there are some soothing words being said, we know that there are different opinions about the subject.”
Gasol said he is being proactive and has been trying to gather as much information as possible about the virus and the risks it could pose for himself and his family. He said he has contacted experts in the area to try to know more about the virus.
“I feel responsible to know more about the situation and to inform everyone about it,” he said. “It’s important to talk openly about this. It’s a very delicate situation.”
Gasol helped Spain win the silver medal at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
In advance of tonight’s Warriors-Thunder Game 7, his coach isn’t specifying a preferred NBA Finals opponent.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com:
“We just want the winner,” Lue said. “Just whoever wins. We’re preparing for both and after tonight we will get a chance to see who we finally play.”
This seems like the wrong approach. I’d rather face the loser. That team is likely more beatable. Alas, it doesn’t work that way. Lue is accepting the inevitable.
The Warriors would probably be the tougher matchup. They’ve been the better team all season and would put Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love into a ton of pick-and-rolls. It’s a great offensive matchup for Stephen Curry. But beating Golden State – the defending champions with a 73-9 record – would bring greater glory and personal redemption to LeBron, who clearly views the Warriors as an outlier.
The Thunder would be no pushovers, but Cleveland would have a better chance of winning. Even with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City just hasn’t played as well as Golden State over a long stretch.
This is obviously a discussion only for fun. The Cavs have no say in their Finals opponent. The Warriors and Thunder will decide that tonight.