The long-stalled sale of the New Orleans Hornets now seems to officially be dead. Which may make it less likely Chris Paul gets traded in the near term.
Hornets’ owner George Shinn had reached an agreement in principle to sell the team to minority owner Gary Chouest, but that deal fell through as they tried to hammer out the details, according to the New York Daily News.
“Chouest didn’t step up,” the source said. “He’s not going to buy the team from George. It looks as if George will have to hold onto it.”
Exactly what did in the deal remains unclear, although there had been rumors before that how much existing debt Chouest had to take on was a stumbling block.
So Shinn — a notoriously low-spending owner — keeps control of the team, and that makes it more likely Chris Paul will be out the door. Eventually.
There is some logic to the argument Shinn might consider trading CP3 to help trim the payroll. However, in contrast to that when the reports of Paul being shopped first started to surface this summer it was Shinn who fired GM Jeff Bower for talking to other teams about such a move. If Shinn is still looking for perspective buyers, trading the team’s best player and face of the marketing campaign might lower that sale value.
However, having Shinn as owner makes it far less likely that new GM Dell Demps is going to have much freedom to spend and bring in real quality talent around Paul. Which means Paul will want to leave. Which could put the Hornets next year in the same position the Nuggets are now — trying to move their superstar before he leaves them as a free agent and they get nothing.
And it gives Knicks and Nets fans more hope. And more reason to talk about who is not in camp versus who is.
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.