Even in down years in a slow market, there are certain teams that just sell out NBA buildings. When the Lakers come to your city, the building is full. Same with the Celtics.
The Heat are supposed to be one of those teams. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh together? A guaranteed sell out, even when you jack up the ticket prices (got to love that variable pricing). A boon for the local ownership. They certainly were in Boston opening night.
But in Philadelphia tonight, Henry Abbott of TrueHoop tells a different story.
Halfway through the second quarter, I walked into the box office. There were no lines, and several windows open. I asked to buy a ticket, and the guy behind the glass was happy to help.
He showed me a seat map, and said I could choose from any one of five lower bowl sections. Prices started at $140 in the corner, and went up from there. Lower bowl seats near the 50-yard line were available for less than $300 each. There were also seats in the halo for $50.
I said I needed two together, and he said no sweat, we could do that in any of those sections.
I don’t think this speaks to the popularity of the Heat. Last night’s Heat/Celtics matchup earned the highest television ratings of any regular season game ever shown on cable. From this blog to ESPN to the far corners of the Internet, the Miami Heat draw eyeballs and sell merchandise. You may not love them but you read about them and watch them.
Except in Philadelphia. Which likely says more about the economy in that city and the state of the Sixers than it does the Heat.
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.