With all the movings and goings on in free agency, every team has had concerns about their star moving on. The Magic are trying to get ahead of that speeding train by locking up Dwight Howard to a longterm extension. In years past, the only question about stars re-signing was if the team was willing to commit to the max money. But the Miami Heat, even as they struggle through the first ten games, have changed things.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Dwight Howard is “not automatic” to sign an extension this summer. Their sources say he might wait, possibly until he enters free agency, simply based on his desire to win a championship. Howard apparently wants to see whether or not he’ll determine he needs further help than what the Magic have. The Magic’s playoff performance this spring will also impact the situation. The Magic have money coming off the books with Vince Carter, and Rashard Lewis’ contract is at least within sight of ending, even if it’s still unmovable. Jameer Nelson has shown he can be a terrific complimentary player, but no one on the Magic is in the level of what the Heat have, of what Boston or LA has. He doesn’t have that dominant partner to draw attention.
So Howard will wait and see if he needs to seek the possibility of going elsewhere. Losing Howard would of course be devastating, as devastating as losing Shaq was in the previous decade. Of course, if the Heat were to fall flat on their face, that might send the kind of message needed that superstars that handcuff your team can’t get you to the promised land. Either way, it’s another sign that we’ve entered an era where stars not only want the best, they want the best on their terms. They want their championship cake and to eat it with a golden fork.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
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.