Courtesy of Marc Stein, who is always on the ball:
Minnesota was one of the teams identified in last week’s story — along with Atlanta, Orlando, Portland, Toronto and Nash’s old friend Dallas — as a determined suitor for Nash.
The Wolves, sources say, have called Phoenix as much as anyone, despite that they’re well aware Nash has only one year left on his contract after this season and have to presume he’d have little interest in a long-term stay in Minnesota.
That they couldn’t count on having Nash for more than one season, as we’ve noted, is why the Wolves can’t afford to build an offer for Nash around Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio. For all of his struggles with Barcelona this season, Rubio remains too prized a commodity for the Wolves to give him up for Nash and then watch Nash walk away a season later.
According to Stein, the Timberwolves dream of Nash re-signing and becoming a “mentor” to the 21-year old Ricky Rubio after he comes over from Spain.
To be frank, everything about this is extremely bizarre. To trade for Nash’s contract, the Timberwolves would have to move Sebastian Tefair and Corey Brewer, both of whom have expiring deals, as well as another contract. The Timberwolves are not going to make the playoffs this year, so all Nash would do is keep the Timberwolves from getting a high-lottery pick.
And why would Nash sign an extension with the Timberwolves? For the opportunity to mentor a player who plays the same position as Nash and has no outside shot to speak of? And where does all of this leave Jonny Flynn? Also, Minnesota has the #27 defense in the league and no defensive presence in the middle. Instead of making a run at Kendrick Perkins or Tyson Chandler, Minnesota wants to focus its cap space on chasing Nash? And again, why would the 37-year old Nash want to sign what will likely be his final deal with the Timberwolves instead of trying to get a ring? Again, this makes no sense. Thanks for keeping us on our toes, Timberwolves.
James Harden started Game 4 0-of-7 from the floor, including missing a lay-up. It was an extension of Game 3, and it let the Timberwolves hang around for a half despite their own offensive woes.
Then in the second half the MVP Harden showed up.
Houston started the second half on an 11-0 run that extended all the way to 25-4, and a lot of it was Harden (with a little help from Chris Paul). Harden had 22 points in the third (with 4:30 left in the quarter). After a couple rough games the Timberwolves were going under the pick when Harden had the ball, and suddenly he made them pay.
Or, he was just stepping back.
With all the buckets the Rockets turned a close game into a 25 point lead.
It’s a part of the NBA experience that most fans don’t get to hear — some fans courtside heckling opposing players and coaches, and those guys occasionally firing back. We only tend to hear about it when things cross a line.
Sometimes the interactions are just funny, such as this one passed along by J. Michael of the Indy Star.
Well played, Lue.
Although is Cleveland really a city at the forefront of fashion? Well, I suppose if you went to college in Nebraska…
Last summer the buzz was all over the league: Pelicans GM Dell Demps and coach Alvin Gentry were given a “playoffs or bust” mandate by management. If the Pelicans were not in the postseason — and just barely getting in and then blown out in the first round might be good enough — there was going to be a housecleaning.
The Pelicans made the playoffs as the six seed with 48 wins despite losing DeMarcus Cousins to a torn Achilles midway through the season.
That alone was good enough to get Gentry another season in New Orleans, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
As noted, this happened before the Pelicans swept the Trail Blazers out of the first round and into a summer of re-evaluation. This option season is the last of Gentry’s original deal with the Pelicans.
Gentry has the Pelicans playing fast, using the elite defense of Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday to get stops, and right now Davis is leading an offense that is just getting it done, with guys such as Nikola Mirotic stepping up. Gentry has earned another year, and a shot to integrate Cousins into this style and level of play, to see where that could take New Orleans next season.
It will be interesting to see if Demps can add more shooting and versatility with a capped out roster.
Mike Budenholzer is out (and may be thinking New York). Suns’ interim coach Jay Triano and former Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale are still in the mix.
The Suns also have reached out to Jason Kidd — who was let go by the Bucks mid-season — and former Bulls and Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro, reports Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic.
This is still early in a lengthy search process, there is a long way to go before anyone gets offered this job.
Kidd now lives in Phoenix. He’s considered a smart coach but one who falls in and out of love with players fast, pushes hard for the players he wants (and against those he doesn’t), and didn’t utilize the talent on the Bucks to its best advantage. The Suns have to ask if he is the right guy for a rebuild. He can coach, he’s going to get another chance, but do the Suns want to give it to him?
Mentioning Del Negro will lead to howls from the Suns’ fanbase, but to be fair he gets a bit of a bad rap as a coach. Del Negro won 53.3 percent of his games as a coach, and only one team he coached ever finished below .500. He’s had some success developing players, starting with Derrick Rose. All that said, there are reasons Suns’ fans are right to howl: simplistic offenses, a heavy reliance on pick-and-roll sets, and remember he broke the confidence of DeAndre Jordan (Doc Rivers had to build it back up).
Phoenix fired Earl Watson just three games into the season and are looking to replace him. The new coach will have a very good young scorer in Devin Booker on the roster and after that a lot of young question marks. This is a development job where the Suns need to hire a guy who can put in a system, then bring in more talent and stay out of the new coach’s way. We’ll see if the Suns can do that.