Perhaps you’re wondering what far-stretched angle I’m going to use to justify blogging about a LeBron James-Dwyane Wade tennis match. Well, first, here’s Wade talking about taking the King to the Sony Ericsson Open:
The Miami Heat stars showed up at the Sony Ericsson Open to be part of a coin toss before world No. 1 Rafael Nadal played against Japan’s Kei Nishikori. Wade’s two sons, Zaire — the actual flipper of the coin — and Zion, were there as well, on the court for handshakes from Nadal and a quick photo or two just before the match.
“There’s certain things in Miami that guys should experience,” Wade said. “So I had to drag LeBron out here, but I think this is something he’ll probably come back to next year and come back for years after that. This is a good experience. It’s something different and it’s a great day off, getting over here with the kids.”
via Dwyane Wade ‘drags’ Miami Heat teammate LeBron James to Florida tennis tourney – ESPN.
Basically, this is a nice example of the Heat stars doing something as friends. The two are assumed to be best buddies but in reality they have had different friends for years. Things like this are important for keeping chemistry between the two, especially with James taking a different role lately. Or at least, it’s important for convincing the public of that through PR events. Really, they’re one in the same.
James admits he’s terrible at tennis, which deserves its own post right there. This is stunning in that I wasn’t aware LeBron had ever been bad at any physical activity ever. I kind of assumed he could whip Nadal when he came out of the womb, that’s how gifted he is, physically. I mean, a grown Nadal. Not a child Nadal as he would be when LeBron was born. That would just be awkward. I’ve lost track of this.
Suspiciously absent was Chris Bosh, fueling more rumors that Bosh isn’t actually as close with the other two superstars. Not really, but wouldn’t that be a great angle to spin in the most ridiculous manner possible?
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.