Kurt Rambis

Owners taking their time with coaches on hot seat


The coaching carousel has not started spinning yet.

We keep expecting the music, we hear who is on the hot seat or likely gone, but nothing yet. Because owners are taking their time, reports Marc Spears at Yahoo.

Take Kurt Rambis in Minnesota. (Please.) Everyone knows he’s expected to be let go, but so far nothing.

Rambis is expected to be fired, but it’s uncertain when the decision will be announced, several league sources told Yahoo! Sports….

Another league source described Rambis’ chances of keeping his job as “slim,” saying the only thing that could save him is if Wolves ownership doesn’t want to eat the remaining money on his contract and hire someone new with a possible lockout approaching.

That lockout concern will be a running theme with coaching changes.

In Detroit, John Kuester is still on the job because the sale of the team is not complete to Tom Gores yet, Spears reports.

A source close to the Pistons said the season’s drama will likely lead to Kuester’s dismissal under new owner Tom Gores, even though an official decision isn’t expected soon. Kuester is 57-107 in two seasons coaching the Pistons and the franchise failed to make the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1995.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said in press conferences today they expect the sale to be complete around the end of May.

Then there is Keith Smart in golden State, where no decision has been made.

An NBA source, however, told Yahoo! Sports that Warriors ownership is in no rush to make a decision on Smart. It also will be interesting to see if the new owners feel the need to make a splash with a new coach.

The lockout complicates thing for any coach hired — there will be shorted training camps and very possibly a shortened season. Changing systems will be more difficult. That may cause some teams to stand pat this summer when they otherwise would have made a move.

LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.

Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.

But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.

LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.

However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.

For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.

Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.