UPDATE 1:35 pm: The Warriors have decided to let Keith Smart go as coach, according to CSN Bay Area.
Smart had been the head coach of the Warriors for one year, but had spent the previous seven as an assistant.
This isn’t a shock — owner Joe Lacob wanted to put the team on a different path. Smart was never his guy, he was the convenient guy at the start of the season who got a one-year deal. But this is a franchise with a history of having a lack of direction or changing direction ever two seasons. Let’s hope that this is not a continuation of that trend.
12:45 pm: Golden State has taken its time with deciding whether or not to bring back coach Keith Smart.
You’d like to think that was because they have been formulating a long-term plan — keeping GM Larry Riley for a couple years and grooming Bob Meyers to be his replacement being part of that — but as this is the Warriors we’ll need evidence of a long-term plan before we believe it.
But the Oakland Tribune says an announcement on the fate of Smart may come as soon as Wednesday. And Smart may not like it.
A team source said a decision is expected within the next two or three days, while another source “wouldn’t be surprised if he’s let go (Wednesday).”
Smart was in trouble the moment he agreed to a one-year deal. He was solid in his debut — this was a team with about mid-30s in wins talent, and that’s what he got out of them. They got better.
The question is what kind of team is Golden State trying to build, and is Smart the guy to coach that kind of team? Like we said, we’d like to think the Warriors are looking at it that way, planning for the long term, but we need evidence first.
DeMarcus Cousins had a bitter exit from the Kings, but that won’t be the last they see of him.
Cousins’ Pelicans will host Sacramento tomorrow night.
Not that Cousins rushed to talk about the matchup.
Justin Verrier of ESPN:
Cousins is pretty funny when joking with the media, and his smile is contagious. Just listen to all the laughs Cousins generates as he goes through his shtick.
Bonus points to Cousins for eventually breaking down and providing real answers. Some of his relationships in Sacramento were clearly meaningful to him, and he wanted to acknowledge those — even if he’d prefer just to get past this awkward game and all the talk it invites.
Lauri Markkanen is 7-foot and made 42% of his 3-pointers this season.
That combination alone will have NBA teams drooling, and the Arizona freshman will capitalize.
Evan Daniels of Scout:
Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen is declaring for the NBA Draft and is expected to sign with an agent, multiple sources told Scout.
Markkanen seems pretty certain to get picked in the lottery, likely in the top 10.
Calling him a good shooter for his height undersells him. It’s not just he shoots so efficiently from deep, it’s that he can generate 3-pointers in so many ways — pick-and-pops, spot-ups, off off-ball screens and even running pick-and-rolls himself. Having the height to shoot over defenders is his most noticeable asset, but don’t undersell his mobility.
Markkanen also finishes well at the rim and offensively rebounds at extremely impressive clip for someone who spends so much time on the perimeter. Those interior skills instill belief he will eventually become a suitable defender.
There are a couple red flags. He’s old for a freshman, turning 20 before the draft. He leaves plenty to be desired defensively, especially due to his lack of strength.
But his size and shooting are tantalizing. That’s plenty for now.
Watch for Collin Sexton in the 2018 NBA draft.
In the meantime, the Alabama commit had all eyes — include Dwyane Wade‘s — on him with this pass in the McDonald’s All-American Game last night.
Carmelo Anthony scored just nine points on 12 shots in the Knicks loss to the Heat last night — well below his season averages of 22 points on 19 shots per game.
Anthony, via Ian Begley of ESPN:
“I see the writing on the wall. I see what it is,” Anthony said late Wednesday night. “I see what they’re trying to do, and it’s just me accepting that. That’s what puts me at peace. Just knowing and understanding how things work. I’m at peace with that.”
Is Anthony talking about just the Knicks’ final dozen games of this season, when they’re clearly interesting in testing less-proven players? Or is he referring to his entire tenure in New York?
Anthony has said he’d consider waiving his no-trade clause if the Knicks want to rebuild, and they’ll reportedly try again to trade him this offseason. Perhaps, this is Anthony indicating he’s warming up to the idea of allowing a trade.
Anthony’s and Kristaps Porzingis‘ timelines are barely compatible, if at all. It’d make sense for the Knicks to go in a different direction.
Could Anthony be at peace with that?