Report: Lakers coaching search “wide open”

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The conventional wisdom is that the Lakers would go through the motions of a coaching search, then hire lead assistant Brian Shaw. The reasoning being that they have a two-time championship roster built to run the triangle offense, so you stick with what works.

But there is this one little discussed fact — owner Jerry Buss is not a huge fan of the triangle. He liked all the winning that came with Phil Jackson, but he preferred to watch a more entertaining “show time” transition offense.

Plus that championship offense didn’t look good the last week, did it?

Which is why we should take seriously the report from J.A. Adande at ESPN that the Lakers coaching search is not going to be limited in scope, or move quickly.

“That’s down the road right now,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said (of hiring a coach). “That’s not something that we’re probably going to address right away.”

A source described the Lakers’ coaching search as “wide open.” He said the decision-making chain was executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss, owner Jerry Buss, then Kupchak — “in that order.”

The Lakers management has always been deliberate, not a franchise prone to knee-jerk reactions but trying to picture the long term. That will be the case here.

But that management has to decide first what kind of team they want to have — triangle, motion offense, more transition — and then start building the roster to play it. Then hire a coach to execute it.

Problem is, the Lakers don’t have a lot of room to maneuver to reshape the roster under the current salary cap, let alone the more restrictive one coming with the new collective bargaining agreement. Even if Shannon Brown and Matt Barnes don’t return, they have $88 million in contracts lined up for next season (way over the cap and luxury tax lines). The most moveable assets are the big men — Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum — but getting back equal value is nearly impossible. Plus, do you want to build a running team around Kobe Bryant at this point in his career?

The rebuilding of this roster to play another system — especially if that is a transition to a running offense, which would require a much younger and more athletic roster — is going to take time. Years.

Lots of decisions, and it likely will not be until the coaching search we see what the Lakers are thinking.

Hawks sign two-way Tyler Cavanaugh to standard contract

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ATLANTA (AP) — Rookie forward Tyler Cavanaugh, who originally came to Atlanta on a two-way contract, has signed a multi-year deal with the Hawks.

Cavanaugh has averaged 5.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19 games, including one start, since signing the two-way contract on Nov. 5.

Cavanaugh, from Syracuse, New York, played two seasons at Wake Forest before transferring to George Washington, where he averaged 18.3 points and 8.4 rebounds last season. He was selected the National Invitation Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 2016 after leading the Colonials to the NIT title.

 

Carlos Boozer announces retirement

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Carlos Boozer went from being known as a gritty second-rounder to an overpaid defensive liability.

In some ways, that’s the ultimate success story.

Now, after playing last season in China, he’s walking away.

Boozer on ESPN:

I’m officially retired.

The Cavaliers drafted Boozer with the No. 35 pick in the 2002. After he spent a couple productive seasons in Cleveland, the Cavs declined his cheap team option to make him a restricted free agent – with an agreement he’d re-sign at a reasonable rate if you ask them, with no handshake deal if you ask him.

Boozer bolted for the Jazz, who gave him a six-year, $68 million contract. He made a couple All-Star teams and helped Utah reach the conference finals.

Then, he went to Chicago on a five-year, $75 million contract after the Bulls struck out on LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010. The Derrick Rose-led Bulls never broke through, and Boozer was often the scapegoat.

Chicago amnestied him, and he spent his last NBA season with the Lakers three years ago.

Boozer was a pretty good player paid like a very good one, and that didn’t endear him. We mostly remember him for accidentally punching a referee below the belt:

Painting on hair:

And yelling “and one!” after nearly every shot.

For a while, it seemed the 36-year-old Boozer wanted to play another NBA season. But he finally could no longer find a front office eager to pay him.

It’s only fitting that he was denied that last “and one!”

Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis still not talking off court

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The Bulls are 5-0 since Nikola Mirotic returned from an injury suffered when Bobby Portis punched him in the face during a preseason practice. Mirotic and Portis are both excelling individually, and Chicago has outscored opponents by a whopping 34.3 points per 100 possessions when those two share the court.

Jack Maloney of CBSSports.com:

When asked if the two former combatants have spoken yet, Mirotic said, “We did on the floor. We’ve always spoken because we need to have good communication.” As for whether they’ve talked off the floor, however, Mirotic was succinct in his response: “No.”

I guess Mirotic hasn’t completely moved on, though he said he did. But that’s fine. How could someone get past a teammate punching him in the face?

Importantly, this is becoming just a regular NBA problem. The extent of that practice punch was practically unprecedented. But plenty of players have loathed teammates while making it work on the court. That happens more than people realize.

Mirotic and Portis can make this their status quo – at least the on-court cooperation. I’m not convinced Chicago will keep winning like this.

Watch Kobe Bryant’s ‘Dear Basketball’ short film (video)

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Kobe Bryant announced his retirement in a letter called “Dear Basketball,” which was made into a short film.

Now, on the day the Lakers retire his Nos. 8 and 24, you can watch it. It’s quite beautiful: