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.

Clippers blow 18-point lead, lose in final 2 seconds on putback to Kings (VIDEO)

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The Los Angeles Clippers had a rough go of things against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. Up by 18 with more than five minutes to go, LA blew their lead and were left to watch as the Kings sealed the game late.

The final possession for Sacramento came on a missed corner 3-pointer by Clippers guard Jamal Crawford. The Kings got the outlet pass out on the rebound, but Ben McLemore took it to the rack and missed. That’s when Willie Cauley-Stein stepped in, cleaned up the board, and put the game-winning shot home with less than two seconds left.

Los Angeles lost in spectacular fashion, and became the only team this season to lose given their game situation.

Here’s a compilation the NBA put together of Sacramento’s epic comeback:

Meanwhile, Chris Paul called it the worst regular season loss of his career.

The Clippers peaked too soon. Like, the first 20 games of the season too soon.

Russell Westbrook throws incredible halfcourt bounce pass vs. Rockets (VIDEO)

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Russell Westbrook had yet another triple-double on Sunday. The Oklahoma City Thunder star notched 13 assists in the loss to the Houston Rockets, 137-125, and one of them came on a nifty pass to teammate Victor Oladipo.

The play happened with the Thunder on the fastbreak early in the third quarter. Westbrook was moving from left-to-right across the middle of the floor with the ball while Oladipo streaked down the right wing.

With the Rockets defense collapsing, Westbrook reached halfcourt and fired a bounce pass that sliced through the opposition.

Oladipo finished with the clean dunk.

Still not sure it beats this one, but I think we’ll have to compare once the season comes to a close.

Kobe Bryant on race for Podoloff Trophy: “We might see our first co-MVPs this year”

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The race between James Harden and Russell Westbrook for the 2017 NBA MVP has narrowed to a two-man race toward the end of the season. The Oklahoma City Thunder star is averaging at triple-double this year, and the Houston Rockets guard is doing things nobody has ever done on a basketball court before.

It’s a tough decision to decide between them, so much so that even former Los Angeles Lakers great and 2008 NBA MVP Kobe Bryant can’t do it.

Speaking on ESPN on Sunday, Bryant said he thought the league might have to just bite the bullet on Westbrook vs. Harden.

“We might see our first co-MVPs this year,” said Bryant.

That would be a huge step for the league, but I’m not entirely sure they would do it. There have been co-NBA All-Star Game MVPs in years past, but never league MVP.

Still, can you decide between Russ and Harden? The Mamba can’t.

Watch Rockets C Nene lead the break, eurostep past Enes Kanter (VIDEO)

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Houston Rockets center Nene is from Brazil, but on Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder the South American native went full euro.

On a fastbreak possession, Nene took on Thunder big man Enes Kanter near the rim and absolutely shook him with a nasty eurostep.

The play was so good that it forced Oklahoma City to call a timeout as James Harden and the rest of the Rockets bench met Nene on the court to celebrate.