Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers - Game One

Whoever replaces Phil Jackson will make a lot less


Phil Jackson was the highest paid coach in the NBA. By 100 percent. He was making $12 million a year when no other coach was making more than $6 million. Jackson made about $10 million last season. Technically that’s a pay cut for him, but if my bosses want to cut me back to $10 million this year I’ll go along with it.

You can say that is too much for a coach, but remember two things. First, when Jackson was rehired it was when season ticket holders were up in arms over the Shaq trade and the Rudy T. coaching disaster, Jackson calmed those waters and kept a lot of season ticket holders in the fold. Secondly, he Lakers made a lot of money on deep playoff runs when he was coach. Basically, he is the one coach who may have paid for himself.

The Lakers next coach can’t do that and will take a pay cut accordingly, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The new Lakers coach can expect an annual salary of $3 million to $5 million, according to people who are familiar with what the Buss family is thinking. That is barely half what Jackson made in a best-case scenario for the new hire.

It still projects to an increase from the average NBA head coach salary range of $2 million to $4 million. Candidates for the Lakers job include Rick Adelman, Mike Dunleavy, Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Brown and Lakers assistant Brian Shaw.

This is just one way the Lakers can save money going forward. What they do on the player payroll side of the equation will depend more on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, but the Lakers are looking to cut some costs. As the story points out, some annual employees like scouts and trainers have already been cut by the Lakers. They are starting to brace for the lockout. But that is another story.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.

Kevin Durant with huge dunk on visiting Fenerbahce Ulker

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Welcome to America, Fenerbahce Ulker.

The Turkish powerhouse was in America playing some exhibition games this preseason, and they got a first-hand reminder that Kevin Durant is back. KD had 13 points in the Thunder’s easy 111-81 win.

Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook got in on the act.