Jerry Buss is still the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers.
But he’s not the guy pulling the strings anymore, the power shift to son Jim Buss is pretty much complete.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the move to set up and hire former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown was the younger Buss’ call.
Brown, 41, became the front-runner because Jim Buss, the team’s executive vice president of player personnel, was impressed with his defense-minded style.
Former Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman also was in the mix for the job and will remain a candidate to replace Phil Jackson if Brown turns down the deal from the Lakers.
Jim Buss, who had a reputation as a playboy in his younger days, runs the basketball side of the operations while his sister Jeanie (outgoing coach Phil Jackson’s girlfriend) runs the business side of the Lakers. Jerry Buss still has the last say on everything, but his role is greatly diminished. He did not even attend the Lakers victory parade last year, instead being spotted playing poker in a local card club. Still, it can be a little like Kremlinology to figure out who is running what inside the Lakers organization. This is a clear sign.
Jim Buss also made the call to hire Rudy Tomjanovich last time Phil Jackson stepped away from the organization. That ended poorly, with Tomjanovich leaving midway through the season and eventually Jackson having to be brought back to calm season ticket holders. The good news is that Brown has already coached in a high-pressure circus and should be better prepared for the Lakers gig in that sense.
This hiring is not sitting well with Lakers fans, who remember Brown’s stagnant offenses in Cleveland. Things were not as bad as they appeared there, that was a matter of the players on the roster around LeBron James to a degree. Still, the execution of the Xs and Os was an issue under Brown before.
But Jim Buss wants him, so he is the man.
Joakim Noah hasn’t set foot on an NBA court since Feb. 4, and his season was all but ended when he had knee surgery at the end of February. It was a $72 million gamble that has not worked, and left New York with an anchor o a
Tomorrow it will be official he is done for the season, but not because of the Knicks or his injury.
During his recovery, Noah violated the NBA’s drug policy and will pay for a 20-game suspension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Noah tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement that is prohibited under the outgoing Collective Bargaining Agreement, league sources said.
Noah, 32, is expected to serve 10 games of the suspension to finish out the 2016-17 regular season and 10 games to start the 2017-18 season, league sources said.
The National Basketball Players Association’s investigation concluded that Noah hadn’t “knowingly or willingly” violated the policy and cooperated fully with the league’s probe, league sources said.
Over-the-counter supplements could be something put in his regular workout recovery drinks that he was unaware of, although we are unsure of the details.
Traditionally, the player has to be healthy enough to play before the league starts the suspension. Noah has been out for more than a month, but if a league doctor says he is healthy enough to play the then the clock on the suspension can start. But that is interesting.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.
Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.
His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.
Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)