Los Angeles Lakers Introduce Mike Brown

Mike Brown already preaching defense to Lakers

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Mike Brown’s first press conference as the Lakers head coach — and that’s official now, he signed the contract Tuesday — was really pretty uneventful. A lot of coach-speak.

A lot of things about family, about him defining the culture and holding people accountable, about this still being Kobe’s team, about Brown trying to be himself and not Phil Jackson. All the things you’d expect him to say. He said it with the Buss family (except for Jeanie) sitting in the front row.

But there were a few things that became clear.

One is that is already reaching out and trying to sell this veteran team. He has already spoken with Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, Ron Artest, and has tried to reach Andrew Bynum. Most importantly he has spoken to Kobe Bryant.

“I’ve talked to Kobe by phone a few times, by text and we’ve also already met in person at length,” Brown said. They talked philosophy and family, Brown said.

That philosophy starts with defense. Brown’s philosophy should fit well with the Lakers big men can do – shrink the floor and defend the paint, don’t give up middle drives and contest everything.

On offense Brown said he wants to harken back to what was done when he was an assistant under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio when they had Tim Duncan and David Robinson. Those twin towers worked well together and Brown thinks some of that will work here. He said there will even be some triangle sets.

But there will be some changes. Brown wants to push the pace, then in the half court work inside out with good ball reversals. Those are things the Lakers have done within the triangle when they were playing well, but too often got away from.

That pace and spacing the floor may mean some roster changes. The Lakers need a real point guard, they can’t hide Derek Fisher as the triangle initiator anymore. They need better athletes and shooters.

But that is down the line. Right now he is still busy selling himself and his philosophy to his new team. That’s the first step, building those relationships is what really matters long term for his and the team’s success.

Report: Bulls’ Cristiano Felicio ‘strong favorite’ to replace Anderson Varejao on Brazilian Olympic team

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 19: Cristiano Felicio #6 of the Chicago Bulls looks to pass against the Toronto Raptors at the United Center on February 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Raptors 116-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Warriors center Anderson Varejao will miss the Rio Olympics due to a back injury.

Where will Team Brazil turn now?

Likely to Bulls center Cristiano Felicio.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Felicio came on strong late last season. He puts his 6-foot-10, 275-pound frame to good use protecting the paint and rebounding. He showed potential as passer and mid-range shooter, too.

At age 24, he’s a candidate to break out in the Olympics.

If he’s not ready, Brazil can turn to a steady veteran at center, Nene.

Report: Equipment staffer punched by Blake Griffin no longer works for Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin stands on the court as equipment manager Matias Testi, left, stands behind the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in Los Angeles. Griffin broke his hand last month when he punched Testi in the face. The Clippers won 105-86. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Blake Griffin broke his hand punching Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi in January.

Make that former Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi.

TMZ:

The L.A. Clippers equipment staffer who was punched in the face by Blake Griffin during a fight in Toronto earlier this year is off the team — and will NOT be back for the ’16/’17 season … TMZ Sports has learned.

We spoke with a rep for the Clippers who confirmed Matias Testi “no longer works for the team.”

#Family

Writer recants report of Kevin Durant telling Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with Thunder

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 03:  Kevin Durant #35 and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder talk to head coach Billy Donovan during their game against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on March 3, 2016 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?

Never mind.

Royce Young of ESPN:

I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.

Warriors/Brazil center Anderson Varejao to miss Olympics with back injury

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Dan Clark #13 of Great Britain shoots over Anderson Varejao #11 of Brazil in the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match between Great Britain and Brazil on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Center Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics for host Brazil because of a herniated disc in his lower back.

The Golden State Warriors announced the injury Wednesday and say that Varejao should be ready for the start of training camp but will not be healthy enough to play in the Olympics. Varejao recently experienced back pain while training with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins earlier this week.

Varejao averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 22 games after signing with the Warriors on Feb. 22. He re-signed with the team earlier this month.