Jerry West: Mark Jackson had “tremendous connection” with owner

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Apparently Mark Jackson just nailed his interview.

Which he kind of had to, because he has no coaching resume.

But Warriors consultant (and part owner) Jerry West sounded like a man very comfortable with the Warriors choice in an interview with Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News. That should not be a surprise — West is the ultimate team player and even if he did not like a decision would back it publicly. That’s who he is. But like we said, he sounds good with the decision.

(Jackson) had a tremendous connection with Joe (Lacob, Warriors owner). And he’s a very smart guy, he played in the league for 17 years, for a number of coaches. He’s a player who played in the league a long time in his head. And I think we all have had glowing reports from people who think he’s really good….

He and Joe seemed to really hit it off. I met with Mark myself down here and talked about if he were offered the job what did he need to do, boy he was really focused on what he had to be done.

I look back on Pat Riley, who to me is a pretty good example of somebody who just needed an opportunity, who had a terrific work ethic… I remember at the press conference when I said I’m going to Pat’s assistant, I thought Jerry Buss’ face was going to crack… I remember how awkward maybe that was… Turned out to be the right decision for the Lakers. I’ve watched Pat’s career, watch him today….

I do think he understands that the Warriors have to be better defensively. But he wants to play an aggressive game, he doesn’t want to play a slow-down game. Wants to play in a way that suits their talent.

West also threw a little cold water on the rumored trade of Monta Ellis for Andre Iguodala, saying he doesn’t “see anything like that happening.” He said the team is looking at the draft then will think about trades.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.