Heat looking to add Samuel Dalembert?

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This isn’t a rumor based on sources so much as it is one based on common sense. As well as Joel Anthony played as a starting center against both Boston and Chicago, the Heat desperately need a true center who can protect the rim, finish plays, and provide both size and athleticism on both ends of the court.

The problem is that they don’t have much money to spend, and will probably have even less after the new CBA is completed. So they need an effective 15-20 MPG “show starter” at center (it seems likely that the team’s crunch-time lineup will still be a “small” one next season, with either Anthony or Haslem manning the 5 spot), who can do center-like things and would come at a low price. (Heat fans may have pipe dreams about either Tyson Chandler or Nene, but Riley enticing either of those players to join his team at a severe discount would make his free-agency haul last season look like child’s play.)

The natural option seems to be Samuel Dalembert, who just completed the final season of a contract with the Kings that paid him $13.5 million. Dalembert would probably have to take a pay cut to join the Heat as well, but he wouldn’t make anything near what Chandler and Nene will make this off-season on the open market, and the allure of playing with James, Wade, and Bosh, as well as Miami’s large Haitian community, could be enough to entice Dalembert to sacrifice some cash and join the Heat.

Of course, Dalembert will get other offers, particularly from the Knicks, who also need a center, have some star power, and play in a huge market. If Dalembert decides to take the money, there’s not a whole lot the Heat can do to upgrade their roster without making a major move. The Heat will have a hard time improving their roster significantly this summer, which makes the fact they choked away two sizeable fourth-quarter leads in the NBA Finals that much harder of a pill to swallow for them.

PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.

The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.

I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.

Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.

That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.

But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.

On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.

To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

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The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).

Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.

But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.

So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.

But at least he has that opportunity.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

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Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.

Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.