Joe Bryant

Kobe’s father now head coach of WNBA’s Sparks

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Joe “Jellybean” Bryant — a former NBA player and father of Kobe Bryant — has been promoted to head coach of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.

Jennifer Gillom was let go over the weekend from the head spot. The Sparks have lost their last five games in a row (4-6 overall) and they have lost star Candice Parker to a knee injury. So, just like in the NBA, when a team struggles due to injuries it’s time to fire the coach. The Sparks were 13-21 last year Gillom, when injuries also decimated the roster.

The senior Bryant has been the Sparks coach before, in 2005 and 2006 and they made the playoffs both times and went to the Western Conference Finals in 2006. Then he was canned so Lakers legend Michael Cooper could have the big seat. Bryant was brought back this season as an assistant. He has talked in the past about wanting to make the jump to being an assistant coach in the NBA, a transition some but not all WNBA coaches have made. The most famous being Bill Laimbeer, now an assistant with the Detroit Pistons and is in the running for that head coaching job.

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.