Rudy Tomjanovich served as the Lakers’ replacement head coach the last time Phil Jackson took his leave from the game, but Rudy T likely won’t be around to see the beginning of L.A.’s second post-Phil era. According to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, Tomjanovich — who had been retained by the Lakers in a consulting role since he stepped down as head coach in 2005 — is a Lakers employee no more.
It’s not uncommon to see experienced NBA head coaches serve as consultants if their coaching contracts come to a premature conclusion, so the fact that Tomjanovich remained with the Lakers up to this point is hardly shocking. The roles of these coach consultants vary from franchise to franchise, but responsibilities ranging from scouting to personnel advisement can be included under their jurisdiction, while others are “consultants” in name only.
Tomjanovich’s role, however, appears to have been pretty unique according to Ding’s report, and it’s that quality that could potentially bring Tomjanovich back to the Lakers under Mike Brown:
It remains possible Tomjanovich could remain in touch in a distant, different way, as he and son Trey recently made a presentation to Mike Brown’s new Lakers coaching staff about hiring them for their basketball statistical program. Trey Tomjanovich has provided software to the Lakers before, and his father’s reports to Jackson’s staff became increasingly stats-based.
Plenty of NBA teams have consultants who specialize in quantitative work, but I’d wager that few of those consultants — if any — are storied NBA coaches in their own right. It’s still too early to know whether Tomjanovich’s interest in working with Mike Brown is reciprocated, but if nothing Tomjanovich serves as an interesting example of an old school coach turned new school analyst.
Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.
The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.
The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.
Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.
Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.
Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.
“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”
The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.
Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.
LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.
Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?
Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.
LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.
To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.
It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.
With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.
There were a couple of good ones, however.
Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.
One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.