Pau Gasol EuroBasket

EuroBasket Day 5: Yup, Spain is the team to beat

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Welcome to our daily update. Things are starting to really shake out in the group play of EuroBasket, and with that we are really starting to see who the contenders for the Olympic berths are. What we are saying is, we would like you to meet Spain, Russia and Serbia.

Spain 91, Lithuania 79: Spain raced out to a 22-7 lead in this one and never looked back. This was the first real test for the Spanish side and they looked like the dominant favorites that they are. What Spain showed was their depth. Sure, Pau Gasol still had 17 points, but Juan Carlos Navaro had 22 points on 13 shots and Serge Ibaka had 15 points off the bench. Jonas Valanciunas had 13 points in the loss. Spain is the team to beat, make no mistake.

France 91, Italy 84: Tony Parker, the best player in EuroBasket through the first four days, was out in the fourth quarter with a thigh injury and the French still won. That is huge. Boris Diaw had 21 points, so take that Diaw haters. NBA.com notes that France has the best points-per-possession offense in EuroBasket, which is good for a team where the question is: “Could they score?”

Poland 84, Turkey 83: Here was your upset of the day. Turkey finished second in the World Championships (on their home court) and was undefeated coming into this game, but Poland pulls the upset. Turkey was up 7 with five minutes left, so you can say Poland won this or Turkey lost it, depending on your mood. Good news Jazz fans, Enes Kanter continued to look good with 19 points.

Serbia 75, Germany 64: If you’re an NBA fan, the names on the Turkish team confuse you because you don’t now them, but they are good. Dirk Nowitzki had 25 points and Chris Kaman had 10, but Serbian point guard Milos Teodosic shredded the German defense and that will be a key going forward.

Great Britain 85, Portugal 73: The first win for next year’s Olympic hosts, with Luol Deng leading the way with his 31 points.

In other action: Israel 91, Latvia 88; Macidonia72, Finland 70; Slovenia 70, Belgium 61; Bosnia Herzegovina 92, Croatia 80; Greece 71, Montenegro 51, Georgia 69, Ukraine 53; Bosnia Herzegovina 92, Croatia 80.

Report: Warriors to replace Luke Walton from outside the organization

MILWAUKEE, WI - DECEMBER 12: Interim Coach Luke Walton of the Golden State Warriors talks on the sideline during the second quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center on December 12, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 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 Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.

Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.

Report: Luke Walton’s Lakers contract is for 5 years, $25 million

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13:  Interim head coach Luke Walton of the Golden State Warriors leads the team against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on January 13, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Warriors 112-110. 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 Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.

This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.

Luke Walton says he won’t run the triangle as Lakers coach

at American Airlines Center on December 30, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.

But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.

Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:

Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.

Steve Kerr: “Not going to rule out” Stephen Curry for Game 2 vs. Blazers

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 27:  Injured Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts on the bench with Shaun Livingston #34 and Anderson Varejao #18 during their game against the Houston Rockets in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 27, 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 Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Stephen Curry might be back sooner than expected. It’s been one week since he suffered the sprained MCL in his right knee that led the Warriors to rule him out for at least two weeks, but head coach Steve Kerr said Saturday that there’s at least an outside chance he could play Tuesday in Game 2 of Golden State’s second-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Via ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:

https://twitter.com/ESPNSteinLine/status/726489715398991872

Obviously, the smart money is on Curry not playing this early in his timetable. But the fact that it’s even on the table would seem to indicate that, barring a setback, he’ll be back for at least some of the series, which tips off Sunday.