Former Lakers coach Phil Jackson — the guy with the 11 rings and probably more insight into how to coach Kobe Bryant than anyone — finally sat down and talked with the guy now in the big chair in Los Angeles, Mike Brown.
Jackson was at Lakers headquarters to pick up girlfriend Jeanie Buss and dropped in on Brown who was sitting around with coaches… probably playing Othello, what else have they got to do?
So what did Jackson and Brown talk about? Where to live in L.A. and some other stuff, Brown told Marc Spears of Yahoo.
“We just talked shop about some of the guys on the team,” Brown said of his 15-minute conversation with Jackson. “But we talked more about what he’s got going right now, and where each one of us is living, and where he still has a place and all that other stuff. We talked about that more than really getting into talking about basketball.”
Actually, that’s smart by Brown. He can’t come in and try to be Phil Jackson, he needs to come in and be Mike Brown. Be true to who he is. Come in with a plan — a good one to run more twin-towers stuff with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol — and stick to it. That’s the only way this all works out for him.
He reiterated that he’s got ideas on what the Lakers need to do.
“There will be some aspects of the triangle that we will use,” Brown said. “Mid-post action and stuff like that. More than anything we’re going to play four out, one in, with a strong corner look.
“[Defensively], you’re going to the screen a little bit more. You’re forcing the action a little bit more. Your job as a big will begin and end rather quickly when it comes to guarding the basketball.”
Defense will be key for the Lakers. They have Kobe, Gasol and Bynum — they will get their points, whatever the system. But last season they stopped really being committed on defense and Dallas destroyed them for it. If they come back committed on that end, they are contenders. If not, well, Oklahoma City is looking really good and Dallas may be better next season.
Well played Stephen Curry, well played.
He was joking around with Justin Timberlake at the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe this weekend (you can watch it on NBC, check your local listings) when Curry poked a little fun at himself by throwing his mouthguard.
Last time he did that he got a $25,000 fine. This time he got some laughs.
LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and a number of Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets players wore “I can’t breathe” T-shirts in warmups after the death of Eric Garner in New York. LeBron and his then Heat teammates wore hoodies for a photo shoot after the Travon Martin shooting. NBA players have made other protest fashion statements, with no repercussions from the league.
But when WNBA players wore black warmup shirts in support of Black Lives Matter and other anti-violence protests, the WNBA came down with fines for the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury ($5,000) and players involved ($500) for uniform violations. That led to a lot of backlash — including among WNBA players. Some refused to answer basketball questions with the media after recent games.
Saturday, the WNBA rescinded the fines. As they should have.
The women’s players’ union supported the move, via a statement from the director of operations Terri Jackson.
“We are pleased that the WNBA has made the decision to rescind the fines the league handed down to the players on the Fever, Liberty, and Mercury. We look forward to engaging in constructive dialogue with the league to ensure that the players’ desire to express themselves will continue to be supported.”
I want a league — for men or women — where player’s individuality and statements can be made — I don’t want the NBA to be the button-down, cookie cutter NFL. Let the players be themselves. And if players want to weigh in on the biggest social issue of our time, they should. Without fear of repercussion.
Good on the WNBA for coming around to that.
Meyers Leonard could be poised for a big season in Portland. His minutes jumped last season because he provided spacing. With Portland adding Evan Turner on the wing to go with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, any big who can stretch the floor is going to get run, and Leonard has turned himself into a stretch four.
Leonard just hopes he can show what he can do at the start of the season — he’s still recovering from shoulder surgery. Here is what he told the Associated Press.
“My hope is to be ready right around the start of the season,” he said. “It’s a progression, first introducing rebounding, grabbing stuff overhead, then one-on-one, three-on-three, extending to the full court. We’ll see. You just never know.”
Leonard had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in April (they could have used him in the playoffs), and the timeline then was to have him back around the start of the season. Before he was shut down, he proved enough to get a four-year, $41 million contract extension with the Trail Blazers this summer.
The Trail Blazers will start Al-Farouq Aminu at the four, and Moe Harkless can certainly play there too (I’m far less sold on the future of Noah Vonleh). Leonard wants to get back before someone starts to steal any of his minutes.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) The New Orleans Pelicans say they have signed free-agent forward Terrence Jones and re-signed guard Tim Frazier.
A person familiar with the negotiations says Jones, a four-year veteran, signed a one-year deal Friday for the NBA minimum of about $1.14 million, while Frazier has signed a two-year deal worth about $4.1 million. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Pelicans have not released contract terms.
The 6-foot-9 Jones, who was Anthony Davis‘ teammates on Kentucky’s 2012 national championship team, has spent his first four NBA seasons with Houston, posting career averages of 10.4 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Frazier played in 16 games for New Orleans late last season, averaging 13.1 points, 7.5 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 29.3 minutes per game.