The Suns waived Mickael Pietrus after reaching a financial agreement, the team announced via a brief press release on Thursday.
Phoenix had attempted to trade Pietrus to Toronto for a conditional second round draft pick, but the deal fell through after Pietrus was found to not yet be healed from the knee injury that sidelined him for the final 12 games of last season.
Even after the failed trade attempt, it didn’t appear at all like Pietrus would be back with the Suns this year. The team’s president of basketball operations, Lon Babby, was all business in discussing his status shortly after the trade was cancelled, and it just seemed like the Suns would find a way to ensure that Pietrus would play somewhere other than Phoenix this season.
Before the Suns’ preseason home game against the Nuggets, head coach Alvin Gentry was asked why Pietrus wasn’t a fit, and to him, it seemed clear that Pietrus, for whatever reason, just wasn’t happy in Phoenix.
“I don’t know that,” Gentry answered. “I was excited about getting him. I think that, like I’ve said, he had size, he was really kind of our kind of player — a big guy that can shoot the ball, three-pointers and stuff like that. I think in order for it to be a good fit, you’ve got to want to be here. And I’m not sure if he was ever fully engaged in being here.”
UPDATE: Pietrus is “leaning heavily” towards signing with the Celtics, reports A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. He would need to clear waivers first, but if that happens, it looks like Boston may be at the top of his list.
Report: Trail Blazers receive permission to interview Stephen Silas
Portland also was granted permission Sunday to talk to Silas about being its top assistant, league sources said.
Working for Steve Kerr in Golden State – which propelled Alvin Gentry to Pelicans head coach last year and Luke Walton to Lakers head coach this year – is probably preferable. But Silas’ star is rising, regardless. He’s a highly regarded assistant coach.
Terry Stotts, contract extension in hand, could add Silas without fearing being undermined. That’s the value of giving head coaches security. Hiring good assistants becomes more tenable.
Why would Silas leave another good coach, Steve Clifford in Charlotte, for the Trail Blazers? I don’t know for certain, but in these situations, there’s usually one place to start: money. Portland’s willingness to spend could pay off.
Coaching carousel report: Nate McMillan targets Bill Bayno in Indiana; Dave Joerger to keep Nancy Lieberman with Kings
Bayno, the former UNLV head coach, had not been in the NBA this season but had been with Dwane Casey in Toronto the two seasons before that, and before that had been an assistant with Minnesota and Portland.
Corliss Willamson had been popular with players in Sacramento, as had Nancy Lieberman — but she also had a big fan on owner Vivek Ranadive. She is one of only two full-time female assistant coaches in the NBA (along with Becky Hammond in San Antonio).
Kevin Love steps on referees foot, tweaks knee, sits fourth; expect to play in Game 5
“I think Kyrie [Irving] was shooting towards the end of the third quarter, and I stepped on the official’s foot, and it didn’t feel too great,” said Love, who had a total of 13 points and 11 rebounds in Games 3 and 4. “More so the knee [than the ankle hurting]. Will be sore tomorrow, but nothing that will prevent me from playing.”
Love had seemed to find a groove playing with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to start the playoffs, averaging 18.4 points per game and shooting 44.9 percent from three in the playoffs as the Cavaliers opened the playoffs with 10 straight wins. But like a few Cavaliers, his shooting has gone ice-cold in Canada — he also was rejected at the rim by Bismack Biyombo. Frye has played in crunch time because he is hitting shots.
“I had a lot of great shots, I just didn’t knock them down,” Love said. “It’s a simple as that. I had a lot of confidence in shooting the ball, a lot of really wide open 3’s, especially to start that first quarter. A number of them went in and out, so I just need to continue to stay aggressive.”
This series is knotted 2-2, and the Cavaliers need Love to find his shot before Wednesday night’s Game 5 — the Cavaliers have a series on their hands.
Kevin Love shut down at the rim by Bismack Biyombo (VIDEO)
His biggest play of the night was this clean block of Kevin Love at the rim. Love passed to LeBron James in the post, caught his defender napping and cut the rim, got the pass back from James and… denied.
Biyombo also got LeBron James at the rim but was called for a foul much to the dismay of Biyombo, Raptors fans, and the ESPN broadcast crew (it was the right call — watch Biyombo leap across the lane, he is anything but vertical, he contacts LeBron’s body, that’s a foul). Either way it’s worth watching.