Keith Smart

Keith Smart signs two-year deal to coach Kings


Keith Smart had an impossible situation in Golden State when he became head coach. Not long after he was hired the team was sold to new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber whose mandate was to change the culture of a franchise that had been to the playoffs once in 17 years. Smart coached the Warriors to 36 wins — about what should be expected of the roster he was given — but he had no chance, he was swept up in the tide of change and washed out to sea.

Now, he’s taking over as head coach mid-season for a Sacramento squad where the team looks lost on the court, the old head coach feuded with the young star center, and the entire franchise is in danger of packing up and moving out of the city all together.

Yes, that’s much more stable.

But the Kings are at least giving him a chance, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo (via twitter).

Keith Smart has agreed to a two-year with the Sacramento Kings, source tells Y! Sports. His deal is guaranteed through 2012-’13 season.

He’s at least being given a chance. That’s all he can ask.

But he’s got a full plate to clean up after Paul Westphal. The Kings run a simplistic (read: easy to defend) offense that had little off the ball movement and relied on Tyreke Evans in the pick-and-roll and DeMarcus Cousins in the post. Smart needs to get the Kings and their young athletes out and running more, plus he needs to diversify and add some movement to the half court offense.

He has to get them to play much better defense.

And having a better relationship with Cousins wouldn’t hurt, either.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.