Michael Redd likely to see his first action with the Suns later this week

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Michael Redd signed with the Suns back on Dec. 29, and at the time, the message was clear that there would be no rush in getting him to the court. But after 10 days of workouts with the team, it appears that his time is almost here.

“I think he’s almost to the point where we can stick him in a game and play him a few minutes and kind of let him get acclimated to what we’re doing,” said Suns head coach Alvin Gentry, before Phoenix easily took care of the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday. “Maybe even Thursday or Friday, we may just have an opportunity to stick him in and see. We’ll just have to see what happens with him in the next couple of days, see how he’s feeling. But I think he’s getting close to wanting to have some game action and see where he is.”

Redd has been seen working hard on the arena floor before the team’s last two home games, and says he feels like he’s getting closer to being in game shape.

“I feel good,” Redd said. “Just trying to get myself prepared for a game situation. But I feel great; there’s no pain. There have been no setbacks at all. The training staff has been working with me night and day to continue to get stronger, continue to get better, and I feel good.”

When told of Gentry’s proclamation that game time might be on the horizon as soon as this week, it was news to Redd. But he took the coach’s remarks as a positive evaluation of his progress.

“That’s encouraging,” he said. “They must see something, then. I don’t have any expectations of minutes, I’ve come to just work and get better, and whatever [coach] asks me to do, I’ll do. Which, he said, is pretty much scoring. But it’s fun, my teammates have been great, they welcomed me in. The coaching staff and the organization’s been great.”

Redd is also predictably excited about getting the opportunity to lace ’em up alongside a playmaker like Steve Nash.

“Oh my gosh, It’s a dream, man. It’s a shooter’s dream to play with a guy like that,” Redd said. “His vision is impeccable, the man just knows how to play the game. Playing against this team I had a great respect for him, but playing with him now, you can see why he’s so great.”

With Redd’s decline in minutes over the past three seasons due to injury, it’s easy to forget the level of talent he possesses. But when healthy, he’s among the purest shooters in the game. At this stage of his career, he seems humble and ready to do whatever he can to help — even if he’s not sure where exactly he might fit with this Suns team just yet.

“I’ll find my way,” he said. “It won’t be hard for me to just continue to do what coach asks me to do, learn the system, learn the plays. Which I’ve been trying to do this past week. Then just play basketball. That’s it.”

Rumor: Grizzlies had to choose between Marc Gasol and David Fizdale

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David Fizdale has been linked to most of the NBA’s head-coaching vacancies.

He developed a legion of backers as lead a Heat assistant, and he did good things guiding the Grizzlies before they unexpectedly fired him. He deserves consideration.

But he also must explain his fractured relationship with Memphis star Marc Gasol. They weren’t speaking for a while.

And maybe the problem was even worse than that.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

According to a source close to Fizdale briefed on the Grizzlies’ decision, it was ownership having to make a choice — trade their All-Star center Marc Gasol, who has fallen in love with its small-market city, or fire the coach. Their relationship had gotten that bad.

If Grizzlies ownership felt it had to choose between Gasol and Fizdale, it’s not clear why.

Fizdale benched Gasol down the stretch during the coach’s last game, and Gasol publicly expressed his frustration.

But Gasol denied issuing a me-or-Fizdale ultimatum. Fizdale said focus on his relationship with Gasol was “overblown,” adding he cared far more about whether he could win with a player than whether they got along personally.

Memphis obviously sided with Gasol – probably too strongly.

LeBron James bought Cavs teammates matching designer suits to wear to game tonight

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I’m still trying to decide if this is cool or a little too Stepford.

The Cavaliers rolled into the Bakers’ Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis tonight wearing matching designer suits, all paid for by LeBron James and custom fitted to each player.

If a college team rolled into a game in four-digit designer suits, the NCAA would have questions. And not about the vests.

The Cavaliers are LeBron’s team, and if he wants to buy his teammates suits and tell them to wear them it’s going to happen. Is it a bonding thing that helps bring them together? Sure. Is it in place to make sure LeBron remembers which ones are his new teammates? Probably not.

Do the suits help on the court? No. And the Cavaliers better bring it in Game 3 because if they go down 2-1 in this series — something that is a realistic possibility — the whispers of doubt are going to get a lot louder.

Report: Knicks to discuss coaching vacancy with Hawks’ Mike Budenholzer

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Mike Budenholzer is restless in Atlanta, seeing a rebuild coming and looking at other jobs (something Hawks management is fine with). He went down the road a ways with the Suns before pulling out of that process, but he’s still looking around.

The Knicks are casting a wide net in their search, talking to virtually everyone looking for coaching jobs.

So, this seemed inevitable, right? Budenholzer and the Knicks are going to talk, according to Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

This will be very preliminary. The Knicks have already had some level of conversation with Mark Jackson, David Fizdale, Jerry Stackhouse, David Blatt, Mike Woodson, and TNT analyst Kenny Smith (Jackson and Fizdale are the rumored early leaders). Budenholzer has established a style and culture in Atlanta, giving the franchise a path forward. New York could certainly use that.

However, the Knicks job comes with real challenges, too. That starts with James Dolan as owner and the erratic, at times paranoid culture he has created there. Also, expectations in New York are always high, but the team will be without Kristaps Porzigis for at least half (maybe all) of the upcoming season as he recovers from an ACL injury, and that puts a ceiling on the team in the short term. Is all that worth leaving Atlanta for?

 

Stephen Curry to begin “modified” practices with Warriors

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Golden State has flipped the switch in the first round, going up 3-0 on overmatched San Antonio. The Warriors have been outscoring the Spurs by 20.2 points per 100 possessions in the series, allowing less than a point per possession on defense and scoring when and where they want. Kevin Durant is averaging 27.3 points per game, Klay Thompson is shooting 63.3 percent from three and scoring 25.7 points per game, and the Warriors are clicking.

But they are not yet whole — they need Stephen Curry back. Not for this round, but before the Western Conference Finals for sure.

Curry was re-evaluated Friday and will begin practicing with the team in a limited — or “modified” to use the team’s term — way.

The target has always been a return somewhere during the second round, and that still seems to be on track. That is also a little faster than traditional for a Grade 2 MCL sprain, which can take up to two months to heal (not the 4-6 weeks of the Warriors timeline), but the Warriors are being cautious here for now.

Eventually, the Warriors will need him back — their offense is built around Curry and his ball movement and movement off the ball. Curry’s gravity to draw defenders, even when he doesn’t have the ball, opens up the floor for others. Put simply, if he’s 28 feet from the bucket on the weak side defenders still have to watch and be near him, and help defenders need to be aware, which pulls the defense to wherever he is. Without Curry and the Warriors take more midrange jumpers, it’s just in the first round series against the Spurs they are hitting them.