No extension for Stan Van Gundy could make things awkward in Orlando

9 Comments

Time to talk about the contract extension in Orlando… no, not that one. We’ll all be forced to be back on Dwight Howard watch this summer, we can give it a rest until then.

But during the whole Howard saga there was that report that the Magic told Howard if he signed an extension he could have say on who would be the coach and GM. Something everybody denied. Even though we know Van Gundy’s in your face, more negative style grates on Howard who likes it light and positive.

Well, thing is Stan Van Gundy’s contract is up at the same time as Howard’s the summer of 2013. Which makes the whole extension with Howard and Van Gundy a little awkward. A column by Brian Schmitz at the Orlando Sentinel covered this (hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie).

If it would make Howard happier to have a new coach — happy enough to sign an extension — how do the Magic fire Stan without making Dwight look like the bad guy who orchestrated his exit?…

CEO Alex Martins might have to take the hit, a move made easier if the team doesn’t have playoff success this season. But if the Magic reach the East Finals, how do they justify pushing out Van Gundy?

The Magic and Van Gundy already have had some discussions. I say something has to give this offseason.

There is a book out there on how to beat the Magic, and likely first round opponent Atlanta has it — single cover Dwight Howard (with Jason Collins in this case) and stay home on the shooters. It worked in the playoffs last year, it could again this year. And with two first round playoff exits you could make the case it is time for a change.

But it is still going to look like Howard pulled the lever on that move. Fair or not.

Plus, bring in a new coach and you’re going to need new personnel to fit the system. (Well, you may anyway, this roster as is doesn’t beat the Bulls or Heat in seven games, but not as big a shift.) New coach should mean a mini-rebuild, which might not keep Howard.

The Magic need to extend Van Gundy this summer. They need to not just put the entire franchise in flux. They are not going to find a better coach. Lock the man up.

Donovan Mitchell: I was at LeBron James’ Decision

Leave a comment

Donovan Mitchell has turned heads with the Jazz then made the most of his All-Star stage, winning the dunk contest.

But that wasn’t the first time he neared the spotlight.

Mitchell explained how he attended The Decision, LeBron James‘ 2010 free-agency TV special, where he announced he’d sign with the Heat.

Mitchell, via Dan Devine of Yahoo Sports:

“I was there, when he had The Decision,” Mitchell explained. “So that would probably be the biggest one.”

Like, there there?

“It was in Greenwich, Conn., and I went to school in Greenwich [at Greenwich Country Day School],” he said. “So, as a big LeBron fan in the sixth grade, I forced my mom to let me go. I wanted him to go to Miami. I wanted him to get his first ring.”

Young Donovan was glad to see one of his favorite players chart a course for a more successful future. Not everybody at the Greenwich Boys & Girls Club shared his enthusiasm.

“The people there who were Knicks fans … they weren’t too happy about it,” Mitchell said. “I almost got hit in the head with a Snapple bottle because they were just throwing stuff around outside. It was cool. I was just celebrating, so it was pretty cool.”

What a cool bit of happenstance.

Damian Lillard’s goal in meeting with Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen: ‘Spark that urgency’

Abbie Parr/Getty Images
1 Comment

Alleviating Paul Allen’s fear, Damian Lillard didn’t request a trade in his requested meeting with the Trail Blazers owner.

So, what did Lillard want to accomplish?

Lillard, in an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN:

It was just me showing urgency, spark that urgency, figure out, “OK, what do we have to do?” We’re a five, six seed. What do we got to do to make the jump? If you don’t have a line of communication with people who can make the changes or the people who can make impact for things happening for the better, then you’re just going out there playing.

Paralyzed by a huge payroll, the Trail Blazers have been going the opposite direction. They dumped Allen Crabbe and Noah Vonleh in their last two significant trades. Portland could let Ed Davis and Shabazz Napier walk in free agency this summer. Luxury-tax concerns aren’t vanishing. Evan Turner‘s, Maurice Harkless’ and Meyers Leonard‘s are major obstacles to upgrading the roster.

The Trail Blazers could be stuck.

That’d be rough news for Lillard, who’s already 27. I understand why he’s trying to push the envelope. His prime is ticking down.

I’m just not sure Portland can help him accomplish his championship-contention goals anytime soon, as hard as he presses.

Adam Silver jokingly thanks Magic Johnson for paying for All-Star Legends Brunch

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The NBA held its annual All-Star Legends Brunch last weekend. Jerry West, James Worthy, Bill Walton and Magic Johnson were honored.

And NBA commissioner Adam Silver delivered a great line while addressing the event.

Silver, via Steve Aschburner of NBA.com:

“Magic, thank you for paying for the brunch today.”

So, that’s why Johnson got fined for $50,000 for tampering for innocuous comments about Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Nate ‘Tiny’ Archibald reveals he’s living with incurable heart disease

AP Photo/Ed Maillard
1 Comment

The National Basketball Players Association and NBA set up health screenings for former players.

Nate “Tiny” Archibald, who starred for the Kansas City Kings and Boston Celtics, took advantage. Unfortunately, he learned a difficult outcome.

Jackie MacMullan of ESPN:

IT WAS DECEMBER 2016 when Archibald learned of his diagnosis, during a free screening at the New York offices of the NBPA. And now, more than a year later, he’s still reeling from the news.

“What I have is really rare,” he says. “There’s no pills, nothing they have found that works. I’m being tested all the time, just hoping, you know?

“My [heart] could go any minute. But I’m not ready for that. I want to be around for a long time.”

The medical community has had little success solving the riddle of amyloidosis. For those who suffer from it, aside from participating in clinical trials, or the possibility of a heart transplant, which at Archibald’s age may not be viable, there isn’t much that can be done.

We celebrated Archibald’s 69th birthday last fall with this highlight video. If you’re not familiar with the 6-foot-1 guard’s exciting game, get acquainted:

Hopefully, Archibald gets his wish and sticks around a long time.