Steve Nash says he would “definitely listen” to offer from Heat

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This summer the courting of free agent Steve Nash is going to get out of control.

He could well end up deciding to play for the Suns, but first pretty much every contending team — whether they can afford to bring him in or not — will be linked to him. If not outright reach out to him and court him.

That includes the Miami Heat. They have some nice young point guards in Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole, but they don’t have Steve Nash. (Although to they need Steve Nash since LeBron James and Dwyane Wade handle the ball so much?) For his part Nash said on the Dan Patrick show Thursday that he would certainly listen to an offer from the Heat.

“I’d listen. (James) is phenomenal. I love what they’re doing there. A lot of people don’t like them because they put all that talent together. But they’re professional, they play hard, they play together. Their coaching staff has done a great job. So, I have a tremendous amount of respect for them, and I would definitely listen.”

Nash said that he might come back to the Suns this summer, but only if they show improvement and start to look like a team that can contend. Nash wants a ring. He tried to sound non-committal but it came off a lot like he was going to listen to offers and see if there is a contender where he can fit.

Like the Heat. Maybe they talk, but Heat would not be able to offer much of anything thanks to the stars they have (and Mike Miller). Miami already has $78 million committed for next year (the cap will be about $58 million and the luxury tax will be about $70 million). They could offer Nash mini mid-level type money, which is all a lot of teams will be able to offer. The Suns can offer a lot more.

The decision will be Nash’s — more money to stay where he is or play for much less to have a serious shot at a ring. I have no idea which way he will lean, but Nash said to Dan Patrick that free agency with him will be more interesting than the trade deadline. Of that much we are certain.

PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.

The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.

I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.

Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.

That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.

But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.

On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.

To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

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The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).

Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.

But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.

So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.

But at least he has that opportunity.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

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Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.

Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.