Thursday And-1 links: Dirk Nowitzki thinks Popovich is the best

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Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• Tradition says you say your coach is the best in the league, but Dirk Nowitzki thinks it is Gregg Popovich. He’s right. And I doubt Rick Carlisle has a problem with that.

• Dirk Nowitzki says he would love to team up with Deron Williams. Yea, ya think?

• What is the most dominant NBA champion of all time? Neil Paine crunched the numbers at Basketball Prospectus and… yea, it’s who you’re thinking.

• Kobe Bryant was named to the All-NBA First Team for the 10th time, the record is 11.

• Fantastic post: “What I learned from Stan Van Gundy.”

• A fan was arrested trying to run on the court in Miami last night wearing a shirt but no pants? Why? Because Rick Ross has offered $10,000 to anyone who streaks at a Heat game to promote his new record.

• Chris Kaman’s livingroom is very Chris Kaman.

• There had been rumors he was, but Chris Mullin is not in the running for the Trail Blazers GM job. And neither is Shaq.

• North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall is a bubble lottery player in this draft, but is not fully recovered from wrist surgery and may not work out for teams before the draft.

• The Clippers do not expect to have Kenyon Martin back next year.

• However, the Clippers are going to make a push to bring back Nick Young.

• The Lakers are not expected to bring Troy Murphy back.

• As if you expected otherwise, Beno Udrih has now formally picked up his $7.8 million player option with the Bucks for next season.

• Detroit management is ticked that Greg Monroe was left off of the USA Select Team (the young team that works out with the Olympic team). Sorry, but I’d take Hibbert over him, too.

Good stuff on the deterioration of the Kobe Bryant/Pau Gasol relationship.

• Metta World Peace wishes he could have done more for the Lakers in the playoffs. So do Lakers fans.

• Lakers coach Mike Brown says he could have done a better job this season. Honestly, I think he did a solid job considering the top-heavy roster and no training camp. What I will lay at his feet is the rough patches for Pau Gasol — Brown’s offense pushed him out of the paint, asked him to space the floor and made him less effective.

• The Wizards Jan Vesely admits that adjusting to life in the NBA was hard.

• Golden State’s plans to leave Oracle Arena in five years move to a stadium on the San Francisco Bay is not sitting well with the team’s fan base in Oakland.

Rich Cho on Trail Blazers getting swept: ‘Being a previous Portland GM, that didn’t disappoint me’

AP Photo/The Charlotte Observer, Jeff Willhelm
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In 2011, the Trail Blazers surprisingly fired Rich Cho after only season as general manager.

Cho – since hired and fired by the Hornets – seems to be holding a grudge.

John Canzano of The Oregonian:

That’s a sentiment many people hold toward their former employer. Few say so publicly. That Cho did indicates just how strongly he feels.

Under owner Paul Allen, the Trail Blazers have run through numerous executives. It’s part of the culture in Portland, and it leaves a lot of outgoing people bitter.

Current general manager Neil Olshey ought to be mindful of that.

Josh Allen’s old tweet: ‘I hate LeBron!!!!! #LeBronSucks’

AP Photo/Margaret Bowles
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Josh Allen, a quarterback from Wyoming, could be the No. 1 pick in tonight’s NFL draft. But his recently unearthed high school tweets – which include using the n-word with an ‘a’ at the end – are the sports story of the day.

And there’s an NBA tie.

Via Ryan Young of Yahoo Sports:

I hate LeBron!!!!! #LeBronSucks

— Josh Allen (@JoshAllenQB) June 7, 2011

Damian Lillard went down this same road with LeBron James, and they got past it.

But it would be a little more awkward if the Cleveland Browns – who have the Nos. 1 and 4 picks – take Allen. Then, Allen will face more scrutiny over this tweet – the most innocuous of the bunch.

Donovan Mitchell tells Thunder fans, Jazz teammates Utah not returning to Oklahoma City this season

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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The Jazz blew a 25-point second-half lead in Game 5 last night, extending their series with the Thunder. Up 3-2, the Jazz are still in control. They can close out in Game 6 tomorrow in Utah. Blow that, and they must return to Oklahoma City for Game 7 Sunday.

But Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell is making it abundantly clear he doesn’t plan to do that.

Gabe Ikard of The Franchise 107.7:

Jake Edmonds of KUTV:

A confident proclamation that rallies his team or youthful exuberance run amok?

The narrative will be decided after Game 6. That’s just how this is done.

Report: Grizzlies moving toward keeping J.B. Bickerstaff as coach

AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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From the moment Robert Pera opted to retain control of the Grizzlies and end a prolonged ownership saga, it seemed interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff would remain Memphis’ coach.

Lo and behold…

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Bickerstaff did a decent job before the Grizzlies started tanking. But that was a small a sample, and his prior work as Rockets interim coach was uninspiring.

To be fair to Bickerstaff, those were both difficult situations. He’s an experienced assistant who might be ready for this challenge.

To be less fair to Bickerstaff, this looks like Memphis taking the cheap route. The Grizzlies didn’t appear to conduct much of a coaching search, if any. Nor has Bickerstaff been mentioned with other openings. It probably won’t cost as much to hire him as it would a more-established option.

Memphis seems to be operating under the belief that a healthy Mike Conley and Marc Gasol will right the ship next season. And they might. But given the age and injury history of those two, I wouldn’t assume they stay healthy and productive all season. Even if they do, they’d have to carry an underwhelming supporting cast – with limited room for upgrade this summer – in a deep Western Conference.

The Grizzlies want Bickerstaff, who’d be a first-time non-interim head coach, leading that team trying to win now? That doesn’t seem like the right risk-reward balance – at least until considering his salary, and even then.