Jeff Van Gundy is sticking up for his brother, Stan, who got fired because Dwight Howard didn’t like him. Sure, both the Magic and Howard deny that, but does anybody believe them?
Jeff Van Gundy doesn’t.
And the current ABC color analyst got on a roll ripping the Magic CEO Alex Martins and how they handled this entire situation when being interviewed on 98.7 ESPN New York (via Sports Radio Interviews).
“For (Stan Van Gundy) to have been in the office all day and the President, Alex Martins, knows that he is there and let them leave and then he calls him on the phone to fire him? It’s unprofessional. It’s unprofessional.
“To hide behind the fact or try to make everyone believe that Dwight Howard didn’t have a part in this is absurd. Say listen we fired this guy because we know this our best chance to keep Dwight Howard. Dwight Howard and I decided to fire him. To do anything else is playing a game of semantics….
“Finally and this is the biggest one to me he said that my brother is the finest ‘X and O’ coach he has been around in his 25 years in the business. Okay listen [Alex Martins] all you have done in your 25 years in the business is release press releases and run the business side.
“You don’t know if a ball is blown up or stuffed. You don’t know if the pick and role coverage on the side is right or wrong. Just say that I have no knowledge about basketball. It’s offensive when someone who has no knowledge about basketball even in a positive comment tries in those ways to sort of negate what Brian Hill did as a coach or what Matt Guokas did as a coach. He doesn’t know one thing about basketball so please hold off your comments on my brothers expertise since you know nothing about basketball.”
The Magic have handled this poorly from the start, no doubt. It’s like when your girlfriend/boyfriend is thinking about dumping you — there are steps you take to try to keep them, to repair the relationship. But you don’t sacrifice your dignity and let them run all over you to do it. Because they are just going to leave anyway after that.
The leap from college — even high-level college programs — to the NBA can be hard to describe. Now everybody is bigger, longer, and far more athletic — the guy at the end of the bench barely getting any burn was one of the best players on his college team.
Players get their first taste of that at Summer League. The Sixers’ No. 1 pick Ben Simmons looked pretty good when he got that taste, but you can see the development that needs to go on as well.
He’s spending the time between now and the start of training camp working on his shooting and getting stronger, among other things, he told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.
“I think just getting in the gym and making sure I’m getting reps up, shooting-wise, dribbling,” Simmons said earlier this week after an appearance at Sixers Camp in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “The weight room as well, making sure I get my strength back and my weight up.”
All good things. Handles and shooting in particular — he’s about to start seeing much better defenders nightly. It’s going to take time, and we’ll see how far he can go, but Simmons unquestionably brings a lot of skill and potential to the table. That he’s putting in the work is a good sign — that was one of the concerns about him heading into the draft.
New GM Bryan Colangelo is going to benefit from Sam Hinkie’s process. So long as he doesn’t screw it up.
JaVale McGee is getting another shot in the NBA.
He played just 34 games off the bench for Dallas last season. He played 23 games the season before that due to injury.
But the Golden State Warriors are thin up front — Zaza Pachulia will get the bulk of the minutes at the five (when the Warriors use a traditional center), and there is the often-injured Anderson Varejao behind him. The Warriors could use another big. So they are giving McGee a look, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
This is a low-risk move by the Warriors, and it’s worth the gamble. Vintage McGee, for all his Shaqtin’ a Fool flaws, is far more athletic and a better rim protector than any of the guys the Warriors now have at the five. If it doesn’t work out — and the odds are it will not — they cut him, if it does they pay him a minimum deal.
I hope he makes it, just because the league is more fun when McGee is in it.
At some point, Russell Westbrook will sit down with members of the media and discuss Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder, how he felt about the move, and how it impacted him both personally and professionally.
But not right now. He remains silent.
This Vine making its way around, where Westbrook laughs — probably at the question, although read into that whatever you want — when asked about Durant sums up where we are.
In the full Facebook clip, Westbrook walks away, too. It’s his right. He can talk about it on his schedule.
Rudy Gay expressed displeasure with how the Kings were handling trade rumors. Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac retorted that Gay had his phone number.
Apparently, Gay found it.
Sean Cunningham of ABC 10:
Following those comments, Gay told ABC10 on Thursday afternoon that he had since spoken with Divac.
“I have talked to Vlade,” Gay said from his Nike Skills Academy at Hardwood Palace in Rocklin. “I can’t say since Monday stuff has changed, but I just feel like we have a little bit of time to start changing things.”
Gay, who will be entering his 11th NBA season, has insisted he hasn’t demanded a trade and should he remain a member of the Kings by the time training camp opens in October, he says he’ll report and be ready to go.
“At this point in my career I just want to be happy,” said Gay. “I talked to Vlade and we’re trying to make that happen.”
Even if he hasn’t demanded a trade, it sure sounds like Gay would welcome one. I doubt the Kings would mind moving on, either.
But it takes another team to trade for Gay, and so far, one hasn’t emerged.
In the meantime, tensions appear to be eased. Open communication usually helps.