Blazers may just decide to make interim coach, GM permanent

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Portland’s year-long, on-and-off search for a GM has been as tidy and clean as a home on Hoarders.

It’s a mess. And after all that it may end up falling back to the guy who has been doing the job the whole time — Chad Buchanan. The “interim” guy who has rocked the job while Blazers ownership and management looked at what they think are greener pastures over the fence.

And if Buchanan gets to keep his job, so might interim head coach Kaleb Canales.

We told you the Trail Blazers GM search seemed stuck in the mud, with different parts of the Blazer brass favoring different people. Add to that Clippers GM Neil Olshey agreeing to terms to stay with the Clippers, and suddenly Buchanan has jumped back into the conversation reports Chris Haynes at CSNNW.com.

A person close to the situation says Trail Blazers’ owner, Paul Allen, is concerned with (Pacers assistant GM David) Morway’s character and finds that he reminds him of a “Kevin Pritchard 2.0” and (Sixers assistant GM Tony) DiLeo’s lack of experience being in charge “is worrisome.”

Morway is at the bottom of the list, according to multiple sources. That leaves Bower – who happens to be the most experienced candidate out of the finalist and would appear to be the logical choice. However, those that know Allen, have said he prefers that his general managers be/remain in good physical shape and Bower doesn’t fit that criteria….

Multiple league sources have told CSNNW.com they don’t think either of the three candidates will get the job and they say Trail Blazers’ acting general manager, Chad Buchanan, “has become an option again.”

Chad Buchanan has done a great job in his year as the “interim” general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers — they have transitioned past the Brandon Roy/Greg Oden era and are ready to rebuild a team around LaMarcus Aldridge and some good role players, plus two lottery picks this year (No. 6 and 11).

Canales was 8-15 at the end of the season as coach, but he was presiding over an injured roster that had been shaken up radically at the deadline. Now the Blazers are about to rebuild with a younger roster and a couple lottery picks and…

The thinking is, if the Trail Blazers aren’t going to be competing for a championship anytime soon and if they’re going to hold on to their two lottery picks, Canales, 34, is being viewed as “the perfect guy” to take over the young Trail Blazer roster.

Expect some of the big name assistant coaches out there — Brian Shaw, Mike Malone, etc. — to get interviewed as well, but the Blazers apparently like the Oklahoma City model of a young coach with a young team growing together.

Report: Dan Fegan, former agent for John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, dies in car crash

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Dan Fegan, the former NBA agent for players like John Wall, Dwight Howard, and DeMarcus Cousins has reportedly passed away.

Fegan, 56, was at one point a representative for other big-name players including Chandler Parsons, DeAndre Jordan, Austin Rivers, and Ed Davis. He had a public falling out in 2017 with his agency, Independant Sports & Entertainment (ISE). Fegan and ISE had filed suits against each other in 2017 after Fegan was fired.

The report of Fegan’s death comes from Aspen, Colo. where early on Sunday morning Fegan’s car collided with a bus.

Via Aspen Times:

Fegan was killed when the SUV he was driving was hit by a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus along Highway 82, the Colorado State Patrol said.

Two other passengers in the SUV, a 29-year-old woman from California and Fegan’s 5-year-old son, were airlifted to a hospital in Denver with serious injuries, according to Colorado State Trooper Gabe Easton. The name of the woman has not been released.

There was one passenger on the Glenwood Springs-bound bus, Easton said. Although they were “shaken up,” the bus driver and passenger were not injured, RFTA CEO Dan Blankenship said.

Awful news for Fegan’s family. Hopefully his son and the other passenger make a speedy recovery.

Gregg Popovich on Fox News pundit attacking LeBron James: “Unbelievable”

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Fox News pundit Laura Ingraham launched an attack at Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James after the NBA star voiced his opinion on Donald Trump. LeBron had done so many times before, alongside other notable NBA personalities like Kevin Durant and Steve Kerr.

This instance of LeBron speaking up apparently struck Ingraham in some type of way, enough to invoke a shot at James’ intelligence and speaking mannerisms in thinly-veiled comments. Ingraham told James to “shut up and dribble” which sparked the ire of many around the league. LeBron responded in kind, and most considered Ingraham’s racially-tinged tirade to be par for the course from that particular outlet.

Ingraham, who failed to do basic research on LeBron’s background, community leadership, and charitable contributions, also drew criticism from San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Speaking before San Antonio’s game against the Cavaliers, Popovich told a crowd that Ingraham’s comments said more about her than about LeBron, and that he was happy the game had such a positive role model for young fans in James.

Via Twitter:

Shoutout to Popovich for continuing to be a voice from such a prominent position within sports and pop culture. Guys like him and LeBron haven’t exhausted themselves even though the discussion about what they say is undoubtedly tiring.

Jimmy Butler has surgery on right meniscus, no timetable for return

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The playoff picture in the Western Conference became much more opaque after Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler went down with a knee injury earlier in the week.

Reports out of Minnesota was that Butler had suffered a right meniscus injury, ducking what many had feared was an ACL tear. According to the team, Butler had successful surgery on his right meniscus this weekend.

As of Sunday morning they did not have a timetable for his return.

Via Twitter:

Minnesota currently stands third in the West but they will have a hard time fending off the rest of the playoff hopeful teams below them without their star player.

For his part, Butler is hoping he will be back in time for the playoffs. Early reports were that the team was thinking his recovery had a 4-to-6 week timeline, but again nothing has been set. Meniscus recovery times vary greatly depending on the issue at hand and the procedure done, neither of which we have details on at this time.

The Timberwolves have the 15th most difficult strength of schedule ahead of them according to Tankathon.com, with games against major Western Conference opponents ahead of them as well as bottom-dwellers like the Memphis Grizzlies.

Minnesota has been a good story all season long. No doubt many will bring up Tom Thibodeau’s workload once again with Butler injured, something compounded by Butler apparently requesting to rest during the 2018 All-Star Game.

Wolves fans have been waiting a long time for this. They don’t deserve this kind of punishment at this late a date, but the Basketball Gods are cruel and unceasingly unforgiving.

Isaiah Thomas on Cavaliers trade to Lakers: “They were in panic mode”

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It seems Isaiah Thomas is a thorn in the side of many in the NBA these days. The Los Angeles Lakers point guard reportedly was the source of some locker room conflict while he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers, although it appears that Dwyane Wade was the first to lead the charge against Kevin Love in the infamous player rap session.

Thomas is now a member of the Lakers after being part of the worst section of the season in Cleveland. The Cavaliers, with their revamped roster, have just one loss since the trade deadline. LeBron James & Co. have moved on, and Thomas appears set for free agency this summer and yet another team.

A move for the Cavaliers seemed inevitable, even if the return for Kyrie Irving from Boston — conveyed through consequent trades — was less than ideal. Meanwhile Thomas, who didn’t appear to enjoy his time in Ohio, has now said that he was surprised Dan Gilbert’s team bailed on him so quickly.

Via ESPN:

“I didn’t think they would pull the trigger that fast, 15 games,” Thomas told ESPN’s E:60 in an interview that will air March 11. “But again, it’s a business. And the Cavs were, I mean, they were in panic mode. We were losing — a lot. And I think they felt like they needed to make a move, and they, they basically cleared house.”

Thomas went on to say that he didn’t think he had enough time to find a rhythm not only coming back from a hip injury but on a new team in a new system. Thomas also mentioned that he harbored no ill feelings toward the Cavaliers.

We’ll see if that’s the case when the Lakers take on Cleveland on March 11 in LA.