And then there were three.
Charlotte cast a wide net looking for their next coach but that list is now apparently down to three, according to Rick Bonnell at the Charlotte Observer (ESPN broke the story).
The Charlotte Bobcats have narrowed their coaching search to three candidates: Former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Quin Snyder, an NBA source confirmed Monday night.
Each of those men will come in for a second interview with owner Michael Jordan.
Not that Jordan and Jerry Sloan need much of an introduction — Sloan was the long-time coach of the Utah Jazz that took the John Stockton/Karl Malone teams to the finals only to run into Jordan’s Bulls. Sloan is an old-school, hard-a** coach who will instill discipline in the team. But at age 70 is he the right guy for a rebuilding project?
Brian Shaw is one of the top assistants in the game, having been the right hand man of Phil Jackson and this past season Frank Vogel in Indiana. Shaw is also a former player who can pull out one of his three rings from the Shaq/Kobe Lakers and impress the young players. With Shaw coming out of the Jackson coaching tree and Jordan having won under Jackson, you might see them try to become a triangle team if Shaw is hired.
Snyder is the lead assistant coach to Mike Brown with the Los Angeles Lakers right now and is considered his offense guy. He’s the unexpected guy at the dance.
If I were a better man, I would be betting on Shaw. Which is reportedly who people in Orlando like as well, but they need to move quickly. Shaw is in demand.
Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.
Pacers fans delivered.
They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.
Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.
The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.
“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”
Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.
Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was widely panned – including by me – for trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Oladipo and Sabonis are killing it while George has underwhelmed.
Upon George’s return to Indiana, Pritchard took the opportunity to gloat. The Pacers general manager recently liked these tweets (hat tip: Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation):
This is petty – and I love it. Pritchard earned the victory lap.
Paul George has been pretty open about his plans.
He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.
Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.
So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.
Sam Amick of USA Today:
Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency
Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.
There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.
Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.