Part of the talk at the “hello Denver, meet Andre Iguodala” press conference on Thursday involved Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri and Iguodala both saying they would be willing to talk about a contract extension. Words like that are nice, we’ll see where it goes.
But another note out of the Denver Post talks about the Nuggets locking up Ty Lawson — who can be a restricted free agent at the end of next season — to solidify the roster.
Ujiri already has said he wants to sign point guard Ty Lawson to a long-term deal, and Lawson told The Denver Post last May that he was excited about that possibility. If Ujiri and team president Josh Kroenke can re-sign their backcourt, that will give Denver a thrilling nucleus going forward, knowing small forwards Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler and center JaVale McGee are already signed for years to come. Meanwhile, power forward Kenneth Faried is entering the second season of his rookie contract.
Locking up Lawson would be smart.
That would have the Nuggets locked in as a good and entertaining team. Not a title contender, they’ll need more pieces for that, but on a second tier behind the Lakers (who have a couple years before they need to rebuild around Dwight Howard) and Oklahoma City (which is not going anywhere for a while).
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.