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Report: Ewing insulted by offer to coach Knicks D-League team


UPDATE 10:42 am: ESPNNewYork took this one step further, saying that not only did Ewing turn down the D-League job, he was pretty ticked that’s all the franchise ever offered.

One source close to Ewing said the Hall of Famer felt a bit slighted by the Knicks’ offer to coach the Erie Bayhawks because he has already established himself in the NBA.

“Patrick has paid his dues,” the source said. “He was a little insulted.”

I can get why Knicks coach Mike Woodson didn’t want to add Ewing to has staff as an assistant, that would have led to a lot of “if things don’t go well we’ve got a coach in waiting in the wings” talk. You know, pretty much what happened with him and Mike D’Antoni.

9:05 am: Well, Patrick Ewing did get a head coaching offer this summer. It just wasn’t the one he expected. Or wanted.

Ewing interviewed for the Bobcats head coaching job this year, he interviewed for the Pistons job last year and… really, it would be faster to list the teams where Ewing hasn’t been passed over. He’s paid his dues as an assistant but has never been offered the big chair.

Except in the D-League, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.

Patrick Ewing, who for years has been passed over for coaching positions with the Knicks, recently turned down an opportunity to become head coach of the club’s D-League team, the Daily News has learned.

Although Ewing is out of work after he was not retained by Orlando, the ex-Knicks great, who interviewed for the Charlotte Bobcats’ head coach position in June, would prefer to work in the NBA.

Ewing is an experienced assistant coach having most recently been on Stan Van Gundy’s staff in Orlando, with stops in Washington and Houston before that. He has interviewed for a number of NBA head coaching jobs but has never gotten an offer.

I don’t know why Ewing didn’t take the Knicks offer (reportedly he would prefer to stay at the NBA level), but I will say there is a perception among some around the NBA that if a coach goes to the D-League he can’t use that as a stepping stone to an NBA head-coaching job. That perception may be unfair and even untrue, but it is out there and some people buy into it. They think the best path to an NBA head coaching job is as an assistant at that level.

The Knicks have an open assistant coach position but Mike Woodson is expected to hire LaSalle Thompson for that spot. They have yet to hire a coach for their D-League team, the Erie Bayhawks.

Report: Rockets will try to sign Alessandro Gentile next summer

Alessandro Gentile, Paulius Jankunas
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The Rockets tried signing Sergio Llull this summer, but he opted for a long-term extension with Real Madrid.

So, they’ll just turn to another player in their large chest of stashed draft picks – Alessandro Gentile.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Gentile, who was selected No. 53 in the 2014, is a 22-year-old wing for Armani Milano. He’s a good scorer, but he primarily works from mid-range – an area the Rockets eschew. He can get to the rim in Europe, but his subpar athleticism might hinder him in the NBA.

If Gentile comes stateside, he’ll face a steep learning curve. But he’s young enough and talented enough that he could develop into a rotation player.

Report: Hawks co-owner made more money by exposing Danny Ferry’s Luol Deng comments

Michael Gearon, Bruce Levenson
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A terribly kept secret: Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. wanted to get rid of general manager Danny Ferry.

Many believe that’s why Gearon made such a big deal about Ferry’s pejorative “African” comment about Luol Deng – that Gearon was more concerned about ousting Ferry than showing real concern over racism.

Gearon had another, no less sinister, reason to raise concern over Ferry’s remarks.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

While Gearon felt that Ferry, as he wrote in the June 2014 email to Levenson, “put the entire franchise in jeopardy,” Gearon also figured to benefit financially from a Sterling-esque fallout.

In the spring of 2014, Gearon was in the process of selling more of his interest in the team to Levenson and the partners he had sold to in September. The agreed-upon price for roughly a third of Gearon’s remaining shares valued the Hawks at approximately $450 million, according to reports from sources.

“We accept your offer to buy the remaining 31 million,” Gearon wrote in an email to Levenson on April 17, 2014. “Let me know next steps so we can keep this simple as you suggested without a bunch of lawyers and bankers.”

Approximately five weeks later — just a little more than a week before the fateful conference call — Steve Ballmer agreed to pay $2 billion for the Clippers, a record-smashing price that completely changed the assessed value of NBA franchises. Gearon firmly maintains he was acting out of the sincerity of his convictions to safeguard the franchise from the Sterling stench, but such a spectacle also allowed him to wiggle out of selling his shares at far below market value.

Gearon and his legal team later challenged the notion that the sell-down was bound by any sort of contractual obligation and that any papers were signed. Once the organization became involved in the investigation, the sale of the shares was postponed.

Arnovitz and Windhorst did an incredible amount of reporting here. I suggest you read the full piece, which includes much more background on the Gearon-Ferry rift.

Considering the Hawks sold for $850 million, Gearon definitely made more money than if he’d sold his shares at a $450 million valuation.

Did that motivate him? Probably, though it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Most likely, his actions were derived from at least three desires – making more money, ousting Ferry and combating racism. Parsing how much each contributed is much more difficult.

What Ferry said was racist, whether or not he was looking at more racism on the sheet of paper in front of him. His comments deserved punishment.

But if Gearon didn’t have incentive to use them for his own benefit, would we even know about them? How many other teams, with more functional front offices, would have kept similar remarks under wraps or just ignored them?