Phil Jackson was under the impression that the Lakers job was his if he wanted it — and it wasn’t just his impression. Mike D’Antoni thought it was Jackson’s job, everyone around the Lakers thought it was Jackson’s job, and Lakers fans thought it was Jackson’s job.
The Lakers front office wanted Mike D’Antoni. And Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak admitted Tuesday he didn’t think Jackson would want the job (in part because Jackson told Kupchak a few months before he didn’t think he’d ever return to coaching). They were caught off guard by the momentum of Jackson returning picked up.
Kupchak has taken the incoming fire and spoke with reporters about the move. Here are tweets from Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register about what he said.
That is a good soldier providing cover when under fire.
We’ve made the argument that D’Antoni is the better long-term hire (if he can get them to defend). But the problem with how this went down is the game changed for D’Antoni — he went from replacing Mike Brown (who D’Antoni will be better than) to replacing Phil Jackson in the minds of Lakers fans. Not even the real Jackson, but worse yet the legend of him, The Lakers could win 62 games for D’Antoni and he will hear how Phil’s team would have won 70 games. And swept the Celtics. And shut out the Bobcats 101-0. And how Kobe Bryant would have scored every time he walked over the half-court line.
But no pressure Mike. Good luck.
Donald Trump decided to disinvite the Golden State Warriors to the White House despite team winning the 2017 NBA Championship. Many members of the Warriors have been critical of Trump during his short tenure in Washington D.C., which the former mail order steak salesman has not taken lightly.
With no invitation to the White House on hand, and considerable doubts that the team would go even if the opportunity resurfaced, the Warriors have decided to take a private tour around the nation’s capital instead.
According to a report from ESPN, the team will take a trip with just players, coaches, and some kids to a discreet location as part of a tour.
Head coach Steve Kerr left it up to the players to determine how they wanted to spend their time, and the players selected a venue in which local kids would join them. It will be closed off to the media, sources said.
The players wanted the outing to be a personal, intimate experience.
“It’s their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it’s up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans,” Kerr told ESPN. “I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they’re doing.”
Golden State will be in D.C. to play the Washington Wizards on February 28. They will reportedly take their trip — sure to be fun for the kids — the day before.
Meanwhile, you have to wonder if an NBA team will ever visit the White House while Trump lives there. People from LeBron James to Gregg Popovich have spoken out about their disagreements with him, and the Warriors were pretty vocal about not attending a ceremony with Trump.
Larry Nance Jr. took on the 2018 NBA Dunk Contest in his dad’s old Phoenix Suns jersey, which was a nice nod to the father-son NBA duo. But Nance Jr. wanted to be able to wear his pop’s No. 22 jersey in Ohio despite the team retiring those digits some time ago.
Now, he has his wish.
According to the team, Nance Jr. will get to wear No. 22 the rest of the season. Nance Sr.’s banner will still hang at The Q in honor of his contribution to the franchise.
Will this spur a new round of jersey sales like the one prompted by Dwyane Wade‘s return to the Miami Heat? Probably not, although folks do dig those late-’80s and early-’90s Cavs uniforms. Perhaps the team should do a re-issue?
Shouts to the team for making a special accommodation for the Nance family. It’s nice to see a team not be so stiff about something this cool.
In the Dallas Mavericks organization, women who were being sexually harassed by the CEO and others did exactly what they were supposed to do — they reported the incidents to their supervisors and the head of Human Relations in the organization. Nothing happened. The men kept their jobs, the women kept on being harassed — some had their jobs threatened if they spoke out — and the old boys networked thrived.
The NBA is giving future employees in that situation another option. From Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
It’s a good first step.
The NBA is a league that prides itself on being progressive, promoting equality, and this Mavericks scandal is a black eye for the league on this front. While they will wait for the hired team of lawyers to finish their investigation before any punishment is handed out — and there will be punishment — the league needs to take proactive steps now. This is a good one. There needs to be more.
The Greek Freak (now trademarked) Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to be a Buck for a while — he has three fully guaranteed years on his contract after this one, taking him until at least the summer of 2021. At that point, Milwaukee almost certainly will be able to offer him the designated player super max contract that will be hard to turn down. The Greek Freak is going to be in Milwaukee for a long time.
That didn’t stop Joel Embiid, who tried to recruit Antetokounmpo to Sixers during All-Star weekend. Via Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“He told me I should trust the process and come play for Philly,” Antetokounmpo said with a chuckle, drawing a laugh. “That was my reaction — I just laughed.”
Of course, if somewhere down the line Antetokounmpo and Embiid team up some tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist will say “they have been planning this since 2018.”
Embiid probably did this tongue in cheek, but he is fearless about this stuff — remember a couple of summers ago he tried to recruit Kevin Durant through social media.
As for Antetokounmpo and the Sixers, nothing to see here, move along.