Generally a good rule of thumb is that if you’re the coach of the Boston Celtics you shouldn’t comment on the Lakers coaching search. It’s pretty much Mahmoud Ahmadinejad commenting on the U.S. Presidential election — nobody should care what he thinks.
But Doc Rivers spoke for a lot of Lakers fans when he commented on the firing of Mike Brown, the awkward dance with Phil Jackson then the hiring of Mike D’Antoni on Chris Russo’s radio program (SirusXM’s Mad Dog Radio) on Tuesday, as transcribed by the Los Angeles Times.
“I didn’t like the way it was done,” said Rivers. “I don’t think you embarrass anybody….
“Whether you like Phil or not, he’s won a lot of titles and I think he was owed more than that treatment, in my opinion, especially [from] that franchise,” continued Rivers.
He’s right. You can make the case that Mike D’Antoni was the right hire, but it’s how everything went down that was awkward.
The Lakers thought — and GM Mitch Kupchak confirmed — that they didn’t think Phil Jackson would want the job. Jackson had said the summer before at a lunch with Kupchak that he didn’t think he would coach again. So Jim Buss and the Lakers went to him, figured he’d say no, then they could tell fans “hey we tried, but here is D’Antoni and he rocks.” But Jackson surprised them by wanting the job and then Buss was forced to choose — and he was never a Phil Jackson guy. It ended poorly and he couldn’t come back to him now hat in hand. So Jim Buss made his call.
The difference is, Jerry Buss played chess in these situations. He was never perfect, but he had thought everything three moves ahead. He was prepared for eventualities. Jerry Buss wouldn’t have waited until five games in for an awkward in-season change. He wouldn’t have gone to Jackson at all if that’s not the guy he wanted.
And he wouldn’t have hung Jackson out to dry. Doc is right about how it turned out.
Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.
First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.
Three quick takeaways here:
1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.
2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.
3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.
(Hat tip reddit)
VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”
That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.
Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:
“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”
Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.
And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.