They are both former NBA players but they come at their jobs very differently.
To hear Orland’s Glen Davis tell it, Celtics coach Doc Rivers is an old school coach where Magic coach Jacque Vaughn is more a players’ coach into positive reinforcement. That’s what Davis told the Boston Herald.
“Different guys,” he said after (Sunday’s) pre-game shootaround. “Doc is more of a military-minded kind of guy, and Jacque is more of a Gandhi kind of guy. Soft but powerful.
“Doc’s more get the job done, and Jacque Vaughn is more the kind of guy who will ask you, Would you feel comfortable getting the job done?” said Davis. “I think that’s different with players. But in my system, I think I just feel better functioning in Jacque’s system. Doc wasn’t the kind of guy to pat you on your back and say, good job, man. He’s more like, OK, move on. In a way that’s positive, but some players are different. Jacque’s a different kind of guy. He pats you on your back – good job. That’s his motivation. But at the same time he still holds you accountable if you’re doing things wrong.”
Which works better? Clearly Rivers’ style if you give him vastly more talent than Vaughn to work with.
Fact is no two players are the same and what motivates one may not motivate another, you have to find the right buttons. It doesn’t matter if you are old school, new school, Zen, a numbers guy, what matters is getting the players to buy into what you are doing.
Rivers has done that. The fact the Magic are 5-8 with that roster shows Vaughn has gotten buy-in, too. And that’s what matters.
Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.
Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.
But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.
LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.
LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.
However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.
For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.
Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.