Report: Jeff Van Gundy interested in Nets job, but won’t meet with team while interim coach is in place

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Jeff Van Gundy was an NBA head coach for 11 years with the Knicks and the Rockets, but hasn’t held that job title since the 2006-07 season.

It appears that may change as early as next year, but only if the Brooklyn Nets are willing to wait that long to secure Van Gundy’s services.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

While Jeff Van Gundy does have interest in the Brooklyn Nets‘ opening, he’ll be likely unwilling to meet with team officials while an interim coach is in place during the season, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Nets haven’t reached out to Van Gundy, but he’s well regarded on every level of the organization’s ownership and management charts.

Van Gundy has never met with an organization that had a coach in place as part of his personal code, and he has respect for P.J. Carlesimo’s status. It is likely that the Nets would have to wait until season’s end to meet with Van Gundy about the job.

After more than five years out of the league, Van Gundy is still widely regarded as an excellent coach. His playoff appearances in both New York and Houston are reminders of that, and especially during his time in New York, Van Gundy cemented himself as a more than legitimate leader at the NBA level.

The question in this case is, how long will the Nets be willing to wait to settle on a replacement for Avery Johnson?

P.J. Carlesimo has the interim job, but no one expects him to retain it for long, and certainly not beyond this season. If ownership is patient enough to play out the schedule without a long-term solution in place, then Van Gundy may very well end up with the job, if in fact he decides to leave the broadcasting booth for a return to the sidelines.

But it’s more than likely that Brooklyn would like to secure a permanent solution sooner rather than later, just to ensure that the team’s minimum goal of reaching the playoffs is secured this season. If that’s the case, Van Gundy will likely remain out of the picture, given his insistence on not talking to a team about its head coaching job while one of his peers is currently occupying that seat.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”