Thursday And-1 links: More Carmelo/Garnett fallout

14 Comments

Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• The punishment has come down, Carmelo Anthony is sitting out the Knicks Thursday night game for going after Kevin Garnett post-game by the team bus — he “just wanted to talk to him” — after KG does what he does and said something that got under Carmelo Anthony’s skin. Allegedly a comment about ‘Melo’s wife La La. Tyson Chandler said that what KG said crossed the line. Of course, what’s he going to say, he’s got to have his teammates back.

• Doc Rivers says KG didn’t say anything about Anthony’s wife. What’s Doc going to say, he’s got to have his players’ back.

• Amare Stoudemire is just bad at defense, and here is the breakdown. By the way, it’s not even close to being all on Mike D’Antoni.

• Who has Steve Nash assisted the most in his career? Stoudemire. Who else could it be?

• A good look at the Clippers “Tribe Called Bench.” That depth is a real regular season advantage for the Clippers, but it will be interesting to see how Vinny Del Negro handles it in the playoffs when rotations generally shorten.

• Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of Jeff Green’s heart surgery. Good to seem him just out on the court and playing.

• Former Grizzlies’ player Lester Hudson was arrested for reckless driving. From the Memphis Commercial Appeal: “Lester Hudson, 28, was seen driving his cousin’s car west on American Way when he slammed on the brakes and spun out in the intersection of Mt. Moriah, according to a police affidavit. Other cars at the intersection swerved to avoid a collision, officers reported. Hudson then allegedly smoked his tires, spun the car in a circle several times, and sped off northbound on Mt. Moriah.”

• John Wall has jumped shoe brands to adidas (he had been with Reebok, which is owned by adidas). “I’ve enjoyed my time with Reebok and I’m grateful for everything we accomplished the last few years,” said Wall. “Now, I’m excited to return to the court soon and begin my new partnership with adidas. They’ve changed the game with new technology and style and I can’t wait to be a part of it.” Wall joins Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and other under the adidas brand.

One Suns fan pleading with his team not to trade for Rudy Gay.

• In case you missed it, Gay doesn’t think he’ll be traded. I’d say “maybe not at the deadline, but…”

• Tracy McGrady has been suspended one game in China for criticizing officiating. His team was so pissed at the officiating they walked off the court with :28 left in the game. By the way, his team is 2-17.

• Linas Kleiza might well be cut next summer under the amnesty clause.

• The Heat waived Josh Harrellson but have re-signed him to a 10-day contract. Why? They didn’t want to have the guaranteed salary on the books.

• In one of those very Spurs moves, they are trying to reach a deal with Australian big man Aron Baynes. I don’t know anything about him either, but if the Spurs want him I bet he’s going to be good.

• An interesting interview on the lives of gay players in the NBA and NFL, living sort of a “don’t ask/don’t tell” life.

Report: Kevin Love called out in emotional Cavaliers team meeting

Getty Images
1 Comment

Having lost 8-of-11, a Cavaliers team meeting where the players got to vent seemed inevitable. There isn’t one person in that Cavaliers locker room that doesn’t deserve some blame for how things have turned.

However, Kevin Love apparently became the whipping boy.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The Cleveland Cavaliers held a fiery team meeting in the practice facility locker room prior to Monday’s practice, during which several players challenged the legitimacy of Kevin Love’s illness that led him to leave Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma City early and miss Sunday’s practice, league sources told ESPN.

Several players were pushing for the Cavaliers’ management and coaching staff to hold Love accountable for leaving the arena before the end of Saturday’s game, and then missing Sunday’s practice, league sources told ESPN.

The meeting was loud and intense, only calming down once Love spoke to those gathered in the room and explained himself, league sources said.

The more things change, the more things are always Kevin Love’s fault.

According to the report, the majority of the team seemed to accept Love’s explanation. Love left the Cavaliers ugly, nationally televised blowout at the hands of the Thunder in the first half and did not return due to what was described only as an illness. He did not stay around for the end of the game. I’m not about to speculate on how ill he was or was not, what matters is that his teammates were not buying it. When a team is losing finger-pointing is almost inevitable, and Love has gotten more than his fair share of it in Cleveland. At least he stood up for himself.

Team meetings may allow a pressure release in a locker room, but they almost never result in any kind of meaningful change. We’ll see what if anything changes in Cleveland.

Bucks GM on Jason Kidd firing: “This is a performance-based thing”

Getty Images
1 Comment

Last season the Bucks went 42-40 in the regular season and were up 2-1 in their first-round playoff series against Toronto before ultimately losing in six.

This season, expectations were high. Before the season there was talk from the team of a 50-win team (Las Vegas oddsmakers set the under/over at 47.5) that would finish in the top four in the Eastern Conference, hosting a playoff round. There was hope that the defense would improve, and with that the Bucks would look like a young team figuring it out.

They haven’t looked like that at all — they are 23-22 (with the point differential of a 20-25 team), and their defense is 25th in the NBA. Currently, they have just a one-game cushion for the final playoff slot in the East.

That cost coach Jason Kidd his job, first-year Bucks GM Jon Horst said Monday night at a press conference, as reported by Matt Velazquez at the Journal-Sentinel.

“At the end, this is a performance-based thing,” Horst said. “We believe in this team, we believe in our players and in the talents that they have. We’re looking forward at making playoff appearances in consecutive years for the first time in over a decade and hopefully winning a first-round series for the first time in over a decade. So we felt like at this time, this is the right decision to help this team get there.”

Around the league the move was not a total surprise, but the timing caught people off guard. Horst said it happened “relatively quickly” and explained:

“A general manager in the NHL had a statement once: ‘If something is inevitable, why wait?’ I think we came to the conclusion that this was the best thing for the future of the franchise and this was the time.”

Come this summer this will be the hottest coaching job available because of Giannis Antetokounmpo and the potential of this roster. Names such as Jeff Van Gundy and former Pelicans coach Monty Williams have been mentioned, but the ultimate list will be longer. Honestly, a few coaches with jobs might rather have the Bucks job (although the challenges between the two owners there can make things uncomfortable at times).

“We have another game on Friday and between that time we have a plan that we’ll put in place that we’ll kind of layout for the rest of the season,” Horst said. “We’ll go into the summer and have an extensive coaching search with an opportunity to hopefully find a great coach for this organization of which (interim coach) Joe Prunty has every opportunity to be a part of based on what happens going forward.”

This is going to a rough adjustment for Antetokounmpo and some of the players, who respected and trusted Kidd. There’s a lot of pressure on Horst with this hire.

That doesn’t make it the wrong move — Horst did the right thing here. The Bucks were going to be moving on, they just did it sooner rather than later.

 

Kevin Durant fires back, says Clint Capela’s job is “easy”

Getty Images
6 Comments

“We’re confident because we know if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to beat them… We are better than them.”

That was young Rockets center Clint Capela after the Rockets beat the Warriors last Saturday night, feeling confident.

Asked about it, Kevin Durant shot Capela down, saying he’s not the guy that should be commenting.

There are no easy jobs in the NBA. It takes a lot of work physically, a good mental feel for the game, and the right opportunity just to get a chance. That said, some NBA jobs are simpler and more straightforward than others. On offense, Capela is not the ball handler and creator making a lot of decisions, things are simple for him — and he executes them. He’s shooting 66.6 percent this season — he does what he does well.

Houston took two of three from Golden State this season, and while that is far from doing it in a playoff series it should be a confidence boost for Houston if/when they go up against Golden State.

Jason Kidd says Giannis Antetokounmpo offered to save his job minutes before firing

Getty Images
7 Comments

The stagnant Milwaukee Bucks shook things up by firing head coach Jason Kidd  Monday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was not happy with the news. So much he called up Kidd and offered to help save his job, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Antetokounmpo is understandably close to Kidd — he’s been the coach who helped transform the Greek Freak into an NBA superstar. Kidd is on his way to the Hall of Fame as a player, and as a coach had the vision to put the ball in Antetokounmpo’s hands as a point guard. Antetokounmpo trusted Kidd.

However, the Bucks’ growth has been stagnant — this is a team where the players talked about being a 50-win, top-four team in the East with a strong defense, instead they are a team on the way to around .500, barely hanging onto a playoff spot, with the point differential of a team that wins 36 games. They are not taking a step forward, and the Bucks — with the approval of ownership, which was very close to Kidd at one time — approving the move.

There was nothing Antetokounmpo could have done. It’s life in the NBA. That doesn’t mean he has to like it.