Not many players would have been happy being shipped from a playoff bound Milwaukee Bucks to an Orlando Magic team that got routed by the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night.
But such was the atmosphere with the Bucks under former coach Scott Skiles that Beno Udrih is happy with the trade.
And he wasn’t just saying it because he was supposed to, check out the quote from the Orlando Sentinel.
“It was just a bad situation there. I’m a professional and I’m a man, so I like to be told straight-up what they expect from me. So, in Milwaukee, that never happened. They were saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, we know. We’ve got to play you a little bit more.’ But it never happened. So when I did get into the game I didn’t know what they actually wanted to do, so I was just trying to find it myself, and I never did.”
“I wanted a change. I wanted a new start, so I’m really happy to be here. I know Jacque and J.B. [James Borrego], the assistant coach. It’s just a really exciting moment for me and my wife.”
In the NBA, it’s being an Xs and Os coach isn’t enough, everyone can do that. And if you’re Phil Jackson and it’s not your forte, you hire an assistant who is a master (hello Tex Winter). For NBA coaches it’s about ego management and getting guys to buy into and fully believe in their roles.
Skiles has never been good at it. Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie found this story and laid out the trends.
This is a problem you heard about in Skiles’ earlier turns in Phoenix and Chicago, and it’s not insignificant when paired with his clashes (or, to put it in nicer terms, “chilly relationships”) with his players. And who are these players? Tyrus Thomas. Eddy Curry. Beno Udrih. Jason Kidd and Brandon Jennings at times, among other lesser lights….
It’s the high potential players that Skiles has failed with. Witness Brandon Jennings’ stagnation since his rookie year. Look at the way Thomas, who worked his tail off during his rookie and second season only to be jerked in and out of the rotation and contests, seemed to give up on the game by his third year. Look at Tyson Chandler, who needed to get out of Chicago to stop looking over his shoulder and finally flourish.
It’s going to be interesting to see what direction the Bucks go this summer. Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick can all test the free agent market (the Bucks can match any offer to Jennings). The Bucks management needs to decide what kind of team they want to build and then find a coach to execute the plan. Right now they are a collection of players, they need more of an identity.
The Hawks picked Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk as their next general manager. All that was left was negotiating terms.
The Atlanta Hawks today announced the hiring of Travis Schlenk as General Manager and Head of Basketball Operations. He will start leading Hawks basketball operations on June 1.
Schlenk worked his way up the latter and helped the Warriors become the envy of every other NBA team. He deserves this opportunity.
But the job won’t be easy.
The Hawks are stuck between two directions. On one side, they have veterans Paul Millsap (a 32-year-old pending unrestricted free agent whom the owner has basically promised a huge contract) and Dwight Howard (who sounds unhappy). On the other side, they have a youth movement featuring Dennis Schroder and Taurean Prince. Tim Hardaway Jr., who bridges the age groups, is about to enter a potentially tricky restricted free agency.
Keeping the core together offers the upside of a playoff-series victory or two annually, modest outcomes for the cost. But a fragile Atlanta fan base might not tolerate a rebuild.
Schlenk works for owner Tony Ressler, and Ressler sounds committed to maintaining the status quo by keeping Millsap. It’s now Schlenk’s job to execute that vision or convince his boss to approve a different direction.
The more I’ve looked into the 2017 NBA draft, the less impressed I’ve become. There are a few bright spots in the first round relative to an average draft – No. 2, 5ish-10ish, 17ish-22ish – but I’m not convinced this is the generationally strong draft it has been touted as.
In the absence of prospects who offer secure promise, why not turn to upside? Hamidou Diallo offered plenty and was increasingly viewed as a first-rounder.
Yet, he’ll return to Kentucky for his freshman season.
A highly ranked recruit, Diallo began last school year at a prep school then enrolled at Kentucky for the spring semester. He practiced with the Wildcats, but never played.
Then, he went to the combine and posted excellent measurables: 6-foot-5, 6-foot-11 wingspan, 44.5-inch vertical and strong agility and sprint scores. Just 18, Diallo might have been the second-youngest player drafted this year (behind only Ike Anigbogu).
It wouldn’t have taken long – likely somewhere in the middle of the first round – for a team to bite on all that potential.
Instead, Diallo returns to Kentucky and must now show his ability to actually produce in basketball games. If he does, there’s no limit on how high he goes in the 2018 NBA draft. If he doesn’t, he’ll regret missing the opportunity to get drafted before his game got picked apart.
Dwyane Wade said he wants to see the Bulls’ plan for Jimmy Butler and the rest of the roster before deciding on a $23.8 million player option for next season.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
I can tell you is most everyone associated with the Bulls believes Wade will pick up the option and remain in Chicago for a second season. More surprising things have happened in league history, though. So stay tuned.
This could be a tell that Wade will opt in. The Bulls could obviously be positioned to base their prediction on inside information into Wade’s thinking.
This could a tell the Bulls won’t trade Butler. If they know they’ll keep Butler, they can extrapolate what that’d mean for Wade.
Or the Bulls, like so many of us, just assume a 35-year-old Wade won’t turn down so much guaranteed money at this stage of his career.
San Antonio heads into this summer looking to answer the question: What do we need to do to challenge the Golden State Warriors? Well, besides keeping Kawhi Leonard healthy.
They need to get more athletic, particularly along the front line, and they need a secondary shot creator and playmaker, that’s all at the top of the list.
One rumor that keeps gaining traction, Chris Paul to the Spurs. In this PBT Extra, I get into why that move is unlikely, and why a one-year contract with Derrick Rose is more probable. Basically, if you want to see a significant roster shift in San Antonio, wait until the summer of 2018.