Phil Jackson wants back in the NBA but despite the wishes of dreaming fan bases everywhere he doesn’t want to return to the grind of NBA coaching — he wants a front office gig. Not the heavy load and long hours of a GM either, but more of a president or consultant role for a team.
And at least a few teams are apparently interested in talking.
Jackson told Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle that there have been preliminary talks with a few franchises. (Hat tip to SLAM.)
“I’ve had some talks with people,” Jackson said, “and there are some interesting situations that are presenting themselves, but I really haven’t made up my mind yet what I’m going to do. None of it involves coaching… There are three or four teams that have been interested.”
Jackson said he would be interested in a developing team “where you’d have the influence in (selecting the) coaching staff and the kind of culture that goes along with it.”
He wants to be a CEO. He wants to set an overall tone and have everybody else figure out the details. Heck, we’d all like that gig. (His talk of returning to the Lakers should not be confused with him wanting to coach anywhere else, that was a one-off special situation.)
Again, we don’t know how far these talks went but likely they were very early exploratory. It’s going to take the right situation to land him. Jackson is not going to come cheap so it needs to be a situation that both attracts him and where the owner has pockets deep enough to play this game. Also it needs to be an owner and team willing to have Jackson be the face of the franchise in a lot of ways, because once he comes in he will be “the man.” And that doesn’t mean he’ll be easy to work with, he has strong opinions about things.
But at some point you can bet he gets a gig somewhere.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.
Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.
This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.
Argentina isn’t considered a medal contender heading into the Rio Olympics. Their golden generation — led by Manu Ginobili — has picked up a lot of speed on the downhill side of their careers at this point.
They didn’t provide much of a challenge for Team USA in an exhibition game Friday night in Las Vegas, one won by the USA 111-74. Kevin Durant impressed playing with his new teammates in dropping 23 points, Paul George had 18, and the Americans had their way in the game.
Which is what we’re going to see a lot of in Rio — the USA’s talent level is just steps above any other team in the tournament.
When Kevin Durant chose the Warriors, he received criticism from all angles.
Fans burned his jersey. Charles Barkley decried the decision. Markieff Morris said, “That ain’t right.” Durant’s former Thunder teammates leaked their displeasure with the process.
Durant was so reluctant to face the backlash, he stayed in his
bed luxurious rental house for two days.
It, uh, worked.
Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports:
Though he has heard some criticism from Barkley and fellow Hall of Famer Reggie Miller, various talking heads and people in social media who believe he has cheated the system and cut corners to a ring, Durant said the reaction to his choice hasn’t been too bad: “All that stuff happens on the Internet. I haven’t had one person come to me and say anything negative. … It’s easy for the critics on the outside to tell you what to do, to tell you how to play. I’m the one that’s going through it, so I can’t really worry about the outside noise. The work don’t stop. Everything stays the same.”
This is a good reminder how insulated NBA players, especially stars, can be.
And it adds to why Durant signing with Golden State makes sense. While we’re debating his legacy and discussing the backlash (and the backlash to the backlash and the backlash to the backlash to the backlash and the…), he’ll be playing high-level basketball with his friends in a desirable city for a max salary.
Sure, it’s not all rosy. Durant altered his relationship with his friend Russell Westbrook, and Durant will have to return to Oklahoma City for a game. There, he’ll face plenty of booing fans.
But, all in all, Durant should have little trouble tuning out the critics.
They’re too far away for him to hear them much.