Jim Boylan

Milwaukee Bucks fire interim coach Jim Boylan, as expected


Jim Boylan was given an impossible task — take over a mismatched Milwaukee Bucks roster in the middle of the season when Scott Skiles walked away (after five years) and try to make something of it. Oh, and here is J.J. Redick, can you make him mesh with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Thanks. Have fun.

Boylan went 22-28 with the Bucks, who slumped at the end of the season then were swept out of the playoffs by the Miami Heat.

Wednesday the Bucks swept Boylan out of the coach’s seat, letting him go, something first reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on twitter and later confirmed by the organization. Boylan was a Wisconsin guy (he was the point guard on Marquette’s 1977 national championship team) but this wasn’t a great fit.

“At this time we feel it’s in the best interest of the organization to seek a new coach to lead our team,” Bucks GM John Hammond said in a released statement. “We appreciate Jim’s efforts not only in his time as head coach, but in his entire tenure as a coach in Milwaukee. On behalf of the Bucks organization, I thank Jim for his five years here and his many contributions on and off the court. We wish Jim and his wife, Jane, the best.”

It’s a little early to have a frontrunner for his job, but there has been a buzz around the league for a while that the Bucks have interest in Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson (who also will interview with the Bobcats). Stan Van Gundy is a target as well, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (although that seems less a fit).

Firing Boylan was expected, it’s one of a lot of steps the Bucks need to make this summer to revamp the team. That should start with trying to decide what kind of team they want to build and not just assembling pieces. Next would come dealing with the backcourt — Redick and Ellis are unrestricted free agents, Jennings is a restricted free agent (meaning the Bucks can match any offer Jennings gets).

But in the midst of that, the Bucks need to find a new coach, also.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
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DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”

Knicks’ Rookie Jerian Grant gets up, throws it down (VIDEO)

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The Knicks did well trading for Jerian Grant on date night — he’s going to be able to walk in this year and play quality minutes off the bench.

And, he can get up and throw it down.

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points to lead the Knicks to a 94-88 win over the Sixers.