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.
Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.
There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.
Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.
Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.
The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.