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.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed forward Derrick Williams to a second 10-day contract.
The NBA champions have been impressed with Williams, a former No. 2 overall pick, and it’s likely they will sign him for the remainder of the season when his current contract expires. The Cavs announced Wednesday they signed Williams again. He has averaged 9.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in 22 minutes for the Cavs, who have been bringing him off their bench with their second unit.
Before signing as a free agent with Cleveland on Feb. 9, Williams played for Miami this season before being released.
The Cavs returned from the All-Star break Wednesday and will practice before hosting the New York Knicks on Thursday, just a few hours after the trade deadline.
The Hornets are essentially two different teams with and without Cody Zeller.
They’re 22-17 when he plays and 2-15 when he doesn’t. They play at a 62-win pace with him on the floor and a 29-win pace when he sits.
So, with Zeller banged up, Charlotte traded for Miles Plumee. But Plumlee hasn’t provided much, just 3.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game in five contests.
And now he’ll add even less.
The Charlotte Hornets announced today that center Miles Plumlee underwent a Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI), which revealed a second-degree calf strain in his right leg. Plumlee will be out for Charlotte’s game tomorrow at Detroit and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
The Hornets incurred significant long-term costs ($37.5 million over the next three years) to use Plumlee as a short-term bandage. Without him providing even that, this situation looks bleak.
Depending on Zeller’s health, this could turn Charlotte — 2.5 games and three teams out of playoff position — into sellers before the trade deadline. At minimum, it makes the Hornets less likely to buy.
The Bulls reportedly reached out to the 76ers about Jahlil Okafor a few weeks ago.
After unfulfilled intrigue and maybe a trade that fell through, Okafor remains in Philadelphia. And Chicago apparently still wants him.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
As constituted, the Bulls already have a few interior bigs: Robin Lopez, Taj Gibson and Cristiano Felicio. But one or more could go in an Okafor trade or another deal.
Okafor would make the Chicago younger, confusing its direction with Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade already in place.
Perhaps, the Bulls are pushing for a trade only because they’re offering so little. Okafor’s low-post game offers intrigue. At the right price, he’d be worth adding, no matter the fit and direction presented.
Maybe the 76ers don’t go for a lowball offer, but that’d be worth trying considering their center logjam with Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. Otherwise, Chicago ought to tread carefully when pursuing Okafor.
The 76ers have played like a 64-win team when Joel Embiid and Ersan Ilyasova share the court and a 20-win team otherwise, using data from nbawowy!.
That’s helpful for Philadelphia, which is learning what type of player — a stretch four — works best with its franchise player.
But the Hawks can use more than just a lesson in the idea of Ersan Ilyasova. They can use actual Ersan Ilyasova.
And Atlanta will get him.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated:
Atlanta stills sound intent on keeping Paul Millsap, so Ilyasova will likely back him up. Ilyasova should work particularly well with Dwight Howard, whose interior play was a key factor in ushering in this stretch-four era by covering for the lighter power forward next to him.
In the last 21 months, Ilyasova has been traded five times: from the Bucks to the Pistons to the Magic to the Thunder to the 76ers and now to the Hawks. They can probably count on the veteran to settle in quickly as they try to improve their position in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Atlanta is fifth, closer to third than sixth.
Both Ilyasova and Splitter have expiring contracts. The advantage of Splitter, who has missed the Hawks’ last 90 games, is that his full compensation counts toward the floor apparently without Philadelphia actually having to play all of his salary.
Plus, those picks could help the 76ers in a season where they can win something meaningful — like the Hawks have decided this season is for them.