When the Phoenix Suns formally introduced Ryan McDonough as their new GM last week, he made it known that hiring a head coach was at the very top of his list of priorities.
It didn’t seem as though interim head coach Lindsey Hunter, who guided the team to just a 12-29 record, would be strongly considered for the full-time position given McDonough’s press conference comments.
But he did say that Hunter was indeed a candidate for the job despite the organization compiling a list of additional people they’d like to speak with, so the fact that a formal meeting took place shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough met with interim coach Lindsey Hunter to discuss the franchise’s head-coaching job on Wednesday, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
McDonough and Hunter met in Chicago, where McDonough had arrived with the Suns’ front office staff for the NBA draft combine.
Meeting with Hunter was the first formal sitdown with a candidate that McDonough has had since his hiring earlier in May as the Suns’ general manager.
It would be difficult seeing the Suns retaining Hunter for the long haul, given both his record while at the helm last season, as well as how he ran the team on the way to getting there. Hunter’s lineup choices and rotations were always extremely spotty, and seemed random at best, especially when considering he was supposed to be developing the young talent on the roster over the final portion of the season.
All signs point to Hunter not being brought back, and McDonough was likely doing nothing more than due diligence here in formally meeting with him before expanding the coaching search to try to bring in a more qualified candidate to fill the position.
Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.
There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?
Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.
If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.
First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.
Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.
Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.
Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.