Jason Kidd

Report: Kidd “strong frontrunner” for Nets job; Stan Van Gundy not sold on move

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When it was first floated that Jason Kidd could step right off the floor into the role of head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, there was a whole lot of “are you sure about that?” Stan Van Gundy still feels that way (we’ll get to that later).

But the Nets are apparently getting very serious — the words “serious frontrunner” were used by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Nets ownership has told league associates that it wants a “fresh face,” as coach, and the hiring of Kidd would give them a star quality that comes with significant risk for a franchise with a mandate to compete for championships in the short term.

The Nets had long been rumored to be interested in Brian Shaw and they are going ahead with that interview, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Kidd just retired last week from the Knicks after a Hall of Fame 19-year NBA career. He won a title as part of the 2011 Dalas Mavericks.

Stan Van Gundy isn’t sold on the idea of Kidd stepping off the court into the coaching ranks. SVG was on the Amani & Eytan show on NBC Sports Radio and was no fan of this move.

“There are so many people out there who have great experience in coaching,” Van Gundy said. “To go for a guy who has never coached anywhere at any level to me is mind boggling. And, if you decide to do that as a front office guy, your job will be on the line and should be on the line if it doesn’t work out.”

Thing is, ownership seems to be driving this, so who is going to take the fall?

Three quick thoughts from me.

1) If you really wanted Shaw and you knew you had competition from the Clippers (and maybe Nuggets) to get his services, wouldn’t creating demand for the job to force him to make a quicker decision be the smart play? I’m not saying that’s what is happening, Wojnarowski knows his stuff here, I’m just saying there is some logic there.

2) The ability of Kidd to pull a Mark Jackson — go from no coaching experience to winning — will be all about the assistant coaches. Mark Jackson had Mike Malone (who the Kings just hired away) and the very respected Darren Erman, among others. Kidd’s staff is going to be built around Lawrence Frank, which is a good call. But Frank has been a head coach, he doesn’t want to do all the work and get none of the credit.

3) Kidd has had his share of off-the-court indiscretions over the course of his career, including a DWI accident last year (a charge he fought). When you are a star player those are swept under the rug because your talent is not easily replaced. That is not the case as coach. It’s long hours and a lifestyle change and he should know that and needs to be ready to commit to it.

DeMarre Carroll shoves Isaiah Thomas to ground on break, tempers flare

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Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll picked up a deserved flagrant for this foul.

With a couple of minutes left to go in the second quarter, Isaiah Thomas made the steal when DeMar DeRozan lost the ball on a drive, and Thomas was off to the races. Trying to prevent a lay-up, Carroll decided to foul Thomas far from the basket, but did so with a forearm shove that sent Thomas sprawling on the ground.

Thomas got up and had words, as did Jae Crowder.

Carroll got a flagrant and a technical, Thomas and Crowder each picked up technicals for jumping in.

Seth Curry puts up career high 31 against Timberwolves (VIDEO)

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When Stephen Curry wore a headband through the All-Star Game last weekend, West coach Steve Kerr jokingly called him “Seth” all night.

Dallas’ Seth Curry came out of the week-long break playing like an All-Star. He dropped 31 on the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night, a career high for him. He hit 13-of-17 from the field, including three from beyond the arc, but did a lot of his damage in the midrange.

It wasn’t enough, the Timberwolves got a comfortable 97-84 win behind 27 points from Andrew Wiggins and 26 from Karl-Anthony Towns. Nerlens Noel was not yet with his new team in time to play for the Mavs in this game.

Spurs kick off rust from layoff to beat Clippers 105-97 in Chris Paul’s return

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard dunks during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points despite foul trouble and the San Antonio Spurs shook off the rust from a nine-day layoff to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-97 on Friday night for their third straight win.

Pau Gasol added 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench in his return from a 15-game absence because of a fractured finger. LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Dewayne Dedmon grabbed 12 rebounds.

Blake Griffin scored 29 points for the Clippers, who have dropped consecutive games to the league’s two winningest teams since the All-Star break ended. They lost by 10 points at Golden State a night earlier. The Spurs have the league’s second-best record at 44-13.

Chris Paul added 17 points in his return after missing five weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Wade, Butler lead Bulls over Suns 128-121 in overtime

Chicago Bulls' Dwyane Wade (3) drives on Phoenix Suns' Alan Williams (15) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in Chicago. The Bulls won in overtime 128-121. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
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CHICAGO (AP) — Dwyane Wade scored 23 points, Jimmy Butler added 22 and the Chicago Bulls rallied to beat the Phoenix Suns 128-121 in overtime Friday night.

Devin Booker scored 27 points for Phoenix, but missed a chance to win it in regulation after Wade fouled him on a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left. Booker hit the first two free throws to tie it, then missed the third.

Wade and Butler led the Bulls as they rallied from 11 down in the fourth quarter to beat the Western Conference’s last-place team. Both players scored 14 points after the third quarter to help the Bulls win their third straight.

Nikola Mirotic scored 20 points and hit four 3-pointers. Robin Lopez added 19 points. Denzel Valentine, who figures to get more playing time after Doug McDermott was traded to Oklahoma City along with Taj Gibson on Thursday, had 15 points. The rookie hit 5 of 8 3-pointers.

Eric Bledsoe added 17 points and 10 assists for Phoenix. The Suns lost for the sixth time in eight games.

The Bulls scored 20 points in overtime and were leading 116-110 after a seven-point spurt that Mirotic started with a 3.

Wade put back Butler’s airball and hit two free throws to make it 122-115. And he had the crowd roaring in the closing minute when he drove for a dunk on Alex Lin and gave the raise-the-roof gesture.

The Suns appeared to be in good shape leading 102-91 with 4:32 remaining in regulation after Booker nailed a 3 to finish a 14-2 run, but the Bulls came storming back.

A dunk by Wade and 3 by Mirotic with 1:53 left cut it to 104-103 and drew a huge roar from the crowd.

Butler hit a 3 to tie it at 106-all with 48 seconds remaining, and after a driving Bledsoe lost the ball out of bounds, he nailed a baseline jumper to give Chicago a two-point lead with 9.1 seconds left.

TIP-INS

Suns: The Suns waived F Mike Scott and C/F Jared Sullinger on Friday, a day after acquiring them in trades. … The Suns also signed G Ronnie Price for the rest of the season.

Bulls: Rajon Rondo will remain in the backup point guard role, coach Fred Hoiberg said. … G Cameron Payne (flu), acquired from Oklahoma City, was unavailable.