There is once again momentum to the idea that Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett (then later likely Paul Pierce) are headed to the Clippers. It may or may not happen, but a smart GM like Danny Ainge has to start planning for any eventuality.
So, if Doc Rivers is gone from the bench in Boston, who is in?
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com threw out the first names.
Those names are not likely to thrill Celtics fans.
They are also very different kinds of coaches and you have to wonder if either are really the kind of skill development guys who can help a rebuilding team (which the Celtics would be if they start trading the big three and Doc out).
Del Negro is not known as an Xs and Os guy — he relies heavily on pick-and-roll plays, some other standard NBA sets and a variety of defensive looks — and is more about motivation. He runs a system where he wants the leaders on the court to make the calls much of the time. With the Clippers last year, where Chris Paul was making the decisions, that led to 56 wins and a division title. But don’t think Del Negro was beloved in the locker room at all.
Franks is an old-school, grinding guy who loves the Xs and Os. He had seven seasons and saw some success with the Nets (on teams with Richard Jefferson, Kenyon Martin and Jason Kidd) then spent the last two seasons in Detroit where there were questions about his player development skills. Frank was an assistant with the Celtics.
Frank is also the guy the Nets are targeting to be the lead assistant to Kidd there. Obviously, he will hold them at arm’s length until he sees if he can land a seat in the big chair.
Something to watch, I think a lot of coaches would love to jump in to the prestigious Boston job, but it is a rebuilding gig.
Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff has been unafraid to sharply assess his team.
But after last night’s loss to the Trail Blazers – Houston’s third straight defeat and sixth in eight games – Bickerstaff kicked up the rhetoric even further.
Bickerstaff, via Calvin Watkins of ESPN:
“We’re broken,” Bickerstaff said. “It’s that simple. We’re a broken team, and we all need to use this break to figure out how we’re going to impact change. If we don’t want to impact change, then we need to be made aware of that, too, and we’ll go in a different direction.
“We can’t continue to go out and play this way. It’s easy to see it’s a fragmented bunch. You can’t win that way.”
This is why Dwight Howard is on the trade block. The Rockets are so incohesive, there’s no simple solution in sight. This increasingly looks like a lost season for Houston, which should emphasize future planning – like dealing Howard, who can become an unrestricted free agent at age 30 this summer.
Yet, the Rockets are just a half game from playoff position. They obviously dreamed much bigger when the season began, but at this point, merely making the postseason should qualify as a success.
It’s Bickerstaff’s job to get them there, no matter how unlikely. He has certainly shown little fear in trying, whether it’s giving these quotes or pulling all five starters simultaneously shortly into a game. He’s trying to put his mark on this team.
The players just aren’t responding, not more than periodically, at least. From James Harden down, nobody plays with the requisite focus and energy.
Nothing in Bickerstaff’s assessment is surprising. It’s just surprising he said it so bluntly publicly.
Then again, that’s nothing compared to what veteran Houston guard Jason Terry said. Eric Ringering of 750 The Game:
Sixers big man Nerlens Noel — who has looked much improved this season once Ish Smith was feeding him the rock on offense — sat out the Sixers game Wednesday night due to tendonitis in his right knee. After he missed his rookie season with knee issues, you can understand why the Sixers want him to be cautious.
Noel is going to sit out All-Star Weekend as well — he had been scheduled to play in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night, but he is going to sit that out and Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns will take his place, the league has announced (Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic broke that story).
Booker has been one of the few bright spots for the Suns this season, averaging 10.6 points a game and shooting 40.3 percent from three.
He will play for the USA in the World vs. USA format of the Rising Stars Challenge (the former rookie/sophomore game, featuring first and second year players).
Out: Defending champion Patrick Beverley.
In: Emmanuel Mudiay Emmanuel Mudiay.
The NBA confirmed the Rockets guard would miss the Skills Challenge and that Mudiay would replace him. The league also release the bracket:
- Isaiah Thomas over C.J. McCollum
- Anthony Davis over Draymond Green
- Isaiah Thomas over Anthony Davis
Hassan Whiteside lost his cool and elbowed Boban Marjanovic in the head Tuesday.
The Heat center received a flagrant 2 and an ejection, and now he’s getting the rest of his punishment.
Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside has been suspended one game without pay for throwing an elbow and making contact with the head of San Antonio Spurs center Boban Marjanovic, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
The incident, for which Whiteside was assessed a Flagrant 2 and ejected, occurred with 9:35 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Spurs’ 119-101 win over the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena on Feb. 9.
Whiteside will serve his suspension when Miami plays the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 19 at Philips Arena.
The suspension will cost Whiteside $8,921. As a result, the Heat – in line to become the first team in NBA history to pay the repeater luxury-tax rate – trim their impending tax bill by $24,534.
More importantly for Whiteside, this will be a strike against him for teams considering offering him a big contract in free agency this summer.