Byron Scott

Clippers talk contract with Byron Scott and Brian Shaw


Maybe this is part of an elaborate bluff or misdirection or…

Maybe the Clippers are just moving on from Doc Rivers.

Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times:

When I wrote the Clippers might get a coach better than Rivers, I didn’t mean Scott. I meant Hollins or, if he really demonstrated his upside during the interview process, Shaw.

By negotiating with two candidate at once, it seems like the Clippers are trying to balance hiring the best coach and the least expensive coach. If that’s what they’re doing, that’s the wrong process.

For a team in contention for a championship, this is not the time to be cheap. (Though, maybe for the Clippers, it’s always the time to be cheap.) The Clippers should pick the coach they believe will do the best job, try to hire him and if, and only if, contract talks fail, then they should negotiate with their next choice.

Perhaps, the Clippers haven’t decided on the best coach, so they’ve begun negotiations with two only so they’re prepared once they decide. If so, that’s a perfectly acceptable way to operate.

But these are the Clippers. Which seems more likely?

Really, though, the coach matters right now only in his ability to convince Chris Paul to re-sign. Scott coached Paul with the Hornets, and maybe the superstar free agent is open to a reunion.

If Paul wants only Scott, hire him. But if that were the case why negotiate with Shaw, too?

The Clippers should be doing everything they can to secure the best coach who meets Paul’s approval. I don’t see negotiating with Scott and Shaw simultaneously as a sign they’re on the right track.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.