Who is the next coach in Boston? Maybe Shaw, Frank or McMillan. Not Antoine Walker.

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Boston did well in getting compensation for Doc Rivers’s move — it was clear in the next year or two he was gone anyway (he wanted no part of the coming rebuild). Boston got a first round pick and a graceful exit from the situation. Well played. (Now look for them to trade Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, but not to the Clippers.)

So who steps into Rivers chair for the rebuild in Boston?

A few names have come up early on according to the Boston Globe, including a couple of the hottest names on the coaching market.

The pool of candidates is shallow at this point in the offseason, but league sources made early suggestions such as Brian Shaw, Lawrence Frank, and Nate McMillan, among others.

“I think they do have to go young, and Danny [Ainge] is going to want to look like a genius,” a league source said. “Brian Shaw is what I think they’d hire, but I don’t know. Danny might go outside the box a little.”

Shaw is in the running for the Denver Nuggets job as well, and had been one of the leading candidates for the Clippers job until the Rivers compensation was figured out. He’s one of the top assistants out there, having been on the bench next to Phil Jackson for years, then he spent the last two years as under Frank Vogel helping develop the Indiana Pacers.

But Shaw wanted to ideally land in a spot he could win now; the Celtics are a multi-year rebuilding project. That said, Shaw was drafted by the Celtics and may wish to return. The number of coaching vacancies out there is closing up.

Another name mentioned is Heat assistant David Fizdale, who is well respected around the league. There had been some Vinny Del Negro buzz, but I heard not to bet on that.

Then there was this tweet from former Celtics Antoine Walker.

Sure, the team would improve its shimmy… but no.

Victor Oladipo’s practice dunk better than anything he – or maybe anyone – did in dunk contest (video)

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Victor Oladipo has grown into far more than just a dunker.

In fact, in Saturday’s dunk contest, he didn’t look like a dunker at all.

The Pacers star missed all three attempts of his first dunk, and a Black Panther mask was by far the biggest draw of his second. Oladipo was eliminated after the first round.

Maybe Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t the only eliminated dunker who left something in his bag. This Oladipo dunk – 180 degrees, throwing ball off the backboard with his left hand while in mid-air, dunking with his right hand – while preparing in Los Angeles was awesome.

Larry Nance Jr. had the contest’s best dunk. This would have rivaled it.

Pelicans owner Tom Benson hospitalized with flu symptoms

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson has been hospitalized with flu symptoms.

A statement released Wednesday by the NFL and NBA clubs says their 90-year-old owner is resting comfortably at Ochsner Medical Center, a hospital which also serves as a major sponsor and which owns naming rights to the teams’ training headquarters.

Benson has owned the New Orleans Saints since 1985 and bought the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012.

In recent years, Benson has overhauled his estate plan so that his third wife, Gayle, would be first in line to inherit control of the two major professional franchises.

 

Report: Seattle hosting Kings-Warriors preseason game

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Kevin Durant spent his rookie season in Seattle, before the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. He has said Seattle fans deserved to see him grow up in the NBA after supporting his promising start.

They’ll get their chance.

Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:

The Kings and Golden State Warriors have scheduled a preseason game next season in Seattle, according to multiple league sources.

The Oct. 6 meeting between Northern California teams will be the first NBA game in the Key Arena since the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City after the 2007-08 season and became the Thunder.

This game will be loaded with storylines. Not only Durant, but the Kings considered moving to Seattle a few years ago. And of course, the return of NBA basketball to Seattle.

At some point, Seattle will get its own team again. For now, this preseason game creates intrigue there.

Report: Kawhi Leonard cleared medically, seeking second opinion

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard played again this season, a stark reversal from just a month ago. Back then, even while announcing Leonard was out indefinitely with a quad injury, the San Antonio coach said Leonard wouldn’t miss the rest of the season.

What’s going on?

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.

Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said.

The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.

At first glance, this sounds like Derrick Rose five years ago. Even after he was cleared to play following a torn ACL, the then-Bulls star remained mysterious about when he’d suit up. His confidence in his physical abilities seemed to be a major issue, and he was never the same player since (suffering more leg injuries).

But the Spurs famously favor resting players to preserve long-term health. They seem unlikely to rush back Leonard. They might even sit players who want to play more often. And Leonard isn’t Rose.

Still, it’s clear something is amiss in San Antonio. Maybe not amiss enough to end Leonard’s tenure there, but the longer this lingers, the more time for tension to percolate.