One of the many reports to emerge following the Lakers’ free agent meeting with Dwight Howard surrounded the involvement of Phil Jackson.
Jackson is not employed by the team in any official capacity, but looms large in the shadows of the organization as its former head coach. He’s also the current fiancee of Jeannie Buss, and speaks regularly with GM Mitch Kupchak on matters related to basketball.
There was a question as to whether or not Jackson would be personally involved in the recruiting of Howard, but it appeared that wouldn’t be the case. Jackson was said to be heading to his second home in Montana at the time the meeting with the Lakers would take place, and said as much when he reached out to Howard via Twitter with a brief message encouraging him to stay in Los Angeles.
A report surfaced, however, that the Lakers did indeed ask Jackson to speak with Howard, only to see him decline due to believing that the system being run by the team’s current head coach was not a good match for Howard’s skill set.
Jackson refuted the report personally on Thursday.
This difference could be one of semantics, in that Jackson may have declined a request due to a scheduling conflict or something similar. But either way, with an unofficial role in the organization, Jackson’s presence may have only confused things in Howard’s eyes, and despite his Hall of Fame resume, it’s probably better that Jackson made his only pitch from afar.
The Dallas Mavericks are looking for a center— desperately at times, they brought JaVale McGee into training camp to get a look. They will start Zaza Pachulia and behind him it’s probably Samuel Dalembert once he gets healthy.
Which is why Dallas may be the team interested in Larry Sanders — Mark Cuban is a guy known for giving second chances in the league. But there have been no talks, yet, reports Tim MacMahon at ESPN.
Larry Sanders has been out of the game since his buyout last February trying to deal with his personal demons and may well not be ready to return. He may never return.
His couple seasons with the Bucks were filled with drama and issues. There was the nightclub brawl left him with an injured thumb in need of a surgery. There were the charges of animal cruelty. There was a five-game drug suspension. There was missed time for personal reasons. There was the 10-game suspension for marijuana use (he failed at least four tests to get there) — then that suspension was extended past the 10 games. In the end, he agreed to a buyout to get space away from the game to deal with his personal issues.
He may or may not be ready to return from that. He may or may not ever be ready. But if he decides to give it a try, NBA teams will be waiting. Maybe Dallas.
Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka are healthy — just how good will the Thunder be?
The bold prediction in this PBT Extra preview with Jenna Corrado is that the Thunder will win 60 games, something they have not yet done. I wouldn’t bet on them hitting that number — with a new coach, and them making sure Durant and Westbrook get rest coming off injuries, plus the fact they’re in the deep West, that number may be high.
I think they have a better chance to come out of the West than win 60 games. I think they have a good shot to come out of the West.