jay larranaga

Report: Sixers’ schedule second interviews with Jay Larranaga, three others in search for new head coach

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The Philadelphia 76ers are coming closer to hiring a head coach for next season, though the candidates being considered aren’t exactly household names. New general manager is bringing four NBA assistants in for a second round of interviews, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, all of which are without prior NBA head coaching experience.

The Sixers are scheduled to interview Boston Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga, Atlanta’s Kenny Atkinson, Chicago’s Adrian Griffin and San Antonio’s Brett Brown for a second time this week in New York. All four will reportedly be meeting with Sixers’ managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer, but they’re apparently not the only candidates the team is still considering as Portland’s David Vanterpool and current Sixers’ assistant Michael Curry are also still in the running according to Wojnarowski.

The coaching search has been an interesting process for Philadelphia, but one that should bring about good results considering the four coaches being brought back for a second round of interviews are all highly-respected. And aside from Curry, who has head coach experience with the Detroit Pistons from the 2008-09 season, the remaining candidates will all be first-time NBA head coaches.

Larranaga might not be the most familiar name of the group, but he’s is quickly rising up the ranks considering he only retired as a player following the 2008-09 season. The son of current Miami Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga spent two solid seasons as a head coach with the NBA Development League’s Erie BayHawks before joining the Boston Celtics’ staff this past season. He  did a great job of helping current NBA players Ivan Johnson, Donald Sloan and Garrett Temple take their games to the next level during his two-year stint in the D-League while also leading the team to playoff appearances in both of his seasons.

The 38-year-old Larranaga also coached the Celtics’ Summer League team in July and was thought to be a potential candidate to take over for Doc Rivers before Boston hired Brad Stevens.

It’s apparent that the Sixers are looking to hire a young, development-driven coach that can also relate to their young group of players as Philadelphia builds toward the future. They likely aren’t going to be able to make a bad choice in that regard considering the coaches they’re reportedly considering, but Larranaga should certainly be one of the favorites when considering his past experiences.

Kings’ Rudy Gay suffers apparent torn left Achilles tendon, would be done for season

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This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.

Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.

Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.

Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. Those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings,  and with that team’s playoff chances have taken a hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers). Don’t be surprised if the Kings look to add a scorer at the trade deadline.

Gay was not happy in Sacramento and said he planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.

That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.

Zaza Pachulia lays out Russell Westbrook, stands over him (video)

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Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.

Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.

Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.

Report: 76ers’ Ben Simmons sitting entire season still on table

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?

It just won’t die.

Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.

Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.

It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

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The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).