jay larranaga

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


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.

PBT Extra: Kobe Bryant understands now is time to walk away

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It was expected Kobe Bryant would retire at the end of this season.

It was not expected Kobe would make that official on Nov. 29 — it’s caught the media at Staples Center Sunday (of which I was one) and the fans by surprise.

In this PBT Extra, I talk with Jenna Corrado about the mood inside Staples Center Sunday.

More importantly, I discuss the sense I got that Kobe understands it’s time to walk away, and he is at peace with that.

Luke Walton: Warriors concerned about health, not 72 wins

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Stephen Curry acknowledges the Warriors – who are 18-0 and won four straight to end last season – talk about the NBA record of 33 consecutive wins.

But what about another major record Golden State is chasing, 72 wins in a season?

Shooting guard Klay Thompson called it possible. General manager Bob Myers deemed it impossible.

Interim coach Luke Walton would prefer everyone just keep quiet.

Walton, via CSN Bay Area:

“The 72 thing is far, far away,” Walton said. “We shouldn’t be spending any time thinking about that.

“I’ve also said before that we’re not going to coach this season trying to chase that record,” Walton said

“We’re still going to give players nights off on back-to-backs,” he added. “And we’re going to do our best to limit minutes for some of our players. Our main concern is being healthy come playoff time.”

I don’t think Golden State will win 72 games, but prioritizing health won’t necessary stop the Warriors. They’re so deep.

They outscore opponents by 5.8 points per 100 possessions when Curry sits, 5.6 when Draymond Green sits. Those marks would rank seventh among all NBA teams.

Golden State has the luxury of resting players and continuing to win. That’s what makes the chase for 72 realistic. This team is less likely than most to wear down late in a season where it’s pushing to win every game.

Health entering the playoffs is important, but a 72-win season would raise these Warriors to legendary status. If they’re in range late in the season, I think they’ll go for it – even if the top seed is already secured.

But for now, Walton is probably taking the right approach. Plenty of teams start fast (though never this fast) then drift back toward the pack. No point risking Golden State’s health yet.

Kevin Durant to media: You treated Kobe Bryant ‘like s—‘

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant once told the media, “You guys really don’t know s—.”

The Thunder star expressed regret, but if he knew how we were going to treat Kobe Bryant, he might have stuck to his guns.

Durant, via Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:

I did idolize Kobe Bryant. I studied him, wanted to be like him. He was our Michael Jordan. I watched Michael towards the end of his career when he was with the Wizards, and I seen that’s what Kobe emerged as the guy for us.

I’ve been disappointed this year because you guys treated him like s—. He’s a legend, and all I hear is about how bad he’s playing, how bad he’s shooting. It’s time for him to hang it up. You guys treated one of our legends like s—, and I didn’t really like it. So hopefully, now you can start being nice to him now that he decided to retire after this year. It was sad the way he was getting treated, in my opinion.

But he had just an amazing career, a guy who changed the game for me as a player mentally and physically. Means so much to the game of basketball. Somebody I’m always going to look to for advice, for help, for anything. Just a brilliant, brilliant, intelligent man. And it’s sad to see him go.

Kobe is shooting 20% from the floor and 30% on 3-pointers for a 2-14 team. How else should we describe his season?

Why not bash the person most publicly critical of Kobe? Or the many people around the NBA who recognize how far Kobe has fallen? Or Byron Scott, who has repeatedly intensified discussion of Kobe’s demise?

Why is the media, which is not some monolithic entity anyway, the primary target?

There are writers who fawn over Kobe, writers who criticize him and many more who do both. We don’t all think alike.

If we did, Durant would be bound to treat Kobe like s—, too.

Hassan Whiteside thanks Hassan Whiteside in Kobe Bryant tribute


Like many players, Hassan Whiteside posted a tribute to Kobe Bryant upon the Laker star’s retirement announcement.

But Whiteside’s is a bit, um, different.

Whiteside salutes himself for making Kobe smile. (That’s not a smile.) The Heat center also tweeted a screenshot of the Instagram post with the hashtag “#koberetire,” which sounds pretty commanding.

Is Whiteside in on the joke or is he that self-centered? I’m honestly not entirely sure.