If Brooklyn is going to be a contender this season — and there is that potential — a plethora of things need to break their way. On that list is a healthy and playing at his peak Deron Williams — this is still his team. He is the best player and he has to lead.
Which is why Saturday’s comments from coach Jason Kidd about Williams should worry Nets fans a little.
Williams has been battling a sprained ankle that has restricted him all through training camp it looks like that could linger beyond into the season, Kidd told ESPNNewYork.com.
“But we’re not rushing him. So if we have to start the season with him still trying to get better, I think we all feel comfortable, but we would feel a little bit more comfortable if he was starting.”
Williams has said previously he planned to miss the first four Nets preseason games at least but expected to play in the season opener. The thing about ankle injuries though is they can linger, and Brooklyn doesn’t want this lingering around when the games mattter..
Brooklyn is counting on some vintage, “I’m pissed at Jerry Sloan but will take out my frustrations on the other team” D-Will play to lift them up to contender status (they need a few other things, too, but that is another discussion). He’s not going to play like his vintage self if he is slowed by ankle, so the right move is to rest him now.
However one of the other things this team needs is to jell as a unit and that is not happening without D-Will on the court and playing a lot. Him missing the start of the season would be a setback.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.
On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.
But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.
Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:
Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.