Mike Conley threw the point-guard-needy Knicks a bone, saying he’d consider New York (and everyone else) in free agency.
They better hope that’s more than lip service.
This free-agent class doesn’t run deep, especially at point guard. And the second-best unrestricted point guard – a one-time target – doesn’t sound interested in the Knicks.
“The triangle’s not really a good look for me, I don’t think,” Rondo said.
“[The] coach. And style of play. The biggest thing for me is the style of play,” he replied before the Kings were destroyed by the Nets, surrendering 18 3-pointers and 55.8 percent shooting in a 128-119 loss. “I wouldn’t want to go to a system where I don’t really have the ball in my hands and they have you stand in the corner and shoot 3s. That’s not my style of play. … The style of play is the biggest thing, and then obviously personnel on the court and coaches.”
This is the drawback of Phil Jackson’s triangle attachment. The Knicks know what they want to do, but that also means they lack the flexibility to acquire players who don’t fit their scheme. To their credit, the Knicks have bent more this season – but not enough to change perception of their methods.
If they want to change Rondo’s mind, they weren’t going about it by flattery.
Just ask former Knicks coach Derek Fisher, who played for Jackson’s Lakers that beat Rondo’s Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals (and conveniently ignore Boston winning the same Finals matchup two years prior).
Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal:
Rondo has earned a big raise with a bounce-back season. The Kings will likely pay him, but if not, he’ll have other suitors – likely including the Knicks’ crosstown rivals, the Nets. I doubt this tiff with the Knicks will affect him.
New York, on the other hand, faces grimmer prospects. Conley seems to legitimately enjoy playing for the Grizzlies. After Rondo, the Knicks could make a longshot offer to restricted free agent Jordan Clarkson, but the Lakers would likely match. Then what? Brandon Jennings? He’s alright, but he also might leave New York wishing its system accommodated choosing from a wider pool of players.
Hey, maybe firing Fisher will change Rondo’s perception of the Knicks. Then again, its essentially impossible to see Jackson hiring a coach who won’t run the triangle.
PARIS (AP) San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker says he has found a deal with his wife that will allow him to take part in France’s Olympic qualifying tournament this summer.
Parker had raised the possibility of missing the tournament from July 4-10 and the Olympics – if France qualified – because of the expected birth of his second son in July.
But Parker told L’Equipe newspaper Monday that he will be available for both events, saying: “I will be at the Olympics if we qualify.”
Parker says his wife is making a “big sacrifice” by letting him go and has warned him he “should better bring a medal back home.”
The Olympic basketball tournament in Rio de Janeiro will be held from Aug. 6-21.
The Lakers reportedly view the rest of the season as a tryout for Byron Scott.
Unless Warriors assistant Luke Walton wants the job. Then, Scott is out.
So says a notable Lakers rumormonger.
Stephen A. Smith on ESPN LA on Scott:
I’m hearing he’s gone if Luke Walton wants to come in and take the job next season, that if he wants to do that, that obviously they would move beyond the Byron Scott era and bring in Luke Walton, that Luke Walton, however, as much as he loves the Lakers and California, may not find that to be an attractive job unless they position themselves to acquire somebody like a Ben Simmons. That is what I have heard.
I have also heard that it’s very, very possible that Jeanie Buss is going to keep her word and fire her brother Jim Buss – thank the good lord – and that Mitch Kupchak may very well not be safe as well.
How definitive that is remains to be seen. But that is the chatter in NBA circles.
Walton played for the Lakers, and Kobe Bryant still respects him. Though Kobe will retire after the season, his endorsement could still carry weight – especially as it speaks to players’ perception of Walton.
If the Lakers keep their top-three-protected first-round pick, they’d have an intriguing job with D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, a promising rookie, matching rights for Arenas-provision-limited Jordan Clarkson and tons of cap space. If the Lakers lose their pick, the job would look a lot worse. Either way, staying in California and leading one of the NBA’s premier franchises could appeal to Walton.
It’s this interest that makes me believe Scott’s “tryout” is little more than a courtesy for a former player who helped the Lakers win championships. If they’d fire Scott for Walton, how many other replacements would warrant dumping Scott? My list would be long enough to ensure he gets canned.
As far as Jim Buss, his deadline for turning around the team or losing his job has been a source of contention. But even Jeannie, who gives him less time than he gives himself, said he had until the summer of 2017.
Lakers fans might have to settle for exercising one one of their demons.
Out: Derek Fisher.
In: Kurt Rambis.
That’s only the first step of the Knicks’ coaching change.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
Of course, Luke Walton and Brian Shaw – like Fisher and the other top candidate in 2014, Steve Kerr – played for Phil Jackson. The Knicks president has a type, one that includes both good and bad candidates.
The good: Walton. He impressed with his handling of the Warriors in Steve Kerr’s absence. He’s one of the hottest coaches on the market. I have some doubts, given Kerr’s and Golden State’s players’ influence. But Walton has done plenty right to be in this position.
The bad: Shaw. Jackson reportedly preferred Shaw to Fisher two years ago, but Shaw was under contract with the Nuggets. Denver since fired him, because he did a stunningly awful job connecting with his players. Perhaps, he has grown in that area since, though.
It seems inevitable Tom Thibodeau’s name will come up. The former Bulls coach isn’t a Phil Jackson disciple, but he previously worked as a Knicks assistant. Maybe his New York connection will allow Thibodeau to overcome his lack of a Jackson tie.
A direct connection to Jackson clearly puts someone on the fast track for this job.