Warriors coach Mark Jackson once again goes to bat for Jason Kidd

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When the Nets were struggling to start the season and first-year head coach Jason Kidd parted ways with the most tenured assistant on his staff in Lawrence Frank, there were plenty who believed Kidd’s rookie season on the sidelines would end before it was completed.

Brooklyn came into the season with the league’s highest payroll and expectations to match, and it appeared as though Kidd was scapegoating someone else early on for his team’s troubling start.

At the time, the decision seemed questionable at best, but even the Nets players saw the friction between Kidd and Frank, and the dynamic between the two was no longer conducive to success.

Warriors head coach Mark Jackson was among those defending Kidd when all this went down, and before the Nets snapped Golden State’s 10-game winning streak on Thursday, Jackson used the opportunity of being in Brooklyn to once again go to bat for a brother in the coaching ranks.

From Rod Boone of Newsday:

But in listening to the Warriors coach staunchly defend Jason Kidd’s rookie trials and tribulations, he left little doubt on the role of a background singer compared to the lead who’s on stage with the booming voice and holding the mic. Quick, someone cue up a Gladys Knight & the Pips track.

“Everybody has to know who’s in charge, and that’s the head coach,” Jackson said last night before the Nets took on Golden State. “He’s the guy calling the shots. I’ve never seen anyone of the Pips try to lead. That’s Gladys’ role. Let Gladys be Gladys.” …

“To me, I think too much was made of it,” Jackson said. “I think it’s clownish. There’s no difference of opinions with my staff and I. We give suggestions, some I go with, some I don’t. But at the end of the day, it’s my decision, and we are united in whichever way we decide to go. If you have a problem with that, then you should not be my assistant coach.

We explained at the time how the Kidd-Frank pairing appeared to be doomed from the start, given the way the roles were now reversed in this employer-employee relationship. Kidd was going to get to ride out the season no matter what given all the injuries the team has sustained, but support from respected coaches around the league has to be comforting nonetheless.

Bradley Beal, Kent Bazemore get technicals for scuffle in Hawks, Wizards

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It’s been a chippy kind of playoff series — one where Paul Millsap gets called a crybaby — and with the Hawks on the brink of elimination emotions were especially high on Friday night.

Kent Bazemore had been frustrated with a couple of calls (and no calls) and he took that out on the play above — he got picked by Kelly Oubre, who threw the ball ahead to Bradley Beal for a layup, and Bazemore gave him a little push in the air. It wasn’t much, but when a guy is airborne and defenseless that touch throwing off balance can lead to serious injury.

Beal bounced up and got in Bazemore’s face. Then an NBA version of a scuffle started.

The referees reviewed it and Beal and Bazemore got technical fouls with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jason Smith also getting them for their role later in the “festivities.”

The league should come in with a fine for Bazemore on this — you cannot let guys push other guys who are airborne, even slightly. That was a dangerous play, and I’m surprised the officials did not call a technical.

Report: Kevin McHale also in mix for team president in Orlando

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Cavaliers GM David Griffin — who doesn’t have a contract with the team beyond this year, but who LeBron James has endorsed — is on their radar.

Larry Bird, who is stepping down in Indiana, is a potential target.

You can add Kevin McHale to the list of former NBA executives the Orlando Magic are taking a look at in their search for a new head of basketball operations, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.

The Orlando Magic have serious interest in Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Kevin McHale for their team president position, according to two people with knowledge of the situation….But McHale, who served as Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations from 1995 to 2008 while also serving as the team’s head coach on two occasions, is known to be on the Timberwolves’ short list as well. The Magic would strongly prefer someone who has previously been a general manager for the president position.

But McHale, who served as Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations from 1995 to 2008 while also serving as the team’s head coach on two occasions, is known to be on the Timberwolves’ short list as well. The Magic would strongly prefer someone who has previously been a general manager for the president position.

McHale made some franchise-defining moves as the head man in Minnesota — he drafted Kevin Garnett and he brought Flip Saunders into the organization, he brought in Sam Cassell and Latrell Spreewell and that got the Timberwolves to the conference finals in 2004, to use a few examples.

He had his share of mistakes, too. Like drafting Ray Allen then trading him for Stephon Marbury, or drafting Brandon Roy and trading him for Randy Foye.

The Orlando roster has talent on it — Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, maybe Elfrid Payton — and a quality coach in place with Frank Vogel. That said the talent on the roster does not fit and Orlando desperately needed someone willing to shake things up, who wasn’t too invested in “their guys” to realize the roster’s serious shortcomings.

McHale could do that. It looks like we are a month or more from finding out, however, as Griffin isn’t going anywhere until after the Cavaliers season — which likely extends into June. If the Magic are serious about him, this process is going to drag out.

Joel Embiid was hanging out with Philly fans at the NFL Draft

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Joel Embiid is a man of the people.

And last night the people in Philadelphia were all Eagles fans, watching the NFL Draft unfold.

Embiid was out there with them. Literally.

Ben Simmons was there as well with Embiid, according to CSNPhilly.com.

Philadelphia fans can only hope the Eagles draft as well — and have WAY better injury luck — than the Sixers.

Moving to new arena, Detroit Pistons submit bids to host 2020 or 2021 All-Star Game

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DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Pistons have put in bids to host a future NBA All-Star Game at Little Caesars Arena.

The team says in a release Friday that bids were submitted to the league for 2020 and 2021.

Little Caesars Arena is being built just north of downtown Detroit and is expected to open this year. It also will be home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.

In November, the Pistons announced the team was moving back to Detroit from The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The city of Detroit last hosted the NBA’s All-Star Game in 1959. The 1979 game was played in Pontiac when the Pistons’ home court was the Silverdome.

NBA All-Star events include the All-Star Game, NBA Rising Stars Challenge, a celebrity game, skills competition and fan events.