With the Memphis win over Portland on Tuesday it became official:
Oklahoma City’s Scott Brooks will coach the West in the NBA All-Star Game, which takes place in New Orleans on Feb. 16.
The honor goes to him because his Thunder, riding the hot shooting of Kevin Durant, will have the best record in the West on Feb. 2, which is the cutoff. Portland with Terry Stotts can’t catch him now, and Gregg Popovich of the Spurs is excluded from consideration because he coached the team last year (it’s not like Pop wanted to do it anyway, he’d rather sip wine somewhere).
Brooks coached the West in the All-Star Game in 2012, a game his team won 152-149 (got to love the “defense” in the ASG).
Brooks will have one decision to make: Fans voted Kobe Bryant in as a starter but he is out at least another three weeks, meaning he will not be able to play. While the league will name Kobe’s replacement to the roster, Brooks gets to choose who starts. I’d put my money on James Harden.
Brooks will go up against Frank Vogel of the Indiana Pacers, who will coach the East.
Warriors center Anderson Varejao will miss the Rio Olympics due to a back injury.
Where will Team Brazil turn now?
Likely to Bulls center Cristiano Felicio.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Felicio came on strong late last season. He puts his 6-foot-10, 275-pound frame to good use protecting the paint and rebounding. He showed potential as passer and mid-range shooter, too.
At age 24, he’s a candidate to break out in the Olympics.
If he’s not ready, Brazil can turn to a steady veteran at center, Nene.
Blake Griffin broke his hand punching Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi in January.
Make that former Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi.
The L.A. Clippers equipment staffer who was punched in the face by Blake Griffin during a fight in Toronto earlier this year is off the team — and will NOT be back for the ’16/’17 season … TMZ Sports has learned.
We spoke with a rep for the Clippers who confirmed Matias Testi “no longer works for the team.”
The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?
Royce Young of ESPN:
I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Center Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics for host Brazil because of a herniated disc in his lower back.
The Golden State Warriors announced the injury Wednesday and say that Varejao should be ready for the start of training camp but will not be healthy enough to play in the Olympics. Varejao recently experienced back pain while training with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins earlier this week.
Varejao averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 22 games after signing with the Warriors on Feb. 22. He re-signed with the team earlier this month.