Rumor: Phil Jackson could hire Steve Kerr to coach New York Knicks

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Phil Jackson, while keeping his name fresh for various opening or non-openings around the NBA, offered a few names in response to a question about coaches who shouldn’t be unemployed:

  • Larry Brown
  • George Karl
  • Avery Johnson
  • Byron Scott

But if Jackson becomes the New York Knicks’ president, another name has popped up for whom he’d hire as head coach.

Bill Simmons, speaking on television Sunday:

My guess would be Steve Kerr, because they’re close. Steve Kerr wants to get into coaching. He’s said publicly that this season would be the year.

Steve Kerr, I think, would be a great coach. He’s one of the only guys who’s spent a lot of time under Popovich and Phil Jackson.

Now, another reporter backs up that theory. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

This seems like more than a coincidence.

There’s no question Jackson knows Kerr well, coaching him for five seasons with the Chicago Bulls in 90s. But is a close relationship with Jackson enough to justify Kerr getting the Knicks head-coaching job?

Kerr spent three seasons as the Phoenix Suns’ general manager, and he seems to possess a bright basketball mind. However, he has no coaching experience, and there questions remain whether he has the temperament for the position.

One advantage the Knicks should have is James Dolan’s deep pockets. Unlike spending money on players, which can restrict the team due to salary-cap rules, offering a big contract to a coach carries no additional cost beyond his salary. The Knicks should have an extremely high budget for coaches.

If Jackson takes the job, and he believes Kerr is the best option money can buy, the Knicks should hire Kerr. But if money is no object, wouldn’t a proven commodity like Karl be a better option for the Knicks?

Kerr strikes me as the type of coaching talent a lesser team should have to take a chance on first. Jackson and the Knicks could always poach him with a large offer later if he proves himself.

But first, Jackson would have to accept the presidency, which hardly seems like a given.

PBT Extra: Bobby Portis punch adds to challenges for Bulls this season

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Nikola Mirotic will be out 4-6 weeks due to his concussion and fractured jaw.

Bobby Portis has been suspended for the first eight games of the season for causing those injuries to Mirotic with a punch at practice.

What does this mean for a Bulls locker room that was already going to have to deal with the weight of losing a lot of games.  I get into all these questions in this latest PBT Extra.

It’s going to be a long season in Chicago.

Gordon Hayward’s agent says return this season unlikely

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Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.

There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.

Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.

Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.

The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

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Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

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The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

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Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.