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Jason Kidd named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for second time this season


NEW YORK — Jason Kidd was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for games played in March, the second time he’s taken home that honor in what’s been a bit of a crazy season.

As the Nets got off to a tough start, so did Kidd’s tenure as a first-year head coach. There were rumblings early on that he could be in danger of being replaced, as the team with the highest payroll in NBA history began the year underachieving essentially as much as possible.

Add in the season-ending injury to Brook Lopez, and Kidd had his hands fuller than perhaps anyone could have expected.

But the Nets have turned things around substantially since Jan. 1, and even with the recent injury to Kevin Garnett, the team has managed to keep winning, posting a 12-4 record in March that was good for the best in the Conference.

Kidd downplayed the achievement before Brooklyn faced the Rockets on Tuesday, preferring to give the credit to his players instead.

“I think it’s not just the coach award, it’s the way the guys are playing,” he said. “And the guys are playing great. My job is to stay out of their way.”

Kidd became the first coach in Nets history to win the award twice in the same season, but he claimed that “records are made to be broken,” and also revealed that most of the accomplishments he’s earned throughout his career don’t ultimately mean all that much.

“The only one that I really treasure is the Olympic gold medal that I have,” he said. “Representing my country and winning a championship. Those are the only ones that I really recognize. Anything else is just part of the game. Coach of the Month is great, but it’s about those guys in that locker room.”

“It’s a great honor for those guys,” Kidd said. “Unfortunately, they just put the coach’s name on it.”

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.