Reports: Lakers to ask Bulls permission to talk to Thibodeau. Karl, Van Gundy, Ollie also on coaching list

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Jim Buss knows who the Lakers bring in as a head coach is a defining hire for his legacy as the owner of the Lakers. In his first moves he has tried to make bold strokes to return the Lakers to championship status — trade for Dwight Howard, hire Mike D’Antoni (who has now resigned) — but nobody thought the chemistry through well and it all blew up.

Now the Lakers are hitting a reset and rebuilding, and Buss knows he has to get this one right. The coach, the draft pick, all of it. So the Lakers are going to go slow and cast a very wide net to find a new coach — they are going to talk to everybody.

Ideally that will include Tom Thibodeau, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Thibs is who Kobe Bryant wants, and it is an open secret around the league that there is friction between the Bulls coach and that team’s GM Gar Forman.

But do you really see Thibodeau jumping from a Bulls’ team he has built in his image and one — with a good power forward who can score and a healthy Derrick Rose — that is a title contender, to take on a rebuilding project in Los Angeles? Thibodeau signed an extension recently, the Bulls may well not even give permission.

Thibodeau is a big name but far from the only one to leak out as to be interviewed. Here are some others via Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times and Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

I have written about some of the more name candidates in detail, but that list was maybe half (or less) of who gets interviewed.

This is a wide-open search, although my sources have said to keep an eye on Byron Scott — he is a former Laker, part of the family, has coached the Nets to the NBA Finals twice and is a Buss family favorite. He’s far from a lock, but he’s someone to watch.

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.

 

 

Video of Kawhi Leonard struggling to board team plane concerning

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The San Antonio Spurs have been very tight lipped about how serious Kawhi Leonard‘s ongoing quadriceps issue is. He hasn’t played in the preseason or now the start of the regular season, with no timetable for his return. Part of that is the nature of the Spurs organization, but it leads to the feeling there is something more there.

Now surfaces this video of Leonard gingerly, slowly making his way up some stairs to the team plane, and it’s concerning.

To be fair, there is a real lack of context here, but according to the San Antonio Express-News, he had just come out of a rehab session. That means he might have been especially sore (and could have been iced up for the flight).

Still, this video makes one think it could be a while longer before we see Leonard back on the floor for San Antonio. (By the way over the past three seasons, including this one, the Spurs are 15-4 when Leonard sits. They will be fine short term.)