Kevin Ollie

Report: UConn’s Ollie will listen to Lakers’ offer, but probably stays


UPDATE 2:55 pm: Adrian Wojarowski of Yahoo Sports basically confirms this story but adds a twist — Ollie and UConn are talking about a contract extension.

University of Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie has started discussions on a new contract with school officials, but hasn’t ruled out listening to NBA overtures, sources told Yahoo Sports….

Fresh off his masterful national championship coaching run this spring, Ollie is a consideration for the Los Angeles Lakers and is expected to move onto short lists as more NBA teams make coaching changes, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

2:24 pm: The best time to look at switching jobs is when you don’t need to.

When there is no pressure to take the next job, when you are comfortable and maybe even happy where you are at, you can evaluate any offers that come in evenly and compare them to what you already have.

That is where UConn basketball coach Kevin Ollie is at — by all reports he is very happy as the Huskies’ basketball coach, leading his alma mater to the NCAA championship last season.

But because he has an NBA pedigree — 13 years in the Association as a player, at the end of it one of those great locker room veterans teams love to have — and has shown he can coach, NBA teams are going to come calling. Every year. Starting this year, reportedly with the Lakers who are interested now that Mike D’Antoni is out the door.

The guy who played his high school ball in Los Angeles would listen, reports Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. But probably that’s all.

“He’ll listen, but he’s real committed to his alma mater,” said a person familiar with Ollie’s thinking.

NBA teams will come aggressively at him the next couple years because Ollie is a favorite of Kevin Durant — KD said Ollie showed him, Russell Westbrook and James Harden how to be professionals. Durant can be a free agent in 2016. You don’t need an advanced mathematics degree to draw the line there.

The Lakers need to think long term with their hire — don’t hire a guy to make Kobe Bryant happy, hire the guy to make the next face of the franchise happy. That said, you want to throw a rookie NBA coach in the shark tank with Kobe the next couple seasons?

I don’t see the Lakers as a fit.

But eventually Ollie will go pro and try his hand, almost all big time college coaches do (John Calipari, Rick Pitino, and the list goes on and on). If it doesn’t work out, you go back to college. Still, I expect Ollie to bask in the glow of UConn for a couple more years.

Report: Cavaliers not “actively” shopping Iman Shumpert. Just listening.

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25: Iman Shumpert #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shows his championship ring before the game against the New York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena on October 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Three days into the NBA season seems early to be discussing the semantics of NBA trade talk, but here we are.

There have been rumors that the Minnesota Timberwolves called the Cleveland Cavaliers, interested in talking Iman Shumpert trades, possibly involving Ricky Rubio (who at some point will lose his starting job to rookie Kris Dunn). And that the Cavaliers were at least open to the idea. But nothing came of it.

How serious is Cleveland on the Shumpert front? Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer addressed that in a Q&A with fans.

A few teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves have inquired about Iman Shumpert, who has three years and $30 million left on his contract at age 26. The Cavs are answering the phone… But they are not actively looking to deal him, a team source told….

Keep in mind, Cleveland also has a trade exception worth about $11 million, the expiring contract of Mo Williams ($2.2 million) and Jordan McRae to deal. So if it is Rubio they want, they don’t have to trade Shumpert to get him.

What Varden is saying is Cavaliers GM David Griffin is not picking up the phone and seeing what he can get for Shumpert. But if teams call him…

Right now, the Cavaliers will need to be blown away to make a deal. Shumpert is backing up J.R. Smith and got more than 22 minutes of court time in the opener — he has a role on this team. Plus Shumpert is on an affordable contract. The Cavs are only going to make a move they believe makes them better right now — they want another ring. Maybe that offer comes, but the Cavs can be patient, and they have options.

Barack Obama picks Warriors to win title. Like everyone else.

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The Baller and Chief is on his way out the door.

Barack Obama has been by far the biggest hoops fan to inhabit the White House (with John Quincy Adams a very distant second). He’s put up a basketball court at the White House, filled out NCAA Tournament brackets, jokingly applied for the Wizards’ coaching job, thought about becoming an owner, gone to NBA games, and just been a fan like the rest of us.

And he’s picking the Warriors to win it all. Like everyone else.

In what was primarily a “get out the vote” effort, President Obama called in to ‘Sway in the Morning’ hosted by Sway Calloway on Eminem’s SiriusXM channel Shade 45. Asked to pick the next NBA champ, the Bulls fan went exactly where everyone else did — Golden State.

“I’m going to go with the Warriors just because of [Kevin] Durant, that addition. I think they just have too much firepower,” Obama said. “Although they just got spanked in their first game, so it will take a while to figure things out.”

Obama also picked the Patriots to win the NFL title. He’s such a frontrunner.

Report: NBA owners rejecting expansion ‘at every turn’

Seattle SuperSonics v Denver Nuggets
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With rumors of NBA expansion swirling, it’s time to look at more concrete evidence.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has repeatedly shot down expansion talk, and that’s not him going rogue. His bosses have apparently taken a firm stance.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

Basketball Insiders reached out to an NBA owner and a voting member of the Board of Governors and was told flatly that any talk of expansion has been shot down at every turn inside the Board of Governors meetings. It’s been a non-starter.

There is a theoretical one-time expansion fee so high where the current 30 owners would divide their shares of revenue further. But the NBA takes in so much annually, it’s hard to imagine a new ownership group could and would front enough money.

Sorry, Seattle (and Louisville and Las Vegas and…). The evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of the league staying at 30 teams. You’ll probably just have to poach a team from another city.

Greg Oden on basketball career: ‘It’s over’

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game 6
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Greg Oden’s multiple injuries dictated the former No. 1 pick wouldn’t have the career forecasted for him.

But he returned from three years off an NBA court to play for the Heat in 2014. He followed that breakthrough with a couple tryouts and a stint in China.

Could he once again return to the league?

Dana Hunsinger Benbow of IndyStar:

Asked whether he’d play basketball again, he said, “I wish. It’s over.” Instead, he is back with the Buckeyes as a student coach, helping out the players and Matta any way he can.

Oden, who was picked one spot before Kevin Durant, once declared: “I know I’m one of the biggest busts in NBA history and I know that it’ll only get worse as Kevin Durant continues doing big things.” That statement is blunt, reality and sad all wrapped into one.

It’s a shame we never got to see Oden healthy for long. There was good reason for the Trail Blazers to pick him first, but injuries ruined what could’ve been an intriguing extend debate over him and Durant.

Hopefully, Oden finds fulfillment in the next chapter of his life.