Report: Warriors expected to ask Bulls about Tom Thibodeau’s availability

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With reports of a rift between Tom Thibodeau and Bulls management, teams with coaching vacancies are circling.

First the Lakers, potentially at Kobe Bryant’s urging, and now the Warriors.

Rusty Simmons of SFGate:

The Warriors are expected to contact the Chicago Bulls to explore the availability of their head coach, defensive whiz Tom Thibodeau, who was an assistant in Boston when Lacob was a minority owner of the 2008 champion Celtics.

Thibodeau, obviously, also has say here. He’s been successful in Chicago, and there’s no guarantee he wants to leave. There are a lot of considerations – potential salary, his desire to live in California, his perception of each team’s quality, etc. – before this gets serious.

And of course, whether the Bulls, who have Thibodeau under contract, want to let him go.

The Celtics and Clippers set the market last season for an exchange like this, Los Angeles sending Boston a first-round pick – one likely to fall late in the round – to let Doc Rivers out of his contract early.

Due to trades, the Warriors can’t trade any draft pick – first round or second – before 2019. Would the Bulls want to wait that long get their return? Would Golden State mortgage even more of their-long term future?

If the Warriors wait until after the 2014 draft, they could trade their 2015 first-round pick, but they might not want to let the uncertainty linger that long. Chicago might not want to find a new coach that late in the process, either.

And I’m not sure Thibodeau would be an ideal fit in Golden State – at least good enough to warrant the cost of hiring him, including what Chicago would require and the salary Thibodeau would command.

The Warriors quietly had an excellent defense last season. Thibodeau would at least maintain that level, maybe even nudge them up slightly. But he wouldn’t move the needle considerably, because there just isn’t that much room to improve.

Golden State needs a coach who can make its offense click. The Warriors have plenty of offensive talent, and they should be much better than a middling offensive team.

Thibodeau hasn’t shown offense to be his forte.

The Warriors should have interest in him, because he’s a very good coach. Beyond that, there are many more reasons to suspect this won’t happen than to believe it will.

Raptors promote Bobby Webster to general manager

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TORONTO (AP) — With rumors swirling about the Knicks chasing Raptors president Masai Ujiri, the Raptors have promoted Bobby Webster to general manager.

Webster, 32 years old assistant the youngest GM in the NBA, replaces Jeff Weltman, who left Toronto in May to become president of the Orlando Magic.

A former staffer at the NBA league office in New York, Webster joined the Raptors in 2013 and was named assistant GM in 2016.

He’ll help decide what to offer All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, who opted out of the final year of his contract last month after Cleveland swept Toronto in the second round of the playoffs.

Forwards Serge Ibaka, P.J. Tucker and Patrick Patterson are all unrestricted free agents.

Also Wednesday, Toronto promoted Dan Tolzman to assistant general manager.

The Raptors have posted consecutive 50-win seasons and made four straight playoff appearances.

Jason Williams out 6-8 months after injury in Big3 debut

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NEW YORK (AP) — Former NBA point guard Jason Williams will miss six to eight months after suffering a knee injury in the opening game of the Big3.

Corey Maggette, also injured in the opening week of Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league of former NBA players, had surgery for a leg injury. There is no timetable for his return.

The injuries were announced Wednesday during a conference call with Cube and Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz, who also detailed a couple rules changes starting with this weekend’s game in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Games will be played to 50 points, instead of 60, with halftime coming when the first team reaches 25 points. Cube said that would help the four games per day move more quickly.

Report: Mutual interest between Knicks, Jeff Teague with Phil Jackson gone

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Phil Jackson’s exit is already opening doors for the Knicks.

No position differs more in the triangle from modern spread NBA offenses than point guard. But without Jackson demanding his point guard fit such a narrow profile, New York can pursue greater talents – like Jeff Teague.

Ian Begley of ESPN:

With Phil Jackson out and the triangle de-emphasized, the Knicks, under general manager Steve Mills, have interest in free agent point guard Jeff Teague, league sources told ESPN. League sources say the interest in Teague is mutual.

The Knicks aren’t as desperate at point guard after drafting Frank Ntilikina, but Ntilikina probably isn’t ready to run an offense full-time yet. Teague could be a stopgap – which might be necessary considering New York can’t easily pivot into rebuilding with Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee locked up.

Teague’s future with the Pacers appears uncertain with Paul George on the trade block. A key part of Larry Bird’s retooling last summer, Teague and Indiana might be headed in different directions now.

The Knicks make as much sense as anywhere for Teague – now that Jackson is gone.

PBT Extra: Rockets, with Chris Paul trade, show fearlessness in face of Warriors’ dominance

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The Rockets and Clippers both turned aggressive with today’s Chris Paul trade.

Houston is making a bold attempt to overtake the Warriors (a plan that could include other big moves). The Clippers are launching into rebuilding.

Kurt Helin breaks down what it means for both teams.