Report: Pistons pursuing Stan Van Gundy as coach and general manager

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Stan Van Gundy is reportedly close to become the Golden State Warriors’ next coach, the expected culmination of a week of reports on both sides’ interest.

How do you interrupt that momentum?

Offer Van Gundy more.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The Detroit Pistons are pursuing Stan Van Gundy with a lucrative offer to assume complete control of basketball operations and coach, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

As coach, Van Gundy could build a scheme around Andre Drummond much like what the Magic had around Dwight Howard. Drummond is that type of anchoring talent, and the Pistons have failed to put him in ideal position to succeed. There is no better coach to fix that than Van Gundy.

However, it would be a bit more complicated in Detroit with the presence of Greg Monroe and Josh Smith, two starting-caliber players who don’t shoot well from the perimeter. Orlando surrounded Howard with four shooters to create spacing.

But how to handle Monroe and Smith wouldn’t be Van Gundy’s problem. That would be the general manager’s issue.

Oh Van Gundy would be the general manager, too? Hmmm.

That’s a whole lot of Van Gundy setting the tone for the organization.

I believe Howard actually appreciated playing for Van Gundy more often than not – maybe even wishes he were still playing for him. But their relationship soured late in their time together because, at least in part, Van Gundy can be grating over time. He’s still trying to shed the “Master of Panic” label, though he’s perfectly content being a details hound (a great trait, but one which produces thoughts that must be communicated to others with some care).

Is that the man the Pistons want in charge of everything?

If they do, they have a significant advantage over the Warriors, who offer the better team.

I doubt Golden State would demote general manager Bob Myers just to hire Van Gundy for that large role. The Warriors would probably offer a higher coaching salary, but by combining two openings, the Pistons might put together a financial package that beats what Golden State offers just for coaching.

Van Gundy is a good coach, one the Pistons should absolutely pursue. It might even be worth it to give him a chance as general manager – he has no front-office experience – to get him as a coach.

But if Van Gundy weren’t coming as a coach, I can’t believe Detroit would have any interest in him as general manager. That’s important for the Pistons to remember as they proceed.

Reports: Pelicans to sign Jameer Nelson with Rondo out

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With Rajon Rondo out 4-6 weeks with a sports hernia, the New Orleans Pelicans were looking for a solid backup point guard.

This week, to make room to sign Richard Jefferson, the Denver Nuggets waived veteran Jameer Nelson.

While other teams such as the Rockets were calling, the Pelicans and Nelson have reached a deal, reports both Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports added this.

Nelson, in his 14th NBA season, became the top free agent on the market and received interest from contenders such as the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder and several other franchises that hoped to add the respected and accomplished veteran. But for Nelson, the Pelicans represent an opportunity to play significant minutes and provide leadership.

The Pelicans had a full roster of 15 players, they could have waited until next Tuesday and gotten a disabled player exception to add a 16th player, but they decided to go with something more permanent.

Jrue Holiday starts at the point for the Pelicans but with Rondo out — he was supposed to start next to Holiday — there is no depth at the position. The Pelicans can have Nelson step in and get minutes from the first time he steps on the court.

Nelson is still a solid pick-and-roll point guard, but what he brings to the table the Pelicans need more is shooting — he shot 38.8 percent from three last season and is a good spot up player. He can penetrate and make plays off handoffs as well, but it’s his shooting on a team that needs it that will be most valued.

The Pelicans have started the season 0-2 with losses to Memphis and Golden State. They take on the Lakers in Los Angeles Sunday night.

DeMarcus Cousins fined $25,000 for cursing at fan

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Near the end of New Orleans’ season-opening loss in Memphis, DeMarcus Cousins started getting into a war of words with a female Grizzlies fan, an exchange where allegedly “F-bombs” were dropped in both directions.

That’s going to cost Cousins.

Saturday the league announced that the Pelicans’ center has been fined $25,000 for “directing inappropriate language towards a fan.”

Cousins got a technical foul during this exchange, and that has been rescinded.

Cousins has averaged 31 points and 10 rebounds a game through two games this season, but it hasn’t been enough as New Orleans has started the season 0-2.

It’s not about the shoes: Kevin Durant loses his, blocks two shots anyway

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Shoes? Kevin Durant don’t need no stinkin’ shoes.

Early in the second quarter of the Warriors win in New Orleans Friday, Durant came out of his shoes on a layup in the lane. He then picked up his shoe, carried it to the other end, flipped it to the bench, and played defense without it, and while he got moved out of the way allowing an offensive rebound for the Pelicans he then proceeded to block Tony Allen twice at the rim.

Durant — after deciding to play the rest of the game in shoes — had seven blocks on the night, to go with 22 points.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

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Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Celtics on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. That will work especially well against teams going small (for example, the Cavaliers with Kevin Love at the five), although Friday night Boston had big man Aron Baynes starting at center (in part because of Embiid, in part because Marcus Smart was out injured). Still, Embiid can score on Baynes.

Take a look at Embiid’s shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.