Report: Mike Dunleavy a candidate for head coaching jobs with Knicks and Lakers

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The Knicks lost out on their initial head coaching target when Steve Kerr chose to take the job with the Warriors instead, possibly due to the initial lowball offer he received and extended negotiations with New York that allowed Golden State to swoop in.

The Lakers, meanwhile, haven’t yet started their head coaching search, primarily because there are too many uncertainties with the roster right now to determine who exactly the right person would be to put in charge.

Both teams, however, appear to have at least one of the same names somewhere on their respective lists of candidates.

From Chris Broussard of ESPN.com:

While one source close to the situation said Dunleavy is not at the top of Jackson’s list, the source acknowledged that Dunleavy is indeed a candidate.

Dunleavy, who has coached four NBA teams over 17 years, is also a candidate for the Los Angeles Lakers’ job, according to a source.

Dunleavy has had a friendly relationship with Jackson since their playing days in the 1970s. With both living in Los Angeles, they have periodically met for lunch over the years.

The New York Post reported that Knicks president of basketball operations Phil Jackson met with Dunleavy over breakfast at a hotel in Chicago on Friday, the site of the NBA’s Draft Combine.

Just as it did when Jackson was considering Kerr to coach the Knicks, it makes sense that he would do the same with Dunleavy given their prior relationship. Jackson needs a familiar face on the sidelines that he trusts in order to have his philosophies trickle down to the players, and Dunleavy has proven to be a capable head coach in a variety of circumstances.

For the Lakers, the hiring of Dunleavy would be a short-term move aimed at trying to win now while Kobe Bryant remains on the roster. Bryant has two years left on his deal, and the only way the hiring of an aging coach like Dunleavy would make sense is if L.A. is somehow able to re-load with a ton of talent this summer, to the point where the Lakers are able to elevate themselves to the level of contenders once again.

Frankly, the L.A. scenario feels like a long shot. But the connection Dunleavy has with Jackson might make a job with the Knicks a real possibility — even if it ultimately ends up being in the front office rather than on the sidelines.

Dunleavy has coached 17 NBA seasons with four different teams, most recently with the Clippers from 2003-10. He coached the Lakers against Jackson’s Bulls in the 1991 NBA Finals, which was the year that Jackson won the first of his 11 championships as a head coach.

Isaiah Thomas loses tooth, calmly hits two 3-pointers vs. Wizards (VIDEO)

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Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas is going to need a dentist after Sunday’s Game 1 against the Washington Wizards. While trying to fight around a screen, Thomas caught a spare elbow and wound up with his dental work all over the floor at TD Garden.

The play came in the first quarter as Thomas was trying to guard Washington’s Otto Porter Jr. coming off a screen. As Porter reached for the ball as the pass came to him on the curl, he wound up whacking Thomas in the front of his grill.

Thomas’ tooth could be seen on slo-mo replay flying across the air.

Warning: sort of gross.

Via Twitter:

Gross! Although it should be said that it seems possible that Thomas’ tooth is actually a bridge, which is to say it was missing already. The Celtics medical staff was able to put the tooth back in during the second quarter.

Meanwhile, Thomas came back up the floor after losing his tooth and hit two 3-pointers, so perhaps it’s good luck?

Why is Robin Lopez holding this dog during his exit interview? (VIDEO)

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What did Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez have to say during his exit interviews? I can’t really tell, it’s all a bunch of white noise. All I see is him holding his giant, shaggy dog named Muppet while speaking to reporters.

I can’t get over it, really. Why hasn’t someone thought of this before?

Lopez is the perfect candidate to do this if you think about it, given his propensity to be a little off-kilter.

Via Twitter:

Lopez was mostly talking about taking away positives from a weird Bulls season in which they struggled all year until miraculously making the 8-seed before challenging top-ranked Boston in round 1.

Clippers, Jazz prepare for Game 7 in Los Angeles

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LOS ANGELES  (AP) – Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul was adamant the sun would not set on Paul Pierce‘s NBA run in Salt Lake City on Friday night.

“I looked over at ‘Truth’ during one of (those) timeouts and I said ‘You’re not ending your career in Utah,’ ” said Paul, referring to Pierce’s popular nickname. “We told him that. We just said we want to keep this thing going for him. Paul was big tonight. Like the 3 he hit over there on the wing, and stuff like that. Just his energy and his voice in those different timeouts I think was huge for us.”

With a crucial 98-93 victory over the Utah Jazz in Game 6, the Clippers will attempt to extend the career of the 39-year-old Pierce, who is retiring at season’s end, and capture the series Sunday in Game 7 at Staples Center.

The winner advances to the second round to meet the Golden State Warriors in a best-of-seven affair beginning Tuesday at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.

Paul, whose two late free throws sealed the win against the Jazz, led the charge by scoring 29 points, dishing eight assists and allowing the Clippers to avoid elimination in the opening round for the second straight season. The Portland Trail Blazers bounced them last season in six games, aided by injuries to Paul and Blake Griffin.

And as Paul loathes to hear, the point guard has never guided a team past the second round.

“This is what we talked about before (Game 6),” said Paul, who has become the Clippers’ main force offensively with Griffin out of the playoffs again, this time with an injury to his big toe. “Doc (Rivers) said to go out there and give yourself a chance. We knew we couldn’t win both games (Friday), and we wanted to give ourselves a chance.”

Utah will have another opportunity to end Pierce’s career on Sunday despite missing a chance on its home court. After the Jazz won Game 5 on Tuesday at Staples, All-Star forward Gordon Hayward made it clear he didn’t want to return for a Game 7.

Hayward, though, is humming a different tune now.

“We’ve come a long way from where we were three years ago,” Hayward told the Salt Lake Tribune. “If you had told me at the beginning of the year you’d be in a Game 7 against the Clippers in L.A., I’d have been like, ‘Bring it on.’ ”

The Jazz will be forced to bring their best with center Rudy Gobert hobbling again. Gobert, who sustained a hyperextended left knee in Game 1 that kept him out of the lineup for two games, sprained his ankle in the second half of Game 6 and was forced to the bench because of it during critical stretches.

Gobert said the ankle wouldn’t hinder him Sunday.

“I sprained it on somebody’s foot,” said Gobert, who finished with 15 points, nine boards and three blocks, according to the Tribune. “I tried to run through it, but that didn’t work out. I’ve had a lot of sprained ankles before. I will be good.”

PBT Extra: Can Toronto threaten Cleveland, LeBron James in second round?

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There are a few reasons to think the Toronto Raptors can push and maybe even upset the Cleveland Cavaliers in their second round playoff series that starts Monday. For one, they went six games last playoffs and this is a deeper, more versatile Raptors team with Serge Ibaka as the power forward/center, P.J. Tucker coming off the bench, and the emergence of guys like Norman Powell. The Raptors have a great backcourt in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. And, the Cavaliers were not a focused or good defensive team in the first round.

On the other side of the ledger, the Cavaliers have LeBron James.

I break down this series in the latest PBT Extra.