The Detroit Pistons desperately needed new leadership in both the front office and on the sidelines, and appeared to make a brilliant move toward achieving that by inking Stan Van Gundy to a long-term deal to coach the team and run it as president of basketball operations.
But the franchise almost went in an entirely different direction, reportedly offering the same level of power to someone completely unproven at the NBA level.
In a piece detailing the Timberwolves search for a head coach, one that appears to have at least one candidate identified in Sam Mitchell, it was revealed that Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo was considered for the role in Detroit that Van Gundy ultimately accepted.
From Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune:
Izzo was offered the same five-year, $35 million offer to coach and run the Pistons that Van Gundy eventually accepted last week. Izzo also declined when Cleveland fired Mike Brown and called for the second time in four years.
In my opinion, this would have been a complete disaster.
Izzo has proven to be an excellent coach at the college level in his 19 seasons at Michigan State, and is no doubt well-respected in Detroit due to his reputation as a winner within the state. But with zero NBA experience, either as a coach or in the front office, turning over the keys to the franchise to someone wholly unprepared for those complexities would have been extremely misguided.
Thankfully, Van Gundy accepted the position, and by his doing so, Detroit likely has itself the best front office and head coaching hire of the offseason.
Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s Game 3 dunk over Aron Baynes was great.
Antetokounmpo’s Game 4 dunk over Al Horford (seen above) is even better, because of the fantastic mean mug that followed.
The rise of Antetokounmpo is no accident. He worked hard to develop his on-court skills. And that includes all aspects.
Suns forward Jared Dudley, who played with Antetokounmpo on the 2014-15 Bucks:
This is the inside info we need.
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer withdrew from the Suns coaching search, but that he was even involved with another opening while under contract with Atlanta is telling. It probably wasn’t about the Phoenix job being special. He’s also talking with the Knicks – and maybe that goes somewhere.
Marc Berman of the New York Post:
Mike Budenholzer is genuinely interested in the Knicks’ job, according to an NBA source who has spoken to the Hawks coach.
“New York’s his top choice,’’ the NBA source said. “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes. He wants to live in New York.’’
“Phoenix and the Knicks are trying to win every game,’’ said the NBA source who has spoken to Budenholzer recently. “There’s a good chance Atlanta is not looking to win games the next two years. This wasn’t Mike’s decision. He didn’t expect it. He doesn’t want to lose games.’’
Going to the Knicks to win? What a time to be alive.
But the Hawks are only one year into what appears to be a multi-year rebuild. Relative to that, New York is ahead.
When Kristaps Porzingis returns is the biggest variable. But Enes Kanter, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke are all in their primes. Atlanta is much thinner.
The Knicks would probably also offer Budenholzer a raise and the Hawks compensation. Though dealing with James Dolan carries downside, this could be a financial boon to everyone else involved. It’s no wonder Budenholzer and the Hawks are both into this.
The big question is whether New York, which is casting a wide net, tabs Budenholzer. He doesn’t have a clear connection to Knicks president Steve Mills or general manager Scott Perry. But Budenholzer is a demonstrably good coach, and that ought to matter plenty.
Back in January, the Los Angeles Lakers waived Andrew Bogut. He had a very limited role on a Los Angeles team that was not making the playoffs, serving as a backup big man against teams who use a traditional center. That’s not much of a role anymore. He’s a center who can pass, shoot from the midrange a little, and knows where to be defensively, but the game has evolved as Bogut’s skills have faded. Bogut tried to latch on with a contender for the playoffs, but could not find a team to take him.
So he is going home.
Bogut is signing to play for the Sydney Kings in Australia’s NBL.
Bogut was the first No. 1 draft pick from Australia when he was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2005. He made the All-Rookie team that season, was All-NBA in 2010, but may be best known for his role as a crucial part of the defense of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors in 2015 (and his injury during the 2016 Finals is an underrated reason Cleveland was able to pull off a miracle comeback).
At age 33 Bogut may not have a spot in the NBA, but in the NBL he both will thrive for a few more years but also be a huge draw and get the welcome home from fans that he deserves.
Yes, guys get away with traveling in the NBA. James Harden on the step back (sometimes, not always), or guys sliding left/right to avoid a closeout at the arc and not bothering to dribble while they do it.
Lance Stephenson got called for traveling Sunday in the Pacers’ loss to the Cavaliers. In a game where Stephenson got under the skin of LeBron James and drew a technical (and tied him up for a jump ball at one point), this was the best Lance highlight of the game. Because if you’re going to travel, you should go all in.
Never change Lance. Never change.