Report: Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue to interview for Cavaliers head coaching job

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The Cavaliers are apparently going to conduct a wide-ranging search for their next head coach, which will be an extremely important hire for the immediate future of the franchise.

Mike Brown failed miserably in his second stint in Cleveland, and was blown out after one year with four more still remaining on his deal. Kyrie Irving is the one superstar the team still has in place, at least for one more season until he can become an unrestricted free agent.

The Cavs can offer Irving an extension before then, but unless a solid head coach is in place who can convince Irving that a realistic long-term plan for winning is in place, there’s no reason for him to forego the opportunity to pursue a better situation.

The latest coaching candidate added to the list may or may not instill that type of confidence.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Los Angeles Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue will interview for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ head-coaching job late next week, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Cavaliers had closely examined the college ranks for a head coach, and are now looking at the landscape of NBA assistant coaches and former head coaches. …

In five years as an assistant under coach Doc Rivers with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers, Lue has developed into one of the NBA’s most well-regarded young head-coaching prospects.

Tyronn Lue is most widely known for being Allen Iverson’s victim in one of the signature highlights of the 2001 NBA Finals.

It’s tough to see the Cavaliers going with an unproven head coach this time around, given all that’s at stake. Of the names that have been floated, Alvin Gentry seems to be the best, and Vinny Del Negro might be the worst.

Lue lands somewhere in between, but again, you’d be risking Irving’s future on a first-time head coach — which may not ultimately be the wisest of decisions.

Russell Westbrook on Rockets laughing at Andre Roberson missing free throws: ‘Probably the guys that don’t play’

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The Rockets bench made a big production when an intentionally fouled Andre Roberson kept missing free throws in the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Rockets yesterday.

Russell Westbrook stuck up for his teammate.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Westbrook:

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it at all. Probably the guys that don’t play, probably over there the ones laughing, if I had to guess.

Good guess. It appears Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Brown – whose only playing time this series came late in Houston’s blowout Game 1 win – led the jeers.

But the most important thing for the Thunder is Roberson making his free throws. They need him on the court to defend James Harden, which exposes him to hacking. If Westbrook deflecting attention onto the Rockets’ benchwarmers helps Roberson at the line, great. But if not, the Rockets will keep having reasons to laugh.

Magic Johnson winks at bringing Paul George to Lakers

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Paul George-to-the-Lakers rumors have swirled for a while.

New Lakers president Magic Johnson will only fuel them.

Asked how he’d interact with the Pacers star to avoid tampering if they ran into each other, Johnson said on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

In explaining how he’d avoid tampering, Johnson probably tampered. Accidental tampering appears to be his specialty.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says team employees can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.” But the league arbitrarily enforces tampering, so who knows whether he’ll be punished?

Johnson almost certainly could have gotten away with the hypothetical conversation he laid out. But going on television and describing it — even as fantasy, even not directly to George — could constitute tampering in itself,

If Johnson helps attract George to Los Angeles, it’d well be worth it. At least he’s trying something.

Report: Austin Rivers returning for Clippers-Jazz Game 5

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There have been bigger injuries in the Clippers-Jazz first-round series: Blake Griffin‘s toe, Rudy Gobert‘s knee and Gordon Hayward‘s stomach.

But Clippers guard Austin Rivers has yet to play due to a strained hamstring.

It sounds as if that will change tomorrow.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This is neither as big a deal as the Clippers will make it out to be nor as meaningless as Rivers’ many detractors will claim.

The 6-foot-4 Rivers will provide an important defensive upgrade on the perimeter. The Clippers haven’t successfully hidden Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton, allowing Utah too many quality looks. Here how the Jazz have shot when defended by each, per NBA.com:

  • Crawford: 18-of-36 (50%), including 7-of-17 on 3-pointers (41%)
  • Felton: 13-of-24 (54%), including 5-of-8 on 3-pointers (63%)

Rivers needn’t be great to help behind Chris Paul and J.J. Redick.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.