In the past two years the small market Memphis Grizzlies have let their popular coach walk (not renewing his contract) and pushed aside their front office guys to make room for more analytics-driven new front office guys, then fired a couple of those new guys and told the second coach he can go look for a new job in Minnesota (the Timberwolves will give up a second round pick to get the coach out of his contract, the deal is close to being done).
That’s a lot of change and instability. So who do they want now to provide that solid foundation now?
Jeff Van Gundy.
I want Kate Beckinsale to pull up in a Maserati Spyder for our date tonight. About the same odds of happening. But the Grizzlies are going to try to pull him out of the cushy broadcast booth gig to go to one of the NBA’s smallest markets, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Grizzlies have serious interest in trying to convince Van Gundy to serve as coach and team president in a job structure modeled after the new dual role brother Stan Van Gundy has secured with the Detroit Pistons.
Jeff Van Gundy’s interest in that sort of undertaking — or the Grizzlies specifically in the wake of all their recent turmoil — is unclear, with the former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets coach and current ESPN analyst consistent in his reluctance to publicly discuss job openings.
I can think of eight to nine million reasons this is not going to work out.
Stan Van Gundy and Doc Rivers recently got the “president and coach” job gigs and both got $7 million a year. If you are going to pull Jeff Van Gundy out of a cushy television gig to do this your offer needs to start at $8 million a year for four or five years and be willing to go up from there. That’s a lot of money for a small market team to be spending on a coach. Too much if you care about the bottom line.
That doesn’t even begin to touch on the odds Jeff leaves the broadcast booth for the Grizzlies. I mean, great barbecue in Memphis and all, but it’s going to take a lot more than that. Would you want to work for a boss who has shifted front office personnel and priorities like that?
Memphis is a tempting job for some coaches because there is legit talent there, the problem is Zach Randolph is a free agent this summer and Marc Gasol next summer. There is a lot of risk there.
It’s just not a job Jeff Van Gundy would leave the booth for.
Russell Westbrook led a double-digit comeback in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Been there done, that.
Westbrook hit a defining buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Been there done, that.
Westbrook posted a historic triple-double. Been there, done that.
All three in one game?
That’s a new level for Westbrook, who lifted the Thunder to a 114-106 win over the Magic tonight while posting an incredible stat line: 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.
James Harden scored 53 in a triple-double just this season, and Westbrook has already one-upped that record.
This MVP race is one for the ages.
The Thunder trailed the Magic by 21 points in the second half and 14 points midway through the fourth quarter.
Russell Westbrook capped the incredible comeback with this 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.
This becoming the norm for Oklahoma City.
Paul George expressed extreme dismay after the Pacers’ loss to the Timberwolves last night — the latest cause for concern in Indiana with its biggest star just one season from free agency.
But perhaps George wouldn’t have sounded so disillusioned if that game featured correct officiating down the stretch.
Minnesota’s Kris Dunn got away with fouling Jeff Teague by disrupting the Pacers guard’s speed/quickness/balance rhythm with 21.6 seconds left, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:
Dunn (MIN) makes contact to Teague’s (IND) arm that affects his SQBR and causes him to lose control of the ball.
Because the Timberwolves were in the penalty, a correct would’ve sent Teague — who’s making 86% of his free throws this season and 84% for his career — to the line. He would’ve had two attempts to build on Indiana’s two-point lead.
Instead, he forced an off-balance shot, which Minnesota rebounded. Ricky Rubio drew a shooting foul on a 3-pointer on the other end, and his three free throws lifted the Timberwolves to a 115-114 win.
The two-minute report featured a few other missed calls: George getting away with pushing off then Wiggins getting away with fouling George on a possession where George missed anyway, Andrew Wiggins getting away with a travel on a possession where Minnesota turned the ball over anyway. But those were effectively wash’s. Dunn’s uncalled foul was the one of consequence — especially if it contributes, even in a small way, to George’s exit from the Pacers.
Edmond Sumner has grown about five inches since high school.
That has helped turn the 6-foot-5 Xavier point guard into an intriguing NBA prospect — but also seemingly contributed to physical complications. Sumner missed nearly all of his freshman year with knee tendinitis. Then, after a promising second season and start to his third, he tore his ACL in January.
Still, he’s entering the NBA draft.
Rick Broering of Musketeer Report:
Like with Duke’s Harry Giles, medical testing will be huge with Sumner. But at least Giles ended the season on the court. Sumner might not be healthy at all during the pre-draft process.
Sumner looked like a borderline first-round pick before the injury. This probably pushes him into the second round.
His long strides provide impressive speed and quickness, and he’s still shifty. Add quality court vision, and his ability to drive by defenders is even more valuable.
A 6-foot-8 wingspan and good lateral mobility also help make him a quality defender.
But it’s also concerning that so much of his positives could be undermined by his knee issues, especially considering his unreliable jumper. If Sumner can’t move like he did before getting hurt, I don’t see how he sticks in the NBA.
If Sumner’s knees check out, it’s worth rolling the dice on him and hoping his jumper develops. He might even be OK without shooting range, though that’d lower his ceiling considerably.
Again, though, the first thing is examining his knees.