Reports: Dave Joerger declines Timberwolves offer, decides to remain Grizzlies head coach

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In what has been an ongoing saga regarding Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger, it appears that after several steps in a process that seemed to be inching him toward taking a job with the Timberwolves, he will remain the Grizzlies head coach — at least for now.

This all began six days ago, when a shakeup in the Grizzlies front office led to reports of Joerger’s job being jeopardy. He was promoted to head coach after Lionel Hollins was let go the previous season for differences he had with management, but with that management changing once again, it was believed that Joerger would eventually be replaced.

The Timberwolves received permission to interview Joerger for their vacant head coaching position, and after a final meeting with ownership in Minnesota on Saturday, the team decided that Joerger was its man.

Nothing could be finalized, however, because Joerger remained under contract with the Grizzlies. Minnesota and Memphis would need to agree to some compensation for Joerger to be let out of his current deal, but that apparently is where things have hit a snag, prompting Joerger to declare that he’s staying in Memphis.

And so, here we are.

The Grizzlies still have Joerger in place on a guaranteed deal for two more years at $2 million each, and the Timberwolves know that the desire in Memphis is to cut him loose. That means Minnesota is in a position to sit back and wait for Joerger to become available without offering anything at all in terms of compensation — not even a future second round draft pick, which seems to be a small price to pay.

It’s a game of chicken now, which could very well still land Joerger in Minnesota before this is through. If ownership indeed reached out to Joerger to tell him his job is safe, then it’s understandable that he’d want to stay. But it still seems as though it may take a bit longer for all of this to work itself out.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.