Report: Lakers interview Kurt Rambis as coaching search continues

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The next coaching hire the Lakers make is a critical one for the future of the franchise, after the last two choices in Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni didn’t work out, each for a variety of very specific reasons.

It makes sense, then, that L.A. would take its time with the search, and interview as many candidates as possible in order to make the right decision this time around.

Kurt Rambis was the latest to interview with the Lakers brain trust, with more meetings scheduled for later this week.

From Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

The Lakers continue interviewing players and coaches from their past, meeting with Kurt Rambis for their coaching vacancy.

Rambis, 56, was an assistant last season under Mike D’Antoni, who resigned from the team four weeks ago.

The Lakers have now interviewed Rambis, Byron Scott and Mike Dunleavy, and plan to meet with Alvin Gentry on Wednesday and Lionel Hollins on Thursday.

The team remains on a slow march toward a replacement for D’Antoni and might eventually sit down with about 10 candidates.

Of the candidates listed, I don’t see Rambis or Scott as a fit at all. Each has proven to be stubborn during their previous head coaching opportunities, with Scott’s act having eventually worn thin with three separate teams and their respective best players.

Gentry strikes me as the best choice from this list, given his offensive credentials, as well as a relationship with Kobe Bryant that goes back many years. Hollins may be the best overall coach of the group, but he wouldn’t appear to have the right temperament to deal with the pressures associated with coaching in a major market like Los Angeles.

The fact that the team is looking at veteran head coaches to fill the vacancy is good news for Lakers fans, a sign that Mitch Kupchak likely is firm in his belief that the rebuilding process will happen quickly, with star talent coming either through trades or free agency that would require experienced leadership to produce the desired results.

If Kupchak fails in that effort, however, it will put whomever is hired in the very difficult position of trying to defend the job he’s doing, under the weight of impossibly high expectations.

PBT Extra: Fan votes from twitter on MVP, other awards

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We reached the middle of the NBA season, which is a good time to consider where things stand for the end-of-season awards such as MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year. We have made our picks and even broken them down in a podcast.

Now it was time to ask you who you thought should win awards.

I put it out there on Twitter in some polls, and I cover your responses in this PBT Extra. I’m with you on Brad Stevens for Coach of the Year, although I think it’s close. Did you choose LeBron James or James Harden for MVP? Watch and find out.

Michael Carter-Williams and Tim Frazier ejected for altercation, leading to hilarious Dwight Howard free throws (video)

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Jason Smith pushed down Michael Carter-Williams while going for a rebound. Carter-Williams pulled Smith to the floor. Tim Frazier flew in heated.

It was more than a typical NBA altercation – Carter-Williams clenched his fist, though never swung – but it wasn’t quite a fight. It was just reserves getting feisty late in a blowout, the Hornets’ 133-109 win over the Wizards on Wednesday. Carter-Williams and Frazier were given double technical fouls and ejected.

One catch: Smith was called for personally fouling Carter-Williams, who was due free throws. With Carter-Williams unavailable, Washington could pick his replacement at the line.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks chose Dwight Howard, a poor free-throw shooter who’d been resting the entire fourth quarter and surely figured his night was over. Maybe it was only about Howard’s team-worst 53% shooting from the line, but it’s also possible Brooks was trying to make an opponent uncomfortable.

The Charlotte crowd went wild, and Howard only added to the fervor.

He sunk both free throws – padding his stats (18 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks and two steals) – and blew Brooks a kiss. Howard might appreciate the extra points Brooks afforded him, but they’ll likely come at a cost. Howard celebrated with the Sam Cassell/big-balls dance, which usually draws a fine from the NBA.

Kent Bazemore hits game-winner to lift Hawks over Pelicans (video)

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Just when it seemed as if the Pelicans were rolling… they lose to the lowly Hawks.

This was the second game of a back-to-back after beating the Celtics in overtime, and New Orleans looked the part, blowing a 15-point lead in the final 19 minutes.

Kent Bazemore‘s jumper with 2.1 seconds left stood as the game-winner when DeMarcus Cousins missed a rushed post-up on the other end.

Jalen Rose calls Paul Pierce petty to his face (video)

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Paul Pierce is being petty about Isaiah Thomas‘ tribute video.

And that’s from someone who empathizes with Pierce’s point of view.

When retiring a player’s number, teams tastefully use stoppages to show highlights and tributes to the player. The whole night, not just the moment of raising a number into the rafters, can be about celebrating the player. It’s reasonable for Pierce to want the entire package.

But to go on television and advocate for not showing Thomas’ video? To continue the campaign after Thomas made clear how important his video was to him? To tell the Celtics not to show a short video for Thomas during introductions?

It’s way too far.

Too many people around Pierce enabled his flawed approach. Jalen Rose put that to a pointed stop.

Rose on ESPN:

I’ve got say a word for you, fam. I think it was petty.

On Paul Pierce’s part.

I love Paul. This is my brother. Because to me, there are going to be all type of announcements that happen in the 48 minutes during that game. All types. Including Isaiah Thomas could be one of them. It does not take away from your situation. Like Kobe’s, it happened during the game. Because they’re doing yours post-game.

The look on Pierce’s face while Rose was talking!