Larry Brown implies he’s not interested in coaching the Lakers

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The Lakers have reportedly discussed reaching out to Larry Brown about becoming their next coach.

It hasn’t happened (yet?), according to Brown.

Sure, he and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak have talked. But, as Brown tells it, they’re just a couple former Dean Smith players keeping in touch and building on their University of North Carolina roots.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

Larry Brown has been talking to Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, alright, but not as some sort of recruitment for the vacant coaching job.

“I’ve always kept in touch with Mitch; I admire the hell out of him,” the 73-year-old Brown told USA TODAY Sports by phone on Tuesday. “I talk to Mitch all the time. … (But) we’re not talking about coaching the Lakers. I’ve read some of the names. They’ve got a long list of good people to choose from, and I’m here at SMU. I want to win a national championship.”

“I’m just so thankful SMU gave me this chance,” Brown said. “We have made such progress. We’ve got a bunch of young kids already committed for the future and I’d love to finish it out here. … I’d love to see (the Lakers) get a great coach, because I love Mitch and I love that franchise. But I’m thrilled where I am. I feel so fortunate I’ve had this chance.”

“Not everybody would give an old man like me a chance to coach, so I’ve been pretty fortunate to have that opportunity here,” Brown said. “We’re moving forward (at SMU), so I’m OK.”

Notice how Brown never outright denies an interest in the Lakers job?

He can be thrilled where he is and thankful for his chance at SMU and moving forward at SMU – all while simultaneously wanting to coach the Lakers.

Brown is an excellent coach. He’s even better at navigating his way between jobs.

He knows what he’s doing here, and it’s possible his conversations with Kupchak turn more serious later. It’s unlikely Brown coaches the Lakers. Their search has been slow and wide.

But it’s likely Brown wants to return to the NBA at some point. I doubt he’d stop listening to inquiries just because he’s happy at SMU.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.