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R.C. Buford denies Spurs have spoken with Ettore Messina about coaching next season


Do the San Antonio Spurs plan to hire Ettore Messina?

Multiple report say the CSKA Moscow coach is headed to San Antonio next season.

Spurs general manager R.C. Buford indicates otherwise.

Buford, via Mike Monroe of Spurs Nation:

“Is someone leaving our staff that I don’t know about?” Buford said when asked about the Messina report. “We have not had one conversation with anyone about a coaching position for next season.”

Well, about that.

Shooting coach Chip Engelland – who drew rave reviews last night for his work with Kawhi Leonard, the leading scorer of Game 3 – might be leaving after the Finals. Marc Stein of ESPN:

Steve Kerr succeeded Engelland as the top perimeter gun at Pacific Palisades High School in Southern California and, according to NBA coaching sources, wants to bring him to the Bay Area to sit on the Warriors’ bench.

new Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder also said to be in the hunt

At the risk of sounding reading to much into Buford’s statement, he never denies a plan to hire Messina.

Is a San Antonio assistant leaving? Did Buford say one wasn’t? Or is he just asking questions? Do you understand how he might be dodging something?

It’s also possible Buford has spoken not with Messina, but his agent. Or perhaps the talks were vaguer than “next season” and based on when there’s an opening with a wink at the end.

Buford’s quote could be a creative way of misleading without outright lying – a line many in his position are comfortable walking with the media. Whether he’s doing that here or not, I have no idea.

I just wouldn’t write off Messina to the Spurs based on that quote alone.

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.