Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors

Report: Warriors hiring Luke Walton as assistant coach


At the start of last season, Luke Walton was trying to continue his playing career.

That came after he served as a University of Memphis assistant during the NBA lockout and then returned to playing with the Lakers and Cavaliers. Now, he’s done blurring the playing-coaching line.

Walton is firmly on the coaching track.

He worked as an assistant for the Lakers’ D-League team this season. Phil Jackson considered him for the Knicks, but after that job went to Derek Fisher, Walton found another way to move his career forward.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (hat tip: CSN Bay Area):

I was never sold on Walton as an incredibly wise player, the type who would definitely make a good coach someday. But there are a lot of smart people around the NBA who believe in his coaching potential.

Under owner Joe Lacob, the Warriors have been committed to hiring strong assistant coaches. See Alvin Gentry and Ron Adams. Walton is a quality, based on potential at least, third assistant.

Walton isn’t ready to become a head coach, and Jackson avoided that misstep. But this is a good place for Walton to show what so many see in him – especially as Steve Kerr might lean on his assistants during his first year coaching.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.