Jeff Bzdelik resigned at Wake Forest – ending a college-coaching odyssey that also included stops with Colorado and Air Force – David Ramsey of The Gazette wrote of Bzdelik:
And he complained about his players. I remember several conversations with Buzzy when he wondered why one of his Falcons failed to find the nerve to take a big shot or properly box out for a crucial rebound or pass out of a double team.
Life in the NBA spoiled him. He expected players to understand the game. I almost told him, more than once, he had been hired as a basketball professor. He needed to hear the words. He struggled to see it was his job to teach basketball to these young cadets.
Consider that issue behind Bzdelik, who went 73-119 as Nuggets head coach from 2002 to 2004 when Carmelo Anthony was breaking into the league.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
Bzdelik has spent a lifetime in basketball, coming up through the ranks as a college assistant, small-college head coach, NBA assistant and NBA scout.
Being an NBA head coach was probably a bit over his head. Being a college head coach didn’t seem to suit him.
This is probably the role – and he’s tried nearly all them – that fits him best.
And in Memphis, where not long ago owner Robert Pera and head coach Dave Joerger were at odds over silliness, maybe Bzdelik will serve as the Grizzlies’ head coach by the end of the season.
Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.
Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.
But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.
LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.
LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.
However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.
For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.
Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.