Report: Lakers finally offer coaching position to Byron Scott, deal expected soon

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The Lakers fired Mike D’Antoni back on April 30 and since then watched most of the NBA playoffs, the Spurs win the Finals, the NBA Draft, LeBron James go home, the rest of the heart of free agency, and Summer League all go by while they waited.

After all that they decided to go with the guy who was the favorite from April 30th on, the guy that Kobe Bryant wanted from the start.

The Lakers have offered their coaching position to Byron Scott, first reported by Chris Broussard of ESPN. (Since then multiple reports close to the Lakers confirmed this.)

A deal is expected soon, at least in the next couple days.

Other coaches considered and that the Lakers reached out to included George Karl, Lionel Hollins, Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, Kevin Ollie and others.

Scott is a former Laker with rings from the Showtime era — the Lakers can sell this as a “return to family” — and has long been a Buss family favorite.

But he’s in a bit of a placeholder position as the Lakers try to rebuild by attracting stars — the Lakers don’t know what kind of team they want to be long term, which is a hard spot to put a coach in.

As a coach Scott guided the Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals, but after that had down-and-up-and-down tenures in New Orleans (with Chris Paul) and Cleveland after LeBron James left in 2010. Scott sees himself as a developer of young talent, which is what the Lakers need, although Scott (like most coaches would) has had far more success with veteran rosters.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.