Brian Scalabrine says Warriors offered him chance to be an assistant under new head coach Steve Kerr

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Brian Scalabrine is “coming home” to be an analyst with CSN New England, after spending part of last season as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.

Mark Jackson had a rough year in what was his final one as the team’s head coach, and sent more than one of his assistants away during the course of the season.

Scalabrine was one of them, but while the rest of Jackson’s assistants weren’t retained when he was let go, the Warriors organization offered Scalabrine the chance to remain on under new head coach Steve Kerr.

From Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group:

The Warriors let go Mark Jackson and his entire coaching staff after the season, but the team showed interest in retaining Brian Scalabrine for a position on new coach Steve Kerr’s staff, Scalabrine told a Boston radio station Tuesday.

Scalabrine, whose differences with Jackson led to his reassignment to the Santa Cruz Warriors in March, told 98.5 The Sports Hub there was no shortage of coaching jobs available to him as he returned to Comcast SportsNet New England to broadcast Boston Celtics games in order to spend more time with his wife and three children.

“At the end of the day, when they hired Coach Kerr, the ownership offered me a chance to interview, and at that point, I realized they really wanted me to stay within the organization and be a coach at whatever position, whether it was a bench coach or player development,” Scalabrine said in his first statements to the media since his reassignment. “And I just felt like at the time, it probably wasn’t the best move.”

It’s worth noting that new head coaches often like to hand pick their own staff members, and unless someone who served under the previous regime comes highly recommended by those in charge, it’s unusual that they would land a position once that leadership has changed hands.

But if nothing else, it shows that the Warriors front office valued Scalabrine’s contributions, and probably weren’t all that pleased with the way his time with the team came to a close.

Victor Oladipo’s practice dunk better than anything he – or maybe anyone – did in dunk contest (video)

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Victor Oladipo has grown into far more than just a dunker.

In fact, in Saturday’s dunk contest, he didn’t look like a dunker at all.

The Pacers star missed all three attempts of his first dunk, and a Black Panther mask was by far the biggest draw of his second. Oladipo was eliminated after the first round.

Maybe Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t the only eliminated dunker who left something in his bag. This Oladipo dunk – 180 degrees, throwing ball off the backboard with his left hand while in mid-air, dunking with his right hand – while preparing in Los Angeles was awesome.

Larry Nance Jr. had the contest’s best dunk. This would have rivaled it.

Pelicans owner Tom Benson hospitalized with flu symptoms

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson has been hospitalized with flu symptoms.

A statement released Wednesday by the NFL and NBA clubs says their 90-year-old owner is resting comfortably at Ochsner Medical Center, a hospital which also serves as a major sponsor and which owns naming rights to the teams’ training headquarters.

Benson has owned the New Orleans Saints since 1985 and bought the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012.

In recent years, Benson has overhauled his estate plan so that his third wife, Gayle, would be first in line to inherit control of the two major professional franchises.

 

Report: Seattle hosting Kings-Warriors preseason game

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Kevin Durant spent his rookie season in Seattle, before the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. He has said Seattle fans deserved to see him grow up in the NBA after supporting his promising start.

They’ll get their chance.

Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:

The Kings and Golden State Warriors have scheduled a preseason game next season in Seattle, according to multiple league sources.

The Oct. 6 meeting between Northern California teams will be the first NBA game in the Key Arena since the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City after the 2007-08 season and became the Thunder.

This game will be loaded with storylines. Not only Durant, but the Kings considered moving to Seattle a few years ago. And of course, the return of NBA basketball to Seattle.

At some point, Seattle will get its own team again. For now, this preseason game creates intrigue there.

Report: Kawhi Leonard cleared medically, seeking second opinion

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard played again this season, a stark reversal from just a month ago. Back then, even while announcing Leonard was out indefinitely with a quad injury, the San Antonio coach said Leonard wouldn’t miss the rest of the season.

What’s going on?

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.

Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said.

The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.

At first glance, this sounds like Derrick Rose five years ago. Even after he was cleared to play following a torn ACL, the then-Bulls star remained mysterious about when he’d suit up. His confidence in his physical abilities seemed to be a major issue, and he was never the same player since (suffering more leg injuries).

But the Spurs famously favor resting players to preserve long-term health. They seem unlikely to rush back Leonard. They might even sit players who want to play more often. And Leonard isn’t Rose.

Still, it’s clear something is amiss in San Antonio. Maybe not amiss enough to end Leonard’s tenure there, but the longer this lingers, the more time for tension to percolate.