Larry Drew said he was “blindsided” by Milwaukee Bucks firing


New owners often means changes are coming. Like any person buying any business, they want people they trust close to them. That means changes.

The Milwaukee Bucks got new owners, hedge-fun billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, and among the changes they made was to bring in Jason Kidd, pulling him out of Brooklyn (where Kidd made a failed power play to get team GM powers) and bringing star power to the Milwaukee bench. It was well within their rights to make that move — but they handled it sloppily. The owners (and Kidd) violated the unwritten code of coaches, having a public discussion of a coaching seat while somebody else was already sitting in it. Team GM John Hammond even didn’t know about the owners’ moves.

All of that caught that current (and about to be ex) coach Larry Drew by surprise, he told Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel.

Larry Drew said he was “blindsided” by the way he lost his job as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks…

“From their (the owners’) standpoint, there’s no set time for these type of things,” Drew said in an interview with the Journal Sentinel. “It caught me in a position when I least expected it. But I know how these things work. I don’t have any hard feelings, any grudges against anybody.

“Marc (Lasry) called me and I just wished him luck. I’ve got to keep moving forward.”

Drew landed on his feet, he’s a lead assistant now for David Blatt in Cleveland.

Drew also sounded like the veteran coach, choosing not to be bitter about how this went down but rather saying these things happen to coaches and he just has to move on.

The Bucks have an interesting roster loaded with potential — Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, O.J. Mayo, John Henson, Larry Sanders — and the challenge is to develop it, get that team to be professional on and off the court. Can Kidd, who has one year of coaching experience with a veteran team built to win now (that didn’t) do that? Good question. Did Edens and Lasry learn a lesson about doing business in an up-front manner and telling the people around them what they’re thinking? Time will tell.

Drew doesn’t care much about those things. He’s moved on.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Don’t expect more wins in Toronto

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After winning the Atlantic Division then getting thumped in the playoff two years running, the powers that be in Toronto decided it was time for a change.

The added DeMarre Carroll and made shifts to make this a more defensive-minded team, all because of dreams of playoff success (which for the Raptors would be making the second round). What this changeover is not going to mean is an improvement off the 49 regular season wins the Raptors had last season — they sacrificed some scoring to get this defense, and there is a trade-off.

That said, I still expect the Raptors to win the Atlantic. Maybe they make the second round of the playoffs (way too early to make that call).

How many regular season wins they get — and if they win a postseason series — for me is going to come down to if Jonas Valanciunas takes a step forward. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will be strong, Carroll is an upgrade, but the big man in the middle will be the hinge for everything.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.