Hall of Famer Jerry West joins LA Clippers as consultant

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PLAYA VISTA, Calif. (AP) — Hall of Famer Jerry West, fresh off helping the Golden State Warriors win another NBA championship, is now officially a consultant with the Los Angeles Clippers.

West was formally introduced at a news conference Monday with Doc Rivers, the Clippers’ coach and president of basketball operations, and Executive Vice President Lawrence Frank. He had been an executive board member with the Warriors and is expected to have a similar role with LA.

The former Lakers great and front office executive credited Rivers, Frank and owner Steve Ballmer with convincing him the other team in LA was the right fit.

“Here I am on the last adventure of my life, and I like to call it an adventure,” West said. “I believe in ownership a lot. After I talked to Steve and Doc and what’s-your-name, Frank Lawrence, I was even more convinced. I’ve known these guys and respected them.

“I like people flying under the radar. I don’t like gigantic egos. … I’ve had the privilege of watching their games. I watch every game no matter who is playing. For them to want me to come here and maybe think I can help, I’m really flattered.”

The 79-year-old West is coming in just ahead of the draft and the free agency period, when the Clippers will be focused on retaining key players, including Chris Paul.

West didn’t specifically address what he would advise the team to do with Paul and Blake Griffin.

“I haven’t talked much about that,” West said. “I think they know what they need to do. I’m going to spend the rest of this week and next week trying to find where they’re going to go. I think very definitely, they want to try to protect their assets.”

Rivers had floated the idea of West joining the organization before, so it wasn’t as jarring to West as it might have been for Lakers fans.

“I wanted to bring him in, more than this year without going much further than that,” Rivers said. “Without going much further than that, I kept bringing it up. Steve got involved and (part owner) Dennis (Wong). I left somewhere that was safe, too.”

So instead of taking a vacation to celebrate another NBA championship, West will get to work with the Clippers.

“I’ll miss Jerry,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Monday. “… I think for him it’s a great new challenge, and it’s in Los Angeles. I’ve always said to him and will always say whatever he’s happy doing makes me happy, whatever that might be. But his presence, his personality, his competitiveness, his passion for those that know him or have been around him, it’s unique.”

West called leaving Golden State one of the saddest days of his life. But the Clippers found a need for his help, and he found a new challenge. The Clippers have yet to win an NBA championship or advance to the Western Conference Finals.

“They’ve had the best team in town for seven straight years but that hasn’t been good enough,” West said. “They want to get to a different level.”

 

Report: Suns send Eric Bledsoe home, expect to trade him

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In a shocking twist, the Suns firing Earl Watson did not end the dysfunction in Phoenix.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Bledsoe:

That is a first-rate tweet by Bledsoe. It’s great that he’s having fun with the wild situation, because the rest of us sure are amused peering in.

This was always going to be a long season in Phoenix, but things got out of hand in a hurry. The 0-3 Suns have been outscored by 92 – the worst three-game start in NBA history by 16 points. Now, comes the fallout.

At 27, Bledsoe was getting to be a little too old for a rebuild centered on Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender and T.J. Warren. The Suns could have dealt Bledsoe in the offseason. Now, they’re negotiating from a position of weakness.

Bledsoe is a good starting point guard when healthy. He’s earning a reasonable $14.5 million this season and due $15 million in the final year of his contract next season. There should be suitors, and Phoenix can gain long-term assets while stepping up its tank.

But this sure seems like a crisis-control move more than anything else.

Willy Hernangomez ‘mad’ about falling from Knicks rotation

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Knicks president Steve Mills started his second tenure talking about rebuilding and listed Willy Hernangomez as a core piece.

But Hernangomez, coming off an All-Rookie first-team season, barely played in New York’s season-opening loss to the Thunder– drawing scrutiny.

Then, he didn’t play at all in a loss to the Pistons – eliciting a strong reaction from Hernangomez himself.

Hernangomez, via Fred Kerber of the New York Post:

“The same. I’m still mad,” Hernangomez said. “I cannot help the team win if I’m sitting on the bench. Two games in a row. It’s tough. I have to wait my moment. I cannot say nothing more.”

The Knicks are moving in different directions. Management is talking about building for the future. Coach Jeff Hornacek, who was hired by previous president Phil Jackson, is trying to win now.

There’s a fine line between developing Hernangomez through playing time and making him earn his minutes. Enes Kanter and Kyle O'Quinn might be better right now.

But being marginally better this season won’t get the Knicks anywhere meaningful except lower in the lottery. On the other hand, even on rebuilding teams, winning is most important to a coach’s job security. Earl Watson implemented the Suns’ tanking scheme, and look where that got him.

Hornacek is backed into a corner, and now one of the team’s most important young players is publicly expressing his displeasure. It’s the latest troubling sign in a locker room already suspicious of Hornacek.

Report: Eric Bledsoe requested trade from Suns before season

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Suns guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted yesterday:

In light of Phoenix’s 0-3 start and Earl Watson getting fired yesterday, that sure looks like a trade request. Still, there’s risk in making assumptions about vague tweets.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Why wouldn’t Bledsoe want out? The 27-year-old is in his prime and stuck on a young team that would rather tank than play him.

It’ll be interesting to see how Bledsoe explains the tweet. He previously paid lip service to his situation in Phoenix, but it appears he’s ready to open up. On the other hand, public trade requests typically draw fines from the NBA.

Another Hornets backup PG injured

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Hornets backup point guard Michael Carter-Williamsout.

Nicolas Batum, who handled a lot of playmaking with Charlotte’s second units – out.

Julyan Stone, another Hornets backup point guard – out.

Hornets release:

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that guard Julyan Stone has suffered a Grade 2 strain of his left hamstring. The injury occurred in practice on Sunday, Oct. 22 and he did not travel with the team to Milwaukee.  Stone is listed as out for tonight’s game against the Bucks and his expected recovery time is estimated at four to six weeks.

The Hornets have been outscored by an astounding 35.8 points per 100 possessions without starter Kemba Walker, producing an offensive rating of just 61.4. That’s in just 23 minutes, but the problem dates back to last season, when Charlotte was outscored by 7.0 points per 100 possessions with a 100.7 offensive rating sans Walker.

Now, the Hornets have little choice but to turn to rookie Malik Monk. Monk is a scoring guard, but his 6-foot-3 size means he has at least worked on playing point guard. Is he ready to play the position full-time for a team eying the playoffs. Probably not, but he’ll just have to do his best to keep Charlotte afloat in the few minutes Walker rests.