Getty Images

Report: Nets almost hired Bryan Colangelo as GM instead of Sean Marks

3 Comments

When the Brooklyn Nets hired Sean Marks, it was a smart move and widely praised around the league. What the Nets needed was a culture shift and patience, someone who understood the art of finding talent deeper in the draft and developing it. Marks — with Kenny Atkinson as coach — was a very good fit for that (and ownership finally bought into a slower approach… not that they had much choice).

However, the Nets almost went a very different direction, reports Zach Lowe at ESPN.

As the league descended upon Toronto for All-Star Weekend in February 2016, the Nets were leaning toward hiring Bryan Colangelo over Marks, according to sources familiar with the process.

During All-Star Saturday night, (Dmitry Razumov, Nets’ chairman and the stateside face of owner Mikhail Prokhorov) and Spurs general manager R.C. Buford, then Marks’ boss, had a long talk in the chairman’s suite inside the Air Canada Centre, according to several sources. Buford’s message was clear: The Spurs might not grant their assistant GM permission to take the job unless he would get to do it his way. Several other executives, including Bob Myers, the Warriors’ GM, also praised Marks in chats with Razumov that weekend, sources say.

Marks got the job and the clearance to build slow and right — which is going to take time with all the picks the Nets gave away in rush to get good fast when opening the Barclays Centre and moving to Brooklyn (moves made by then GM Billy King but pushed for by Prokhorov).

What might have been different under Colangelo?

Other candidates might have proceeded differently: sell free agents on the glitz of a big city, and build competitive teams that would bridge the gap until the Nets had their picks back.

Colangelo now is the GM of the 76ers.

That would have been a hard sell. Marks is doing it right, slowly building a culture where strong players can be added to a good young team, instead of trying to buy a bridge.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

Harry How/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
2 Comments

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.

DeMarcus Cousins on Confederate statues: ‘Take all them motherf—ers down’

Getty Images
23 Comments

DeMarcus Cousins grew up in Alabama, played collegiately at Kentucky and now plays in New Orleans.

So, yeah, the Pelicans star has an opinion on Confederate statues.

Cousins, via TMZ:

“Take all them motherf*ckers down,” Cousins said … “Take ’em all down.”

These statues glorify people because they fought a war against the United States in the name of preserving the racist institution of slavery.

Not whom I want to honor, either.