Author: Brett Pollakoff

Atlanta Hawks v Denver Nuggets

Nuggets GM: ‘We want to have a coach as we head into the draft’


After recent head coaching hires by the Thunder, the Magic, the Pelicans and the Bulls, the Denver Nuggets remain the last team left with a vacancy at its head coaching position.

Interim head coach Melvin Hunt is rumored to be the frontrunner for the job, but it’s unclear why the team hasn’t interviewed more candidates to this point, especially after knowing for so long that it would me in the market for a new coach once Brian Shaw was relieved of his duties at the beginning of March.

With the June 25 NBA Draft rapidly approaching, the Nuggets may begin to move much more quickly with their search.

From Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post:

“I think the deadline is we want to have a coach as we head into the draft,” Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly said at the outset of the process. “It’s a pretty pivotal pick for us, and a pretty pivotal moment.” …

The Nuggets are trying to be as detailed as possible in an effort to avoid a repeat of the failed Brian Shaw era. Shaw was fired in March, and Melvin Hunt took over as the interim coach. Hunt has been interviewed for the job. The Nuggets have also talked to Mike D’Antoni, who coached current Nuggets Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari while with the New York Knicks from 2008-11.

Denver talking to D’Antoni isn’t the same as interviewing him, and it’s worth noting that Hunt did an excellent job with the team (when he was allowed to) after taking over late in the season.

With so many of the top candidates having already accepted other positions, at this point it wouldn’t at all be surprising to see the organization go with a familiar face in Hunt, rather than rushing to install a lesser-known individual into the job for the next several seasons.

Chris Bosh returns to court four months after being sidelined with blood clots on his lung

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat

Chris Bosh was ruled out for the rest of the 2015 season by the Miami Heat back in February, after it was discovered he would need treatment for blood clots on his lung.

Four months later, Bosh has returned to the court.

From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

Bosh has resumed court work for the first time since being sidelined at the February All-Star break due to blood clots on his lung, working Tuesday with coach Erik Spoelstra, assistant coach David Fizdale, among others.

Back from a recent vacation in South America, Bosh has joined others drilling at on the Heat’s practice court, including Shabazz Napier, James Ennis and Hassan Whiteside, with Zoran Dragic recently returning to also join the sessions. …

Bosh’s recent vacation including some hikes at altitude, but his latest work in the gym is believed to not yet involve contact work.

With blood thinners part of Bosh’s treatment, there has been caution with contact drilling.

Miami’s future — with or without Dwyane Wade — looks much brighter if it includes a healthy Chris Bosh.

A consistently underrated All-Star, Bosh improved his game this year when given the added responsibility of helping to carry the load on the offensive end of the floor once LeBron James was gone.

Over the first 44 games of the season, Bosh averaged 21.1 points and seven rebounds in 35.4 minutes per contest.

Kristaps Porzingis says he hopes to be drafted by Knicks

Kristaps Porzingis


NBA draft prospect Kristaps Porzingis said in an interview with SI Now Tuesday that he hopes he is selected by the New York Knicks.

Porzingis visited the SI Now studios as part of his first ever trip to New York and said has enjoyed the city thus far.

“For sure, it’s a big spotlight being here, playing here in New York, a lot of pressure,” Porzingis said. “But I would love to play here one day with the Knicks, and hopefully they pick me.”

It’s at least a possibility.

There are league executives who are all-in on Porzingis, and some believe he could be selected with one of the draft’s top three picks. The broader view, however, is that Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor and D’Angelo Russell are more than likely to be snatched up (in some order) with the first three picks.

The Knicks have the fourth overall selection, and that’s where things get interesting. Justise Winslow, Willie Cauley-Stein and Emmanuel Mudiay are all options for New York here, as is Porzingis — right now, there is no true consensus on which player out of the group will emerge into an NBA star.

Porzingis is 7’1″, and averaged 10.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots in international play this past season, while knocking down 37.9 percent of his shots from three-point distance.

Report: Dwyane Wade ‘would welcome’ a contract averaging $20 million annually over next three years

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade is reportedly less than thrilled with the way contract negotiations are going with the Heat, and he may even consider testing the market as a free agent if things don’t turn out as he may have planned.

Wade opted out of a more lucrative deal last summer, in a move intended to help the Heat create additional cap space to improve the roster to the point where Miami could reasonably expect a team built around LeBron James to head to the Finals for a fifth straight season.

Now, however, Wade wants out of his player option for next year, and would rather sign a long-term deal to gain a modicum of security as his career begins to come to a close. The problem is that the Heat aren’t seeing eye to eye with Wade on what his value should be, and the two sides seem extremely far apart at this stage of the proceedings.

From Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

A Wade associate has told people that Wade would welcome a contract averaging $20 million annually over the next three years. If that’s true, it would be understandable, considering the year 13-15 pay ranges for Duncan and Nowitzki. Wade’s agent, Henry Thomas, politely declined to confirm that or anything regarding Wade’s specific financial expectations.

We’ve heard the Heat would prefer Wade opt in for $16 million next season, then take a very significant pay cut over the following two years.

But it’s important to note that those numbers were not confirmed by the Heat, which obviously isn’t saying what it will offer when formal offers can be made July 1. And I would be surprised if the Heat didn’t make a solid offer at that time; whether it’s to Wade’s liking is another story entirely that must play out.

Wade initially said he wouldn’t opt out this summer, but obviously, things have changed.

The Heat have a difficult decision to make. When healthy, Wade is still capable of playing at an elite, All-Star level; his 21.5 points per game average last season was third in the East behind only LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. But he’s missed significant time with injuries in each of the last four seasons, and Miami has to wonder if that money Wade’s expecting shouldn’t be allocated elsewhere, especially three seasons from now.

Kobe Bryant commercial named YouTube ‘ad of the decade’


From Adweek:

Turkish Airlines’ “Kobe vs. Messi: The Selfie Shootout” commercial from 2013 ran away with the public vote and has been named ad of the decade by YouTube, as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations. The runner-up was Volkswagen’s beloved 2011 Super Bowl spot “The Force,” with a mini Darth Vader bending a Passat to his will. …

The pleasantly goofy Turkish Airlines ad, starring Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi in an epic battle of selfies—a sequel to a similar spot from 2012—wasn’t as critically lauded as the others in the top five. (The other four spots all won major ad awards.) But with 140 million views to date, it far outpaced the others in terms of reach.

“‘Selfie Shoot-out’ had all the right ingredients for success on YouTube—an adventuresome client, two of the most globally well loved figures in sports, a great idea and a terrific platform to share our work,” said Andrew Keller, CEO of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, which made the spot.

I’m not sure most people choose which airline to fly based on a clever commercial. But with 140 million views, it’s easy to see why brands pay globally-recognizable athletes like Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi large sums of money to appear in their spots.