Author: Brett Pollakoff

Rick Carlisle

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle plays the piano at a Bruce Hornsby concert (VIDEO)


Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle has evidently been a friend of Bruce Hornsby’s for many years.

He can also play the piano, and play it well — so, when you combine these two facts, you get Carlisle jumping on stage to help out with one of Hornsby’s recent live performances.

[via Sporting News]

Steve Kerr believes Klay Thompson (concussion) will be ready for start of NBA Finals

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Clippers

Klay Thompson didn’t return to the Warriors’ series-clinching win over the Rockets after being kicked in the head by Trevor Ariza. But he was cleared to play at the time, which in hindsight is extremely troubling.

Thompson suffered concussion symptoms later that night, which included dizziness and vomiting. But he wasn’t officially diagnosed with the concussion until two days later.

Concussion symptoms often times take hours to appear, but the league doesn’t have any mandate against players returning to action after a blow to the head unless the symptoms are present and identifiable at the time.

That’s something which should probably be addressed. In the meantime, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr seems just as cavalier (no pun intended) about Thompson’s concussion as the team’s medical staff was the night it actually occurred.

From Ethan Strauss of

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson is expected to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, according to coach Steve Kerr.

“He’s doing well,” Kerr said after practice Saturday at the team’s facility.

“I’m anticipating he’s going to be there.” …

Asked if he is preparing for Thompson’s absence, Kerr said he was planning only for Thompson to be in the lineup. Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers is Thursday.

“I expect him there,” Kerr repeated.

That seems like an incredibly irresponsible statement from Kerr, at least on the surface.

In order for Thompson to return to action, he must pass the league’s concussion protocol, which is fairly complicated to ensure a given player’s safety. From the NBA:

  • The return to participation protocol involves several steps of increasing exertion — from a stationary bike, to jogging, to agility work, to non-contact team drills.
  • With each step, a player must be symptom free to move to the next step. If a player is not symptom free after a step, he stops until he is symptom free and begins again at the previous step of the protocol (i.e., the last step he passed without any symptoms).
  • While the final return-to participation decision is to be made by the player’s team physician, the team physician must discuss the return-to-participation process and decision with Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, the Director of the NBA’s Concussion Program, prior to the player being cleared for full participation in NBA Basketball.
  • It’s important to note that there is no timeframe to complete the protocol. Each injury and player is different and recovery time can vary in each case.

That last part is perhaps the most important, here, as we try to interpret Kerr’s remarks.

Unless Thompson had already advanced through multiple stages of the protocol before Kerr met with reporters, which is obviously highly unlikely, then Kerr should have little reason to make such a pronounced declaration.

The long-term health of the players should be at the forefront of the team’s concern. Kerr placing this expectation on Thompson to play, whether he’s ready or not, seems to go against what should be a common-sense approach.

Report: Fred Hoiberg already has a five-year deal in place to become Bulls next coach


When the Bulls formally announced the firing of Tom Thibodeau from the head coaching position, the front office claimed that they would “begin the process” of searching for a replacement the moment the press conference was finished.

“We’ll be looking for someone who’s a leader, who has great communication skills, who’s got an excellent knowledge of the game of basketball, someone that’s an open and creative learner,” Bulls GM Gar Forman said. “We’re not going to address specific names today. There won’t be updates. We’ll begin that process here tonight and into the weekend.”

As it turns out, they had a candidate in mind all along, so those statements were disingenuous, at best.

From Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

According to a source, Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg already has a deal in place to become the Bulls’ next head coach. The parameters of the deal were discussed while Thibodeau was still employed by the Bulls.

Hoiberg’s deal is believed to be in the $25 million range over five years. Hoiberg, who recently needed a second heart surgery, is merely waiting to be cleared by doctors before officially accepting the job.

The ties between Forman and Hoiberg go back several years.

From K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

It’s not like Bulls management and ownership don’t know Hoiberg, 42, well. He spent four seasons with the Bulls (1999-2003), played at Iowa State when general manager Gar Forman was an assistant to Tim Floyd his senior season and has guided his alma mater’s return to prominence with the front office scouting his teams — and him — along the way.

Forman even purchased Hoiberg’s home when Hoiberg left the Bulls to play for the Timberwolves.

Look, it’s fine for Forman to run the Bulls how he sees fit, and for the organization to make decisions that it believes are best for the long-term health of the franchise.

But can we not pretend like this was a wide-open candidacy?

Thibodeau wasn’t well-liked by his bosses, which was ultimately the reason for his demise. No one knows yet whether or not Hoiberg can be successful coaching at the NBA level, but if nothing else, he comes into the job with the likability piece already firmly in place.