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Report: Hornets offer GM job to Mitch Kupchak, expect to hire him

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As soon as the Hornets fired Rich Cho as general manager, Mitch Kupchak emerged as the likely replacement. Charlotte interviewed other candidates but has apparently circled back to the expected choice.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

Kupchak previously worked as general manager of the Lakers. He won multiple titles, but by the end of his tenure, he looked desperate and out of touch.

His North Carolina connection with Hornets owner Michael Jordan probably helped Kupchak get another chance.

If he accepts the offer, Kupchak will inherit a rough situation. Charlotte is merely a borderline playoff team and strapped with:

Kemba Walker is a star, but time is ticking until his 2019 free agency.

Will Kupchak trade Walker and rebuild? Unloading all those big contracts won’t be easy.

Will Kupchak try to win around Walker? Again, those big contracts are prohibitive.

A middle ground of rebuilding while keeping the beloved Walker? That might push him out in free agency.

This isn’t an easy job, but there are only 30 NBA general managers. Kupchak has an offer to become one again.

Danuel House Jr. throws himself alley-oop off backboard against Warriors (video)

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Daniel House Jr. wasn’t trying to show up the Warriors. He just wisely used the backboard to his advantage when caught in a tough spot – and showed up the Warriors in the process.

However, Golden State came back for a 117-107 win.

Giannis Antetokounmpo says he never heard of ’60 Minutes’ before interview

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Who finished 1-2 in All-Star fan voting this year? The logical guess: LeBron James and Stephen Curry, who served as captains by virtue of leading their conferences in voting.

But Giannis Antetokounmpo, even playing for the small-market Milwaukee Bucks, actually received more votes than Curry.

Antetokounmpo is a breakout star with an emerging profile that’s probably already larger than people realize. That and a great story landed him a “60 Minutes” profile.

Antetokounmpo, via Nick Friedell of ESPN:

“To be honest with you, at first when my agent told me, ‘They want you to do an interview, a piece for “60 Minutes,” ‘I was like, ‘What is “60 Minutes”?’ ” Antetokounmpo said after Tuesday night’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. “I didn’t know what it was, but they told me it was really, really big. The last NBA player that was on it was LeBron James so I was like, ‘OK, cool. I’ll do it.’

“They told me they were going to talk about my childhood, where I came from and stuff like that, and I was like, ‘OK, that sounds good,’ and they were really, really good people. They made me feel comfortable and it worked really well.”

That profile has lifted Antetokounmpo’s brand even higher. It exposed him to many casual fans and even people who aren’t into basketball. With his fun-loving attitude and inspirational rise in Greece, he holds major crossover appeal.

And he’s just 23. There’s so much time for him to become a household name.

He’s headed that direction.

Here’s the segment:

Alex Len says he’ll ‘probably’ leave Suns in free agency

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Suns center Alex Len, the No. 5 pick in the 2013 NBA draft, is playing on his qualifying offer and having a career year.

Scott Bordow of azcentral:

But as the season comes to a close and Len heads into the summer as an unrestricted free agent, it’s clear that after five mostly unfulfilling years, Len will be with a different team in 2018-19.

“Probably,” Len told azcentral sports in a one-on-one discussion prior to the game against Detroit.

“I’m looking forward to this offseason,” he said. “I think it’s going to be exciting. It’s the first time I’m actually going to have a chance to go where I want to go.”

Pending free agents rarely announce a plan to leave their current team, especially while the season is still going. That Len does so emphasizes just how likely he is to depart Phoenix.

Not that we needed much more indication.

As a baseline, since the 1999 Collective Bargaining Agreement went into effect, 16 first-round picks signed qualifying offers. Only one – Spencer Hawes (76ers) – re-signed the following offseason. Len and Mavericks center Nerlens Noel haven’t finished their qualify-offer seasons, but appear unlikely to re-sign with their current teams. If a player gets that far without he and the team committing long-term to each other, a parting usually comes next.

The Suns’ circumstances make Len’s departure even more likely. Phoenix will have a high pick in the upcoming draft, and there’re a decent chance a top center – DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Mo Bamba, Jaren Jackson Jr., Wendell Carter Jr. – is the best player available. The Suns also have centers Tyson Chandler and Alan Williams under contract next season.

Len, who turns 25 in June, is a traditional center. At 7-foot-1, he scores near the basket and rebounds well, and his size deters opponents inside. He could help teams off the bench – just probably not Phoenix.

Jeff Hornacek: Triangle probably hurt Knicks in free agency

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Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said the triangle offense could help Knicks attract free agents.

With little evidence of that and Phil Jackson ousted, Hornacek is changing his tune.

Hornacek, via Ian Begley of ESPN:

“I think it probably was,” Hornacek said when asked if the triangle was a “hang-up” for potential free agents last summer. “I think we truly believed that we could blend it [into Hornacek’s preferred offense]. And we found out that probably wasn’t great.”

Hornacek is a good company man.

But that doesn’t earn players’ respect and probably won’t be enough to save his job this offseason.