Dan Feldman

Report: ‘A lot’ of Bulls don’t believe in Fred Hoiberg

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Jimmy Butler publicly said Fred Hoiberg didn’t coach the Bulls hard enough.

Butler apparently isn’t the only Chicago player who’s had problems with Hoiberg.

Chris Broussard of ESPN:

Some of them have said it publicly – Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson to a certain degree. A lot of them don’t believe in Fred Hoiberg right now. It’s just as simple as that.

I’m not sure which Gibson comment Broussard is referring to, but Joakim Noah has reportedly expressed unhappiness with Hoiberg.

The Bulls really appear to miss Tom Thibodeau. It’s as if the players forgot what playing under Thibodeau was like. Three Bulls starters – including Butler – reportedly ripped Thibodeau in exit interviews last season. Thibodeau could be abrasive and wear on people over time.

But he also won.

Chicago won at least 45 games and made the playoffs each of his five seasons. These Bulls would have to win out to win 45 games, and they’re outside playoff position right now.

Hoiberg’s transition from Iowa State to the NBA has been rocky, and he must improve to succeed in the pros. But sometimes, he receives unfair criticism. Butler, Noah, Mike Dunleavy and Nikola Mirotic have all missed significant time with injury. Butler – Chicago’s best player – still doesn’t look healthy. That isn’t Hoiberg’s fault.

Yet, it affects his standing with his players. Unaccustomed to losing, they’re looking for a culprit.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Maybe the Bulls thought they’d do better without Thibodeau and now regret ousting him. But if management kept Thibodeau – whose defense showed major slippage last season from its previous elite levels – there’s a good chance Chicago’s record wouldn’t be much better. I’d bank on it being a little better, because Thibodeau is a better immediate coach than Hoiberg and the team would have more familiarity with the schemes. But better enough to satisfy the players?

It’s hard to follow someone as successful as Thibodeau, and perception of Hoiberg – fair or not – could turn into reality. If his players doubt his ability, they’re less likely to commit fully to his schemes. That’d help explain dropping three straight games to the Knicks, Knicks and Magic before grinding out an ugly win over the Pacers. And if the Bulls keep losing, players are even less likely to buy in.

Momentum is working against Hoiberg. He has to find a way to reverse it.

Report: D’Angelo Russell posted Nick Young video to Snapchat

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D'Angelo Russell‘s video of Nick Young has Russell’s Lakers teammates isolating him, but more information could change the picture.

A big question: How did the video get out?

Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:

From what I’m told by Lakers sources, this is a Snapchat-based snafu for D’Angelo, that he thought that he could post this and take it down right away and no one would ever see it, no one would ever save it.

He and Nick had been joking around, trying to prank each other. And this obviously went too far. And they’re learning the hard way – both of them – that if you rig your phone a certain way, that you can switch the app and save videos on Snapchat.

So, Russell recorded Young through an app designed to share photos and videos… and posted the video.. and is surprised it got out?

If that’s the case, Russell is dumber than we thought.

The fact that he’s 20 can no longer excuse his behavior. That’d be a stupid mistake for a 12-year-old.

I still think this will eventually blow over. But if Russell posted the video himself rather than carelessly letting it slip out – a damaging enough mistake, as is – it’ll be even harder for him to reestablish productive working relationships with his teammates.

Report: Yao Ming to be enshrined in Basketball Hall of Fame

HOUSTON - APRIL 24:  Center Yao Ming #11 of the Houston Rockets during play against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on April 24, 2009 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Does Yao Ming belong in the Basketball Hall of Fame?

Competing with players like Vlade Divac, Toni Kukoc and Dino Radja, the answer appears to be yes.

That’s at least the conclusion of the Hall’s international committee, which judged Yao’s candidacy.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, a transcendent 7-foot-6 Chinese icon, has been elected for enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016, league sources told The Vertical.

The honors committee considers finalists as determined by the North American committee, including Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson this year. Those two will likely join Yao in the Hall after going through that additional layer of scrutiny. Yao got directly elected by the international committee.

Yao made five All-NBA teams – two seconds and a three thirds – in his nine-year career. He made the All-Star game all nine of his seasons, though fan voting certainly helped. He averaged 19.0 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

He played like a borderline Hall of Famer.

But the Basketball Hall of Fame does a poor job honoring the sport’s best players. Rather, the Hall attempts to honor people from various backgrounds. So, Yao gets extra credit for being a pioneer from Asia in the NBA. That’s an important part of Yao’s story, but it doesn’t alter his on-court accomplishments.

So, back to the original question: Does Yao Ming belong in the Basketball Hall of Fame? It’d be an interesting argument for an NBA Hall of Fame. But in the Basketball Hall of Fame, there was little doubt he’d make it.

Kings give Vlade Divac multi-year contract extension

Vlade Divac, Vivek Ranadive
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Vlade Divac is the Kings’ general manager.

The Kings also plan to hire a general manager this summer.

But don’t think Divac is leaving Sacramento’s front office.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Divac’s big move to date: trading valuable draft considerations and Nik Stauskas to dump Jason Thompson and Carl Landry on the 76ers. That July trade cleared cap space – but only after most of the top free agents had chosen their destinations.

Sacramento used the resulting cap room to sign two of Rajon Rondo, Kosta Koufos and Marco Belinelli. The Kings could’ve afforded one of the three without the Philadelphia trade. You can guess which they would’ve chosen. The best of the three, Rondo, is on just a one-year contract. So, after rehabbing his on-court image (at what seemed to be an above-market salary), he can leave in free agency this summer if he desires.

And that’s how Divac built a 29-45 team with a rickety future.

He also bothered other general managers by not returning calls and undermined Kings coach George Karl. At least Karl will soon be out. Divac must still learn how to productively work with the rest of the league.

DeMarcus Cousins – talented, young and under contract for two more seasons – gives Sacramento hope. He’s an All-Star, a legitimate franchise player. But the next two years can fly by, and then he’ll be an unrestricted free agent. The Kings can’t afford to waste time.

Divac has potential to handle this difficult situation, but he clearly needs to grow into the job. Blame owner Vivek Ranadive for hiring someone so ill-prepared, not Divac for learning to swim once thrown in the deep end.

David Morway – the former Pacers GM who was let go by the Bucks as assistant GM before the season – could help. He has the experience to guide Divac, who – despite his long playing career providing helpful perspective – is new to this side of the league.

But Morway also previously interviewed to run Sacramento’s front office. Do the Kings, an organization already plagued by in-fighting and leaks, want to create a situation ripe for a power struggle?

Just last year, they gave Karl a multi-year contract. Now, they’re reportedly trying to find a way out of it.

How long until Ranadive again changes direction and Divac is in the same boat?

Update: The Kings officially announced a new deal for Divac.

Potential lottery pick Demetrius Jackson declares for NBA draft, to hire agent

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 27:  Demetrius Jackson #11 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates a three pointer in the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional Final at Wells Fargo Center on March 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Demetrius Jackson has been on NBA radars for years.

After three seasons at Notre Dame, he’s turning pro.

I am blessed with the opportunity to say I will be declaring for the NBA Draft. It was an honor to represent such a great University and program. There have been many people who've helped me along this journey, and I'd like to thank my family, teammates, and coaches for shaping me to be the player and man I am today. The continuous support of the Notre Dame family has made these past three years unforgettable. a huge thank you to my foster family—you opened your home to me, gave me the best possible situation to be successful, and allowed me to open up and trust again. Words will never be enough to describe how you've helped me grow. And to all those who believed in me through the ups and downs, thank you. Not only do I have a place to call home with my foster family, but now another at Notre Dame. #NotDoneYet #574

A photo posted by Demetrius Jackson (@d_jay11) on

Notre Dame release:

Jackson is expected to sign with an agent and will not return to Notre Dame for his final year of eligibility in 2016-17.

Jackson projects to go in the middle of the first round.

He’s a quality athlete who uses his slashing and passing abilities to dictate an efficient offense. Good things tend to happen with the ball in his hands.

But Jackson will turn 22 before his first NBA season begins. How much did his physical advantage – which he put to good use, mind you – stem from being older than most of his competition? That won’t be the case in the pros. At the next level, Jackson’s size (6-foot-1) could become more of an issue, too.

The big question: Why did his outside shot regress after looking more promising his first two college seasons? If NBA teams believe he can score efficiently from beyond the 3-point arc, it’s much easier to get past concerns about his quickness through traffic translating to the next level. Otherwise, his stuck could fall a bit.