Dan Feldman

Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau reacts during the first half of Game 5 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Report: Timberwolves moving toward hiring Tom Thibodeau with Scott Layden as GM


Tom Thibodeau wants to work for the Timberwolves as president/coach.

The feeling appears mutual.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Layden is an assistant general manager with the Spurs who had a disastrous tenure running the Knicks. Layden was so bad, he’s the first line of defense in any attacks on Isiah Thomas’ run in New York. Yes, Thomas did poorly. But he also inherited Layden’s mess.

Perhaps, Layden learned a lot in San Antonio. He also succeeded with the Jazz before going to New York, where the problems run deep into ownership. It’s not certain Layden can’t handle this job.

At minimum, Layden has front-office experience, which Thibodeau would need at his side as a first-time executive. Layden could help Thibodeau implement an organization structure.

But is Thibodeau the guy you want establishing your entire culture?

His hard-charging ways and tactical brilliance make him an excellent coach in the most direct way possible. But questions about his ability to see the bigger picture are only magnified as team president. Thibodeau could use a check on his power, though after his experience in Chicago, I’m not surprised he values less oversight.

Still, he’ll need plenty of help if he gets this dual job. Layden wouldn’t be the most inspiring choice.

Report: Brandon Bass to opt out of Lakers contract

Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Bass, left, greets New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. prior to an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Friday, March 25, 2016, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Brandon Bassnot the best judge of ability.

But I think he got this one right.

Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:

Bass would’ve made $3,135,000 by opting in. With the salary cap skyrocketing, he’ll probably land a higher salary for next season. Bass, who turns 31 this month, also has a chance to lock in a long-term deal.

He picked the right time to have a productive season, quietly making some nice contributions for the woebegone Lakers.

Bass often played center, which helped him get to the rim more often for high-percentage shots. He rolled all the way to the basket on pick-and-rolls after picking-and-popping more in previous years. He posted up. He cut to the rim. He got out in transition. He offensively rebounded. It’s great activity level for a backup big. Bass even added another element as a distributor. The Lakers scored 8.3 more points per 100 possessions with him on the court than off.

Bass’ lack of rim protection would hold him back in a larger role, but playing backup center in the shrinking NBA worked for him.

There’s a risk – à la Jeremy Lin – the Lakers’ stink sticks on him, and Bass has trouble securing a larger deal. Teams should be wary of the competition level in Lakers games, which featured opponents who knew they could play down a level (and maybe go out in Los Angeles the night before) and plenty of garbage time.

Still, Bass has a good chance of finding a better contract.

The Lakers, in a market that draws stars, probably don’t mind the extra cap room, either. Cap space goes further in Los Angeles.

Charlie Villanueva on Russell Westbrook diss: Directed at me or Cameron Payne?

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban reacts during the closing seconds next to center Salah Mejri, second from left, forward Charlie Villanueva, second from right, and center JaVale McGee during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Friday, April 1, 2016, in Auburn Hills, Mich. The Mavericks defeated the Pistons 98-89. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant didn’t like Charlie Villanueva interrupting Westbrook’s pregame dance routine with Cameron Payne.

Durant called it “fake s—,” and Westbrook agreed with the “fake” descriptor. Then, Westbrook added another assessment:

That’s for the guys that don’t play. You’ve got to do something.

Villanueva responded:


I’ve heard Russell Westbrook talking about those are for the guys that don’t play. And I don’t necessarily know who he’s talking about, because, Cameron Payne and myself, we both had the same stat line.

Then, Kevin Durant added his two cent. But Kevin is a good kid, so I’m just going to leave him alone.

If you want to go dancing and stuff like that, go to a night club. Go to a club and dance. Go to Dancing with the Stars and be dancer. You want to battle and dance? We can battle. But not on the basketball game. Not on a basketball game.

Plus, they were in my way, too. So, I wasn’t necessarily interrupting their dance.

I can’t wait to see what Villanueva and Payne do for Game 3. As Westbrook said, the guys who don’t play have to do something.

Westbrook might do something himself, too.

Stan Van Gundy on fine: ‘I probably deserve to be penalized for being myself’


Stan Van Gundy was fined $25,000 for saying during an in-game interview: “A couple calls have upset our guys. They’ve got to understand, LeBron’s LeBron. They’re not going to call offensive fouls on him. He gets to do whatever he wants. They’ve got to understand that.”

I didn’t think the NBA should’ve fined Van Gundy. His wording gives plausible deniability that he was talking only about the mindset his players should adopt, not criticizing the refs. He even went out of his way after the game to say officiating wasn’t a problem.

But Van Gundy was a little more accepting of the fine.

Van Gundy, via Aaron McCann of MLive:

“I probably deserve to be penalized for being myself,” Van Gundy said.

“That’s a lot of money. That’s not a slap on the wrist,” Van Gundy said. “A slap on the wrist would have been a reprimand. Putting a reprimand or letter of censure in my file. No, this was a punishment.

“It goes to charity, which is good. I support most charitable organizations. I don’t know which one I just supported, but I’m happy to do it.”

Van Gundy probably knows what he’s doing. He’s been through the playoffs before.

By bringing attention to the calls LeBron James gets and getting fined, Van Gundy accomplishes a couple things:

1. It might have referees second-guessing their handling of LeBron.

2. It allows Pistons players to focus on defending rather than officiating, because they know their coach has their back on the latter front.

I’m not convinced Van Gundy set out to get fined when he began that interview, but if it causes referees to take a second look at LeBron plays and his players to focus on playing rather than arguing, it’d pay off.

This is Van Gundy – willing to speak his mind and take the heat. Sometimes, that comes with a fine, and he seems OK with that consequence. The upside could also be high.

Kent Bazemore 3-pointer spins around and around and around and around and around rim, drops (video)

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The most exhilarating moment of the Hawks’ Game 2 rout of the Celtics came just more than a minute into the contest.

Kent Bazemore launched a 3-pointer that circled the rim five-and-a-half times – bringing me to the edge of my seat – before finally falling.