Kurt Helin

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

Warriors’ video staff pranked Alvin Gentry about Pelicans

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With the lengthy break between Golden State eliminating Houston and the start of the NBA Finals, Alvin Gentry had time to seal the deal on becoming the next coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, and still get back to do the scouting on Cavaliers.

The Warriors clubhouse is a loose and fun place — they are serious on the court, their system shows discipline, but a former player like Kerr is not going to let things get too heavy.

In that spirit, the Warriors and their video crew pranked Gentry. He had spent time breaking down the Cavaliers and how the Warriors want to attack them. But when it came time for showing the video to the team… we’ll let Gentry take it from there, via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

“I start in like, ‘Guys, here are some of the plays we ran against them that really worked well,'” Gentry says. “And I look at the screen and it’s all a bunch of fricking Pelicans highlights.

“They’ve got captions under the plays like, ‘Boy, this team has a lot of potential.’ There’s this play with Anthony Davis dunking and the caption says, ‘God, this guy is GOOD!'”

The whole room started rolling…

“At the end of the tape, there’s a milk carton with my picture on [it] that says, ‘Have you seen this guy? He’s been missing in action,'” he says.

 

Kerr had encouraged Gentry to talk to the Pelicans and go get that job. Like any good boss, he wants those under him to succeed. Even if in a few years he’s going to have trouble with Gentry’s Pelicans.

At points in these playoffs the Warriors have seemed a little tight at home, Kerr has set a tone and is trying to make sure they are loose. They will be rusty (both teams will be after that layoff), but Kerr is trying to make sure his team — which has no players with Finals experience — is not overwhelmed by the moment.

Report: Nuggets interview Mike D’Antoni for head coaching position

Mike D'Antoni
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Under George Karl a few years back, the Denver Nuggets ran their way to 57 wins (and might have done some serious playoff damage if Danilo Gallinari had stayed healthy). Then management decided to let Karl go and turn to a more traditional, defensive guy in Brian Shaw. However, they never significantly changed the roster to fit the change of plans and coach. The result was a disaster. Denver won 30 games last season.

Now they want to run again.

That means a new coach. And while long-time Denver assistant and interim coach Melvin Hunt remains the frontrunner, the Nuggets reached out and spoke with Mike D’Antoni about the job, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Mike D’Antoni met with Denver Nuggets management to discuss the franchise’s head coaching opening, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Denver general manager Tim Connelly conducted a sit-down with D’Antoni in California on Tuesday, league sources said. D’Antoni’s vaunted running game fits into Denver’s determination that it wants to play faster in the future. Melvin Hunt, the interim coach in the wake of Brian Shaw’s firing, remains a strong contender to retain the full-time job, league sources said.

Along with D’Antoni and Hunt, ex-Sacramento Kings coach Michael Malone has had conversations with Connelly and could soon emerge with a sit-down interview, league sources said.

While Mike D’Antoni has his detractors — a lot of them living in Los Angeles — the fact of the matter is his offensive system can win and can work. Both Gregg Popovich and Eric Spoelstra borrowed from what he did in Phoenix, and those two guys have the last three NBA titles.

But while those two adapted the system, D’Antoni is wed to winning his way, fitting players into his system. That helped lead to the mess in Los Angeles, where he was handed a roster that was ill fitting for what he wanted to do but was slow to adapt.

Denver has a good point guard in Ty Lawson, they have a quality stretch four in Gallinari, they have some pieces to make D’Antoni’s system work. But are they fully committed to it? If not, better to go another direction. Like the respected Hunt.

I also am a fan of Mike Malone. Another coach who did a good job building a culture (then was fired because the owner wanted a faster team),  a guy who deserves another chance. But Malone is about defense and deliberate play. Hire him and Denver needs to revamp the roster.

What kind of team does Denver management want? Answer that, and then get a coach and players to make it work. Then stick with the plan.

Nets GM: No chance Deron Williams bought out; Lopez, Young re-signings priority

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets- Game Four
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The Brooklyn Nets are not going to just buy Deron Williams out of his contract. Try desperately to trade him? You bet. But not buy him out.

That’s essentially what Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King said on Wednesday.

There have been rumors the Nets would waive Deron Williams, using the stretch provision to essentially buy him out. That will not happen, reports Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game.

And, by the way, no change on the “we want to keep Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young” front, either.

This is all pretty much what was expected from the Nets.

Williams is owed $43 million over the next couple years. If the Nets used the stretch provision on him, they could extend that pain out over five years of the cap — but that’s still nearly $9 million a year for five years. Better to bite the bullet.

The Nets would love to trade Johnson and Williams this summer. I would love to have Eric Ripert as my personal chef. To quote Mick Jagger, you can’t always get what you want.

PBT Extra: Long layoff before Finals will mean rust to start

Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Four
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The NBA didn’t expect this long a layoff before the NBA Finals started (a Game 7 in the conference finals would have happened Sunday). But once it became clear there would be a break of a week or more, the NBA tried to move up the date. It couldn’t.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss what that break means, both on and off the court.

Expect a rusty first half Thursday night.

Adam Silver explains why the NBA Finals did not start earlier

Memphis Grizzlies v Golden State Warriors - Game Two
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Eight Days.

The average patient could have had open heart surgery, been released from the hospital and been back home during this break in the NBA Finals. It’s been that long.

What is with that break? The NBA has been locked in for a June 4 start since before the season started, but when it became clear that both conference Finals were going to end quickly pressure mounted on the NBA to act and move the Finals’ start date up. It didn’t.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was on the Rich Eisen radio show and explained why.

“Truth be told, we did have that conversation about potentially moving up, and Susie would know this, some years ago we used to have a built in move up. If both Conference Finals series didn’t go longer than five games, we would’ve moved up two days. So, under that scenario, we would have started (Tuesday) rather than Thursday night. So certainly when the East finished, and we saw that there was a chance that the West could finish with five games or fewer, we had that discussion. So…for Disney, ABC/ESP, it is difficult to move on short notice given they have other scheduled programming, but it wasn’t just an ABC issue…As you know, we’re broadcast in over two hundred countries, so then we’re dealing with broadcasters all around the world who have preset broadcast windows. So, then it creates enormous issues for them. On top of that, we have roughly a thousand credentialed media who come to the finals, many of them from outside of the United States who, well of course they don’t know exactly what city they’re going to be in, they fly into New York or L.A. depending where they’re coming from and then fly from there; and then there’s the hotels and other issues.

“So…for Disney, ABC/ESPN, it is difficult to move on short notice given they have other scheduled programming, but it wasn’t just an ABC issue… As you know, we’re broadcast in over two hundred countries, so then we’re dealing with broadcasters all around the world who have preset broadcast windows. So, then it creates enormous issues for them. On top of that, we have roughly a thousand credentialed media who come to the finals, many of them from outside of the United States who, well of course they don’t know exactly what city they’re going to be in, they fly into New York or L.A. depending where they’re coming from and then fly from there; and then there’s the hotels and other issues. So, you know ultimately there was a reason why we locked in the date and we decided to stick by it. 

“And lastly I’ll say especially when there’s no doubt that there’s some players that will be benefitted from the rest, I’m always reluctant mid-course to change a rule and so everyone knew going into these playoffs, all the teams, exactly when the finals would start. They knew if the conference finals series ended earlier, they would have that much rest coming up. So it felt strange, even though we had the conversation with ABC and ESPN and said, “If we wanted to, could we,” we talked to the buildings to see if they were available, but ultimately we decided we had made this decision a few years ago to lock it in, let’s stick with it. And I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think it will lead to better competition, because players on both teams need the rest.”

It will lead to a rusty first quarter/first half.  After all the build up to these Finals, the start may not be pretty.

But it did lead to better health. Klay Thompson will play. Kyrie Irving will not be 100 percent but he should be better.

Still, this break was too long. The NBA has the Finals everyone wanted to see, and they stalled out the momentum. Now they need to get it back.