Kurt Helin

Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks

Despite earlier report, Chuck Hayes will not sign with Rockets

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We told you almost a month ago that Chuck Hayes was going to go back to where his NBA career started and sign with the Houston Rockets. He was going to bring them veteran leadership, good defense in the post, strength on the glass, and hustle everywhere on the court.

Now he’s going to take those talents somewhere else.

The deal never got signed. Houston has a crowded frontcourt and roster, and due to that and salary cap reasons the deal could not be finalized. Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports has the details.

Houston made some moves after the Hayes deal was agreed to — the Ty Lawson trade, the signing of Jason Terry — that changed their cap picture.

Hayes wants to be a coach, eventually, but he thinks he’s got some ball left in his body.

There are teams that could use Hayes — he works hard and does the little things like battle on the boards, set hard screens, and play physical defense. He is a pro’s pro. Teammates love him. But he has battled injuries for a couple of seasons now and, at age 32, we will see what team will want to roll the dice on him staying healthy and taking up one of their final roster spots.

After Rio Olympics next summer, who takes over at Team USA coach?

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Seven
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This is the last go around. He means it this time. After the 2016 Olympics in Rio next August, Mike Krzyzewski is stepping down as the head coach of USA Basketball. He’ll ride off into the sunset at Duke for a while longer, write a book, do some gardening, spend time with his grandkids. Coach K will be just fine.

But who is next in the big chair for Team USA?

Jerry Colangelo, the president of USA Basketball and the guy who will get the final say on that question, has no idea. Or, phrased correctly, he’s not about to discuss it right now. Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com asked him and he danced around the question artfully.

“I plan to, right after hopefully winning another gold medal in Rio in ‘16, go to sleep and dream about who that next person might be and what he looks like,” Colangelo told CSNChicago.com. “Until then I have so many things going on in my small brain, I can’t even focus on it.”

Colangelo, in his previous moments of candor with CSNChicago.com at Summer League, also stated he had a coach in mind to replace Kryzyzewski but he didn’t want to reveal who it was.

“That is true and I’m the only one who knows it,” Colangelo said laughing. “It’s a big world and there’s a great coaches. And I don’t want to give any indication who it might be. Heck, you might wake up and find out I called you to ask if you were interested!”

There are three things needed in the next Team USA coach:

1) Players have to want to play for him. The USA has better and deeper talent than any country on earth, and it’s not close — but that only matters if guys show up. Pick someone they don’t respect, try to go too far outside the box, and you could end up with a USA “B” team (which may still win the gold, but is more vulnerable).

2) They have to be good at Xs and Os, and not wed to one system. Coach K has laid a foundation of a system that works for Team USA — pressure defense leading to up-tempo offense — because it exploits that athletic advantage we have in the USA. However, as the players putting on the jersey change, as the game evolves, this coach needs to be adaptable and not just change with it but be a step ahead of it.

3) He has to be above the petty politics of agents and shoe companies. There are a lot of people trying to influence the selection of players for Team USA, all for their own financial gain. (And to suggest Nike has not and does not have influence would be naive.) This coach needs to be able to stand up to and rise above those interests if it is best for the team.

There are two names regularly mentioned in NBA circles:

Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers. With Popovich the frontrunner.

Other names get speculated about — Brad Stevens, Tom Izzo, Billy Donovan, Doug Collins — and they could work out, but Popovich and Rivers meet the three criteria the best right now.

Popovich was the other coach strongly considered when Krzyzewski was hired back in 2004, and part of the reason Colangelo is rumored to have chosen who he did was he didn’t feel Popovich was as enthusiastic about the job. First, that would be a poor reading of Popovich, who is not a classic “rah-rah” coach but who is undoubtedly passionate. Second, that revelation led to some tension between Colangelo and Popovich that needs to be cleared up — to suggest former Air Force man Popovich was not enthusiastic about representing his country was going to cause a wound.

The rumors that Popovich has been ruled out because of that rift or age are false, according to Goodwill’s sources.

To me, Popovich makes the most sense (and he could keep this job even in a few years when he becomes a “consultant” for the Spurs).

Players love Rivers and is a better tactician than he often gets credit for. He is a damn good fallback position.

But it depends on who Colangelo has in mind. And how everybody feels a year from now, which can be an eternity in basketball circles.

Pistons’ Brandon Jennings says when healthy he’s fine with being sixth man

Orlando Magic v Detroit Pistons
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When Brandon Jennings went down with a torn Achilles last season, Stan Van Gundy traded for Reggie Jackson, who came in and played well, developing some pick-and-roll chemistry with Andre Drummond. SVG liked what he saw and gave Jackson an $80 million contract this summer, making him the point guard of record in Detroit.

What happens when Jennings gets healthy and comes back?

Jennings says he is good playing a sixth-man role. At least that’s what he told CSN’s Jabari Young and Vincent Goodwill on their Point Game podcast (hat tip Matt Moore at Eye on Basketball).

“Bringing in Reggie Jackson was smart. I’m supposed to be out, really, for nine months, and they need a point guard. …

“My main thing is just to get healthy. Hey, if I have to come off the bench and be the sixth man or whatever, I’m fine with that. Man, I just want to play basketball again. I just want to get back on the court and have fun.”

One idea Van Gundy has floated is to have Jennings and Jackson play together, having Jennings be a sixth man who subs in for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (or Jodie Meeks, whoever starts at the two). In that scenario Jennings is more of the two guard on offense because he is the much better three-point shooter and can space the floor, while on defense Jackson is the better player and can guard the two spot if that is a tough matchup.

Both Jennings and Jackson were effective as Piston point guards last season (their PERs were almost identical at 19.8 and 19.7). It’s a good problem to have, so long as it doesn’t start causing divisions within the team.

I’m much higher on Detroit going into this season than many others, I think they can be a playoff team in the East. Especially if these two can blend into a two-headed monster in the backcourt.

Derrick Rose spokesperson calls lawsuit alleging rape “outrageous,” a “shakedown”

Chicago Bulls V Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Three
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A woman saying she was a former girlfriend of Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose has filed a lawsuit against him featuring some very serious and troubling allegations — that he and a friend had drugged and gang raped her. These came without criminal charges — she had not gone to the police about the alleged incident two years ago — but certainly were serious charges she made through a civil lawsuit seeking damages (read: money).

Derrick Rose responded through a spokesperson and called it all BS (in so many words. Via the tweets of Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal.

The plaintiff’s allegations are completely false and without any factual basis. This is nothing more than a desperate attempt to shake down a highly respected and successful athlete. Mr. Rose was in a non-exclusive, consensual sexual relationship with the plaintiff for over two years. The plaintiff expressed no complaints about Mr. Rose until various lawyers began to surface and demand that the plaintiff be paid millions of dollars. This is the third lawyer the plaintiff has retained in this matter. Two years have passed since Mr. Rose ended the consensual relationship with the plaintiff and her claims are as meritless now as they were two years ago. We have complete confidence that the case will be dismissed and that Mr. Rose will be vindicated. This lawsuit is outrageous.

The Bulls also issued a statement, and decided to stay out of this.

As I noted in the story we did on the woman’s lawsuit, I would caution jumping to any conclusions. None of us were there, we don’t know what happened or didn’t happen. The story has the potential to be spun toward a couple of stereotypes — the entitled athlete or the gold digging woman — and real answers are rarely that simple.

The elusive truth — which likely feels very different to the two people involved — could fall anywhere on a large spectrum.

With Rose, he knows the reality of being a star athlete in this country — if he plays well, these allegations will pretty much be forgotten or ignored by fans.

Report: Clippers, Glen Davis still talking about potential deal

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game Two
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The Clippers have an improved front line rotation. Of course Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will start (and get the most minutes), but now behind them will come Josh Smith and Cole Aldrich. Brenden Dawson is in the mix. Plus, Paul Pierce can play some four (and Griffin some five) if the Clippers want to go small and run even more. Doc Rivers has options.

Does Rivers need Glen Davis, too?

Big Baby has been mulling playing overseas, but his people and the Clippers are still talking, reports Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

The Clippers have 14 guaranteed contracts on the books (Dallas has a full 15, they would be offering a partially guaranteed deal as they did JaVale McGee). Many teams leave the 15th slot open, allowing them flexibility in trades and signings as the season goes forward.

Do the Clippers need one more big at the end of the bench more than that flexibility? Davis averaged 12.2 minutes a game last season, and that would drop to spot duty this season — Davis would be at the end of the bench and out of the regular rotation. That’s where he lands on most rosters at this point in his career — he’s the “break glass in case of emergency” big.

But for now, Doc and the Clippers are still thinking about it.