Kurt Helin

Report: Add Kevin McHale to the long list of candidates for Kings’ coaching job

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Vlade Divac is doing a thorough search for the next Sacramento Kings coach. Which is good for a few reasons. First, GMs generally should do that anyway, look at all the options available. Second, this is the first coaching search Divac or any basketball side person in Sacramento has gotten to make unfettered by ownership interference. Third, the Kings need to nail this. DeMarcus Cousins has had six coaches in Sacramento since coming into the league, the Kings need some stability.

You can add to the list of coaches the Kings have reached out to — Mark Jackson, Mike Woodson, Vinny Del Negro, Ettore Messina, Sam Mitchel, Luke Walton, and the list goes on and on — one Kevin McHale, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.

Kevin McHale has emerged on the list of known candidates for the Sacramento Kings’ vacant coaching job after engaging in exploratory talks about the position, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that Kings general manager Vlade Divac, while still in the early ‎stages of what is expected to be a broad search, has sounded out McHale about his potential interest after the former Houston Rockets coach was fired just 11 games into the current season.

McHale certainly checks off some boxes for the Kings: Experienced coach, former All-Star big man with knowledge DeMarcus Cousins could lean on, many former players liked him (not James Harden, but others), could work well with Divac and whoever is brought in as the day-to-day GM.

The question is, will McHale want the gig? There were rumors he did not. After not getting the backing of ownership or management in Houston, would he want to deal with another emotional team star that is not easy to get along with, and an organization not exactly known for stability? Or would he rather just do some appearances on NBA TV and spend more time at home?

Expect it to be a while before the Kings reach a decision. There is no need to rush the process.

Marc Gasol’s advice for his brother Pau? Sign with San Antonio


Pau Gasol is out of Chicago after this season. The Bulls are trying to build a more athletic lineup, and you can’t blame him for wanting to chase a ring — and likely a healthy paycheck with the flood of cash hitting the market — somewhere else.

But where? Gasol has offensive skills but also weaknesses (perimeter defense, for one) that can be exploited, and there are a limited number of teams who could use him to put them over the top as contenders. Pau’s brother Marc Gasol was on Peter Edmiston’s radio show on Sports 56 WHBQ in Memphis and had this advice for Pau:

When was the last time a player encouraged another to sign with a competitor?

Pau would be a fantastic fit with the Spurs if he is willing to accept a sixth man role, the first big off the bench. Even if Tim Duncan does not return next season, it would be a potential defensive problem to play Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge together. Gasol could come in, play good enough defense against a second unit, and torch younger bigs. His minutes would be held in check, and he would compete deep into the playoffs.

But if Gasol demands to start, that will change his options.

PBT Podcast: How does Stephen Curry injury change the playoffs.


Stephen Curry‘s sprained knee has punctured the feeling of inevitability around the NBA playoffs.

If the past and soon to be again MVP misses a chunk of the second round series, could the Clippers upset the Warriors? Of course, first the Clippers must get past the Blazers. But if Curry isn’t 100 percent the Spurs and Cavaliers are feeling pretty good right now.

Kurt Helin and Sean Highkin of NBC Sports discuss that and all the playoff series around the league in this podcast. They also talk about the Lakers’ coaching search

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunesdownload it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.


Report: Derek Fisher would like to be next Lakers coach. That seems unlikely.


The Lakers have said the organization will do a wide-ranging search looking Byron Scott’s replacement as head coach. They are expected to look at potential coaches such as Luke Walton, Mark Jackson, Ettore Messina, Luke Walton, Kevin Ollie, Luke Walton, Jeff Van Gundy, John Calipari, and Luke Walton. The Lakers have a preference, I’ll let you guess who that is.

Derek Fisher would like to get on that list. From the amazing Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

Sources indicate Derek Fisher has interest in the Lakers job. Obviously Laker front office still compiling their list and gauging interest from potential candidates.

Oddsmakers apparently think this could happen, here are the betting odds on the next Lakers coach from BookMaker.eu:

Luke Walton -185
Derek Fisher +600
Mark Jackson +650
Jeff Van Gundy +800
Kevin Ollie +900
Ettore Messina +1350

If you were thinking of putting money on Fisher to get the job, donate that cash to the Boys & Girls club or a local food bank where it might do some good rather than just throw it away. The Lakers just went down the “legendary former player who has struggled in his last coaching job” road and shouldn’t want to travel that same path again.

The Lakers need a coach who can relate to and get through to their young players, a guy who understands how to build a culture and has done it or seen it first hand, someone who is used to the bright lights and can handle the spotlight of Los Angeles. I don’t know, someone like Luke Walton, for example. Just to throw a name out there.

The question is will Walton want the job (or, put more honestly, how much money and how many years of it will it take to pry Walton out of that seat next to Steve Kerr in Golden State)? And if not, who do they take? At those odds Messina looks pretty good.

Three Things to Watch in Playoffs Monday: Can Damian Lillard, Blazers replicate Game 3 performance?

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This is not as detailed as the 6,397,326 Game of Thrones recaps on the web today, but it is a humble little look at what to expect in the NBA.

1) Can Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and Mason Plumlee replicate their big nights? The Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum we knew from the regular season showed up in Game 3 — 59 points on 42 shots. Their jumpers were falling, combined they hit 10-of-17 from the midrange and 5-of-13 from three. Thing is, we knew they could do that once they got space. The big key for Portland in Game 3 was Mason Plumlee — he played the pseudo Draymond Green role as the passing big who helps the guards get free from traps, and he finished with nine assists. He also had 21 points and was a beast on the offensive glass, where Portland had 18 second chance points. It was an impressive performance all around, but the Clippers will adjust their defense and the question becomes can those three replicate their performance. Or will Al-Farouq Aminu finally start to hit some jumpers and open up the floor. Portland was more aggressive on defense in Game 3, but the Clippers will adjust to that, Portland will have to play better to even the series.

2) Can Charlotte replicate what it did to beat Miami last game? Charlotte put up it’s first win of the series in Game 3, with Frank Kaminsky (15 points) and Al Jefferson in the starting lineup and Jeremy Lin dropping 18 off the bench. But watch the game closely and it’s fair to question if this team can win the same way again. Their offense was not impressive, shooting 38.9 percent overall and hitting just five threes on their way to a 101 offensive rating (points per 100 possessions. What they did do well was get to the free throw line 22 times (hitting 21). If the Heat can limit fouls, Charlotte may well struggle to put up points. Also, after a dominant first two games from the Heat offense, it went stone cold in Game 3 — the starting backcourt of Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade shot 11-of-33 from the floor, which was better than the bench shooting of 4-of-17. The Charlotte defense was better (they have played better at home all season), but Miami is going to hit more shots.

Bottom line is it’s going to take a much better game from the Hornets to even this series.

3) What can Dallas do to extend its season one more game (at least)? Like a cornered animal, teams facing elimination are desperate and dangerous. The problem for Dallas — who are 1-7 against OKC this season including the playoffs — is they do not have as much talent as Oklahoma City. Dallas needs to slow the game down, junk it up a little – which they did fairly well in Game 4, but turnovers and Oklahoma City trips to the free throw line won the Thunder the game. Dallas needs to play a near perfect, grinding game, and get big nights from Dirk Nowitzki and Raymond Felton to live another day. It would help if Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook could combine to go 15-of-55 again, but I wouldn’t bank on that.