Kurt Helin

Memphis Grizzlies v Sacramento Kings

Grizzlies suspend Tony Allen for Tuesday night’s game for “violation of team policy”

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It was a surprise announcement from Memphis coach Dave Joerger in his pregame media availability:

Tony Allen has been suspended by the team for Tuesday night’s game against the Jazz for a “violation of team rules,” as reported by Ronald Tillery at the Commercial Appeal. He offered no further details.

“It’s an isolated incident that happened. We’ve moved on. It’s over,” Joerger said. “He’s been great for us. I’ve played him more in February than any other time in the season. He’s been great accepting his new role, being some with the second unit and some with the first unit. He’s been locked in. He has had playoff focus. This is an isolated incident.”

In his last 10 games, Allen has averaged 8 points and 4.1 rebounds a game, which is right at his season averages. Where Allen will be missed is on the defensive end, where he is a stopper for on the perimeter. They could have used him against Gordon Hayward on the perimeter Tuesday night.

Also out for the Jazz is starting power forward Zach Randolph, due to illness.

 

Report: Mavericks, Heat in long line of teams interested in JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee
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Some of you are out there thinking, “Why would teams go after JaVale McGee except to see their jerseys on Shaqtin’ a Fool more often?”

Because it’s about cost and role. Not many teams were interested in paying JaVale McGee $12 million next season to be their starting center. However, paying him a minimum salary for part of the season to come off the bench for depth? You bet teams are lined up. McGee, for all his flaws, is an incredibly athletic big man who can be solid to brilliant in a limited role. He can block shots, run the floor and get a team some points. He would be the kind of reserve big man who would be a good bench boost to just about any playoff team.

And they are lining up, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports that the Warriors are interested (Andrew Bogut backup). You can be sure that the Clippers are in that mix — Doc Rivers was primed for buyout season and has missed out so far — as well as Cleveland, and just about every other playoff team.

McGee is not going to be out of the league for long.

McGee was traded at the deadline from Denver to the Sixers, primarily so the Sixers could get a first round pick. Philadelphia agreed to buyout McGee — at full price — and pay him to get off their roster. McGee will be an unrestricted free agent once he clears waivers.

Nuggets need to decide direction, then hire coach

Kenneth Faried, Brian Shaw
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Brian Shaw needed to be let go; it had become very clear he had lost the locker room. The team is 20-39 and in a free fall. Frankly, the Nuggets should have done this sooner (or waited until the summer).

Of course, as soon as the vacancy came up a list of potential long-term successors started to float around — Mike D’Antoni, Avery Bradley, Alvin Gentry, Mike Malone, Vinny Del Negro.  But before the Nuggets start interviewing candidates, they need to sit down and answer one question:

What kind of team are they trying to build?

The seeds of Brian Shaw’s disaster of a tenure were sewn as he was hired. Remember that a couple of years ago the Nuggets had just completed a 57-win season and were considered very dangerous for the playoffs until Danilo Gallinari went down just before the postseason started (the shorthanded Nuggets lost in the first round). Then came a tough summer, which started when GM Masai Ujiri left for Toronto. Coach George Karl was in the last year of his contract and rather than extend him and give him more power in the organization, team president Josh Kronkie canned Karl.

The Nuggets hired Shaw, who was one of the top assistant coaches out there at the time, and he seemed ready. Management and Shaw were on the same page about wanting better defense and maybe slowing down the tempo more — not so much running and gunning. The problem was the roster — starting with Ty Lawson at the point and moving through the entire rotation — was built for up-tempo basketball. The Nuggets didn’t go out and reshape the roster to fit Shaw’s style, so he was stuck trying to fit square pegs into round holes.

Then came a perfect storm of problems. Shaw struggled to communicate and get the players to buy into his vision. As David West noted, this was not a mature locker room Shaw was trying to reach. Shaw didn’t adapt his system. Injuries continued to be an issue, with Gallinari never being the same, JaVale McGee and others missing extended time. It all started to spiral downhill, picking up momentum as the slide got worse this season.

Shaw deserves blame here; he deserved to be let go. But the seeds of the friction that was his demise ties back to a real disconnect between the style Shaw wanted to coach — what management said it wanted — and the roster he was given.

Denver needs to figure out what kind of team it wants to be before it hires its next coach.

With much of the current roster under contract for another year, if they want to go up tempo then Alvin Gentry would be an excellent fit. Mike D’Antoni could work well (again, if you give him a roster that fits his very particular tastes).

If the Nuggets want a more defensive-oriented team, Malone would be a great call. But while he can bring discipline, there is a need for a roster overhaul to make that happen. The Nuggets have the flexibility and cap space (especially after the salary cap jumps in 2016) to make roster changes if they so choose.

The Nuggets, known for not spending on coaches and front office people like other franchise, may go with a top assistant coach and give him his first time job (Boston assistant Jay Larranaga is suggested by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com).

Whatever they do they need to think it through and get the entire organization on the same page. It sounds like they are leaning that way.

Sacramento names Vlade Divac Vice President of Basketball Operations

Adidas Eurocamp - Day 2
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The Sacramento Kings are bringing in one of their legendary players to help out in the front office.

Vlade Divac has been named the Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations for Sacramento, the team announced Tuesday. What does that mean, exactly? Expect him to be advising the front office, with particular emphasis on European players, said Bill Herenda of CSNBayArea.com. Here is what the press release said.

In this capacity, Divac’s responsibilities will include advising the Kings front office and coaching staff, assisting the organization’s global branding efforts, augmenting fan outreach initiatives and oversight of player development programs. Additionally, he will facilitate talent evaluation and help foster relationships between the team and a growing pipeline of European athletes.

“With an unparalleled philanthropic track record that spans the globe, Vlade Divac is the epitome of our NBA 3.0 philosophy,” said Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé in a statement. “He has a unique perspective and global stature that will only further elevate our organization around the world.”

Ranadive has worked hard to turn the Kings into more of an international brand; this certainly is a step in that direction.

“It’s a great honor returning to the city that has provided a lifetime of unforgettable experiences,” said Divac in the release. “Sacramento and the Kings organization were always in my thoughts and I often dreamed of having a role in helping our amazing fans realize the ultimate NBA prize. I’m thankful to Vivek for the opportunity and look forward to creating more special memories here.”

Divac spent six years with the Kings and was part of the best teams in the organization’s history. The team has retired his No. 21 jersey.

Divac spent 16 years in the NBA where he averaged 11.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists a game, plus helped usher in the era of flopping. He was an All-Star in 2001. After his playing days, he has spent time working with European teams and leagues, trying to build that bridge to the NBA.

This is one serious basketball brawl from Spanish league (VIDEO)

Anadolu Efes Istanbul v Laboral Kutxa Vitoria - Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16
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In the NBA, most “fights” involve guys trying to act tough while waiting for their teammates to jump in and separate them before they actually have to do anything. It’s a lot of posing. The NBA’s fines have had the desired effect.

Not so much in Spain. This is from the Laboral Kutxa vs. Bilbao Basket basket game. Which was a blowout, by the way, it was a 16-point game with 10 seconds left when a Bilbao player went for the bucket, the hard foul came, then things escalated quickly. This is a fight with actual punches thrown.

Followed by the classy move of one player to apologize to a child in the audience

Hat tip The Big lead.