Author: Kurt Helin

Cleveland Cavaliers coach Scott gives instructions to his team during their NBA basketball game against New York Knicks in New York

Does Kobe Bryant want Byron Scott to coach the Lakers? “Yep.”


Byron Scott has been the front-runner to land the Lakers coaching job from Day 1 — he’s a Buss family favorite who lets the Lakers sell the “we’re going with someone from inside the family” line. (Remember Scott was a shooting guard on the Showtime Lakers and has the rings to prove it.)

The Lakers have left the coaching door open as part of their package to entice free agents, but Scott was always the guy standing in the doorway. Wednesday he got a big endorsement — Kobe Bryant.

Via Dave McMenamin of

Now, if this was 2006 Kobe and he had that kind of sway in the organization, Scott would be hired already. But the Lakers are looking at free agents that can lead them into the future (Carmelo Anthony remains dangling out there, even if there are now serious doubts) and if getting them the coach they want would help, that door is open.

Scott has coached more than 900 NBA games over all or part of 13 seasons, being named NBA coach of the year in 2008 (with Chris Paul and the Hornets) and having led the then New Jersey Nets to the NBA Finals in the Jason Kidd era. He’s an old school task master coach (the Pat Riley influence) but one who has been a player and gets that side of it. He struggled with his last job, three seasons in Cleveland trying to develop the Cavaliers talent and never winning more than 24 games.

As usual, in the end Kobe likely gets his way. And that means Scott coaching the Lakers. But that domino likely doesn’t fall until the Anthony one does.

By the way, Kobe said he’s like Anthony as a teammate. Shocking.

Gregg Popovich agrees to extension with Spurs, likely stays past Tim Duncan era

Gregg Popovich

A few years back Gregg Popovich used to joke that when Tim Duncan decided to stroll off into the sunset he was going to do the same — he joked he looked brilliant while coaching Duncan.

However, at the Finals this year Popovich hinted more than once that he was having too much fun and was not yet ready to walk away.

That became evident Wednesday when the Spurs announced a multi-year agreement to keep Popovich as coach, the team announced. The two-sentence press release was something Popovich himself might have written.

No details were released and coach salaries are not made public, but Popovich is believed to make $6 million a season. He also has player personnel power, something shared with GM R.C. Buford. It was rumored this would be a 4-5 year extension, but that is only rumor.

What this really says is that Popovich wants to be in place to help the Spurs transition from the Duncan/Tony Parker/Manu Ginobili era to the Kawhi Leonard era. (Parker could be part of that transition, he is just 32 years old.)

But that is then, next season the Spurs are bringing all the key pieces back from the team that just won the NBA title (plus have a mid-level exception to add more talent). They are the team to beat and nobody can get as much out of them as Popovich, the best coach in the game today and one of the greats to ever coach the game.

Report: Cavaliers want to swing Kevin Love trade if LeBron James comes to town

Kevin Love

This has been rumored for a while, but it still remains a long shot.

The Cleveland Cavaliers don’t just want LeBron James (who is meeting with Miami’s Pat Riley in Las Vegas on Wednesday), they want to land Kevin Love as well. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports tweeted this:

I’ll say up front I’m skeptical they can pull this off. (That is even if they get LeBron.)

What would a trade look like? There is no chance Minnesota would do it without top pick Andrew Wiggins being in the mix, and while I would do that the Cavaliers are rumored to be hesitant. It’s also going to take some of those future first round picks and some other young players of quality as well — Anthony Bennett and Tristan Thompson are not going to cut it.

Even that may not be enough — Boston has been trying to use a combination of young players and picks for some time now and had no success. Flip Saunders in Minnesota has wanted younger but more established players, guys such as Taj Gibson or his real target Klay Thompson.

Whether Wiggins could get him to change his mind depends on how highly Saunders had Wiggins rated.

And even then Saunders might try to use this as leverage to get Golden State to throw Thompson in their offer, or to pressure other suitors.

Kevin Love reportedly has told the Cavs he would not re-sign in Cleveland unless LeBron was there. Love will be a free agent next summer.

If you’re the Cavs and you get LeBron, you better swing for the fences to put a team around him — and do it smarter than they did last time around (aging Shaq and other questionable choices).

NBA salary cap jumps nearly $5 million next year to $63 million, luxury tax line $76.8 million

AP Money Found

The NBA business is good — and that means the salary cap number is about to jump nearly $5 million a year.

The NBA salary cap for 2014-15 will be $63.065 million the league has announced, a healthy 7.5 percent jump from $58.679 million last season, the NBA announced.

The luxury tax level also jumps more than seven percent up to $76.829 million. The minimum team salary (the floor, as it’s called) will be $56.759 million, although there is no penalty for being below it (if a team does finish the year below it they have to pay the difference, with that money divided up among the players on the roster).

The mid-level exception for teams above the salary cap line but below the tax line will be $5.305 million. For teams over the tax-line their mid-level is $3.278 million, and the mid-level for team under the cap (who then go over) is $2.732 million.

All these numbers go into effect at midnight and the clock turn to July 10, the first day teams can sign players following a moratorium that started July 1 (all the deals you’ve been reading about at PBT, such as Kyle Lowry in Toronto or Marcin Gortat with the Wizards were agreements that couldn’t be finalized until the 10th).

The cap numbers are derived as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement — the players and owners basically split the NBA’s “basketball related income” down the middle 50/50 and the cap numbers come out of that to divide up that spending. A piece of every player’s pay check is held in a reserve and then they get all or some (or occasionally none) of that money back when the numbers are added up at the end of the season to make sure the split of revenue is correct.

The NBA salary cap is expected to increase some again for 2015-16 then make a much bigger leap the year after that when the money from a new national television deal floods the market.

Report: Carmelo Anthony to choose New York; agent denies

Brooklyn Nets v New York Knicks

It was New York and the extra $30 million (plus trusting Phil Jackson) or Los Angeles and the Lakers brand and Kobe Bryant.

This isn’t official but it seems to be New York won out, as reported by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.

A person close to Anthony told The News on Wednesday that barring a last minute change of heart Anthony will re-sign with the Knicks after “agonizing over this” for the past week.

“He is really torn because this is the biggest decision of his career. But he wants to get it done in New York. He told me he believes in Phil,”said the friend who was with Anthony before Anthony’s scheduled workout with Kevin Durant and Kevin Love in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Other sources have yet to confirm this — the teams have yet to be told anything and his agent is denying the report — this is based on one report, albeit from a well-connected reporter. If you’re a Lakers’ fan that can’t let the dream die go ahead and hold out hope. But brace for the worst.

In the end it was all about the money… although if he’s not happy in a couple of years he can force his way out, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

He adds that Anthony’s dream of teaming up with LeBron was never realistic — the numbers didn’t work out well anywhere with them both getting the max, plus they weren’t talking.

With Anthony in the fold Phil Jackson is said to be targeting Pau Gasol to come to New York and join him. Gasol has plenty of options with the Bulls, Spurs and Thunder having all made big pitches to him. Those teams can all offer more than Gasol, but he is also an urbane, Barcelona-raised person who is more likely to choose a big city over small.

The Houston Rockets, already had moved on from Anthony and have made a max offer to Chris Bosh, who was a better fit for them. They are all waiting on LeBron James to make his decision.

For the Lakers, it’s back to waiting. The plan all along has been to land a superstar that will take over as the face of the franchise after Kobe retires in a few years. While many Lakers fans had talked themselves into Anthony for that role, players such as Kevin Love or potentially in a couple of years Kevin Durant would be better fits. (It’s too early to speculate on if Durant will even leave Oklahoma City, but Love is on his way out of Minnesota one way or another and has ties to L.A.) The Lakers’ plan has always been to get the star then figure out the system, the opposite of the Knicks’ plan with Phil Jackson.