We told you a while back that the Lakers were talking to and moving to hire former Wizards and 76ers coach Eddie Jordan.
Now that is very close to reality, and they are bringing in veteran NBA coach Bernie Bickerstaff and former Magic coach Steve Clifford in what is a total overhaul of the assistant coaching ranks, reports Kevin Ding at the Orange County Register.
Usually assistant coach hires are not overly fascinating in the NBA, but in this case Jordan is coming to usher in a Princeton offense era for the Lakers that promises to be interesting.
The Princeton offense makes a lot of sense for Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol — its principles are not radically different from the triangle offence. The Princeton offense is really a series of three-man and two-man offenses on one side of the court, with constant motion and cuts off the ball. The idea is always to keep floor spacing through movement.
The Princeton offense wants a center that can both score in the post, is a deft passer and is a threat to knock down a 16-foot jumper from the elbow. That describes Pau Gasol perfectly. Kobe could work off cuts and curls to get catch-and-shoot looks that will be more reminiscent of what he got out of the triangle, the offense Kobe won five rings running.
But where do Steve Nash and Dwight Howard fit in? Those two are a natural and deadly pick-and-roll combination, and Nash’s shooting is a needed part of the Princeton offense. But the fits are not as natural.
Will the Lakers run a hybrid Princeton? Use it some trips down and not others? Run pick-and-roll and up-tempo offense early in the clock and settle into a Princeton set (which Phil Jackson had the Lakers do for a couple years with the triangle)?
Lots of questions and some interesting potential answers. How the Lakers evolve this season will be something to watch. They have the pieces to be a contender, but they have to fit them all together now.
No real shock here, this was expected, but we pass along the news anyway.
Bernie Bickerstaff will be formally interviewing for the Minnesota Timberwolves vacant head coaching job on Friday, according to the Star Tribune.
Bickerstaff, who is currently an assistant in Portland, has spent 13 seasons as head coach in the NBA with stops in Seattle, Denver, Washington and Charlotte. He has a career 415-517 record.
Bickerstaff’s son J.B. had been on the Timberwolves staff last season — one of the reasons Bernie was first brought in according to reports, the father would take the job while grooming his son to take over. But J.B. bolted and joined Kevin McHale’s staff in Houston.
Already Terry Porter and Mike Woodson have interviewed for the job, and Don Nelson has expressed interest and had phone conversations with team GM David Kahn.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are off to a fast start with interviews — Terry Porter and Mike Woodson have sat down with Wolves management, Don Nelson has spoke to them on the phone and likely will get an interview.
But don’t count out Bernie Bickerstaff, tweets beat writer Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
Expect Timberwolves still to interview Portland assistant Bernie Bickerstaff, even though his son J.B. has joined Kevin McHale in Houston
The younger Bickerstaff had been a Wolves assistant and the plan had been to bring in 67-year-old Bernie to both coach for a couple years and groom his son to take over the big chair after him. Then J.B. bolted to Houston.
The age thing does not seem to concern the Wolves too much, Nelson is 71 and in the running.
Expect the Wolves to take their time with this decision — because of the lockout there is only so much the coach can do right now anyway. A staff can be assembled and plans made, but since players cannot be contacted there are limits on how much work can get done.
We’ve known for a month this was coming — maybe longer, when your team wins 17 games the coach’s seat is going to be hot. But David Kahn and the Timberwolves dragged this out in an embarrassing fashion.
Now it is official, both the Associated Press and others such as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo (who had it first) have confirmed the firing is official.
For the past month, the Timberwolves seemed to be trying to embarrass Rambis into quitting, like they were trying to get out of paying the remaining $4 million on his deal that way. Rambis, you and I have one thing common: We will put up with a lot of humiliation for $4 million. He would not quit when asked to do a written report on the team, while the team dragged out the process hurting his chances of getting another job next season, while they flirted with putting him at a desk in the front office.
All this made the Wolves look bad. All this means the top coaching candidates out there would think twice about stepping into that situation as coach.
Now he’s out. Portland assistant Bernie Bickerstaff will be brought in to interview (and his son J.B. is already a Wolves assistant coach). Milwaukee assistant Kelvin Sampson also is rumored to be in the running.
From The Oregonian’s Joel Freeman:
The Minnesota Timberwolves have asked the Blazers for permission to interview asst coach Bernie Bickerstaff for their head coach position.
The Timberwolves are about to fire head coach Kurt Rambis (if they can’t shame him into quitting so they don’t have to pay him the remaining $4 million on his deal) after stumbling to the league’s worst record last season. Despite the Wolves’ season-long futility, there does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the franchise: Kevin Love had a season-long coming out party last year, and the Timberwolves will be adding two high-lottery draft picks after drafting Derrick Williams and getting Ricky Rubio to come over from Spain.
Among other coaching jobs, Bickerstaff was the first-ever head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats, and was recently been an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls under Vinny Del Negro. Bickerstaff’s son is currently an assistant coach with the Timberwolves.