Vinny Del Negro is out. Now Bulls: Who you got that's better?

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We’re going to take Bulls General Manager Gar Forman at his word.

He stuck with his themes at the press conference this morning where he talked about the firing of Vinny Del Negro. (I watched the conference online). Forman deserves the break, he was thrown out to the wolves to explain this. He was the guy standing in front of LeBron to take the charge. He stood there like a man.

He said the team had gotten better under Del Negro (something John Paxson echoed) but a “new dynamic” was needed.

“In order to take the next step, we need a new voice,” Forman said.

Fair enough.

So who you got? Who is out there that is going to be that much better?

Forman said he is the point man on the coach search, but he would not talk names. The Bulls have said — after bringing in a rookie in Del Negro — they want a coach with NBA head coaching experience. So here is a list of guys currently on the market:

Doug Collins (which would be a second dance in Chicago, so probably not), Lawrence Frank, Kevin McHale, Maurice Cheeks, Byron Scott and Dwane Casey.

Any of those names blow you away? One of those guys leap off the page and say, “Wow, he’s way better than Vinny?”

Scott has had success — and success with top point guards in Jason Kidd and Chris Paul — but he has lost both teams after a few years and been let go because players no longer responded. Is he the long-term coach for this young team going forward?

Maybe there is somebody else out there, a rabbit they are going to pull out of their hat. Of course, then there is the question of signing him — remember that two years ago the Bulls had long conversations with Mike D’Antoni (who would have been a great fit with his system) but the deal fell apart when owner Jerry Reinsdorf and D’Antoni talked money. Top coaches cost, and the Bulls didn’t want to pay it.

And here we are. They have let go of a solid coach that got the team to play hard, saying they wanted a new voice and dynamic.

So, who do you have that’s better? The pressure is now on you three — Forman, Paxson and Reinsdorf. This is your summer, this is your call.

Report: NBA referees will live-tweet Warriors, Sixers games next week

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The one rule of Twitter is something that NBA officials are apparently willing to sidestep. That rule?

Never tweet.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, NBA referees will tweet from their official Twitter account during NBA games this season and hold back-and-forth conversations with fans about calls during games.

It seems like something that would immediately go wrong, but officials have done this before. They held Twitter conversations during last season’s Finals and they apparently feel as though they went well enough to do this sort of thing again.

Via ESPN:

This season, the NBA league office has agreed to work in collaboration with the referee union on this project. As part of the deal, the tweeting referees will have access to the league’s replay center in Secaucus, New Jersey, just like the officials who are on duty that evening, so they can have all the angles available to answer questions.

The union and the NBA plan a series of these games over the next few months, including some playoff games.

You will be able to tweet at @OfficialNBARefs or use #RefWatchParty during Monday’s game between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers, or Wednesday’s matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers.

It’ll be interesting to monitor this thing and see where it goes. Even the most inane opinions can be shot down by the twittersphere so watching actual NBA referees try to defend themselves against the hordes could get wild.

Raptors’ Pascal Siakam beats Suns with incredible drive at the buzzer

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Pascal Siakam has been an important part of the Toronto Raptors organization for a couple of seasons now. Siakam has been a target in requested trades with the Raptors, but general manager Masai Ujiri wants to hang on to the burgeoning Cameroonian forward.

That’s probably wise.

As time wound down in Thursday night’s game between the Raptors and Phoenix Suns, Siakam found himself with the ball at the top of the arc and the game on the line. Siakam had Mikal Bridges isolated up top, and wound up going to his left to score the game-winning shot as time expired.

Via Twitter:

Siakam finished the game with just 10 points but grabbed 12 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks.

Raptors are now just a half-game back of the Milwaukee Bucks with a record of 34-13.

Raptors promo Kawhi Leonard for ASG with faux-vintage action figure commercial

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The Toronto Raptors have been pushing Kawhi Leonard for the All-Star Game since 2018. The angle the team has decided to take is with Leonard being a “man of action” as opposed to a man of words.

Teams come up with some pretty good ideas about how to promote their star players for the All-Star Game. The Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum did the Vote for Pedro dance from “Napoleon Dynamite” to ask people to vote for buddy Damian Lillard.

The Raptors took a shot at a viral video of their own this week by releasing a fake 1990s-style action figure commercial for Leonard.

The result was pretty good:

At least with a Kawhi Leonard action figure you wouldn’t need to have a speaker and a button that plays catch phrases on it.

Reports: Mavericks, Dennis Smith Jr. could look to reconcile differences

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Things might not be over between Dennis Smith Jr. and the Dallas Mavericks.

The sophomore guard and the Mavericks have apparently been on the outs with each other as the season approaches the midway point. It was rumored that Smith was on the trading block, and that several teams were interested in his services.

But reports on Thursday surfaced saying Dallas and Smith could be heading for a reconciliation, and that conversations between the two sides have been positive as of late.

Via Twitter and ESPN:

The Mavs have shopped Smith, 21, throughout the season but haven’t received any offers that have tempted them to pull the trigger on trading a player whom the Dallas front office still believes has potential to develop into a star, sources said.

“Plan A is still to fix this,” a team source told ESPN.

Smith has not been that good this season, but his advanced numbers suggest that he is on a slow rise upward. It perhaps isn’t the jump Mavericks fans were looking for in the second season for a Top 10 pick, but if they can salvage their relationship it’s probably best for both sides at this juncture.