Don Nelson may be back for one final season

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NBA_nelson_250.jpgThe impression — even from new incoming owner Joe Lacob himself — is that there will be big changes for Golden State. Which is good, because what the Warriors have been doing has not worked for a long time. Not on the court in particular. Housecleaning is called for.

Which means coach Don Nelson will be gone… but maybe not for another year.

It’s a timing issue, as Marcus Thompson of the Oakland Tribune points out.

“The real question is when
we begin the future,” Lacob said, “and whether Nelson is the right guy
to have as our coach in the meantime. We will have to make that
decision.”

Lacob won the bidding for the team on July 15, but now he has to get all the minority owner ducks in a row, plus let lawyers get rich on the reams of paperwork that has to be done. It takes time.

He said he expects to take control of the team in late September. Right when training camp starts. While there may be some good candidates sitting on the sidelines, most people around basketball have chosen their dance partners for the upcoming season by that point. It will be hard to get a top-flight candidate at that time.

Even if Lacob thought he could get someone good, there will not really be time to fire Nelson and hire a new coach, have said coach put together a staff plus put together a detailed new game plan before camp starts. Changing coaches and systems — and whoever comes in will have a very different system — in the middle of camp puts a team behind the eight ball.

Then there is the money issue — Lacob would still have to pay Nelson his $6 million plus whatever a new coach would be owed.

Lacob could turn the team over to top assistant Keith Smart, but that is not a radical change in direction, that is not a different voice in the locker room. And Smart would face the same time crunch issues in making any changes he would want to implement as any other new coach brought in.

This may still happen, Nelson may be gone. Lacob has said he wants a younger, new generation coach out of the Scott Brooks mold in Oklahoma city. But the timing may force Lacob to be patient, and test the patience of Warriors fans as they get one more year of Don Nelson system.

Sorry Ekpe Udoh, even when you do get back from your wrist injury, this news will mean a lot of sitting. No matter how well you play.

Report: Gary Harris, Torrey Craig and Michael Porter Jr. not with Nuggets at Disney World

Nuggets players Gary Harris and Torrey Craig
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Nikola Jokic was delayed in joining the Nuggets after testing positive for coronavirus in Serbia.

Gary Harris, Torrey Craig and Michael Porter Jr. apparently aren’t with Denver, either.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

The Nuggets closed their facility two weeks ago after positive coronavirus tests. At least a week prior to that, a Western Conference playoff team reportedly had four positive coronavirus tests.

Are either of those events related to these absences?

The NBA has shown a disturbing lack of transparency around its restart.

When the season got suspended, Denver looked like a good regular-season team that’d face issues adapting to a playoff style. Now, who knows how the Nuggets will be when the season resumes? There’s so much roster uncertainty.

Harris is Denver’s starting shooting guard, and Craig and Porter have been rotation-level backup forwards. Both Harris (on smaller players) and Craig (on bigger players) have been defensive standouts with lackluster offense. Harris’ shooting struggles have been a major disappointment. For Craig, they’re an accepted limitation. Porter has shown flashes as a superb scorer, but he’s still raw.

Who knows if and when these three will join the Nuggets? Again, the lack of transparency has been frustrating. But Harris, Porter and Craig missing time would be a major setback for Denver.

Rockets star Russell Westbrook says he tested positive for coronavirus

Rockets star Russell Westbrook
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Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Luc Mbah a Moute didn’t travel with the Rockets to Orlando for the NBA’s resumption at Disney World.

Westbrook says he tested positive for coronavirus:

It’s good that Westbrook is feeling well. And, once he had coronavirus, it’s good he tested positive before the team departed. He can quarantine in the comfort of his own home rather than a hotel room. He didn’t risk spreading coronavirus during the flight.

When will he join the Rockets? That’s tough to say. He must clear coronavirus first, and it’s unclear how long he has had it. Then, upon arrival at Disney World, he faces an in-room quarantine. The length of that can vary.

With Harden as the centerpiece, Houston has built its secondary attack around Westbrook’s aggressive style. The Rockets’ unique center-less approach is a direct response to Westbrook’s minus outside shooting. Empowered by spacing later in the season, Westbrook has really thrived.

He’d be a huge loss. Houston could go from a championship-contending wildcard to one-man show – or less.

This revelation also raises questions about Harden and Mbah a Moute, whose late arrivals haven’t been publicly explained.

Report: Rockets’ Bruno Caboclo violates quarantine, must remain in room 10 days

Rockets forward Bruno Caboclo
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Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard and 76ers star Joel Embiid expressed doubt about players following the NBA’s protocols in the bubble.

See Rockets forward Bruno Caboclo.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

Players first arriving at Disney World is one of the most perilous times in the NBA’s plan. A player leaving his initial quarantine with coronavirus could undermine the whole operation.

The league has no practical choice but to be strict.

James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Luc Mbah a Moute didn’t arrive with the rest of the Rockets in Orlando. This makes four players who are behind in their ability to build chemistry and train with their teammates. At least Caboclo is just four days away from being four days away – major progress for him.

Houston has already clinched a playoff spot. But there’s some danger of slipping to the No. 7 seed and facing the powerful Clippers in the first round. So while they don’t have the most urgency for the seeding games, the Rockets are playing for something in the seeding games.

Lakers star LeBron James: #FreeWOJ!!

Adrian Wojnarowski
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Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley sent out a press release complaining about the NBA’s list of approved social-justice messages for jerseys.

ESPN NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski replied to the email, “F— you.” (Wojnarowski did not censor the first word.)

Wojnarowski apologized. ESPN condemned his behavior and, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, suspended him two weeks.

Several NBA players have publicly supported Wojnarowski:

Lakers star LeBron James:

Clippers guard Lou Williams:

Clippers guard Patrick Beverley:

Nuggets guard Jamal Murray:

Heat big Bam Adebayo:

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie:

Kings forward Harrison Barnes:

Pacers center Myles Turner:

Grizzlies forward Anthony Tolliver:

Wizards wing Troy Brown Jr.:

Trail Blazers guard Jaylen Adams:

LeBron’s message is particularly notable.

Obviously, he’s the NBA’s biggest star. His words carry weight.

Wojnarowski also has a long history of harshly criticizing LeBron. Here are just a few examples.

But if he can get over The Letter from Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, LeBron can probably get past anything written about him.