Wednesday And-1 links: This is Coach K’s last Olympics

3 Comments

After a day off we return with our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• This wasn’t a secret, but Mike Krzyzewski confirmed he is not coming back for the 2016 Olympics, London is his last run. What does he have against Brazil?

Coach K added that missing Derrick Rose this summer will hurt USA.

• Also on the Olympics front, Donatas Motiejunas may not play for Lithuania in the Olympics because any injury could void his contract with Houston (he was their first round pick in 2011).

• Reportedly no team even giving Phil Jackson a call? I don’t think he comes back but you think someone would at least test the waters.

Ranking all the free agent NBA coaches (and Stan Van Gundy, who will be a free agent soon enough).

An open letter from a Blazers fan and blogger to owner Paul Allen.

• O.J. Mayo says wherever he is playing next year he wants to be used as a point guard.

• Why were there fewer great NBA centers now? Well, there aren’t.

• Golden State is reportedly interested in Illinois sophomore Meyers Leonard. Look for him to go middle of the first round, and with the Warriors he would back up Andrew Bogut.

• Doc Rivers is the second highest paid coach in professional sports at $7 million a year, according to Forbes. Bill Belichick tops the list.

George Karl said he found the last season the most enjoyable of his coaching career.

• A good look at the power forwards in the NBA Draft. Perry Jones III is the kind of talented guy who could get a GM fired in a few years (because you took him, or because you didn’t and he gets his head together).

Who should the Bulls bring in to replace Derrick Rose the first half of the season?

• An interesting profile of Neil Olshey, the GM who has help turn around the Clippers.

• The NBA’s twitter feed has passed 5 million followers.

• The mayor of San Francisco wants the Warriors to be playing in the city within five years, in a brand new arena.

• The Warriors have promoted Kirk Lacob — the son of owner Jacob Lacob — to assistant GM. The younger Lacob was the GM of their D-League affiliate this past year. If you want to point your finger and say “nepotism” you’ll need to shake your fingers at basically every team in the league.

• Houston Rockets scout David Patrick has been suspended for a year due to player contact during the lockout, the league announced.

• You do know those Clippers celebrated their win with a giant Chris Paul baby head they got in Memphis, right?

A Q&A with the Nets Anthony Morrow.

• Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic underwent ankle surgery on Tuesday.

• Steve Nash and Doc Rivers won the awards for their work with the media from the Pro Basketball Writers Association.

• Cleveland wants to host a future All-Star Game.

Report: Hornets rookie Miles Bridges to compete in dunk contest

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
1 Comment

Want to see more dunks like this and this?

Watch the dunk contest during All-Star weekend.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

Miles Bridges, the No. 12 pick in last year’s draft, has quickly proven himself as belonging in the Hornets’ rotation. He’s active, capable of getting to the rim and picks up defensive concepts quickly.

But like most rookies picked in the middle of the first round, he hasn’t yet earned a national profile.

The dunk contest will be his opportunity to change that.

Bulls’ Wendell Carter reportedly out 8-12 weeks following thumb surgery

Leave a comment

Wendell Carter Jr. has had a strong rookie season in Chicago: 10.3 points a game, 7 rebounds, showing real strength and touch inside and getting 67 percent of his shot attempts in the paint. The advanced stats like him: He’s got an above average PER and Value over Replacement Player, something very rare for a rookie. He looks like a key part of the future in Chicago.

And he’s out for the next two-to-three months.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune first reported that Carter might have ligament damage in his left thumb requiring surgery, and that coach Jim Boylen said Carter was seeing a specialist. Shams Charania of The Athletic took it to the next step.

That’s a blow to his development but doesn’t really change the trajectory of a Bulls team that will pick high in next June’s draft.

This does not change the Bulls’ plans heading into the trade deadline — big man Robin Lopez is still available (but likely will end up a buyout candidate) reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Bobby Portis will get more run with Carter out.

The young Bulls have been hit hard by injuries this season.  Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Portis have all missed time, and Denzel Valentine has yet to play a game for Chicago this season.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis: ‘We will never, ever tank’

1 Comment

Before the season, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis stated his goals: 50 wins and the conference finals.

Washington is 19-26 and 11th in the Eastern Conference.

Time to shift priorities?

NBC Sports Washington:

Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington:

The Wizards are too talented to tank right now. Led by Bradley Beal, they have a roster of capable veterans. They just traded for Trevor Ariza, making that even more true.

As bad as they’ve been, the Wizards are just 2.5 games and three teams out of playoff position. They will likely miss the postseason, but there’s no alternative better than trying to get there. They’re too far down the road toward winning now to simply pivot into a rebuilding.

But what about if the Wizards get eliminated from playoff contention with games left in the season? They won’t tank down the stretch to improve their draft position? What’s the point of that?

And what about future seasons? Washington will have a tough time building a satisfactory winner after signing John Wall to a super-max extension that kicks in next season. That difficult-to-move contract almost mandates the Wizards prioritize the present. A healthy Wall is good enough to ensure Washington can’t bottom out – for now.

Wall be 32 in the final year of that deal. The Wizards could be in ruins by then. Taking the option to tank off the table would be a mistake.

To be fair, I’m not totally sure Leonsis is doing that. Owners almost never admit to tanking. Most deny it.

But this goes a level beyond. This is far more forceful than Leonsis had to be, which makes me believe it’s actually his plan.

That’s fine right now. Eventually, it could make a futile situation far worse.

Agent: LeBron James would play if it were playoffs

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
1 Comment

LeBron James‘ agent, Rich Paul, gave a 3-6-week recovery timeline for LeBron’s groin injury, which the Lakers superstar suffered just over three weeks ago.

Chris Broussard on Fox Sports 1 on Wednesday:

I was in contact with Rich Paul this morning, and he told me, if this were the playoffs, that LeBron would be playing.

The Lakers have gone 5-7 without LeBron, slipping into a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference. What if LeBron feels Los Angeles could miss the playoffs without him? Would he return before fully healthy? That’s the big question.

Ideally, LeBron rests until fully recovered. Groin injuries can worsen and linger longer if played through. The only way for LeBron to get this completely behind him is sitting.

But this is also apparently an injury he could play through. It’d be hard for LeBron to watch from the sideline as the Lakers’ playoff odds drop precipitously.

Right now, they’re hanging in the mix. But any slump over the next few weeks will immediately turn attention to LeBron and how he’ll respond.