Here is our regular 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.
• The Brooklyn Nets signing of Josh Childress is official. While that is technically a non-guaranteed contract he is expected to make the team and get minutes off the bench behind Gerald Wallace.
• Dexter Pittman has gotten his chance in Miami and has not impressed. Or not enough. At least not yet. The Palm Beach Post’s Ethan J. Skolnick says Pittman will need a good camp to make the team, he is on the bubble.
• From our daily “Player X got so much better this summer” comments file, we bring you Tyshawn Taylor saying he spent the offseason “shooting a million” jumpers and saying he got a lot better at it.
• If I were a betting man, I would think Ivan Johnson is going to sign the qualifying offer the Hawks gave him, play this season in the ATL and become an unrestricted free agent next year. But so far he has done nothing, he has not signed anything with anyone. By the way, the Hawks have put themselves in a spot where they can’t match any offer larger than the bi-annual exception for him ($2 million a year). But nobody seems to be offering that much.
• Ryan Gomes is expected to get a workout with the Bobcats next week. I kind of like that fit.
• The Celtics are bringing in Rob Kurz for training camp on a non-guaranteed contract. Which means he’s camp fodder.
• Along the same lines, the Nets have invited Carleton Scott to training camp.
• This has been rumored for a while, but the Heat have officially signed Garrett Temple for camp.
• Chris Mullin and Phil Jackson are going to be talking about philosophy and basketball at an event in the Bay Area this weekend, if you’re around.
• Former Cavalier Manny Harris has signed with BC Azovmash of the Ukrainian league.
Luke Walton is being sued by a female reporter claiming sexual assault from a hotel room incident that dates back to before he was hired as the Lakers’ head coach (he was recently let go from that position and is currently the coach of the Sacramento Kings).
Kelli Tennant was writing a book and wanted Walton to write the forward, according to a lawsuit obtained by TMZ. The two had a business relationship and she agreed to meet him in a Santa Monica hotel to discuss him writing the forward to the book, according to the report. We’ll let TMZ take it from there:
In the suit, Tennant says when she arrived at Walton’s hotel, he convinced her to come up to his room so they could discuss the book. She claims when they got up to his room, Walton suddenly pinned her to the bed, placing his hips and legs over her body.
In the docs, Tennant claims Walton then began forcing kisses on her neck, face and chest. She claims she screamed for him to stop and tried to free herself, but he held her down, groped her breasts and groin, and rubbed his erection on her leg.
She says he eventually relented and let her get up from the bed, but as she was walking towards the door to leave he grabbed her from behind and again forced his body up against hers.
The lawsuit goes on to say Walton and her would interact after that, because of her job, and he would give her exaggerated hugs, kisses, and would make lewd comments to her.
Walton took over coaching the Lakers for the 2016-17 season, while the TMZ initial story said the incident happened before he was the coach, other reports have it happening in May of 2017 (after the end of his first season).
Walton has yet to comment on the lawsuit. The Kings and Lakers also have not commented.
I just hope he can afford this.
Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks was suspended and fined by the league for breaking a taboo and going into the officials’ locker room after the Nets’ Game 4 loss at home to challenge the referees. Marks — along with pretty much every Nets’ fan — was livid about how Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid has been officiated in the series.
Brooklyn minority owner (for now) and alternate governor Joe Tsai Tweeted this about Marks.
The NBA has fined Tsai $35,000 for “making public statements detrimental to the NBA.”
Tsai is the second-largest shareholder of online shopping powerhouse Alibaba and is worth an estimated $10.2 billion. He owns 49 percent of the Nets.
Virginia is going to lose three starters from its national championship team. De'Andre Hunter is a likely top-7 pick that a lot of teams think can be a good “3&D” NBA player. Ty Jerome is a bubble first-round pick expected to stay in the draft. Mamadi Diakite also has his name in the mix.
Now it’s official, Kyle Guy says he is keeping his name in the mix.
Guy had 24 points in the title game against Texas Tech and was named the NCAA tournament’s Most Outstanding Player for leading the Cavaliers to a title.
What he brings is shooting — he hit 42.6 percent from three this past season. He moves well off the ball and can catch-and-shoot, skills that NBA teams want. However, while he was a playmaker in college his handles and passing need work to be NBA ready, according to scouts. There also are concerns about his athleticism at the next level, and with that how well he can defend.
Guy is likely a second-round pick if taken at all, but he’s all in and going to take his shot while at the hight of his college career.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is taking over Team USA, and he has assistant coaches for the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics:
- Warriors coach Steve Kerr
- Pacers coach Nate McMillan
- Villanova coach Jay Wright
- Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce
USA Basketball release:
Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce was named to the USA Basketball Men’s National Team coaching staff today. Pierce replaces Indiana Pacers head coach Nate [McMillan] who withdrew because of scheduling conflicts.
This is a pretty big honor for Pierce, who just completed his first season as an NBA head coach. He guided Atlanta to only a 29-53 record.
But the young Hawks, especially Trae Young, improved throughout the season. Atlanta pushed the pace, hoisted 3s and defended aggressively (though not well). An identity is forming.
Though it’s far too early to say much about Pierce’s head-coaching acumen, he acquitted himself well in his first year.
Working with Team USA could even help Pierce ingratiate himself with stars. This could eventually pay off for the Hawks in free agency.