Hours after the Lakers informed Mike Brown he was out as head coach in Los Angeles, the team has already narrowed its search to two candidates.
The names are familiar, and are the two who would each seem to make perfect sense for their own reasons.
Phil Jackson and Mike D’Antoni are atop the Lakers’ wish list to replace Brown as head coach, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles. The process is expected to move quickly, and will move beyond those two if there’s no mutual interest.
The Lakers are expected to reach out to both men as early as Saturday morning, as well as several other candidates. They’d like to move quickly through this process as interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff has only committed to working a few games.
“It’s not going to be a long process; that’s for damn sure,” a source told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “But they’re going to do their due diligence.”
A meeting with Jackson could happen by the end of the weekend.
Jackson certainly has the pedigree, winning championships with Kobe Bryant five times during two separate coaching campaigns with the Lakers. He left on his own after the team failed in its three-peat bid in 2011, where L.A. was unexpectedly and unceremoniously swept out of the second round of the playoffs by the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks.
Mike D’Antoni was responsible for some of the most successful recent seasons in Phoenix, where he was Steve Nash’s head coach running the Seven Seconds or Less offense that resulted in two MVPs for Nash in the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
The concern with Jackson would be whether he still has the desire, and the concern with D’Antoni has always been defense.
We’ll see if the Lakers can coerce either man back to the bench, but whether they can or can’t, expect the decision to come down just as soon as they can lock up someone whose name appears on that very short list.
Anthony Davis went into this season wanting to be seen as the best player in basketball.
Part of that perception is team success, and while the Pelicans are a good-not-great 8-7 to start the season it’s not because of Anthony isn’t doing all he can. He dropped 43 points and 17 rebounds on the Knicks, helping spark the Pelicans comeback against the Knicks. Check out the video above.
Davis is averaging 26.5 points with a quality 56.4 true shooting percentage, plus 17.1 rebounds a game. His PER of 26.8 is sixth best in the NBA. When Davis gets some help, and the Pelicans play a little defense, this is the kind of team AD might want to stick with.
Carmelo Anthony is in limbo now. He’s not with the Rockets, not suiting up for games or playing, but he’s still on the roster. Houston has yet to waive him because they and his agent have not yet found a landing spot for him — other teams don’t want to get into the Carmelo Anthony business right now. Maybe that changes as injuries come and rosters shift, but right now there are no takers.
It has led Tracy McGrady and others to suggest Anthony retire.
Allen Iverson disagrees, speaking to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Iverson is right, Anthony needs to be in the right situation. I’m just not sure what that is.
Anthony, like all great athletes, wants to leave the game on his own terms. The challenge is he is no longer a top two or three player on a good team, yet he feels entitled to be put in that role (or, at least, be treated like one of those guys). ‘Melo came off the bench in Houston but didn’t like it. The problem is that’s where his game is at that point — he’s a bench role player who can get some buckets but hurts the team defensively. That limits when he can be put on the court, especially in the playoffs. Can he accept that spot on a team?
Eventually, a team is going to give Anthony a chance, and I hope that works out. I would like ‘Melo to leave the game with us remembering him as the Hall of Fame player and elite scorer that he was, not like this.
Jimmy Butler is in Philadelphia now, but he is not done throwing shade at his former teammates in Minnesota.
Butler had 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting, including the game-clinching layup, as the 76ers beat the Jazz 113-107 Friday night. After the game, he got the walk-off interview with Serena Winters and took a dig at his former Minnesota teammates.
“It’s so fun to win. So much more fun to play with these guys… Everybody wants to win, and when somebody messes up, you talk to them and they do their job.”
Part of Butler’s issues with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins was he felt they didn’t want to win badly enough, that they didn’t measure up to his level of passion. Butler is still in the honeymoon phase with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and the Sixers, but so far he likes the intensity so far and is happy to make a note of the difference.
By the way, they’re happy in Minnesota without him — the Timberwolves are 3-0 since the trade, Karl-Anthony Towns is back to playing like his All-NBA self, and he says the communication is better now and guys are taking responsibility.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) —The New Orleans Pelicans say point guard Elfrid Payton has a fractured finger on his left hand.
Payton injured his finger in the first quarter of his first game back on Friday night after he’d missed New Orleans’ nine previous games with a right ankle sprain.
Soon after, Payton was ruled out for the remainder of the game against the New York Knicks.
Acquired as a free agent this past offseason, Payton has played in six games for New Orleans. He entered Friday night’s games with averages 11.6 points and 6.4 assists through his first five games, but did not have a point or assist in eight minutes against New York before his latest injury.