Phil Jackson was under the impression that the Lakers job was his if he wanted it — and it wasn’t just his impression. Mike D’Antoni thought it was Jackson’s job, everyone around the Lakers thought it was Jackson’s job, and Lakers fans thought it was Jackson’s job.
The Lakers front office wanted Mike D’Antoni. And Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak admitted Tuesday he didn’t think Jackson would want the job (in part because Jackson told Kupchak a few months before he didn’t think he’d ever return to coaching). They were caught off guard by the momentum of Jackson returning picked up.
Kupchak has taken the incoming fire and spoke with reporters about the move. Here are tweets from Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register about what he said.
That is a good soldier providing cover when under fire.
We’ve made the argument that D’Antoni is the better long-term hire (if he can get them to defend). But the problem with how this went down is the game changed for D’Antoni — he went from replacing Mike Brown (who D’Antoni will be better than) to replacing Phil Jackson in the minds of Lakers fans. Not even the real Jackson, but worse yet the legend of him, The Lakers could win 62 games for D’Antoni and he will hear how Phil’s team would have won 70 games. And swept the Celtics. And shut out the Bobcats 101-0. And how Kobe Bryant would have scored every time he walked over the half-court line.
But no pressure Mike. Good luck.
When Stephen Curry lost a golf bet to his father, Dell, at the American Century Championships over the weekend in Lake Tahoe, Curry jumped in the lake. Literally.
So did his caddy.
That caddy is no run-of-the-mill duffer, that is Bryant Barr — Curry’s roommate and teammate from Davidson. The two (and their wives) are still close friends.
And Curry still owes Barr a dinner from a game of H-O-R-S-E game back in college.
Barr explained it all to the NBC Golf team that covered the event over the weekend. Check out the great video above.
By the way, Ray Allen came in tied for third at the championship.
After the Warriors won the championship, David West said they dealt with internal issues so shocking, people would trip if they learned the details.
Golden State head coach Steve Kerr and assistant coach Ron Adams didn’t go along with that narrative. Now, another Warriors assistant is explaining more clearly just what the heck West was talking about.
Mike Brown on The Full 48 podcast, as transcribed by Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area:
“There’s no deep, dark secret,” the Warriors assistant coach said. “We had our ups and downs throughout the course of the year, just like any other team. We were able to get through them.
“Steve (Kerr) asked David or talked to David about it, and David was like, ‘I was joking (laughter). I just wanted to stir the pot a little bit.’ And he sure enough did. There’s nothing to it.”
That settles it.
Unless that’s what they want us to believe…
The Spurs were running low on small forwards. Kawhi Leonard remains in limbo, and San Antonio let Kyle Anderson leave for the Grizzlies.
Enter Dante Cunningham.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
This is probably a minimum contract. The Spurs still have whatever of the mid-level exception they didn’t give Marco Belinelli or the bi-annual exception. But that’s not way more than the minimum ($2,176,260) for Cunningham, who has nine years experience – and probably couldn’t command more, anyway.
Unlike Rudy Gay, Belinelli, Davis Bertans and Bryn Forbes, Cunningham is San Antonio’s first free-agent signing this summer who didn’t previously play for the team. He’s a combo forward who will likely be needed more at small forward. He can handle larger small forwards, and Belinelli can play the three against smaller opposing small forwards in a platoon.
Cunningham is a solid defender in the right matchup, and he holds his own as a 3-point shooter. The Spurs should use him well.
Of course, the Spurs must first determine what to do about Leonard before fitting in more pliable pieces like Cunningham.
The Lakers reportedly believe someone in Lonzo Ball‘s camp leaked his knee injury to depress his trade value and keep him in Los Angeles.
So, of course, speculation turned to his media-savvy father who has a major financial interest in maintaining footing in the Los Angeles market.
LaVar Ball, via TMZ:
“I don’t leak nothing. I always say what’s on my mind, so you don’t never see me saying, ‘I think I should say this now and let it leak.’ I don’t do that.”
It would be more in-character for LaVar just to announce Lonzo’s knee injury or – especially now that the Lakers are publicly acknowledging Lonzo’s need for surgery – brag now about his maneuvering. So, maybe he wasn’t behind this.
But it still could have been someone else in Lonzo’s camp, with or without LaVar’s knowledge.
The Balls don’t need to apologize if they disclosed Lonzo’s injury. It’s his knee. He can say what he wants about it, however it affects the Lakers.
But these accusations and subsequent denials certainly don’t signal a strong relationship between the team and player.