Lakers say any changes to remaining coaching staff will be D’Antoni’s decision

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When the Lakers parted ways with Mike Brown just over a week ago and replaced him by bringing in Mike D’Antoni, the rest of the coaching staff, to this point, has remained in place.

Bernie Bickerstaff has assumed the head coaching duties for the last four games, though his reign is expected to come to an end Sunday night, with D’Antoni still on track to make his debut as Lakers head coach against the Rockets at Staples Center.

It’s unclear whether Bickerstaff or the rest of the assistant coaches who served under Brown will be retained, but either way, the organization is letting D’Antoni be the one who makes that decision.

From Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

Mitch Kupchak addressed the Lakers’ coaching staff situation to ESPNLosAngeles.com on Friday …

Question: Will Bickerstaff be retained on the staff?

Kupchak: “That is going to be Mike’s decision, but Bernie has done a wonderful job. He stepped into an awkward situation and really did a wonderful job.”

Question: Will D’Antoni add anybody to the staff if he does part ways with Bickerstaff or any of the rest of the assistant coaches?

Kupchak: “I’m not sure he’s going to add people. I think he’s going to add his brother (Dan D’Antoni) and then evaluate the present staff and that may take a little bit of time, so that’s kind of where it is right now.”

It’s worth noting that Bickerstaff and Eddie Jordan have been head coaches in this league in the past, and bring with them a wealth of experience. If their philosophies can mesh with what D’Antoni wants to do, they should be able to fit in and find a way to contribute, which would help maintain at least a little bit of continuity during the transition.

It also would be tough for D’Antoni to assemble a full compliment of his own guys now that the season is underway, considering that those who are elite at their profession are likely to be currently employed.

We’ll see if D’Antoni ultimately has any changes in store besides adding his brother to the staff. But as Kupchak said, nothing is likely to happen right away, and any decisions in that department will be D’Antoni’s alone to make.

Geeking out on NBA prospects: R.J. Barrett almost dunks from free throw line, Zion Williamson does

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Duke is stacked this coming season. STACKED. They should have three lottery picks in next year’s draft. (Does that mean they are the team to beat in the NCAA? That’s not the way basketball works. But that’s another discussion.)

Duke is in Toronto for a series of preseason exhibition games, and at the end of the workout likely No. 1 pick next June, R.J. Barrett tried to show off by almost dunking from the free throw line.

Then freak of nature Zion Williamson showed him how it’s done.

That’s worth more looks.

Damn Zion is a freak of nature. Can we just put him in the next dunk contest now?

Nancy Lieberman says more women need to follow coaching footsteps in NBA

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Whenever we discuss women assistant coaches in the NBA, the topic is usually Becky Hammon getting job interviews or being moved to the front row of seats in San Antonio. Occasionally it’s a discussion of Nancy Lieberman’s job in Sacramento — or the fact she is now a head coach in Ice Cube’s Big3 — or Jenny Boucek in Dallas.

However, when Lieberman discussed women coaches on the CBS Sports Network, she was asking a bigger question:

Who steps up next?

She has discussed the NBA version of the “Rooney Rule” before. Currently, it’s not anywhere near becoming a reality, whatever you think of the idea.

However, there needs to be real opportunities for women to get a foot in the NBA door, and more of them. Including at the entry level. There are qualified women out there, but it can be tough to crack the “old boy’s network” of the NBA coaching carousel — head coach and assistant. It exists in part because head coaches (and GMs) usually hire people they trust and worked with before, and right now those are men. Give women a chance at those entry-level positions and the dynamic starts to change.

Lieberman has been a groundbreaker her entire career. She and others are doing in the NBA again, but she’s right, the big win is changing the dynamic for the next generation. And the one after that.

In no-brainer move, Nets reportedly guarantee Spencer Dinwiddie’s $1.65 million contract

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Spencer Dinwiddie has worked hard at his game — I remember seeing him struggle some at his first Summer League and someone I trust telling me “watch this guy, he’s got the drive, he will make it” — and he is now a solid rotation NBA point guard that Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson can trust. He averaged 12.6 points per game last season with an above-average PER of 15.9.

He’s also on a steal of a current contract, so it makes sense the Nets are picking that up (it technically didn’t have to be guaranteed until Halloween). Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN had the report.

https://mobile.twitter.com/wojespn/status/1029496077320257536

Next summer, Dinwiddie is a free agent. While he’s not going to break the bank, he’s a young, solid backup point guard that a lot of teams could use and he’s going to get a nice pay raise.

Carmelo Anthony on his role with Rockets: “Let’s just let it play out”

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From the moment it became clear Carmelo Anthony was going to join the Rockets — which was a long time before he actually signed the contract on Monday — the questions started:

Would he accept a reduced role with the Rockets? Maybe come off the bench? Be Olympic ‘Melo and blend in with the team?

Coach Mike D’Antoni said he spoke with Anthony and said the player is open to coming off the bench, but he’s not sure what ‘Melo’s role will be. When ambushed by TMZ trying to walk to his car, Anthony said basically the same thing.

“Let’s just let it play out, though. I don’t even know what’s going on. I just signed, let it start first.”

Anthony coming off the bench, being the fulcrum of the offense when James Harden and Chris Paul are on the bench makes some sense (CP3 and Harden are better and more efficient shot creators than Anthony at this point). It’s a chance for Anthony to get his touches and help the other two rest. However, the idea of Anthony starting the first and third quarters and getting heavy touches then but sitting more later is not out of the question.

At the end of close games, D’Antoni is more likely to lean on James Ennis — a long, switchable defender who can shoot threes in the Trevor Ariza mold — than Anthony. It will be just a better fit. Will Anthony roll with that? Will it cause problems in the locker room?

Let’s just let it play out.