African comment Danny Ferry said apparently originated from Cavaliers front office

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Danny Ferry said he was reading a scouting report on Luol Deng, though it didn’t sound like it.

The truth? Somewhere in between, allegedly. Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained what he says is a copy of the scouting report in question – I still have questions about how Vivlamore authenticated it – and a section conflates Deng being African with him being two-faced. However, Ferry clearly wasn’t reading verbatim.

But the scouting report – read the full version here – also sheds more light on an important question: Who wrote that section of the report?

The key excerpt (including sections that are redacted and noting where words run off the page on the posted copy):

2013-2014 – Front Office – N/A

Former [redacted]

June 6, 2014 by [redacted]

Herb tells people he wants to start at $12M…

From a physical when we got him, Chicago had run him into the ground. We tried to correct & manage it when we got him. People say that he is worn down but I disagree & think there is more left in his body.

He is a good guy on the cover but he’s an African. He has a little two-step in him = says what you like to hear, but behind closed doors he could be killing you. Con isn’t bad, but it’[end of page] there. African-like, store front looks great but there’s a black market section in the back. Chicago thought he was good for their culture, but an outlier. Teammates liked him, but he [end of page] less impact on the locker room than you would think. He complained about things like not enough team jerseys in the team store, or that his bobble head was last during the year [end of page] has some con and a sense of entitlement. Luol kind of treated Cleveland like a pit-stop after the trade, where he probably became more protective of his body and focused on the [end of page] contract because he didn’t know his long term plan. He some things privately to media but denied them publically and said it wasn’t him. He’s not terrible, but you’ve got to k[end of page] that stuff is there with him.

Deng, whose agent is Herb Rudoy, went to the Cavaliers in a trade from the Bulls last season. Shortly afterward, there was a report, attributed to an anonymous source, that Deng was dismayed by the Cavaliers’ dysfunction.

Now, all eyes turn to Cleveland to see how Dan Gilbert – and the NBA – will handle this info becoming public.

Presumably – especially because Ferry escaped NBA punishment and has received Adam Silver’s public support – the league already saw this scouting report. Otherwise, it’s a major leap to take Ferry at his word that he was merely reading someone else’s statement. (And let me reiterate my questions about proving the authenticity of the scouting report.) So, I’d guess the NBA has already identified the source or is attempting to do.

When that person is discovered – and depending when redactions were made, it might not be too difficult – he or she almost certainly will be fired. Unless he or she claims to have been transcribing someone else’s words, because apparently, that’s enough of an excuse now.

Heat: Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic doubtful for Game 2 of NBA Finals

Heat players Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic
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Bam Adebayo‘s and Goran Dragic‘s injuries… not looking great for the Heat approaching Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Heat:

This is a disaster for Miami. The Lakers dominated Game 1, and now the Heat have two starters hobbled at best. At worst and more likely, Adebayo and Dragic are out.

Adebayo would be the bigger loss. Miami was completely overmatched when facing Anthony Davis without a center. Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard can try to keep up, but they’re far from great solutions.

At least the Heat have more options at point guard. Kendrick Nunn can get an elevated role (especially after excelling in garbage time of Game 1). Jimmy Butler can become the de facto point guard. Tyler Herro can also play the position. But Dragic was playing so well during Miami’s run through the Eastern Conference. This is also a major setback.

 

Report: Tyronn Lue ‘early favorite’ to become Clippers head coach

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Doc Rivers is gaining momentum in the 76ers’ coaching search.

As for the job Rivers left behind with the Clippers… Clippers assistant and former Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, unsurprisingly, has the inside track.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Clippers are planning to interview other candidates, starting soon, sources said.

The New Orleans Pelicans are planning to interview Lue in the near future too, sources said.

Lue would be a sensible hire. He has championship experience, which would help the Clippers hit the ground running in a make-or-break season before Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can become unrestricted free agents. Lue managed stars in LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The Clippers must improve their chemistry around their stars. And the last time Lue got promoted from assistant to head coach, his team won a title.

New Orleans also has an appealing job. But the Clippers are far closer to championship contention. And if both teams want Lue, I bet Clippers owner Steve Ballmer would outspend Pelicans owner Gayle Benson.

Still, the Clippers are conducting a coaching search. Other candidates could emerge. This isn’t necessarily Lue’s job for the taking.

How long would he wait on L.A. if the Pelicans make an offer? Lue has shown he values being entrusted.

Report: 76ers focused on Doc Rivers and Mike D’Antoni in coaching search

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The 76ers appeared focused on Mike D’Antoni in their coaching search.

Then, Doc Rivers surprisingly became available.

The former Clippers coach met with the 76ers and is now in the center of the conversation.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

For the Sixers now, the focus is on Rivers and D’Antoni, a source told ESPN. A decision is expected this week.

Rivers would be an easier fit with this roster than D’Antoni, whose style doesn’t appear to work as well with both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Rivers also looks like he’d help Philadelphia take the next step.

But that seemed like it’d be true with the Clippers and wasn’t.

Tyronn Lue’s candidacy with the 76ers has clearly faded. Could he join the Clippers, Rockets or Pelicans? If Philadelphia hires Rivers, maybe D’Antoni still lands with the Pacers?

Rivers’ availability has definitely thrown a wrench in the coaching carousel.

Victor Oladipo denies trade rumor he wants out of Indiana

Victor Oladipo
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It was a trade rumor that kind of came out of nowhere — maybe more as a thought exercise for Celtics fans hoping to move on from Gordon Hayward — but it got traction: Victor Oladipo reportedly wanted out of Indiana.

Not true, Oladipo said.

Oladipo jumped on Instagram Live with rapper Fat Joe and shot down the rumors (hat tip Clutch Points):

“I’m a Pacer. I’m a Pacer…

“Those rumors on the internet, I don’t know where they’re coming from, I’m just focused on getting my knee right for next year.”

He said later in the interview he wants a ring, he wants “hardware” because that is needed to show you are one of the greats, and he would consider leaving the Pacers to get it. But that wasn’t a short-term thing. (Also, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, John Stockton, Elgin Baylor and a lot of other guys would like to talk with you about that attitude.)

Oladipo returned mid-season from his knee injury to a Pacers’ team that finished as the four seed in the East but got bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat.

Oladipo never quite returned to his All-NBA form after coming back from injury and averaged just 14.5 points a game in the 19 regular season games he did play. Oladipo is owed $21 million next season, the last year of his current deal.

Whether he wants out of Indiana or not, at $21 million and with questions about just what level of player he is post-injury, there is not much of a trade market for Victor Oladipo. Indiana more than likely runs it back under a new coach — who has yet to be chosen — and banks on a healthy Oladipo helping the team make the next step.