Nets coach Hollins on 44-minute game: ‘The change will be for the guys who don’t start’

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NEW YORK — Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek and Pacers head coach Frank Vogel each weighed in on the concept of a 44-minute NBA game with similar sentiments, essentially saying that there will be less minutes for the reserves to divvy up, while the amount of playing time distributed to the starters is likely to remain unchanged.

Before the experimental game tipped off on Sunday at Barclays Center, Nets head coach Lionel Hollins confirmed that would be the case.

“Nothing changes,” he said, when asked if his approach would be any different. “The change will be for the guys who don’t start. If Joe Johnson is playing 35 minutes in a 48-minute game, he’s going to play 35 minutes in a 44-minute game. It just means the guys coming off the bench will have four less minutes to operate with. It’ll affect the bench more than it will affect the starters.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said that because of the nature of games played during the preseason, it’s unlikely that the shortened game will provide accurate data on what the actual effects might be.

“I don’t know that we’ll all get a true sense of it, because in the preseason we have more of a set rotation, and you’re probably going to stick to that regardless,” he said. “But I’m looking forward to seeing how it is. And you know, the other thing is that the lack of the extra media timeout in the second and fourth quarters will test people’s conditioning-wise if they’re in for that extended period of time, even with the less minutes.”

Hollins detailed the reasons that the league is looking at something like this.

“The TV people had positive thoughts about it, the coaches had positive thoughts and the league had positive thoughts as something that should be explored,” he said. “For us to play this game today gives the league a little bit of data to see if  they want to move forward and implement it in the D-League, because that would be the next step. Maybe they use it in another couple of preseason games, before the preseason ends. That’s kind of the way I look at it.

“From a how do I feel about it [standpoint], if it’s to be, it’s to be. It’s not a bad thing. I don’t have a problem with 48 minutes, but if they feel this is a way to protect players a little more, shorten the game so that it fits in the TV window, so be it.”

Hollins made it clear that the differences are likely to be minimal for the coaches — both in terms of how the games are managed, as well as when deciding how many minutes that their best players play. He also doesn’t expect the change to impact him personally.

“I won’t even notice the difference,” he said.

Damian Lillard on shot to beat Thunder: ‘That was for Seattle’

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Damian Lillard is a legend in Portland. He’s a legend in Oakland.

And now he’ll be a legend in Seattle.

The Trail Blazers star’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer wave goodbye ended the season for the Thunder, who moved to Oklahoma City from Seattle 12 years ago.

Lillard on Sports Business Radio Podcast:

What can I say? That was for Seattle.

Just when I thought Lillard’s shot and celebration were as cold as could be.

Clippers executive Jerry West: ‘I’ve never been around any organization that is better than this one’

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Jerry West played 14 years for the Lakers, making the All-Star game every year and winning a championship in a Hall of Fame career. He coached the Lakers to a few playoff seasons. Then, he ran the Lakers’ front office for 18 years, winning five titles and setting the stage for several more by acquiring Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

Now, West works for Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.

West on The Dan Patrick Show:

Steve Ballmer has really put together an unbelievably terrific organization. He’s spared no expense. It’s a really fun place to be. There’s not ego-driven at all. It’s just a fun place to be, and he’s got an awful lot of basketball people over there.

He’s just a great owner and one of the nicest men I’ve ever been around in my life. I’ve never seen a person like this with his success. It’s just remarkable how even-keeled he is. If people knew how philanthropic he was. He keeps all that stuff quiet. I guess he’ll get mad at me for mentioning it. But he’s just a remarkable man himself.

People always ask me what he’s like. And I say he’s just like you and I, normal. I’ve never seen – he’s willing to spend on players. He’s willing to spend on personnel within the front office. And as I mentioned before, I’ve never been around any organization that is better than this one. That’s for sure.

Maybe West is bitter at the Lakers. Maybe West is just gushing about his current boss, because that’s who pays him now.

But the wider respect held for the Clippers is evident in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George picking them without the team first getting an incumbent star. That says a lot about the organization, one that Ballmer has put his stamp on.

This also feels like a shot at the Lakers, whether or not West intended it. Many consider them to be the NBA’s golden franchise.

But their operations have had no shortage of problems lately.

The Lakers would have a stronger relative case further back, when West worked for them. However, organizations generally run better now. The league is more advanced. Maybe West is considering that.

Biases aside, his endorsement of the Clippers might be accurate.

West also worked for the Grizzlies.

Spencer Dinwiddie: Kyrie Irving tipped me off on his Nets interest in December

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In early December, Spencer Dinwiddie had yet to sign a contract extension with the Nets. Kyrie Irving had recently pledged to re-sign with the Celtics.

But groundwork was already being laid for those two to team up in Brooklyn.

Dinwiddie signed a three-year, $34 million extension later in December. Irving and Kevin Durant joined the Nets this summer.

How did it all come together?

Dinwiddie revealed details of his recruitment of Irving.

Dinwiddie, via The Athletic:

The first time he reached out was probably maybe like December, in terms of just loosely talking about it. Because he’s still obviously super focused on his season and everything. But you could just tell from his conversation that it was a little bit different. It was on his mind. Obviously, free agency was coming up. So, that’s kind of what it was. Just asking a friend about his current situation and what he thought.

Actually, no. It definitely was December. Because he made a comment to me. He was like, “New York might be real fun next year.” Because I hadn’t signed yet. And I was like, “Brother, I don’t know if they’re going to extend me or not.” He was like, “I think New York might be real fun next year.”

At the time, I was like, “You all going to the Knicks. That’s what’s happening. Are you and the monster going to the Knicks?”

That’s when I was first tipped off to the whole thing.

When he made the comment, that’s when I was like, “OK, things have changed.” Obviously at that point in time, it’s too early to be like he’s for sure leaving or he’s this, that or the third. But it’s just like, OK, something happened.

What happened in Boston? That’s the big question Irving has yet to answer.

Irving seemed checked out with the Celtics long before their season ended. It’s fair to question whether he was fully committed to winning with them.

There’s nothing wrong with Irving talking to Dinwiddie about New York as early as December. Irving faced a life-changing choice in free agency. Of course he was going to consider it throughout the season.

But in context of everything else that happened with Irving in Boston, this is more evidence he was pretty set on leaving for a long time.