Report: Pelicans get permission, interview Warrior’s assistant Alvin Gentry Monday for coaching position

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UPDATE 10:23 pm: The first interview is going to take place on Monday night in San Francisco, according to an update from Adrian Wojnarowski.

This is just the first step in the process. That process will not necessarily move quickly as Gentry is busy helping the Warriors game-plan for the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals. Smart move by the Pelicans to start the process now — and put a little pressure on the Bulls to make their move sooner rather than later.

5:54 pm: Alvin Gentry is going to be a head coach somewhere next season. Deservedly so (we’ll get into that, just keep reading).

The best NBA coaching job open right now is with the New Orleans Pelicans. It’s the best job thanks to two words: Anthony Davis. Three words if you throw in gumbo.

The Pelicans reportedly have been patiently waiting to see how the Tom Thibodeau situation plays out in Chicago — and that could take some time with what the Bulls are asking — so the Pelicans have decided to be proactive and talk to the Warriors’ lead assistant Gentry. So reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

The New Orleans Pelicans have ‎been granted permission to interview Golden State Warriors assistant coach Alvin Gentry for their coaching vacancy, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that Gentry has emerged as one of the leading candidates for the position alongside Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who is widely expected to part company with the Bulls this offseason.

Gentry is the best offensive mind available on the open coaching market. This season he was the right hand to Steve Kerr at Golden State and the guy in charge of putting their offense together — the second most efficient offense in the NBA. The season before that he was the right hand to Doc Rivers in Los Angeles and handled that offense, where he led Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to being the most inefficient offense in the NBA. Gentry runs a modern NBA offense with ball-screens, motion, up-tempo play and plenty of three-point shooting to space the floor.

Yes, Gentry is a “retread” in the sense he has more than 700 games as an NBA head coach and a .475 win percentage. But sometimes guys figure things out as they hang around the game and become better coaches, ones who fit an evolution in the sport. Gentry can be one of those guys.

It’s fun to picture what he could do with Anthony Davis and that offense (especially if Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson are healthy for a full season).

Gentry will have options, he is reportedly near the top of the Denver Nuggets’ list as well. Gentry has said he likes where he is in the Bay Area right now and it would need to be a special situation to lure him away.

The Pelicans may have played too slowly but they were a top-10 offense last season under Monty Williams. They were a bottom 10 defensive team. That’s the end of the floor where improvement is most needed.

Could Gentry help there as well? As much as Thibodeau?

Either way, better to start the process than to be the one standing without a chair when the music stops.

French point guard Theo Maledon declares for NBA draft

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French point guard Theo Maledon has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft:

The six-foot-five Maledon is declaring as an Early Entry candidate from the international ranks. International players who do not turn 22 in the calendar year of the draft can declare as Early Entry players.

At 18 years old, Maledon was a part-time starter for ASVEL Basket in France in the French Pro A League. ASVEL Basket is owned in part by former NBA player Tony Park, who also serves as the club’s president. Maleon started in 23 of the 46 games he played for ASVEL Basket this season.

In 46 games with ASVEL, Maledon averaged 7.3 points per game. He shot 42.1% from the floor, including 33.3% on three-pointers. He also averaged 2.7 assists per game. In mid-January, against former NBA player Shane Larkin and Turkish club Anadolu Efes, Maledon started and dished out 10 assists, while scoring five points and grabbing six rebounds.

In part due to his size for the point guard position, and his excellent play on the youth level, ESPN has Maledon ranked 15th in their top-100 prospects. He’s widely expected to be in the mix to be a lottery pick.

Players have until Sunday, April 26 to declare as Early Entry candidates. The deadline to withdraw as an Early Entry candidate is Monday, June 15. The 2020 NBA Draft is currently scheduled to be held on Thursday, June 25.

Report: Pacers GM Chad Buchanan turns down interview with Bulls

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Indiana Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan has reportedly declined an opportunity to interview for a front office job with the Chicago Bulls.

Buchanan joined the Pacers in 2017 as their general manager under President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard. Prior to moving to Indiana, Buchanan was the assistant general manager with the Charlotte Hornets.

In turning down the Bulls opportunity, Buchanan cited how well he and his family have been treated in Indiana. Buchanan had previously worked with Pritchard when both were members of the Portland Trail Blazers front office.

Chicago is replacing John Paxson and Gar Forman at the top of their front office structure. Paxson and Forman have led the Bulls basketball operations together since 2009. Chicago’s search will now reportedly focus on Arturas Karnisovas of the Denver Nuggets, Adam Simon of the Miami Heat and Bobby Webster of the Toronto Raptors.

This Day in NBA History: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar becomes NBA’s all-time scoring leader

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It was fitting he did it with a skyhook.

On April 5, 1984, in a game against the Utah Jazz (played in a sold-out Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar took a pass from Magic Johnson, swung left, and drained a hook shot that gave him career point No. 31,420, moving him past Wilt Chamberlain to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

The game stopped as the celebration ensued as Kareem’s teammates swarmed the captain. He was taken out of the game at that point, done for the night.

Abdul-Jabbar wasn’t done scoring, however. H retired five seasons later with 38,387 points, a record that stands to this day.

Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t have home court, players forced to workout with what they have

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MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo is spending much of his time during the coronavirus-imposed hiatus working out, helping care for his newborn son and playing occasional video games.

What the reigning MVP isn’t doing very often is shooting baskets since the NBA has closed team practice facilities.

“I don’t have access to a hoop,” the Milwaukee Bucks forward said Friday during a conference call. “A lot of NBA players might have a court in their house or something, I don’t know, but now I just get my home workouts, (go) on the bike, treadmill, lift weights, stay sharp that way.”

The hiatus is forcing thousands of athletes, pro and otherwise, to work out from home as they try to keep in shape. Equipment varies from player to player, too.

“It all comes down to what they have and what they’re capable of doing,” Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “We can do a lot of body weight stuff. That’s how they stay ready. That’s the most I can offer as a coach for them to stay ready. I can’t say ‘Hey, can you find access to a gym?’ That would be bad management on my part.”

For instance, Pierce said Hawks guard Kevin Huerter has access to a gym in New York and guard Jeff Teague owns a gym in Indiana.

Other players face different situations.

“I’ve seen LeBron’s Instagram,” Pierce said of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James. “LeBron has a house with a full weight room and he has an outdoor court. He’s got a different reality right now that gives him a little more access to continue the normal. (Hawks rookie) Cam Reddish lives in an apartment and it’s probably a two-bedroom apartment. He can’t go in the apartment weight room because it’s a public facility. So he’s limited in all things.”

Bucks coach Mike Budenhlolzer said he wanted his players to focus on keeping their bodies in shape and conceded that logistics surrounding the pandemic would make it tougher for them to do any basketball-specific activities.

The Bucks are still finding ways to stay sharp.

Bucks players said team officials have made sure they all have the necessary exercise equipment. Antetokounmpo noted the Bucks also had a catering company bring food to make sure they maintain a proper diet. Center Brook Lopez said workout plans have been sent to them via a phone app.

“They’ve done a really good job of getting everything taken care of and still having tailored workouts for each individual player despite the situation,” Lopez said.

But it’s difficult for them to work on their shooting without access to a court.

“Since the practice facility is closed down, I don’t have any access to a basketball goal unless I go to one of my neighbors’ houses and shoot outside,” Bucks forward Khris Middleton said. “There’s really no basketball for me. It’s basically like Giannis said. Treadmill, jump rope, some weights and that’s it. I have a couple of basketballs I can dribble in my house or outside, but no actual goal to shoot on.”

Pierce noted that Huerter recently asked him when players would be able to get back into the Hawks’ practice facility.

“I told him, ‘I’ll tell you when we won’t,” Pierce said. “We won’t in April.”