Philadelphia 76ers great Allen Iverson said he didn’t lift weights during his career because “That s— was too heavy”. But that doesn’t mean Iverson was going to take any rest when it came time to hit the hardwood.
On Friday night during a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers, Iverson spoke to ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy on air about the new wave of rest, regeneration, and players sitting out games without being injured.
“This is a new era, a new generation. I never thought anything like that would happen in our sports. The coaches know their players, the players know their bodies, they know when they can’t give it their all, I guess. It’s the same thing with [Gregg Popovich] it works his way, he knows his players. But it would have been a dog fight if a coach tried to keep me out of a game and I wasn’t hurt. I can get my rest after the game.”
Iverson appears to at least understand the decision-making process behind it, even if it personally wasn’t his style.
The 2000-01 NBA MVP in 914 career games over 14 years in the NBA, starting in an impressive 901 of them.
Still, with the wear and tear on NBA athletes as they’ve gotten bigger, had more demanded of them, and had access to better science around their bodies, nutrition, sleep, and rest, it sort of makes sense there would be more rest for star players. That’s compounded by the fact that rest often comes for teams playing against non-conference or lesser opponents.
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich famously rests his players, sometimes in “big” regular season games, with surprising results.
Great to hear from Iverson, and that he’s at least amenable to changes in the league since he last played in 2010.
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:
On the NBA's fast-moving coaching carousel …
The growing belief in league circles is that Doc Rivers has swiftly supplanted Mike D'Antoni as the favorite for the Philadelphia job …
With Ty Lue ranking as the early favorite to replace Rivers with the Clippers
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 1, 2020
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.
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.
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.
Rivers’ availability has definitely thrown a wrench in the coaching carousel.
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.
“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.
The NBA bubble — which has worked and gotten the league to the NBA Finals — may be a one-off.
The goal for next season is a January start with games being played in team’s arenas, even if fans are not yet filling the buildings, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in his annual address before Game 1 of the NBA Finals Wednesday.
“As for fans in seats, it’s certainly our goal, but it’s dependent on some additional advancements. Rapid testing may be the key here,” Silver said.
Silver refused to be locked down to any details — most people around the league expect a February start, or later — and said the league might have to return to a bubble, or hybrid-bubble, for part of next season. However, he hoped testing and technology would allow NBA games in NBA buildings, with players going back to their homes at the end of the night.
This is dependent on rapid testing and where the virus is in our nation as we get into December and January than it is on a vaccine.
“Based on everything I’ve read, there’s almost no chance that there will be a vaccine, at least that is widely distributed, before we start the next season,” Silver said. “So I do not see the development of a vaccine as a prerequisite.”
The other part of starting next season is figuring out the league finances and setting a salary cap. The league’s revenue took a serious hit with around 20% of home games canceled, then the playoffs delayed and moved to a bubble. Silver said salary cap and other negotiations are taking place between the NBA and the players’ union. The league has set a date for the 2020 NBA Draft — Nov. 18 — however, the start of free agency, training camps, and the tip-off date for next season are still open and being discussed.
“I don’t have expectations of labor issues… I think while no doubt there will be issues and difficult negotiations ahead, I think we’ll work them out as we always have,” Silver said.
Those are the future. For now, Silver was clearly proud that the bubble worked and that there could be a lesson there for the nation.
“The basic protocols that we’re all following are working,” Silver said. “I mean, the testing is only needed to demonstrate that at this point. By wearing a mask, by exercising appropriate protocols, hand washing, appropriate cleanliness, et cetera, by maintaining physical distance… that’s what’s working.”
Also of note from Silver’s press conference, he was asked about there being just four Black head coaches in the NBA right now after Nate McMillan (Indiana), Alvin Gentry (New Orleans), and Doc Rivers (L.A. Clippers), all were let go (there are currently six open coaching jobs around the league). Silver said he has had talks with teams that have had openings, making sure a diverse field of applicants is considered, but added the NBA has not thought of adding a “Rooney Rule” to the hiring process.
“I know we can do better,” Silver said.