The most likely outcome remains the Charlotte Hornets hire Mitch Kupchak as their GM. Kupchak has been around, has the resume (even if he was pushed out in Los Angeles for good reason), was a good soldier in Los Angeles for years standing up for the organization, and has the old boys’ network connection with owner Michael Jordan through North Carolina.
However, the Hornets are branching out to look at three up-and-coming GMs — a couple out of teams that lean more on analytics than Kupchak — according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Charlotte has received permission to speak with Philadelphia 76ers VP of Player Personnel Marc Eversley, Houston Rockets Vice President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas and Miami Heat assistant general manager Adam Simon, league sources told ESPN.
For some background, Eversley has been with the Sixers for a couple of seasons, and was with the Wizards and Raptors before that. Rosas has been with the Rockets since 2000, helping build the Rockets’ current contending roster alongside Daryl Morey (he also spent three months as the Mavericks GM in there but did agree on a defined role that worked for everyone). Simon has been with the Heat for 23 seasons learning with and under Pat Riley, and he has been the GM of their D-League team in Sioux Falls for a few years.
Whoever gets the job will work with Buzz Peterson, who is running day-to-day operations with the Hornets right now.
This is all a good thing — Jordan needs to consider hires outside his organization and outside his comfort zone. The Hornets are team about to miss the playoffs who are capped out, never a good sign. Keeping things comfortable may not be the best option to turn the franchise’s fortunes around.
It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.
Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.
The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.
Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).
Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.
If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.
Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).
With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.
Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.
Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.
The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.
It might have been the loudest the crypto.com Arena was all night.
Between the third and fourth quarters, Lakers fan Jamie Murry of Downey won $75,000 draining a half-court shot — and he got to celebrate with Anthony Davis.
Murry’s celebration is the best part — with Anthony Davis coming out to celebrate with him (and seeming a little shocked by the hug).
One other big shot fell at this game, but Lakers’ fans didn’t like it as much — Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.