The Bucks and Raptors were reportedly focused on former Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer in their searches.
Milwaukee got him.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
This is a strong hire for a team ready to reach the next level.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is a superstar. Khris Middleton is a borderline All-Star. Eric Bledsoe is a solid starter.
Coaching was holding back Milwaukee.
That’s unlikely to be the case anymore.
Budenholzer brings a strong track record of a flowing offense, sound defense and player development.
The Celtics and 76ers are rightfully seen as the top Eastern Conference contenders once LeBron James‘ reign ends. But don’t exclude the Bucks from the conversation. They’re also a challenger.
More immediately, this hire will be felt in Toronto and Atlanta.
The Raptors must move onto another choice to guide their very good team. Maybe they’ll now hire one of their strong internal candidates – assistant coaches Nick Nurse and Rex Kalamian and minor-league coach Jerry Stackhouse. Stan Van Gundy, Steve Clifford and Monty Williams carry impressive head-coaching experience if Toronto wants someone more proven.
Unlike the Raptors, the Hawks are a winner in this. They will no longer have to pay Budenholzer his full salary.
So much went right for the Warriors in their blowout of the Lakers on Monday.
But there were a couple snags. Stephen Curry slipping and falling and air-balling. And Steve Kerr and Jordan Bell arguing on the bench.
Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:
Kerr, visibly upset, addressed the matter but kept his comment brief and vague.
“It was a total misinterpretation of something I said,” he said, “and we cleared it up.”
Kerr surely would like to think this is the end of it, as would Bell. And perhaps it is. But there have been questions about Bell’s commitment and habits dating back to at least the middle of his rookie season.
Coaches and players say a lot of things quickly during games. A comment being misinterpreted and causing an overreaction isn’t the end of the world.
But it usually doesn’t lead to an exchange that looks so heated. That Bell thought Kerr said something so off-putting toward him – whether Kerr actually did or didn’t – is telling.
After a promising rookie season, Bell has declined this year. He’s not even a permanent member of the rotation. With DeMarcus Cousins returning, Bell could be even further deemphasized.
Bell has potential as a versatile defender who finishes above the rim and moves the ball well. Golden State could particularly maximize his skill set.
First, Bell – who’ll be a free agent this summer – must show he’s on the same page as his coach.
The Celtics eventually deleted the first one, but these two Al Horford tweets back-to-back are a masterpiece:
Russell Westbrook neared peak Russell Westbrook last night.
During the Thunder’s win over the Trail Blazers, he talked trash to Damian Lillard and exchanged pointed laughs and words with Jusuf Nurkic. Westbrook also scored 29 points, dished 14 assists and grabbed 10 rebounds. After the game, he mocked Evan Turner for stealing his trademark rock-the-baby celebration and called Nurkic a “clown” (to which Nurkic responded online by calling the Oklahoma City star “Westbrick”).
For better or worse – mostly better last night – Westbrook always brings that same energy to everything he does.
Luka Doncic has been showing his anger lately – kicking a ball into the stands and, last night, tearing his jersey entering halftime. At least that last outburst didn’t get him ejected.
Doncic got a fresh jersey for the second half and helped the Mavericks beat the Clippers, 106-98.